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?
Hi, Fiona. My name is Arthur Mongelli and I am 40 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I currently reside in Orange County, New York.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I attended SUNY Orange and SUNY Binghamton before the travel bug took hold of me. I traveled pretty extensively in the US and elsewhere before setting down in Warwick. I started a career and met my wife, Brenda. The career imploded but the marriage stuck. She and I celebrated our tenth anniversary this year and we have a wonderful 3 year old daughter named Freyja.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I just submitted the follow up to Harvest of Ruin to Severed Press for publication. I also have short stories that will be appearing in two upcoming anthologies.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I tried on a number of occasions over the course of a few years to sit and write Harvest of Ruin, but it never panned out. Being a stay-at-home father afforded me the time, during naps, to nail it down. So writing for me began in earnest just after Thanksgiving of 2015.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It was a tough go trying to get traditionally published with a Zom-poc story this late in the game. I think that I considered myself a writer once I received the e-mail from Severed offering publication. That was when I first thought: I can do this. I am doing this. I think that once I traditionally publish another novel in a different genre, that is when I will call myself an author.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Conversations mostly, that and daydreaming. A good friend and former roommate of mine used to discuss in detail what we would do in different scenarios that movies presented. It wasn’t long before my daydreams turned into a plot.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Harvest of Ruin, from the beginning, was a trilogy. The story leaves room for further tales, but the story I have to tell at the moment, wraps things up at the end of three. The first book takes place in Autumn when everything goes to pot. The second takes place in winter and the conclusion in the springtime, so people can expect the titles (or subtitles) to reflect those seasons. The title Autumn was long ago claimed by another popular series of zombie novels. The word Fall is somewhat ambiguous, so I settled on Harvest. The Ruin part is self-explanatory. The phrase Harvest of Ruin is also from an old quote as well, something to the effect of: ‘when you sow the seeds of corruption, you can expect a harvest of ruin.’ That was a happy accident and fits quite nicely with the root of the bacteria I had laid out in the novel. The subsequent books will likely keep Harvest of Ruin as the story title and have subtitles. The second book is tentatively called Harvest of Ruin: The Dead of Winter.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I tend to be very descriptive, hopefully not overly so. When I write, I make no corrections on the fly, I do all of it in revisions and rewrites. Although, it allows me to write a draft fairly fast, it can be very challenging to basically rewrite the entire book 3-4 times to fill out the details and make everything flow.
The genre felt very hard at first, especially this late in the popularity of zombies. Many great authors have been hacking away at it for years now and have a stack of books in their series. As a new author with one book under my belt, it has felt difficult to get someone to take a peek inside. Thankfully, I fell in with a great group of folks at Reanimated Writers. They are all about helping one another succeed.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Well, as far as the subject matter, not very realistic at all. The zombie apocalypse is great to daydream about, but to me, the end will more likely be due to global warming, war, or a meteor even. Most of my characters are based loosely on someone. Either that or they are composites of people I know or have known. Some are based on myself at different ages and some are completely fictitous, based on an archetype.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
It’s always good to travel, it cultivates a sense of scale and perspective to things. Most of my travel for the writing process, however, happens through Google Maps and Streetview.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Severed Press handles that. They have been great as far as taking my input into account.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are a couple, though what is intended versus what is read often differ.
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?
As a stay-at-home father, most of my reading currently involves muppets or dinosaurs, I regret to say. I have always loved Kurt Vonnegut and his ability to convey deep meaning while being laugh-out-loud hilarious.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Eric Paddock, a friend of 20+ years. He beta read my books and has been a pillar of support and a great friend.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
It’s more of a career of convenience at the moment, though, I love doing it. I would love for it to evolve into an actual career.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nothing as far as the plot is concerned. The occasional format or grammatical error always bothers me, though.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Not so much in the writing, but at an event I attended. I was partnered with a couple wonderful ladies, both of whom had written bestsellers. They imparted the importance of Goodreads giveaways to me.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Ewan McGregor, I think.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Just do it. Write without looking back. Revise until you hate your book, then revise more.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I’ll have a booth at Walker Stalker Con in NJ this December. Hopefully book 2 will be in print in time for it. Come visit.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Slow Burn By Bobby Adair
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I read voraciously as a child. The first I can recall reading (without being forced to) was probably It by King, right around when it came out, I think I was 11 or 12.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My sense of humor is pervasive in my life. I try to laugh at everything. Since I’ve become a father, I’ve turned into a sap. I well-up at TV shows and movies on a fairly regular basis.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
George Romero, I’d say. He was one of those influences that I always thought I’d have time to meet. I saw Dawn of the Dead for the first time when I was 7 or 8 and my love for zombies was born.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I have an extensive comic book collection (60,000 issues).
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Recent favorite shows: American Gods, TWD, GOT, Shameless. I really enjoy a lot of the Netflix originals that have been on as well., I love movies (Lynch, Kurosawa, Tarkovsky, Besson are my favorite directors) Favorite movie of all time has to be Bergman’s The Seventh Seal.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Foods: Chicken-fried tofu, kale, bread, pasta and potatoes. Color: Black. Music: Hawkwind, Church of the Cosmic Skull, The Sword, Noothgrush, Dystopia.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Live off the land, build my own house.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
He was an asshole. Funny as hell, but an asshole.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?