Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Hello, my name is Javan Bonds. I am thirty years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was actually born in Georgia, but I’ve been in North Alabama my entire life.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I graduated high school in 2006. After a few months of college, I had to quit due to health issues.
I am currently an accomplished author and allow my parents to live with me because I’m generous like that. They are one of those rare couples who have been happily married for nearly 40 years. I have one younger brother, Ethan. He is a nurse and he and his wife, Tiffany had their first daughter a few months ago.
I am and have been in a wheelchair since I was thirteen years old due to a form of muscular dystrophy called Friedreichs Ataxia. It has rendered me legally blind which started in 2010 that is also why I suffer from congestive heart failure. In 2015, I went to the hospital in bad shape. They told me I had “six months to two years to live.” But thanks to a great cardiologist and new meds my health is greatly improved and that time limit no longer applies. I am glad the doctor was wrong in that respect, because it’s been about two years.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Zombie Oasis; Book Four, in the Still Alive series released October 1. The first draft of the fifth book, Zombie River Run is complete. I’m hoping to release it in the next few months. I am also reediting the first book, Zombie Lake, to be narrated for audio starting in December.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I had written on a personal blog years ago. I’ve written songs and poems. You could say I’ve always been a writer, even in elementary school. I started working to become a published author shortly after I started losing my vision. Optic nerve atrophy turns TV and movies into moving blobs. One of the only forms of entertainment I can still enjoy is audio books. So I read hundreds of audio books. Then one day, my dad said, “You probably have a story of your own in your head.” I told him the truth. “Yeah, I do.” So he said “Then write it!”
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I started writing Free State of Dodge, my first novel, in 2010 or 2011. That book was published in 2016. I didn’t consider myself a real writer until probably 2015, when I finished the first drafts of the first, second, and third installments of Still Alive.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Free State of Dodge is a dystopian/apocalyptic novel on the collapse of the American government. I was inspired by James Wesley Rawles, Glen Tate, and other authors of prepper books. My parents own and operate Heaven Sent Survival, a store that sells freeze-dried food, water purifiers, and other emergency supplies. They have always had a prepared state of mind. I think that had something to do with my frame of mind for that book.
For my zompoc series, my original inspiration was Zombie Fall Out by Mark Tufo. Since then, there are numerous authors that have inspired me. Shawn Chesser, John O’Brien, Nicholas Sansbury Smith, David Simpson, and Bobby Adair are just a few of my heroes.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The name of the replica pirate ship in the book is Viva Ancora, which translates from Italian to Still Alive. That was the perfect name for a zombie book and it just stuck.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Because I cannot see much of anything, I use Dragon NaturallySpeaking to write basically every word. My computer monitor is a 40 inch TV screen set on a ridiculously low resolution at high contrast. I use Microsoft Word to write and it is zoomed in to 400%. I can see maybe two words at a time on the screen and it takes an unbelievable amount of time to make a simple change to anything. The way I write is suicidal and tedious, most people wouldn’t even bother. I guess I’m living with it. I have completed at least six books.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
When you read Still Alive, know that the main character, Mo Collins, is me 100% in personality. Most characters in the book are based on people I know, at least in physical appearance.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Before I started writing Zombie Lake, I went down to Guntersville, Alabama, where the story takes place. I traveled to see the Columbus caravels, The Nina and The Pinta the replica ships the Viva Ancora is modeled after. They were stopped in the city of Guntersville just a few miles from my home so questioning kids could tour. I met with one of the crew members who answered some questions I had about the boat. Eventually, I hope to go to a specific restaurant mentioned in the series to do a little research and I need to tour a cruise ship.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Christian Bentulan has done them all based on the concepts my dad gives him. He is so easy to work with and never complains about even tiny changes. I love his work and couldn’t find a better cover designer.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Obviously. When people get bit by other people and start stripping naked, don’t try to help them. Stay the hell away! But really I guess it’s like most apocalyptic story in some ways. You never really know what you have until it is gone and you have to step out there and find new things to care about or people to care for. Don’t give up.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Mark Tufo has to be my favorite. I love the humor he puts in his work and try to do the same in mine Whenever I get a chance to read new authors, there is always something in the works that will catch my attention. Frank Tayell, Kevin Bufton, I J Smith, just to name a few.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Everyone I knew was of course supportive and thought it would be a good idea. Glen Tate and nearly every author I’ve met has encouraged me. I’ve met even more people since releasing the books that help me and want me to release even more. People like Amy Workman, Tony Lord, Cynthia Terrones, and more people than I can name keep pushing me.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
