Armand Rosamilia here, author, radio personality, father, friend, countryman and lover of M&M's. I write mostly horror and zombie fiction but I delve into thrillers, contemporary fiction, erotica and steampunk. I like to tell stories no matter the genre.
How long have you been publishing?
I released some fantasy work around 2005 but then took a break for a few years. In the last 2 years I've updated many of my stories, had success self-publishing and working with small press publishers, and now have nearly 100 releases you can find on Amazon.
Tell us about your latest book.
Dying Days 3 is the latest in my extreme zombie series. It continues the journey of Darlene Bobich as she tries to survive the zombie apocalypse, and I add a new twist to get the zombies even scarier than in past stories. Since they started out not only wanting to bite you but to sexually violate you, I think it was pretty nasty from the beginning.
Who are your major influences?
It started with Dean Koontz. For zombies it was Brian Keene. Now, I love to read indie authors and see where they are pushing the envelope to. I take most of my influences from the world around me as opposed to writer, though. Ever sit in Walmart and people watch? Thousands of horror stories waiting to be written.
What drew you to the horror genre?
My mother. She was (and still is) a huge fan of horror books. She has this massive collection of Stephen King, Koontz, etc. and I started reading them at 12 and haven't stopped yet.
Do you invent your own types of characters, or rework the standard vampires, ghosts, etc?
I write mostly with zombies, but I try to make it as unique as I can. I've written a couple of ghost stories and one vampire tale where the 'real' vampire kills a sparkly vampire, but that's about it. For me, the scariest monsters are the ones you could really encounter… the serial killer next door neighbor, the delusional guy on the train sitting next to you… real people are scarier than vampires.
Are you a fan of horror movies, as well?
Yes, but I like more of the psychological horror movie than the slasher one. I'm not a big fan of movies with a lot of blood and violent scenes, which is strange since my books are filled with them.
If so, which ones are your favorites?
The Shining, Rosemary's Baby, The Road, Invasion of The Body Snatchers… to name a few.
What’s the difference between horror books and horror films?
Horror films show you the story and the characters and everything is right in front of you. With books you can't be lazy; you have to create all these things in your mind as you read, and watch the film inside your head as you do. I prefer reading to watching.
Why has the genre enjoyed resurgence in popularity over the past few years?
I don't think it has, because I think it never went away. There is always the hardcore base of fans who will watch and read it, but it has always been strong. For me, I got lucky because I started publishing my Dying Days zombie series just as The Walking Dead took off. But did I gain a ton of new readers just because of it? I don't think so, but I'm sure it didn't hurt being so popular.
What’s the best part about being a horror writer?
For me, it is being able to do this for a living. Being able to set my own hours and do the things I want to do in life, and to have the discipline to sit down each day and write my daily goal of 2,000 words.
What’s the worst?
Not having someone over your shoulder to yell at you. Some days I just want to sleep in and then play on the computer and watch a Red Sox game and not work. I have to keep reminding myself if I don't write I don't eat.
Do you think fans of horror are more devoted to genre?
I know they are. I've met some crazy horror fans who can recite passages back to you from your book, and that blows my mind. But I think, with every genre and subgenre, you have that rabid base of fans who keep it alive. Those readers are awesome.
Is there a difference in the type of stories you are telling, or the way you are telling them, than traditionally published horror writers?
I'm not sure. I try not to think about it too much. My goal is just to sit down and write a good story and hope people will read and like it. But I never start out writing and thinking about who will read it. I can't do it. I've tried and it felt like I was cheating. I've tried several times to write YA stories, and they ended up being twisted into some of the more graphic stories. Maybe I'll never write something my kids can read.
What does your family think of your writing career?
My parents are very supportive of me. My mother will read anything I write except zombie stuff. Sometimes she'll read a short story and shake her head, but she usually likes it. She is my toughest critic. We're originally from New Jersey, so we tend to be brutal in our opinions. My girlfriend Shelly is also amazing when it comes to support, helping me by designing logos and bookmarks, not getting mad when a weekend is filled with book-signings, and the fact one night a week I spend 8 hours recording two radio shows on Surf 17 in Flagler Beach (www.flaglerbeachradio.com).
What does "success" mean as an indie author?
Tell me more about your radio programs.
Recently, a new AM station came into being on the Flagler Beach pier thanks to Vern Shank. He is one of those guys who does about 80 million things and makes me look lazy. He is in a band called The Cherry Drops, and I was in his music video coming out soon, too. Anyway, along with fellow local authors Tim Baker and Becky Pourchot, we do Friday nights as "The Castaways - Three Hour Tour" from 7-10 pm EST. We talk about local authors, artists, entertaining people, etc. and offer advice from three writers with three different game plans. It's a fun time. Right after, from 10 pm until midnight, I do a music show. "Mando's Manic Melodies." I play Metal, Punk, Hardcore, Weird… whatever I want. I like playing surf covers from harder bands, since the station is predominantly surf music like the Beach Boys. You can find Surf 17 Radio at www.flaglerbeachradio.com and listen in anywhere in the world!
What does "success" mean as an indie author?
A second Porsche. Actually, I feel I am a success because I am doing what I want to do for a living, and making enough to survive. When I was twelve I wanted to be a writer, and at 41 I finally got to the level where I decided I was going to give it a shot for one year and see if I could make it. Two years later, I am still living the dream and enjoying every minute of it.
What advice do you have to aspiring indie authors? Anything you'd say specifically to horror authors?
Start drinking heavily. And read everything you can, not just horror books. Read anything you can get your hands on and start to see the voice of the writer, and what you love and hate about it. Then absorb it into your own psyche and then write, write, write.
Is there anything going on with your genre that makes you roll your eyes?
To each his own, but the sparkly vampire thing needs to fade away already. I'm getting sick of it on one hand, although on the other hand it brings in younger readers and readers who might not think they like horror. Maybe it pulls some of them in to read other works in horror.
Have you ever written something that you decided was just TOO gory or offensive, and changed it?
The opening line to my extreme zombie novella, Highway To Hell:
"Randy watched, repulsed as the two male zombies took turns dead-fisting the barely-alive girl anally."
There isn't much filter with me, although that is a shocking and extreme way to open the story. So, I can't really think of anything I've had to change. I also wrote a cannibalism story called "Zombie Christ"… I think I need help.
What's the connection between heavy metal music and horror? Why do so many people like both?
They are both awesome. They obviously lend themselves to one another quite easily. The imagery, the vibe and the general bad ass of both. I've been a Metalhead as long as I've been a fan of horror stories, and I meet so many others just like me. If you're into Metal and Horror, you are considered my People. \m/
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