Interview with Eric A. Shelman

What is your writing process?
You know, I sit my ass down and hope like hell I'm going to have some words come to me … and they always do. I've never really plotted a book out - beyond the most basic idea. I'll have what I call a "grain of sand" and hope it's not a clump of poo. Then I'll start going, creating that first character. I try to make you like them right away, just based on something they say or do, or some emotion they're feeling that anyone can relate to. Once I get to know my character, I let them take control of the story. The ending of the book comes when it comes - I never know how long a story is until it's over.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Not really, but I was a Doc Savage fan. The first horror novel that REALLY got me was Lair by James Herbert. Had no idea it was the second in a series. I also LOVED Whitley Streiber's Wolfen. One of the most frightening books I've ever read. The movie SUCKED ASS. Oh, well. That is one that NEEDS to be remade. Oh, yeah. Impact on me? Just made me want to read more good, scary stories.
How do you approach cover design?
I sometimes believe I get too involved. I have these concepts that I force on my cover artists, and as with the first book in my Dead Hunger series, I really believe that cover turns people away from the series because they think it's going to be cheesy. So, I'll answer this question by saying that I'd be way better off if my cover artists would take the time to read the book and then design an appropriate cover. I could be on the other end of an unveiling. 9 out of 10 times, I bet I'd like it more. (Except for Dead Hunger VII: The Reign of Isis. I freakin' love that cover! (Gary McCluskey, artist.)
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Stephen King's "The Stand." This is such an epic tale of good vs. evil and of the end of the world as we know it. One of few books I've read multiple times, listened to and watched on the screen. GREAT.

Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth. Another epic novel that also teaches the reader so much about the history of the time. Just read it. Shut up and read it.

Ken Follett's Jackdaws. Again, just read it. Intrigue, and women in warfare. Great book.

Clive Cussler's The Silent Sea. The first book I ever got into in his Oregon series. Wow. SO, SO good.

