TF: I first became a fan of the genre back when I was a kid and was able to see Dawn of the Dead ’78 when I was around 12. I then went on to become a FAN of the genre when 28 Days Later started what I view as the second age of the zombie/PAW movies. As for writing about them, I never really put much thought into it until around 2009 when I wrote my first book.
Tony Faville, with Battle Kat
KJB: Kings of the Dead is a great book. What is your writing process like? Do you have meticulous notes that you stick to or do you make it up as you go along?
TF: Much of my early writing was done by the seat of my pants, making it up as I went. Since that time my writing has definitely matured, but because of that, I find myself having more difficulty writing. I will continue answering this one down below, you’ll know it when you see it.
KJB: You’ve said before that a lot of the characters are based on real people you know. Without giving too much away, how did they all react to their fictionalizations? Anyone resent being killed off in a book? On your end, was it difficult to make all these bad things happen to them or were you able to detach yourself from the emotion that could be involved?
TF: You know the old adage, write what you know? Well, I took that to heart and changed it a little bit by writing who I know. For the most part, they loved what [I] did with them. I have had a couple of people take stuff a little too seriously and, fact is, it has hurt our relationship. Excuse me, it’s fiction, get over yourself. One of the pleasures I had though, was one day while out shooting with the guys I based Lenny and Gabe on. They were standing around talking about whether they could really steal/borrow a Coast Guard cutter like they do in the book. At first, they were a little bit skeptical. Then I reminded them that they were talking about a military vehicle, and in typical military fashion, there would be a checklist for every single step in the process. Being a couple of old Navy guys, I saw the lights come on and then they moved beyond whether they could do it or not, and it became a question of how long would it take?
KJB: I met you through Twitter. Talk about how important social networking is to the modern writer trying to make a name for him/herself.
TF: I think that for all of its faults and weaknesses, if a Twitter user knows how to use it, it can be an incredible networking tool. If a new follower asks me if I can recommend an editor, publisher, agent, etc., I can provide them with dozens of @names that can help them out. Networking has always been an important tool to me, so Twitter was only the next step.
KJB: My daughter is terrified of the front cover of Kings of the Dead and refuses to look at it. I think it’s fantastic. Who designed it?
TF: Permuted Press Publisher Jacob K. worked closely with the artist Christopher Dovel on the cover. I was able to give a little feedback, but the feedback I gave wound up being kind of important. People love that cover though. In fact, I have had more than a few people tell me they bought it just because of the cover, and wound up loving it.
What changes did I request? Well, the guy with the sledgehammer originally held a bat, so I asked them, since one of the main characters uses a sledge, can we change it from a bat to a sledge. Done! And the other one, Cole, the main character, was written as a husky guy in his mid-40’s. When I first saw the silhouette in the middle, I saw a 20’s something, slender/muscular young man, so I asked them to make the silhouette “older and thicker”. As you can see when looking at the cover, the artist was able to do so.
Warning: This book contains badasses.
KJB: What has your experience with Kings’ publisher, Permuted Press, been like?
TF: Jacob, the PP publisher, is a younger guy, that absolutely loves doing what he does. He is very enthusiastic, a gentleman, and a man of his word. IF you are lucky enough to be picked up my Permuted Press, you will definitely learn why they are considered to be THE Zombie/PAW publisher.
*SPOILER ALERT* SKIP THE NEXT QUESTION IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK…
KJB: I have to get a little spoiler-y because I’ve got this theory I’ve been meaning to run by you. My favorite thing about Kings is how you can see day by day, entry by entry, Cole is losing his mind. (Very nicely done, by the way). So here’s what I think: The final encounter with Harley was not real. Am I right?
TF: I am sure that you have seen The Matrix, right? Remember the bald little boy, “There is no spoon!” Yeah, there is no Harley, Cole is just seriously going batshit crazy.
[Editor’s note: No, I haven’t seen The Matrix, and now you’ve ruined it for me, Tony. Just kidding. I really have never seen it, though.]
He'll always be Johnny Mnemonic to me
KJB: Talk about the upcoming Avery Nolan and where that whole idea stemmed from.
TF: I woke up early one Sunday morning and hopped on my computer to see what my sales had been like overnight and to check my farm on Facebook (kidding, I do not play Farmville). As I sat there reading the news as I like to do, I had what I call a day flash, just a snippet of a scene. I wrote the scene down, then looked at it and realized that in all of my current works in progress, there [was] no place this scene would fit into. Later that day I was sitting there watching television, when I reached out, grabbed my iPad, and wrote 1000 words around the scene, Avery Nolan: Private Dick of the Dead was born.
You can't spell Farmville without "Faville." I'm just sayin'. Who are you fooling, Tony?
KJB: I know I’ve thought about it and you obviously have too…A zombie apocalypse would be kind of fun in a sick way, wouldn’t it?
TF: You know, I have put absolutely zero thought into it. Just because I have several months worth of canned and dried food, water, a war box full of ammo, blades and tools of all sorts, gloves, clothes, first aid supplies,duct tape, nails, etc, a gun safe full of, well, guns, and have spent a significant amount of time learning how to use all of those things, means absolutely nothing.
No, truth is, I have put a lot of hypothetical thought into it, and I enjoy it for what it is. With that being said, I do have all of those things and all of that knowledge, but not because I expect the dead to rise from their graves, but because I have little faith in mankind. We are coming up on a crash, and it will be fast, and it will be nasty. I plan on taking care of me and those I care most about, at all costs. I am not a survivalist, I am not a tinfoil hat wearing paranoid schizophrenic, I am just a guy that has taken a close look at the world and the direction we are heading, and has taken certain steps to prepare for it. If it never happens? Then I will be an old man eating a lot of Dinty Moore Beef Stew, and, frankly, I am okay with that.
Pictured: Not Tony Faville
KJB: And finally…
TF: Kevin, I would like to thank you for taking the time to put these questions together for me, and I would also like to congratulate you on your pending release from Permuted Press. My best advice is to write until you can write no more, and when you think you have written enough, write some more.