Looking for Zombies? This week I present an interview with author Adam Sifre.
How long have you been writing and what inspired you to begin writing? I’ve been writing since I was fifteen. I started with poems and satiric pieces. At the time I was inspired by June. Not the month but a waitress at Spindle Top Diner. I am happy to say that the poems worked. These days what really inspires me is acknowledgement. When someone says “Wow,” and it isn’t accompanied by a disgusted shake of the head, that’s what makes my day. Of course, secretly I still hope my poems and such will get women to pay attention to me.
What is the last book you read? That’s a difficult question to answer. Not because I don’t remember, but because I’ve lied to so many of my writer friends about buying and reading their books. Between you and me, the last book I read and finished was “Catch-22,” and I’d already read that one once or twice before.
Which writers inspire you? Adam Sifre is excellent. Whenever I hit a bit of writer’s block, I read some of his short stories and I’m immediately inspired. I would say Ray Bradbury and Stephen King are the biggest influences on my writing today. (Don’t get a swelled head, Mr. King. You’re a distant second.)
Where did you get the idea from for your novel, “I’ve Been Deader”? “I’ve Been Deader” started out as a piece of flash fiction. I was watching a zombie movie and thought to myself “I could go for some ice cream.” I didn’t have any so I ran out to the store and picked up a half gallon of Rocky Road. By the time I came back the movie was over and nothing good was on. So I went on the computer and wrote a quick story told from the zombie’s point of view. I posted the story online and a lot of people loved it. Smart people. Then I thought about the internet, and not what I usually think of when I think of the internet. I thought about how nobody seems to have the time these days to sit down with a newspaper or plod through a long novel to get to the punch line. ‘People want their entertainment fast and easy, like me,’ I said to myself, garnering a few strange looks from the girl at the Starbucks counter. So I got the idea to write a novel, but to do it in a series of short, flash-fiction like chapters. Every chapter of my novel (almost) can be seen as an individual story, while at the same time advancing the overall plot/arc of the story.
“I’ve Been Deader” is a horror/comedy tailor-made for the reader who doesn’t have time to read. In fact, I’m told that many people are buying the book and never reading it at all. That’s what I call success.
Can you tell us something about the story? Fred’s just an ordinary zombie until one day he learns a trick.
The undead had a good run at the beginning, but once the breathers get organized, it’s only a matter of time before zombies go the way of pet rocks and sea monkeys. They need a hero. They need Fred. Fred is a natural dead leader with a flair for poetry and a fierce love for his son, Timmy. Unfortunately, as far as the undead are concerned, the only good Timmy is a dead Timmy.
Things look grim for the undead until Fred flies into a rage trying to make popcorn and discovers he has a talent for controlling zombies. Now the undead are organized and, like the unions, in a position to destroy America. Is there no one who can stop them? More importantly, do we want them to?
“I’ve Been Deader” tells its story through a series of short chapters designed to read like flash fiction. Today’s readers want it fast, short and entertaining, and that’s what I give them.
Fred’s got one-eye, a broken leg, and doesn’t have many moral qualms about eating people. But you’ll love him anyway.
Who do you think will like reading your book and what other novels do you think are similar to it? Anyone who likes a good laugh and a good scare is going to enjoy this book. That being said, the ladies at my Canasta group would probably take a pass on this one.
Are you working on a new book at the moment? You ask a lot of questions. Who are you working for!?
As it happens, I’m finishing up the prequel, titled “Take A Breather.” Like “I’ve Been Deader,” it’s incredibly well-written and entertaining. However, you may find it to be a bit darker, at least in the first half of the book. If this is a concern for anyone, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will respond with a few light-hearted comments and humorous quips that you can insert in the novel as you see fit.
Where can people go to read your work? They can check out my author page at http://www.amazon.com/Adam-Sifre/e/B007RWY92E. If you’re a freeloader and can’t afford to shell out the big bucks, you can read a few of my blog posts at ibdeader.blogspot.com . It’s not all spam for my books but you may have to scroll down a bit. If that isn’t enough of me, come find me on Facebook and Twitter. I won’t post the links here because, like Mitt Romney, I believe people need to abandon their sense of entitlement and work for themselves.
Do you have any tips for aspiring authors? Read and write. Then read some more and write some more. Finish what you start, and edit what you finish. Then edit it again. Repeat as necessary and expect nothing. The world loves to blow smoke up your ass, but in the end it’s just you and your story.
Good reviews, mixed reviews, bad reviews – what are your thoughts on each of those? I have the same answer for all three – ‘more please.’ Look, a writer has to have enough confidence in their voice and skill before reviews can really mean anything. I know I’m talented. I have an idea where my strengths and weakness lie. So when I read a review, I know what parts to pay attention to and what parts are fluff. I’ll give two examples, both critical reviews:
One reviewer said my book of short stories, “Inside My Shorts: 30 Quickies,” was “absolute crap” and a complete waste of time. Now, I know that my short stories are quite good, although they may not be everyone’s cup of tea. I don’t even know if that reviewer really read anything I wrote (I have a bit of an online presence and it’s possible I may have rubbed a person or two the wrong way). But it doesn’t matter because there’s nothing there for me to take away.
Another reviewer on “I’ve Been Deader,” said they had issues with parts of the story that the book didn’t address. They wanted to know more details about “X” or “Y”. I thought this was a valid concern. Because I am trying to do something a little different here, I can’t provide the kind of detail readers are used to in a novel. But that doesn’t mean I couldn’t fill out the story a little better.
When it comes to reviews, I say read them, enjoy them, yell at them, and get back to writing. The concern should not be so much on what they are saying but on getting them to say it.
If you review other indie writers’ books, what is your approach to reviewing those? I review indie books every once in a while. I don’t know if I have an approach to it, but I am probably a little harsher than some. I’ve read libraries of traditionally published books and I expect a smooth and entertaining story.
Links: Adam’s Amazon page