Interview with Antony J. Stanton

What genre would you place your books in?
This is a difficult one for me to answer. When I started to write the trilogy I thought they were out-and-out horror books. They do still have that air to them, and I am convinced that anyone who loves that genre will not be disappointed, I mean after all, they contain both vampires AND zombie-like creatures. However, I firmly believe they are so much more than that. There is the military survival element to them so they would appeal to anyone who likes the details of a military book and the intrigue of a tense survival story. But I have also paid a lot of attention to character and plot development. I didn't want to rely on blood and gore. So I would have to say that the trilogy sits equally well in the drama or thriller genre, as in any horror genre. And reading the 5 Star reviews (on Amazon) so far, that seems to have been borne out. Many of my readers have come to read the book, expecting not to like it as it is not 'their normal genre', but have loved it and reviewed it thus. So I guess I would have to say, if there was a genre for 'page-turning, exctiing, action thrillers with a splash of blood and a tense hit of drama' then that would be the one.
What's this about one lucky person being immortalised in the pages of your book with a character named after them?
Yes indeed, that's correct. Have you ever wanted to have a famous literary character named after YOU? ie instead of Bridget Jones, it'd be Bridget XXXXX (insert your name), instead of Mr Darcy, it'd be Mr XXXXX, and instead of Count Dracula... you get the picture. Well, now is your chance.
To celebrate the forthcoming release of my second book, "Once Bitten, Twice Live", second in 'The Blood of the Infected' series, I am intending to do just that - one lucky winner will have one of the main characters named after them in a draft copy of book #1, "Once Bitten, Twice Die", forever to be immortalised in the pages of your own, truly unique, personalised book; which, incidentally, has received immense interest from a Hollywood producer who is even now trying to make it into a TV series. But that's another story...
Book #1 is already available. Anyone interested in becoming immortal should check out my website for more info and I'll let you know how to enter this competition: http://www.oncebittentwice.com
The journalist's review on the back of your book mentions a fresh angle. How is it different?
I did not want to just write a book that was like every other vampire or zombie book out there. I wanted a book that would appeal to fans of that genre, but also to anyone who just likes a riveting, page-turning thriller.
So many books treat the reader like a fool. You are just supposed to accept certain facts without question. There are just too many implausible events or coincidences, or too many cliches. I wanted to avoid ALL of that. I have avoided cliches like the plague and have written a story based on science and fact. If something unusual happens, there is a good reason why.
So as well as appealing to fans of the various horror sub-genres, 'The Walking Dead', Anne Rice, Twilight, True Blood et al, I hope my book will also appeal to people who like a decent plot, character development, drama and a few thrills. I guess anyone who liked 'The Hunger Games', Tom Rob Smith's thriller books, or Steig Larsson's books.
In an article you mentioned the Hollywood interest. What's that all about?
Without going into too much detail, the book has received attention from a Hollywood producer. He is interested in creating either a TV show or film trilogy from the book. It's early days and anything can happen, but clearly that would be beyond my wildest dreams if something were to come of it. Watch this space.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
This is my first book and writing it has been amazing. When I started I knew nothing, and my creative process has changed immeasurably since. I have had to learn by myself every single aspect of producing this book, from the writing, to the formatting, publishing and eventual marketing and promotion. This experience has been fascinating. But for me there have been three notable things that have given me the most joy:
1) When I have been writing (or editing something I wrote previously), and find myself moved to tears by what I, myself, have written. To produce such emotion in myself and hope that it will have the same effect on another is truly incredible.
2) When I held the paperback copy of my book for the first time, it was such a humbling experience.
3) Perhaps the greatest joy however, has been people's reactions. Receiving the first (now, of many) 5 Star Amazon rating, and the emphatic review to accompany it was truly incredible, and validated all the hard work.
And if anyone else is struggling with writing their first book, or any of the elements associated with publishing it, by all means contact me. I'd be delighted to give whatever help I can.
What do your fans mean to you?
This is probably a little early for me to answer, as I have only just published my first book, but those who have read the book, and have been kind enough to post reviews (on Amazon, so far) have really filled me with immeasurable happiness. To have someone part with their hard-earned cash to purchase MY work, and then to tell me it was so very worth it validates all the effort I put into writing it. I already have a huge amount of respect and gratitude towards fans of my book, and that will only ever grow with time.
