I’m so thrilled to have Joseph Nassise on the blog today! Joseph is the author of the recent WWI zombie extravaganza By the Blood of Heroes (+ much more), was kind enough to take time to answer my questions, and also has great taste in authors. Plus, he’s one of the nicest guys in the biz, so give him a warm welcome, yeah?
We also have a copy of By the Blood of Heroes up for grabs, so be sure to check out the details at the bottom of the post!
Joe, you’re a super busy guy, with more than 10 titles under your belt, graphic novels, short stories, your brand new book By the Blood of Heroes, and at least one more upcoming title for 2012! You also offer coaching services to aspiring writers. Whew! How do you keep up with such a hectic schedule?
Um…one more title in 2012? Try three! (The Library of Gold in June, the King of the Dead in November, and The Staff of Judea in December. Never mind the paperback of Eyes to See in July. And the release of the fourth Templar Chronicles book, Infernal Games. Sheesh, I’m tired just thinking about it all!)
But back to your question. Writing is my full time job, so I do it five days a week, seven hours a day. I keep my coaching hours limited so that they don’t overwhelm the time I need for my own writing. I put aside a few hours a week for doing promotional work but most of my weekdays are spent writing.
Can you tell us a bit about By the Blood of Heroes? World War I?Zombies? I’m totally there, but what was your inspiration for starting this series?
By the Blood of Heroes is an alternate history novel set in World War one, with steampunk and zombies. I know, right? The Great War had been underway for three years when German scientists invented corpse gas, a battlefield toxin that resurrected the bodies of the dead and turned them into flesh-hungry ghouls. These “shamblers” are used as shock troops by the German army, which has slowly been pushing the Allies back off the continent ever since the first one got up and walked anew.
Into this setting comes Captain Michael “Madman” Burke and his Marauders, a team of misfits ordered to carry out a secret mission behind enemy lines in order to rescue an Allied flier with information crucial to the war effort.
From clockwork arms to armored war dirigibles, the story has a firm grasp on both steampunk and zombies.
What do you find most interesting about World War I and that time in history?
WWI is this terrible conflict that doesn’t get written about all that much. Battles with more than a million dead? Talk about a horror setting. It is practically unimaginable what the world went through at that time. I wanted to use that to tell a story about duty and personal sacrifice. The zombies were just icing on the cake.
Why do you think zombies are so popular at the moment?
To be honest, I have no idea. In fact, I always swore I would never write a zombie novel. But as I got underway with the story, things just fell into place so naturally that in the end, I just couldn’t walk away from it.
What are some of your favorite zombie novels or movies?
I’m a huge fan of The Walking Dead, both the tv series and the comics. I’ve enjoyed Joe McKinney’s Dead World series (Dead City, Apocalypse of the Dead, Flesh Eaters) as well as Jonathan Maberry’s Rot & Ruin series. Cherie Priest combined an alternate post-Civil War and zombies in her Clockwork Century books, which I also enjoyed. My favorite zombie movies are probably 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later.
Zombies aside, how about other fave authors or novels?
My reading tastes are extremely eclectic. John Connolly. Lee Child. Lilith Saintcrow. Tom Wood. Majorie Liu. Cherie Priest. Robert Crais. Caitlin Kiernan. Kevin Hearne. Kathryn Kristine Rusch. Jack McDevitt. You get the idea. I’m a big fan of urban fantasy and SF (one of the reasons I write them), as well as thrillers.
What are you reading now?
I just finished several books – Jonathan Maberry’s Dead of Night. Robert Crais’ Taken. Jack Campbell’s The Lost Fleet: Dreadnaught. I’m about to start Beneath Hill 60, a non-fiction book about the Australian tunnelers used during the Battle of Ypres in World War One.
When you manage to find a free moment in your hectic schedule, how do you like to spend it?
With my family. Simple as that.
What advice would you give for surviving a zombie apocalypse?
Walk softly and carry a really big gun?
How about advice for struggling writers?
Stop thinking about writing or researching the writing or talking about your writing – go write! Procrastination is the #1 killer of writing dreams.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us about upcoming projects or events (or anything at all!)?
On Thursday, May 17th I’m part of the launch of a very cool new project called Unglue.it (yep- that’s the website too) in which we’ll be trying to “unglue” my debut novel RIVERWATCH and through a crowd-funding program make it freely available under a Creative Commons License the world over. Unglued ebooks will be free to share, free to copy, free to borrow and loan and lend, from everyone from your local library to your friend down the street.
There are different levels of reward for different levels of pledges (much like Kickstarter) and in the end everyone who pledges something, even if it’s just a dollar, gets a copy of the 10th anniversary edition of RIVERWATCH. Higher pledges can earn rewards from having your name in the acknowledgments to a video chat for your reading group to a full day’s writing seminar taught by me for you and twenty-five of your friends.
Join me at https://unglue.it/work/79399/ to check it out.
Keep up with Joseph: Website | Twitter
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