Interview with Typhoid Marty

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a little town on the south coast of England - no movie theater little. It being England though, there were at least 8 pubs just in the town center which created an interesting town mix of old people (think Florida but with shitty weather - sorry my mistake, different shitty weather) and angry pissants.

This mix probably influenced my writing a lot - I love getting characters from disparate lifestyles and throwing them into an extreme situation together, probably as a throwback to those times.
When did you first start writing?
I was 11 - I didn't have a computer so I got an old typewriter from a garage sale that had a beautiful clack clack noise as the keys were pressed. The troubles with this mechanism were twofold:

1) Whiteout and retyping.
2) The noise from my typing would keep my gran (who lived with us) up at night. Invariably there would become a point in the night when she would yell down to "Shut that noise up". When I go back over the old pages it is easy to see before and after this event based solely on how heavily the keys were pressed (as afterwards I would be carefully pressing the keys with minimum force to ink the page).
What's the story behind your latest book?
From the preface:

A friend – staunch supporter of the Zombie mythos and proud owner of a Zombie escape plan – was discouraged by my frank admissions of apathy. When asked what I find so implausible, my answers could be dropped into the following categories.

1) Most of the Zombie propaganda material I have consumed suggests the virus almost immediately kills the host. This is not a great survival trait for said virus.
2) The viruses then take a killed host and puppet it around to infect other people. If this virus ever gets bored of killing, it has a promising career on Sesame Street.
3) It is routine for Zombies to autopilot around even when large parts of their body are compromised.
4) Zombies rarely need any food and though the subject is often left unsaid, they will generally not just die of malnutrition.
5) The virus always spreads impossibly fast. Zombies are interested in eating Brains – how the hell are they infecting but not killing so many people?

My biggest problem with Zombie flicks though belongs in none of these categories – it is the age old wisdom of starting the movie with *hand wave* oh look Zombies! No-one seems interested in answering the Why, never mind the How.
When this friend asked how I would do things differently, I thought for a while and came up with the following answers.

1) The virus cannot immediately kill the host - that is just stupid.
2) Zombies are known for taking damage, to do so there would have to be a component of regeneration.
3) Bodies cannot operate by magic. Harm has consequences even if it is only temporary.
4) Viruses do not know how to carry commands from the brain and are not smart enough to control a life form. They are also boring at parties.

We talked about it further and they ended up really liking my ideas – later, drunk on my own persuasiveness, I began to write the book. Hopefully my alterations to Zombie lore will seem like a natural evolution (pun intended) to you too.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Is agent apathy an answer that won't send people running for the hills? It is? Oh okay nm then.

I am not naturally the most sociable person - I grew up an only child and rarely crave sociability, though I can be persuaded into such acts - so the idea of paying someone to do all the schmoozing with publishers and stores is super appealing to me. On the other side of the coin, I love the power to make the story exactly the way I want it to be. Any flaws are made because I wanted it that way, rather than because I was told to do so. Also, I am impatient so the idea of my work just sitting somewhere is very frustrating.

So my answer is that while I see advantages on selling out, my control freak nature makes this a natural avenue.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Nailing a character - really feeling my way around their insides. Every time I make a person with a motivation set different from my own and make them believable I feel like I add their soul to my own.
What do your fans mean to you?
I love having fans, they constantly provide feedback that plays into the eventual path my works take. **-**SHAMELESS PLUG **-** On our daily webcomic, www.hellinccomic.com, we really have had a lot of comments that are either insightful, better than my original plot or on occasion way, way off. All are great in their own way.
What are you working on next?
A Fantasy / Sci-Fi crossover but it is still ridiculously early to give more details than that. That and the daily dose, Hell Inc :)
Who are your favorite authors?
Hugh Cook, Alfred Bester, Phillip Jose Farmer and Douglas Adams. Hugh Cook for his amazing characterizations, Alfred Bester for his solid belief that humanity is truly destined for more, Phillip Jose Farmer for his amazing world building and Douglas Adams for making the ridiculous seem possible.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am a programmer by day and work getting highly caffeinated for a coffee company. I write Hell Inc, which is illustrated by the lovely Pici - who is also my wife. We have a 10 month old daughter who also craves attention and deserves every bit that she gets :) Past them, we have a new house and an endless supply of side gigs to pay for improvements and fun excursions.

My favorite pastimes are video games, catching up with whole series of TV at a time, anime and role-playing. I am a huge, huge nerd.
What is your writing process?
I normally write on weekends and late night - a necessary evil as I am unable to write with distractions.

First few minutes are normally re-reading previous work and then let my mind blank, possibly while playing with a desk toy. If I find that I ADD off to some website I give myself zero crap for that but draw my focus back to the task at hand. Normally within 30 minutes I am actually writing productively but sometimes it takes longer, depending on how fractured my mind is.

So in short, space and time :)
What is your deal with showers?
It is semi - well known that I take two or more showers a day. Partly this is because of OCD tendencies but there is something absolutely magical to me about that space. I think it is a perfect boiling point of space, white noise and lack of focus that lets my brain wander - just about all of my most creative ideas come out of the shower.

I joke that if I ever got rich I would install a shower writing room.
Published 2013-10-03.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

My Unlife: Rebirth
Price: Free! Words: 67,400. Language: English. Published: October 3, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Horror » Undead
What is worse than being a monster? Knowing you are one. Emma knows it all too well - though she has been trying to keep it a secret while looking for a cure. Now though the CDC are closing in, the Zombie who bit her is showing an interest in her life and a thug she gave the virus to is bent on revenge. Emma must make unlikely friends if she wants to survive long enough to find a cure.