It’s the only thing I can do, so yes. Even if I could, I’m not sure I’d rather do anything else. I write all the time. My parents call me a writing machine.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
The second a book is published, there are always things you want change; even if it’s just a word or a phrase. It’s never perfect.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned that I can be really graphic describing violence. Oh, and I learned I’m pretty good at talking about the nudity of zombies.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Lucas Black. I could see him being Mo.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Always get a professional cover designer. Always! I’ve come across some books that are not bad, but the covers are laughably horrible. Pay for the cover design, it’s part of the investment. Bad covers make good books unmarketable.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
If there’s ever a zombie apocalypse, go to the comic book shop. That’s all the explanation you need.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
As much as I hate to admit it, I’m not. Bobby Adair told me a long time ago that he barely has time to read and I said I hope that doesn’t happen to me. Now, I barely have time to read. I’m reediting Zombie Lake at the moment. When I finish, I will read through Zombie River Run before I send it to beta readers. As soon as that task’s complete, I will start working on the next volume, Zombie Paradise Lost.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
First ever? Now, that was long time ago. My Mom tells me I read 105 books in Kindergarten we had a contest I won. The first in the zombie apocalypse genre was Zombie Fall out.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Adam Carolla is a fucking hysterical comedian. I love his books. I am one of the most sarcastic people you will ever meet.
I am working on one of the later novels in the series where I kill one of the main protagonists. *SPOILER ALERT* Bradley has a monkey, Mary. It would be unimaginably horrible to kill an animal, but Bradley is bitten and knows he is going to turn. The goodbye scene between he and Mary was the saddest thing I’ve ever written. I cried like a girl the entire time I was writing it.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Of course, I love to meet my zompoc heroes. If I had to choose one historical figure, either Mark Twain or Benjamin Franklin. I think either one of them would get my humor.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
My hobby is writing. The only thing I do is work on my books.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I haven’t watched any TV or movies since 2010. So that means I have never seen an episode of The Walking Dead. Of course, I watched Dawn of the Dead and 28 Days Later like everyone else. I loved zombie movies. My favorite movie of all time is probably The Dark Knight.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I love red beans and rice. My dad makes it really good. I also like pizza with anchovies. Don’t knock it until you try it!
I like gray, even when I had 20/20 vision that was one of my favorite colors. It was the color of my walls in my room before we moved.
Read Zombie Lake. You’ll find that I’m a classic rock man. I love 70s, 80s, and even 90s rock.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Nothing. Not only would I not want to do anything else, there’s not a whole lot else I could do.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I’m not getting buried. I’m going for cremation. Either that or my body will be completely devoured by zombies. If there were to be something written about me in Memorial, I would want the quote at the beginning of Zombie Lake. “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading or do things worth the writing.” Benjamin Franklin.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My website, www.javanbonds.com currently leads you to my Facebook author page. I also have an official Javan Bonds Fan Club on Facebook. I will be having a take over hour at Kayla Kratz’s Facebook party on November 1 where there will be games and giveaways.
Check out my Amazon Authors page and follow me so you can get updates on my new releases.
Links to Javan’s books on Amazon:
Zombie Lake: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MY2S3A9/
Zombie Island: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XHJP7JZ/
Zombies on a Plane: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0728L5YRS
Zombie Oasis: http://goo.gl/uTS8Sp
Free State of Dodge: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01F9PRXL4