Stephen King's It. Who doesn't love Pennywise????? Is that five already? Wow.
What do you read for pleasure?
Fiction, baby. I read all books for pleasure. Plain and simple.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle Fire HD. Love the Kindle Paper White for outside, though.
Describe your desk
Well, it's a wood veneer thing with a hutch, and it's a fucking mess! I mean ... if you can see the top of it beyond where the mouse pad sits, I'd freak out. I have bags of Dead Hunger swag on it, envelopes, screwdrivers, hard drives I've never put away, tape dispenser, stapler, CDs, speakers, scissors, strapping tape, coasters ... notebooks, video cameras. Yeah, yeah. I know. WHERE THE HELL DO YOU REST YOUR WRISTS WHEN YOU TYPE YOUR BOOKS!!?!?!?!?!??! (Valid point.)
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Fort Worth, Pasadena and Clear Lake City Texas (all of them are in TX) and then moved to southern California where I grew up in Laguna Niguel, Laguna Beach, Mission Viejo, El Toro, Lake Forest, etc. I think what affected my writing most was either Laguna Beach or Dana Point, California. I used to write drug-induced stories including all my buddies. The one I'm talking about was called "Joe Toast In Outer Space." Yeah. It rocked. I actually still have it.
When did you first start writing?
When I was a wee lad (wha' am I, fuckin' Scottish??) I wrote a poem for a teacher who was retiring called The Golden Rule, and it got printed in the paper. I was in elementary school. Later on in elementary, I wrote quite an elaborate poem called Bird Talk and a teacher accused me of stealing it from somewhere. I still have that, too. I killed that teacher and buried them under a mound of pencil shavings. (Okay, FBI, that's a joke. If you have an actual case where a teacher was buried in pencil shavings, it's a coincidence.)
What's the story behind your latest book?
Dead Hunger VII takes place 12 years after Dead Hunger VI. It begins in the fortified, fully-fenced town of Kingman, Kansas where our band of survivors has settled. They have created a massive zombie killing pit with special offensive features, into which all incoming traffic is directed from outside of the town. Two of Kingman's residents are children of the apocalypse, and are known by the community as Hybrids. They were affected (I won't say how) prior to their births, and have the ability to call the zombies, known as Mothers and Hungerers, to the pit from great distances. But in this case, their call is failing; the creatures are not responding, but they feel them there. The only option? To seek them out, find out what restrains them, and destroy them where they stand. A tragedy strikes before they leave, and things don't get any better when they set out on their mission ... darkness awaits in the northwest.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Back in 1992 I wrote what I felt was an important true story about a little girl named Mary Ellen Wilson, who in 1874, was rescued from her severely abusive tenement home in NYC. Who saved the child? The ASPCA. Yes, the animal protection agency. From Mary Ellen's case, the first child protection agency in America was born. I tried, but could NOT find a publisher. I finally got taken in by a vanity press out of Canada that folded and kept my money, which was over $1,500. So, I decided to put the book together, hire a cover designer, come up with an imprint - Dolphin Moon Publishing - and put it out myself. I ordered 5,000 of them printed and they shipped to my house. I packed each and every book up and sold them through what was then called Amazon Advantage, for small publishers. That was the beginning. When Kindle came to be, and places like Lightning Source and CreateSpace, it seemed ridiculous to pay publishers to do what I could do myself - and they do VERY little promo anyway, so .... why not?
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
We shall see .... I haven't really utilized it much as of yet - July 17, 2014.
What do your fans mean to you?
I have rabid fans who really love my characters ... and I love them. They're the best in the world and the way they write reviews, they should be writers themselves!
Published 2015-07-15.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Deadly Eleven
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 784,670. Language: English. Published: May 31, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
What happens when everything comes crumbling down? Some of today's best selling authors take you to the dark side in this collection of eleven deadly tales.
Dead Hunger IX: The Cleansing
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 93,510. Language: American English. Published: February 11, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural
The Cleansing Has Begun ... Flex, Gem, Hemp, Charlie and their families have struggled to survive in a dead world for years. Now, at the dawning of 2029, they are under siege yet again. After a long period of relative calm in the fortified city of Kingman, Kansas, A new onslaught of the walking dead has our heroes struggling to understand why. Join Flex, Gem, Hemp and Charlie - one last time.
Dead Hunger VIII: Peace, Love & Zombies
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 110,440. Language: American English. Published: February 1, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic, Fiction » Horror » Undead
Nelson Moore, the lovable stoner, takes over the telling of this, the eighth installment in the series. His story is far more terrifying than any could have guessed. After encountering the living dead in Central Park, Nelson escapes New York City to get to his grandfather, Jim Scofield, in Concord, New Hampshire. The journey is fraught with danger, and not only from the walking dead . . .
Dead Hunger VII: The Reign of Isis
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 114,780. Language: English. Published: July 18, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead
A dozen years have passed since a massive storm forced our heroes to find a new home in Kingman, Kansas. Our survivors create a community where people can live and thrive, of course with its own unique defenses. When Max and Isis beckon the distant Mothers and Hungerers and they do not come, their only choice is to seek them out and destroy them where they stand, but evil has another plan ...
Dead Hunger VI: The Gathering Storm
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 129,870. Language: American English. Published: July 17, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead
Some of our friends have returned home safely, to be with the ones they love. Even as they are greeted, another threat builds. It enters their home in the form of a little girl, who carries within her an adversary as single-minded and deadly as the zombies themselves. It is known to have existed over 350 years, and it takes life with brutality. Brace yourself against the coming onslaught.
Dead Hunger V: The Road To California
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 129,870. Language: American English. Published: July 17, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead
Over a year has passed since an ancient gas began seeping from the planet. Nine of ten humans have since transformed into walking dead creatures with an insatiable hunger for human flesh. Dave Gammon travels to California to find his Uncle Brett, a prepper from years back. He and Serena travel from Whitmire, SC to Dunsmuir, CA and what they discover there is more than they ever expected ...
Dead Hunger IV: Evolution
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 120,120. Language: American English. Published: July 16, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead
Hemp Chatsworth has already figured out how the infected became what they are. Now he must find out why some of them are evolving into something more dangerous. With their families poised to grow, the stakes are now higher than ever for our friends. Each new discovery creates the need for a new defense. Hemp has his hands full as some among the zombie masses appear to be smarter than others.
Dead Hunger III: The Chatsworth Chronicles
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 105,760. Language: American English. Published: July 16, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead
A gas emitting from the earth has transformed most humans into ravenous, flesh-eating zombies, and the living are fighting for their lives. Hemp Chatsworth takes the reins in book three of the series, which finds our small band of heroes growing with each passing day. But someone else needs Hemp's help, and they won't take no for an answer. The resulting conflict is brutal and action packed.
Dead Hunger II: The Gem Cardoza Chronicle
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 97,060. Language: English. Published: March 9, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead, Fiction » Horror » Undead
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
In book two of the series, Flex, his niece Trina, Gem, Hemp and Charlie brave the wild world teeming with the walking dead, making up the rules as they go along. But this is not a world where love dies; this is a moment in history when human connections and beauty are more important than ever. Join them, and you'll begin to wonder: Just who are the hunters, and who are the hunted?
Dead Hunger: The Flex Sheridan Chronicle
Price: Free! Words: 75,160. Language: English. Published: October 5, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
An epidemic that's turning humans into zombies has swept over the eastern United States and quite possibly the world, and Flex Sheridan doesn't like it one bit. Join Flex, his girlfriend Gem, British scientist Hemp Chatsworth, his foul-mouthed 6-year old niece Trina, and crossbow-wielding Charlie, as they use street smarts and technology to survive in this terrifying new world.