Friday, 15 February 2013

Words with... Armand Rosamilia


Today I'm welcoming Armand Rosamilia to my blog. The M&M-loving author, 
who has been writing since he was twelve, has fifty titles under his belt. 
He mainly writes horrors and thrillers. During his time out, you might 
just find him downing a banana bread beer and listening to Slayer...


What is your day job or are you lucky enough to write for a living?

I’m lucky enough to have been doing this for a living since last September, when I lost my retail management job. So far, it was the greatest thing to ever happen to me. I can devote each and every day to doing what I love most – writing and creating – instead of on mindless sales and reports, and whining customers.

What books have you written so far?

I have over fifty published stories/novellas/novels right now, and I’m adding more each week, it seems. I mostly write in the horror field, although I’ve dabbled in thrillers, spy stories and erotica.

What works in progress do you have?

Always a few projects… Right now my main focus is finishing Miami Spy Games Part 7, as well as Cabal, the third Keyport Cthulhu story, as well as a co-authored story with Tim Baker called Dying Days: The Siege of European Village. Oh, and Dying Days: Origins, and a few more…

How long did it take you to write your book/s?

I try to hit 2,000 words a day on whatever I am working on, but I might split the word count with two or more projects, and usually go well over that. With the Miami Spy Games being around 8,000 words each, I can do the first draft in about four days.

Do you write linear, or jump back and forth? Do you plan or write by the seat of your pants?

I am a total pantser. Outlines kill me creatively; it never works for me. I tend to write certain scenes, but move them around in the story and don’t worry about writing one word at a time until the story is done. I let the characters tell me where they are heading and I try to keep up.

Why do you write?

I have to. I always wrote, even as a pre-teen. It is just a natural part of my life, and even when I worked 70-80 mind-numbing hours at a job I hated, I still squeezed in some writing.

How long have you been writing?

Since I was twelve. I took time off during bad periods, like my two failed marriages and working so much; time I wish I could get back, but I’m glad for the life experience. Now I get to bring up those memories, and kill people in stories over and over… um, forget I said that!

Where and when do you write? Do you have set times?

I try to keep a daily routine going. I sit down in the local library at nine each morning and write until noon, when I start getting hungry. Then I break for lunch, and if I am still going, I will write after lunch until 2pm when I collect my son from high school. At night, I usually answer emails and do other stuff like endless promotion. But I can get in 2,000 words a day without a problem. On the weekends I write when I can, in between sleeping, my kids and my busy social life.

Which character from your books do you like most/are most like?

There is a little bit of me in most of my characters, I think. I can relate to them; even the ones with messed up moral compasses or the nasty evil ones, because there is personal motivation behind them. My favourite is easily Darlene Bobich, the star of the Dying Days series. She is a normal woman with no superpowers who is just trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. She cries, she gets dirty, and she has normal human emotions.

What/who inspired you to write and still inspires you?

Reading inspires me to write. It’s always been the old cliché that I can do better than what I am reading. Sometimes it is true, although writers like Brian Keene, John Everson, Douglas Clegg and others prove me wrong. But I like the challenge in my own head to write the best possible story and see how it matches with my favourite authors.

What do you think is the ideal recipe for a good novel or story?

A page turner. I don’t care if you write horror, thrillers, romance, or non-fiction… it has to engage the reader to not want to put it down. We’ve all been in that spot with a great book – it’s two in the morning and work beckons in a couple of hours, but we just need to finish this next chapter to see what happens.

Have you ever based a character on someone from real life? And did you tell them?

I’ve had several characters based on actual people, especially in Dying Days 2: Steve ‘The Breeze’ Brack, Michael Ross, David Monsour, Ellen Harden, Russ ‘Madman’ Meyer and Tosha Shorb. They all knew it and loved it. Several of them also appear in the prequel short stories in Still Dying: Select Scenes from Dying Days. Tosha Shorb and David Monsour will eventually appear in Dying Days: Origins as well.

If you had to pick some actors/actresses to play the characters in your book, who would you hire?

Good question. I’d love to hire Alyssa Milano. Not to play Darlene Bobich, but because she is my dream girl and I want an excuse to be around her.

