Today we have a special treat,visiting with the prolific Armand Rosamilia, who's talking zombies, of course, and about his latest release, Dying Days 4. Be sure to keep reading to the end for a contest and an excerpt...
About Dying Days 4: Darlene Bobich and the dwindling survivors face an even greater peril when the zombies start to not only regain their intelligence, but their hunger reaches new heights. (Note: Book contains profanity and adult situations.)
Interview with Armand Rosamilia:
* What led you to write your series and the latest, Dying Days 4?
Living in sunny
for the past 13 years, I wanted to set something horrific in the immediate
area. I thought putting zombies on the beach would be much better than in a
gray, crumbling city. Dying Days 4 keeps the story moving along in several new
locations in Florida.
* How did you start writing? What's your background and previous or current profession?
I've been writing for over thirty years on and off, since I was twelve. Most of it was garbage, but I honed my skills (I hope) by writing so much, even when I knew it was just to get a story out and not to get it published. In the meantime, I worked retail management jobs for over 20 years and hated every day of it, swearing someday I would quit and become a full-time author. Three years ago I did it and I am currently living the dream.
* What prompted your interest in horror?
Dean Koontz books as a 12-year-old. I read everything I could get my hands on by him, and my mother has a sizeable horror paperback collection, so I never ran out. I got my love of reading from her.
* If you had to write one thing, what would it be and why?
Watership Down, which is still my favorite book of all-time. I reread it every few years and as I get older I look at it in a slightly different way. It is brilliant.
* What's the hardest thing to write in your books?
I try not to write those middle boring parts if I can help it, ramping up the danger or the fun, depending on the book. I hate reading a story that has filler in it. I'd rather write shorter pieces like novellas than pad a word count.
* And the easiest? Why?
The easiest part of writing is when the character is speaking to me and I'm trying to write down every word they're saying. I know I've stumbled upon something good when it happens.
* Where do you like to write?
I used to write in a corner of
Kokomo's Café in
but since moving to Flagler Beach Florida Jacksonville
I've put together an office. I get up each morning and go right to my desk,
where I waste several hours a day before I get in my 2,000 daily word count
* Who is your favorite character and why?
I used to say Darlene Bobich, but after writing Dying Days 4 it would be Tosha Shorb, who came out of nowhere in Dying Days 2 and has become a fan favorite. As a reader my favorite character is Conan the Barbarian. I collected every book and every Marvel Comic with Conan as a kid and still have them.
* When you're not writing, you like to . . . ?
Read whenever possible. I like to hang out with Special Gal and my kids. I even leave the house once a week to go bowling. I'm not very good but I have a great time.
* Tell us one thing we don't know about you and would be surprised to know . . .
People who meet me for the first time figure I'm a biker and illiterate. When they find out I can read and I'm a full-time writer they are stunned. When it's further revealed I am a total geek who played Dungeons & Dragons for a good chunk of my childhood and still collect Marvel Comics and anything else geeky, they are speechless. And stunned again.
* What's coming up next?
I'm always working on three to five projects, so you can expect a few things from me. I'll have a horror novel released by Ragnarok Publications around September and Dying Days: Origins 2 in November. I'm writing the adaptation to at least two movies this year and have about a dozen short stories coming in anthologies at some point. And a whole bunch of other stuff.
* If you couldn't write about zombies, then what would you write about? Do you plan on going in a different direction?
I'm actually lucky because, while I'm known for my Dying Days series and it pays the bills, it also allows me to write in other genres as well. I have stories and books out that are straight horror, Lovecraftian, thrillers, nonfiction, erotica, horror erotica, contemporary fiction… I write in many genres.
** Contest: * Comment here on the blog about the Dying Days books and fave character, Darlene Bobich for a chance to win one of 10 audiobook coupons!!! Include your email or a place to contact you.
Other: My latest endeavor - Arm Cast: Dead Sexy HorrorPodcast
** Excerpt from Chapter Two of Dying Days 4:
"I can smell the three of you up there… wait, is there a fourth? A baby, perhaps?"
Darlene put her hands on her full belly and sighed. She could barely move on the bed and no matter what she did she couldn't get into a comfortable position. It had been like this for weeks.
Murph, looking so frail sitting in the corner chair, wheezed as he slept fitfully, his head lolling back against the wall. In the weeks since their escape from the stilt houses, they'd found little shelter or food. Circling through the
area had been a nightmare as more and more of the zombies began to talk and do
things a living person would do. It would be harder and harder to know the
difference between the zombies and the living soon enough. Palm Coast
"There's only one of them," John Murphy said, glancing out the window. "He's standing on the porch."