What are you working on next?
Whilst having to continue my normal job as a commercial pilot (which kinda gets in the way a bit), at the moment I am splitting my time between promoting my first book, "Once Bitten, Twice Die", and preparing the second book from the series, "Once Bitten, Twice Live." I wrote the entire trilogy before I published book #1, but there is still much editing to be done, and at the moment I am finalising the cover for book #2.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have a full-time job as a commercial pilot, that pays the bills, and I have to say I love doing it. I love travel, either with my job or by myself. I do a lot of sport, ranging from gym or swimming, to more adrenaline-fueled sports such as skiing, windsurfing, kite-surfing, surfing, mountain biking, rock-climbing, etc. I taught myself Spanish to a reasonable standard, and have just started to teach myself to speak French and to play the harmonica.
Who are your favorite authors?
When I was growing up my favourite writer was Dennis Wheatley, author of one of my favourite books of all time, "The Devil Rides Out." This is a real classic horror story. The insight into the world of the occult is incredible and gave me a real fascination for dark literature, as well as motivating me to become a writer.
Obviously, Bram Stoker's "Dracula" was a real classic, and his writing is really inspiring. I have also enjoyed the works of Ernest Hemmingway, and more recently some of my favourite authors and books have been Khaled Hosseini (but "1000 Splendid Sons", not "Kite Runner"), Isabel Allende, and anything by G.G. Marquez - what an amazing style of writing, and the reason I began learning Spanish.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I started to write a book when I was about 13 or 14. It was a fantasy thriller. I actually wrote about 150 pages and I still have it somewhere. Who knows, maybe when this trilogy is all published, I may return to it.
How do you approach cover design?
The covers for my trilogy were largely my own ideas. I knew that I wanted to have a common theme for all three books. I wanted them to be suggestive of the general theme, without being too obvious. What I did NOT want was something that was cheesy, looking like the kind of book one might buy from a vending machine on a railway platform. I also did not want a cover that gave the reader everything. The reader is no fool and should be treated with respect. A little intrigue is a good thing. So I found a decent cover designer, ran my ideas past him, and here is the result.
What is your writing process?
How I write now is immeasurably different from how I started. I am far more organised now and less afraid to be a little adventurous with my writing. I have had to learn everything by myself as I went along. There are a few things that have stayed constant throughout, however. I find that I alas can not write if there are any distractions. I initially thought it would be romantic to go to a cafe, get a coffee and write, feeling like a 'proper author', but the distractions are too much. Even having music in the background is too much for me.
If anyone is just starting out writing their first book, please contact me if you want any help or advice. I am not sure if I will be able to help, but am happy to try and share the few small nuggets of knowledge and experience that I have gained.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I am due to publish the book on Smashwords shortly, so as yet it is too early to say. But I hope that Smashwords will help me to reach a greater audience and allow more people to enjoy my work. I hope...
Published 2016-02-04.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Twice Bitten, Twice Die
Series: The Blood of the Infected. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 125,580. Language: British English. Published: October 21, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Horror » General
Part 3 of zombie-vampire thriller. Deaths among survivors increase. Soon they will be beyond salvation. Their real task has only just begun, but will any be alive to finish it? Nothing could have prepared them for what lies ahead. The vampires are in disarray. A titanic clash between soldiers and vampires is imminent. No one’s survival is assured. Only one thing is certain - there will be blood!
Once Bitten, Twice Live
Series: The Blood of the Infected. You set the price! Words: 82,130. Language: British English. Published: May 1, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Adventure » Action
A gripping betseller continuing the thrilling tale of survivors in a post-apocalyptic landscape. Struggling against the crazed infected, marked for death by vampires, they must decide - is the enemy of my enemy my friend, or should I totally annihilate them both? When death is the best option, survival is no longer enough. Book two in the 'Blood of the Infected' series TV adaptation this year...
Once Bitten, Twice Die
Series: The Blood of the Infected. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 117,160. Language: English. Published: March 15, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
When you're stuck in the middle of zombies and vampires, all hell's gonna break loose. Literally! Book 1 from bestselling post-apocalyptic thriller series redefining the genre. Is the enemy of my enemy my friend, or should I totally annihilate them both? What happens if a suave, lone vampire is cornered by a horde of enraged infected? Find out now. Only one thing is certain - there will be blood!