I have to say, one of the absolute coolest things about having published a few books is the ability it gives me to meet some of my author-heroes. Mark Tufo is one of those guys. I first read Zombie Fallout in the summer of 2010. I’d written a couple paragraphs of What Zombies Fear, but never dreamed of being published. I never imagined I’d one day be an author, making a living writing the stories in my head.
After I started WZF, I embarked on a project. Read every single zombie novel available for my kindle. I quickly realized that that wasn’t going to be possible, so I started with the 99 cent books, and worked my way up to the 4.99. I started with Zombie Fallout, and over the next month, I read hundreds of zombie novels. I read ALL the time. I immersed myself in zombies. At work, at home, when I was sitting in traffic, while I was sitting on the throne, I was reading. And in all those books, there were very few that stood up to Zombie Fallout as my favorites.
By the time I actually talked to Mark, I’d moved tens of thousands of copies of my own book, the Facebook page for What Zombies Fear had hundreds of likes, and I was mostly making my mortgage payment selling books every month. By all accounts, I have been so well supported by my own fantastic readers, I was something of a success as an author. And I was still as giddy as a twelve year old meeting Justin Beiber. (Except Mark Tufo is WAY sexier than Justin Beiber.)
So, without further ado, having overly gilded this lilly already, I present to you my interview with The First Author, The King of Zombies, The Justin Beiber of Horror Authors, Maaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrkkkkkkkkk Tuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuufffffffooooooo.
Thank you Kirk!
Kirk: How do you come up with a character’s personality, and what tricks do you use to stay in character when writing? As an author, sometimes I find myself reading something that one character said, and realizing it doesn’t sound like that person at all…
Mark: It’s weird how this process works for me, I’ll have a personality all set up for a particular character and then I’ll drop him or her into the book and then they will begin to dictate how they wish to be portrayed. I wonder if that’s possession? Seriously though I can’t tell you how many times I figured someone was going to be good or evil and they completely flipped the script on me. So basically I don’t have a trick to stay in character they do what they want to.
Kirk: When you read, do you prefer `one strong character or more of an ensemble cast? (IE, the difference between Iron Man and Avengers)
Mark: I really don’t have a preference in this regard, as long as I’m enjoying the story.
Kirk: What advice would you offer to someone who is new to writing? And Ixnay on the “write every day” advice, I’ve given that one a bazillion times myself.
HIRE AN EDITOR – The caps were locked on purpose. If you truly wish to write a good story and present the best thing out there that you can make sure you polish the hell out of it. Readers will crucify you if they see a ton of errors.
Kirk: Have you ever written a leading character of the opposite sex? What challenges did you find in doing that, or if you have not, what has kept you from doing so?
Mark: I did, I wrote a story entitled Callis Rose, the lead was a teenage girl. I actually didn’t find it that difficult. (Should I just hand in my man-card now?)
Kirk: Could you ever write a “good-guy” type character that was unattractive?
Mark: Are you talking like quasimodo? Sure why not, looks don’t dictate morals. (However I might pick a different character for the cover!)
Kirk: Are you a “Zombie Author4Lyfe” or are you multi-genre? How do you keep from getting type-cast and/or pigeonholed?
Mark: I love zombies and without a doubt the Zombie Fallout series is mainly what I’m known for, but I love a bunch of different genres, Sci-Fi, horror and suspense being among them. I plan on continually writing in all those genres with the hope that folks will move on and check out my other stuff.
Kirk: Do you think it’s possible to write a ‘unique’ story with the classic Romero style undead?
Mark: Yeah I think so, it’s the characters that drive the story the zombies are almost secondary. Obviously they are an ever-present evil that must be dealt with. But readers are going to fall in love/hate with the characters that have been brought to life.
Kirk: What is the name of your latest book, and where can people find it?
Mark: My latest is NOT a zombie book, it’s entitled Lycan Fallout and it’s available on amazon at this convenient link!
Kirk: What is your next project? How will we know when it is available?
Mark: I’m currently getting ready to release The Book of Riley part 3 in July and hopefully by the end of summer John O’Brien and myself will be able to release our collaboration. A Shrouded World. And then in October Zombie Fallout 7!
Kirk: Where can people read more, find out more, or contact you?
Thank you Kirk for this opportunity to spend some time on your blog!