Fave things: animal? food? drink? film? colour? band? song? place? item of clothing?

I am not an animal person at all. I love buffets, which is really bad. I drink sweet tea by the gallon, love banana bread beer… love to watch comedies (This Is Spinal Tap is my favourite), but not too many horror movies with lots of blood. Colour is red or black (as long as it is the colour of a thong on a big butt – just sayin’). I am a heavy metal guy – especially thrash metal like Slayer, Anthrax, Overkill, etc. Favourite song, though, is Anything, Anything by Dramarama. I love the area near Matanzas Inlet here in Florida, where Dying Days is set. I love to wear black T-shirts, but a red or black thong on a big butt is my favourite…

When you were a kid, what did you want to do/who did you want to be when you grew up?

At twelve I announced to my mom and dad that I wanted to become a writer. True story. But I wish I’d said a rich and famous writer. If I could go back in time, I’d kick my twelve-year-old ass for being so stupid…

Would you say that your dreams have come true or are you still working on them?

I set goals, and when one is completed, I find another one. I have been blessed to be able to get up each morning and no longer have to get a ‘real job’. I am doing what I love, and with each passing day I make small goals and accomplish most of them.

You’re walking in the forest and you bump into an alien librarian from Mars. He wants five book recommendations from you…

Martians can’t go wrong reading something from Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo, The Southern Hauntings Saga from Bryan Hall, Pump It Up from Tim Baker, Sundowner from Tonia Brown or The Rising from Brian Keene.

Who is your favourite character from any book and why?

Conan the barbarian. He is such a bad ass, and I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on. I have the complete Marvel comic book run of Conan, which I still cherish.

Who is your hero/heroine?

My dad, for instilling the simple truth in me when I was young that once you start working you’ll work for the rest of your life. So, find something you enjoy doing and don’t worry about the money. Worry about being happy.

Which book do you wish you had written?

Watership Down. It is such an amazing book. I’ve read it a dozen times in my life. I absolutely love it.

Which three authors would you like to take to the pub?

I’m lucky enough to get to hang most nights with two authors and drink banana bread beer with them: Tim Baker and David Royall. If I got to choose three I’d never met before in person, it would be Joe McKinney, Bryan Hall and Vincent Hobbes. I think the four of us would have some great conversations.

Are you published or self-published? What is your experience?

I am a combination of both. I self-publish my own stuff through Rymfire Books, and then work with great small-press companies like Hobbes End Publishing and Angelic Knight Press, as well as a couple of others coming up in 2013.

How do you find the marketing experience?

Necessary evil. Writing these days is 25% actual writing and 75% marketing/branding yourself.

What advice would you give other writers just starting out?

Write everyday, no matter how awful you think it is; no matter how sick you feel, and no matter how many kids are running around screaming. Get something down each and every day, and build it.

Do you have a blog? What do you blog about?

I have a blog (http://armandrosamilia.com) where I talk about my own writing and the mistakes and positives I’ve made as a writer. I also love to showcase other authors on it all the time, and introduce readers to people I read as well.

What other hobbies do you have?

Reading, watching sports, going out drinking and eating most nights, and spending way too much money. I like to make people laugh and be the clown.

What would you like to achieve in the next five years?

Just to build my brand, keep putting out stories people like, and seeing where this takes me. I’d love to be involved in TV shows and movies based on my work, and all that.

If you won the Lotto or a major publishing contract, what would you do with that dosh?

Take care of my friends and family, but after I’d spent some on myself. I want to buy an endless supply of M&Ms (plain or peanut, either way) and then get a superstar personal trainer, so I can keep the weight off.

Complete one of these stories in 100 words or less…

(option 3) One day Charlotte decided she was going to change the world... one diaper at a time. Even if the individual didn’t need a diaper changing. Imagine her surprise when the world’s population began lining up in the early mornings, waiting for their turn. Babies, old folks, kids on skateboards, even those already in diapers, all waiting patiently for Charlotte to change them, pat them on the butt, and make them feel better. Charlotte wished someone would bring her a cup of good coffee though.

What question do you wish I’d asked and, of course, what is the answer?

The answer is Damn Sexy. The question? Describe Armand Rosamilia in two words. 

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