They were holed up in the upstairs apartment above Kokomo's Café in Flagler Beach, where (in better times long past) the spectacular view would allow one to see the ocean a block away and the tourists and locals in Veteran's Park, and enjoy the smell of good coffee from below.
Now the only smell was death and smoke. The view was burnt buildings and Rorschach blood spatters on every surface.
"Maybe he'll go away," Darlene said unconvincingly. It was only a matter of time before they were rooted out of another hiding place. It kept happening over and over, the baby like a beacon to these monsters.
John looked back and gave her a faint smile. "We can't keep doing this." He glanced at his father on the chair and back to Darlene. "Neither of you can be moved. It was a bitch getting you up the stairs."
"Little pigs, little pigs, let me in," the zombie called from below. He started laughing at his own joke. "Toss down the baby and let me play with it. Is it a boy or a girl? Does it look like its mommy or daddy? Does it have my eyes?"
John went to the bed and kissed Darlene on the cheek. "Do we have anything I can kill it with?"
She shook her head. "I'm out of ammo for the Desert Eagle and for the shotgun."
"I'm out of arrows and bolts and haven't found anything to fashion new ones with. I need something… damn," John said and pointed at his sleeping dad. "A leg of the chair would do just fine."
"Don't wake Murph. You know how pissed he gets," Darlene said. "And I don't want you going down there."
"I have to. All this yelling will only bring more of them. And they aren't mindless anymore. This one will be expecting us. Remember the attack at
? They let me waste all my
arrows and bolts and I only hit half the time. They aren't so easy to
kill." Matanzas High School
"Seriously, are you coming down to let me in or not? This is just plain rude. Are you Yankees? Huh? Whatever happened to Southern hospitality? I demand some respect as well as a sweet tea and a slice of key lime pie," the zombie said and laughed loudly at his jokes.
"I'm going to kill him," John said and shook his dad, sleeping on the chair.
The old man, despite his advanced age, came up swinging and John had to hold him down and tell him he wasn't being attacked.
When Murph finally relaxed, he winked at Darlene and tipped his dirty baseball cap. "I still got some fight in these fists yet. That'll be the last warning you get, John John. Next time I break your dang nose."
"I need the chair," John said.
"You can't have it."
"I need it."
"For what?" Murph asked.
"I'm going to break a leg off and kill a zombie with it."
Murph stood slowly and stretched. "I guess it's as good an excuse as any. But now you owe me a seat. And I'll bother you until I get one. Understood?"
"Yes, Dad," John said and winked at Darlene. He picked up the chair and smashed it against the floor, pulling a jagged chair leg off of it. "I wonder if they still need to be killed by smashing in or jabbing into their heads."
"I wouldn't take the chance," Darlene said. "They're regenerating. Even the ones we thought had obvious head trauma were healing. If we had the time and resources, I'd say we burn all of them. But we don't have the option."
John hefted the wood in his hand. "I know what the option is right now. I'll be back." He started to walk to the door but stopped and broke another two legs off the chair, handing one to Murph and one to Darlene without a word.
He opened the door a crack, expecting the zombie to attempt to push through, but the stairs down were empty. The door on the bottom was still intact, as well.
"Good luck and be safe," Darlene whispered.
He couldn't look back at her. He needed to focus. John put a foot down on the first step and heard it creak like a gunshot. He tried to balance his weight as he put his left foot down but the next step did the same. These wooden steps had taken a beating in this
weather over the years, and without air conditioning or a heater to regulate
the temperature, the wood was warping at an alarming rate.
Even without the threat of zombies, the building would eventually collapse in on itself and be too dangerous for them to stay. John wondered what he was going to do with Murph and Darlene if they had to flee again. He didn't think they could at this point.
He creaked down to the door, knowing the zombie knew he was coming. He decided to get this over with, unlocking the door and kicking it open. John led with the jagged piece of wood, shielding his eyes from the sun.
The zombie wasn't standing on the deck anymore and the door to
Kokomo's Café was wide open. John knew it
hadn't been more than a few minutes ago when he looked out the window.
John looked around to make sure the zombie wasn't faking him out and hiding around the corner or crouching next to the deck.
"I'm in here," he heard the zombie say from inside the former café.
John could do nothing but walk to the door and look inside. The zombie was sitting on a chair next to the counter, right hand playing with shards of glass from the broken pastry cooler.
"When's the last time you had a good meal, buddy?"
