The Bookie Monster interviews Nicholas Ryan, rising star author of Ground Zero: A Zombie Apocalypse.
For the last several years I have worked as a full time professional artist. I started writing Ground Zero at the insistence of my girlfriend. It is the first serious attempt at writing fiction I have made.
Your new release Ground Zero is getting a lot of attention from both zombie fans and non-zombie fans alike. Since it was released I’ve seen it shoot to the top of the Amazon charts and so far it has over 200 reviews. For those who don't know about it yet, how would you describe the book?
Ground Zero is a non-stop action adventure novel set in the USA. It is a relentless ride of horror and excitement from the first page to the last. Aboard a freighter bound for Baltimore harbor, an Iranian terrorist prepares to unleash an unimaginable horror upon the United States. The 'Wrath' is an undead plague - an infection that consumes its victims with a maddening rage and turns them into mindless blood-thirsty killers.
Jack Cutter is just an ordinary guy dealing with a dreadful guilt when the virus tears through his home town. Before it's too late, Cutter will have to find a way to survive, and find a reason to fight: HIS REDEMPTION.
What kinds of challenges did you face when you were writing the book? What kind of research did you do when you were working on your novel? You mentioned that you got some help with gun research from zombie group fans. Tell us more about that.
The biggest challenge was confidence. I know zombie fans are a committed, fanatical bunch of folks and they take their genre very seriously, so I tried my best to be authentic and respectful as I was writing. The zombie forum fans that I made contact with whilst writing Ground Zero were absolutely brilliant. They were very generous with their time and expertise, and there is no way Ground Zero would ever have been so widely accepted if it wasn’t for their patient input.
Who are some of your favorite writers and do you feel that they have influenced your writing?
None of my favorite writers have anything to do with the zombie genre, in fact I have never read a zombie book in my life. Having said that I have certainly been influenced by authors I admire such as Wilbur Smith, Len Deighton and Alistair Maclean.
What's the hardest part about writing?
Starting. For me the first 2000 words are absolute murder. After that it gets slightly easier but never easy. I think the hardest part about writing is creating a good idea for a book that can be sustained.
What are some of the techniques you use to get past writer's block? Do you have a process for getting up and writing? What does it involve?
The easiest way for me to write is to avoid distractions. I find I am always looking for excuses to get away from the computer and so the less distractions the more I write. The other technique I have that I use every day is to always finish work one paragraph earlier then I could. That means when I sit down to start writing the next day I already have the first paragraph written in my mind.
DJ Molles gave your new book Ground Zero a ringing endorsement and Little Blog of Horrors compared your work to Max Brooks. Can you share with us how it felt to be praised by some of the best writers in your genre and hailed as a peer?
The Little Blog of Horror critique absolutely blew me away. I thought it was the best review I have ever read for any book ever! Likewise, the wonderful praise from DJ Molles was fantastic. DJ is widely regarded as the best zombie series author working at the moment, so a claim from him meant the world to me.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers who want to see themselves published one day?
To answer that the best advice I can give is to repeat what a world famous best-selling author once told me. “Writing is the loneliest and most demanding work around. If you accept that, and you still want to write, the best advice I can give is to read widely. Study the work of authors you admire and see how they use words to achieve their effects.” That’s what Wilbur Smith told me and that’s what I would tell everybody.
You’ve told me that your partner is also a fairly well known author. Do you share ideas with each other? Have you thought of collaborating on a project? What’s it like living with another writer?
My girlfriend in bestselling erotic romance author Vivien Sparx, but although we both publish on Amazon there is not a lot of similarity in the stories we tell. I think my style is very different to Viviens. Living with another author is definitely an advantage because you get a professional opinion on storylines and plot twists. I can’t see us ever collaborating.
Do you have any plans to write in a different genre in the future?
Absolutely. Ultimately I would love to write horror novels but at the moment the zombie genre is great fun.
What's next for you?
I am about one third of the way through a new zombie novel. The book doesn't have a title as of yet but the writing process is going really well and I think the story is even better then Ground Zero. I am really excited about this new book because it’s an even more compelling story that benefits from the fact that I have learned a lot even in the short time since Ground Zero was published. I think when readers download this new book they will really notice a new maturity in my writing and story telling.
How do fans reach you?
I love feedback from fans, good and bad (but preferably good!) and they are welcome to email me anytime at Nicholas_zombie@live.com
Amazon Author Page
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