Tell us about The Susceptibles?
The Susceptibles is my first real ghost story. I've wanted to do a paranormal horror for a while, now, but zombies have taken precedence. When I finally got the chance to sit down and write The Susceptibles I already had the majority of the story, and where I needed it to go, mapped out. The book is about a group of people, about a third of the population of a small city, who just fall unconscious. There's no real reason, at least none that they can figure out, but shortly after the event, the ones affected are able to see the dead. There are lots of linking storylines, and the web tangles and tangles until it starts to make sense. I had a lot of fun writing this book. It was a welcome break from the back-to-back zombie novels that I had to get out in 2011.
What sets your most recent release, The Susceptibles, from other books of the same genre?
I would have to say that it's not a straight-forward ghost story. The fact that there's no haunted house, no creaking basements, and no possessed children set this apart from other novels in the genre. Not that those things aren't fun...
How is the book doing so far?
It's going great. It's the first real hardcover release I've had and, I have to say, I thought the additional couple of pounds would put people off, but I've been pleasantly surprised. I think people are still genuinely afraid of ghosts and the paranormal, mainly because it's likelier than a zombie outbreak or a werewolf attack.
Any future releases reader should be aware of?
I'm working on a new series right now. The first book is called Deathdealers, and will be released in July. I am also plotting the fourth book in my zombie series, and have a lot of work coming out in various anthologies in the next few months.
Are you reading anything right now, or have you read anything recently that is worth mentioning?
I just finished reading Horns by Joe Hill. That guy has inherited his father's magic touch. That was a great book. I also recently read John Dies At The End, which was originally published by Permuted Press and is now wowing the world with its mix of grotesqueness and surreal. I loved it, though I don't hold out much hope for the movie.
Does music inspire or motivate you to write? If so, what kind of music?
I listen to metal when I write. Some people find it difficult to concentrate when they are working, and some days I find it hard, but when I am in the zone, I like to write with Metallica, Pantera, Stonesour, Five Finger Death Punch, blasting into my ears. It also depends on what scene I'm working on. If I'm writing a scene where it's pissing it down with rain, I crank up some thunderstorm music. I find it helps, and the words just flow a lot easier.
Who are some of your favorite authors? Favorite novels?
The people who made me want to become a writer are Stephen King, Richard Laymon, Shaun Hutson, and James Herbert. Those four forged me into what I am today. The Stand is still my favourite book of all time, and I don't think it will ever be bettered. I have to say that Brian Keene, David Moody, Graham Masterton, Joe Hill, and John Skipp are currently up there, for me. I've always loved Masterton, but I started re-reading the books that I have of his, and it's like a drug. I read a lot of indie stuff, now, and have discovered a lot of great writers just by taking a chance on them.
Are you one of those people who don’t own a TV? Do you have any favorite TV Shows? Favorite movies?
I don't have a TV. I have a projector, and the only thing that goes on it are movies, at least when it's just me. I do watch The Walking Dead, though, and Being Human. Oh, and Game Of Thrones. But apart from that...
At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I was very young. I think I was twelve. I wanted to be a journalist, and then for a few months I decided that I would be a film-critic, because I liked to watch movies, and I liked to talk about them afterward at length. In the end, I started writing fiction. I read a lot as a teenager, and growing up with horror books steered me in the direction I truly wanted to go.
Tell us about your writing process.
I get up in the morning. Feed my son, wife, rabbits and cat – in that order – and then what happens after that is as much a mystery to you as it is to me. I try to get my work done in the morning, because that gives me the afternoon to do other things. Being a stay-at-home dad and a writer at the same time sounds perfect, but it's very difficult to get anything done that doesn't involve dirty nappies or powdered milk. My son seems to know when I have a deadline to meet, because he times his shitty nappies to match. As for plotting a particular story, I don't. I like to sit down with an idea and let the characters decide what to do about it. Some people have diagrams, and maps, and post-it notes plastered all over the desk. I have one notepad, filled with illegible scribblings, but it's worked for me so far.
Are the names of the characters in your novels important?
I try to come up with realistic names, for the sole purpose that nobody is going to believe in a character called Minxy Turner, unless she's a stripper. I also try to keep it simple: Having a Joseph, Jimmy, Jack and a Jeremy all in the same book can be confusing for the reader.
How do you define success as a writer? Have you been successful?
I would say that I've been more successful than I anticipated. I think the trick is to just enjoy what you write, and anything else is a bonus. If you're in it for the money, then you have a short, sharp shock coming, but if you really try to work on your prose, and enjoy doing it, then money shouldn't even come into it. I can say that I have surpassed my goals by some margin, and I've only just begun.
Do you have words of wisdom about writing that you want to pass on to novelists and writers out there who are starting out?
Don't give up. If somebody tells you that what you're doing is terrible, work at making it better. There are lots of awful writers out there who shouldn't be allowed to sell their work on Amazon, but that's not to say that they shouldn't continue to write. Get a good editor. I can't stipulate that enough. I don't care if it costs a week's wages; it's more than worth it. Readers will give up on an author immediately if their work is badly formatted, full of grammatical errors, and full of spelling mistakes. Also, pay for decent cover-art. Find a friend who draws, and tell them about a project that you're working on. Ask them if they want their work on the cover of a book. Nine times out of ten they will jump at the chance, even if its just for the exposure. People say “Don't judge a book by its cover,” but what you should know is that readers will buy a book based on just that.
What should readers walk away from your books knowing, feeling?
Hopefully, my readers will take different things from my books. No two people are the same, and you certainly can't please all of them, all of the time. If you please some of them half of the time, you're winning. I hope that the people who read my zombie series will become better prepared at surviving the Zompocalypse. More than anything, I hope that readers enjoy what I do.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I just want to thank each and every one of you for buying or downloading any of my work. And I hope you continue to enjoy what I put out.
More about the author:
Bio: Adam Millard is the author of ten novels and more than a hundred short stories. His work can be found in anthologies from May December Publications, Knightwatch Press, Angelic Knight Press, Bizarro Press, and Damnation Books.
Twitter - @adammillard
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Adam.L.Millard
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