John stiffened when the zombie turned to him and smiled, his steely eyes locked on John's. He lifted the chair leg in front of his chest.
The zombie laughed. "What's your name?"
The zombie plucked a large shard of glass from the cooler. "My name is Earl."
"Uh, I'm John."
The zombie laughed. "I'm just kidding. Don't you remember the show? I love saying that, right before I kill someone and strip their flesh from their bones while they scream. Such a sweet sound."
John moved three paces closer. "Get up so I can prove you wrong."
"Mark is my real name. I was born in
John hesitated. "
"Swanville. Ever heard of it? Maybe someday I'll go back, but I am so enjoying the warmer weather."
John had no idea where Swanville was in
and if it was a real place or a nickname for something else, but he'd heard
Darlene talk about Dexter and maybe Bangor.
"Why are all of you zombies coming south?"
Mark shrugged and continued to play with the glass shard. "I can't really say. It's like I was being compelled to come south. I can't say because I don't remember anything about walking to
One minute I was driving to the hardware store and then stopped at a red light.
A car plowed into my rear end and when I got out I remember a mob surrounding
me. The next thing I remember was the sun on my face. And being really, really
Despite the danger, John was fascinated. He'd been killing them for so long and this was the first real encounter with a zombie without just a fight. "Can you stop yourself from biting and raping people? Do you know right from wrong?"
Mark smiled. "Your right and wrong is vastly different from mine now. I see it. Once I kill you and you rise, you'll see it as well. I've decided to create as many superior beings as I can. You call us zombies, but a zombie is a mindless creature. I'm obviously so much more."
"What happened? Are you changing, morphing back to human and alive? Will you start breathing again?" John asked.
Mark shrugged again. "Every day brings me something new and exciting. I can literally sit here and hear the heartbeat of the baby in her womb upstairs. It sounds like magic to me. I'm drawn to him for some reason. I think many of us are." He grinned. "Mama is a special breed as well, as I'm sure you know. There's something… different about her. Wait until this kid is born. We can all feel it. If I had a breath to hold I would, because he'll be the death of us. I'm not joking. The pull is so strong, like the pull for all of us to head to southern States. I think eventually we'll all be focused on the baby. I'd like to be the one to rip him apart and drink his blood, because then I'll be the most powerful of us."
"I'm going to stop you from getting to my son."
Mark stood and dramatically stretched, cracking his fingers one at a time as he stared at John. "You can't stop me, and you can't stop us. We are the New World Order. We are the new Caretakers and the Homo Superior. We are the future."
"You don't have much of a future," John said and gripped the piece of wood. He was wondering if the zombie was going to rush him or if he'd be able to get the jump on the zombie.
"Can we just agree to disagree?"
John was done talking and moved against the zombie, who took a step back and swung the chair he was sitting on in front of him.
"It's not going to be easy to kill us anymore," Mark said. "If this were Vegas, I'd think even odds, although you had better really kill me for good this time. Because, if even a part of me is still alive, I will heal and come back to haunt you. And eat your baby."
"Then I'll make sure I burn you," John said and rushed the zombie, stepping onto the chair and swinging the wood at his head. The move caught Mark off-guard and he tried to duck out of the way. The wood jabbed into the side of his face, ripping through his right eye and shoving out behind the ear, catching in the zombie's head.
The two stumbled back and slammed into the dusty soda case, glass shards flying. They went down onto the wooden floor and John scrambled to stay on top of the zombie and away from his teeth.
"You missed the brain but I have to be honest… this shit hurts," Mark said and tried to pull the wood out. John gripped the chair leg and twisted it, trying to pierce the brain, but it was too far out of the head to have any effect other than squirting dark blood onto the floor.
Mark the zombie did John a favor by pushing his hand away and yanking the splintered piece of wood halfway out. John stamped his palm onto the wood and turned it with his other hand, jabbing it into the center of the zombie's head.
John was nose to nose with the zombie and was about to vomit with the sour breath of the undead man when he saw his gray eyes go from anger to confusion and then… nothing.
The zombie stopped struggling underneath John, all un-life snuffed out.
John found the biggest piece of glass he could and began the horrible but needed job of severing the head from the zombie's neck, vomiting twice as he worked.
He'd never get used to this.
John wiped as much of the blood off the chair leg on the zombie's shirt as he could. He'd need every weapon he could find and wouldn't leave it.
As he stepped back out onto the front porch and into the brutal sunshine, he stopped and shielded his eyes from the sun.
There were three zombies standing on the street smiling at him.
John slid to his right without losing eye contact and went back up the stairs, closing the door when he hit the steps.