I recently read Raymond’s book ‘You and Me, Against the World’. It’s a great book, about Creepers (similar to zombies) in an apocalyptic world.
Thanks for inviting me, this is my first book interview ever so no promises.
1. Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
In the early stage of writing, You and Me against the World, I had this idea for the cover. I’m not much of an artist, but I sketched out what I envisioned. My first illustrator had a different idea and I conceded to her vision. I wasn’t really happy with it. I mean I liked the work, but it wasn’t the cover I really wanted. Later, when I revised the book for the second edition, I decided I might as well re-do the cover. I found a great illustrator, Ricky Gunawan from Indonesia. He took my very bad sketch and created what you see. I really felt/feel the image speaks to the overwhelming odds presented in the story.
2. What is your favorite quotation / motto / saying?
I’m one of those “quote” people. I write them down constantly, try to create my own, and I even have some of my favorites written on small canvases in my office. Picking one is like deciding on my favorite child…maybe harder. If held to it, I would say it’s “You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do,” by Henry Ford. There is no shortage of plans or dreams in the world, but what makes the difference is our efforts and commitment to act. I began my adult life very poor, but with plenty of dreams and goals. I reminded myself often that action—the things I did or tried—would be the only way to make any of them come true. It worked and it is something I have instilled in my children and have tried to instill in every person I’ve managed in business.
3. How did you get started doing what you do?
My day time career began as an hourly low wage job. I took the job because we had a baby on the way and I needed medical benefits. While I worked and raised kids I went to college, got a degree in psychology, and worked hard to advance myself to the, for lack of a better term, top of the food chain. I love my professional career as it provides me a different outlet for my writing passion and creativity.
4. What are you writing at the moment?
I just finished my third novel, The Devil’s Hour. It’s a straight out horror story and one that’s been on my mind since I began The Creepers Saga. Honestly I think it’s better written and scarier than The Creepers. I’m also working on my summer release of Nightmirrors, an anthology of short stories, and of course the third novel in the Creepers Saga. I have some fans who are more than a little annoyed that I went off to write The Devil’s Hour before I delivered the final book in the Trilogy.
5. Who would you want to meet that you haven’t met?
On the off chance that my wife reads this I’ll say it is absolutely not Kate Upton. So my second choice would be Mark Twain. He was such a great storyteller, but more so he had this great sense of humor, incredible insight into human nature and a tongue for sarcasm. I think all that would make him a blast to hang out with or at least get drunk with.
6. Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
I’m a part time writer because I like to eat and keep the lights on and such. I think it is actually better that way. If I had too much time on my hands I’d probably be promising to write with the same frequency I promise to go to the gym….and with the same results. I’m fortunate that my wife supports my passion because she gives up a fair amount of nights and weekends when I’m working on a book. Being part-time keeps me very focused, I think you have to be or the dream remains just that—a dream.
7. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
Yes and Yes. Although I haven’t finished book 3 of the Creepers, I already have worked out most of a novella titled Sisters of the Blade which picks up about 30 years after the end of the story. I love theses characters and I wanted a chance to meet them in their future—yeah I know how that sounds, but writers are strange. As for themes, my stories always deal with the psychology of humans and questions of spirituality. I like to examine these things when characters are under stress. When things are at their worst I think is when we discover the beliefs we can hold on to and those we can’t. I think there is no where more stressful and no better place to test human character than in a horror story. Which is why I write in the genre.
8. If your book were made into a movie, who do you picture playing each characters part?
Almost impossible for me to answer that, except if I’m on the set I think Kate Upton will have some role. Seriously, the story is a homage to my children and although the characters aren’t them exactly, its hard for me to see anyone but them. I think however, I would like it casted with new, unknown actors.
9. What is your writing environment like? Do you write with a pen and paper, or on a computer? Do you need quiet, or music in the background? Do you have a pet who gets in on the act?
Scrivener is my software of choice although I have a million journals filled with all sorts of ideas. I don’t want to sound like a company spokesperson but if you are a writer, you should purchase this program. My writing environment represents a large investment of time and money. Its a good size office, with tons of books, framed posters of my novels and nicknacks that represent different stories I’ve written. I often use music as a writing mechanism—there are playlists for both Creepers books and each subchapter has its own song that I wrote to. The volume would deafen most people. When I wrote TDH though I used no music at all so I guess it just depends on what I’m writing.
10. How do you get past writers block or distractions like the internet?
Other writers may want to kill me for saying this but—I never get writer’s block. I have more story ideas than I can get to. Writing for me is the distraction. My wife will often look at me sitting drinking coffee and say, “okay you’re obviously seeing a story in your head, go write it.” I write in huge blocks on the weekend, usually somewhere between 6 and 8 thousand words at a time. My biggest obstacle is chapter 1. I overcome the “how to start, how to start, how to start,” chant by just starting. At the end of the book, I go back and fix the first chapter. In TDH I rewrote the prolog and chapter one about eight times before I got it right.
How to find Raymond: