Series: Great Bitten #1
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You’re walking down the street in the early hours of the morning, in one of the most densely populated cities in the world, when you see something that makes the rational side of your brain itch. It has mortal wounds and shouldn’t be walking, but it is, and if you hang around for too long, it will be heading towards you. How would you react?
You survive the initial throes of civil unrest and the collapse of law and order. The world has become your playground. What kind of person do you become? You have never lived for anyone else except yourself. You are selfish. You like being alive. But you do have a conscience, and a soul. Who do you save first?
Warren is not a likeable man. Warren doesn’t even like himself. But he does like existing, and he wants to continue doing it, no matter what hell is emerging around him. Being pragmatic and a bit of a git to boot, he doesn’t find making the hard decisions difficult.
What he does find out, is that the hard decisions are not necessarily the right ones. And being a bastard in life does not prepare you for the clashes that will ensue once the edges of society begin to blur and fade out.
It isn’t just the infected and the resurrected that Warren needs to be wary of, as he negotiates his way around the post-infection south coast in a haphazard attempt to keep himself and his family survive.
CR: Are you a planner or an organic writer?
Most definitely a planner. Before I start a novel, I have a full stage-by-stage timeline of all the major and branch plot elements of a title. I then have these on address cards, and I note minor elements, such as character progression and motives, on the back of the card.
Sometimes the characters start writing elements of the stories themselves, and I do let them do that – as long as it stays within the general scope of the plot I’ve already got in mind.
CR: Do you use other forms of art/music as inspiration for writing?
For every book I write, I have an associated soundtrack which ‘puts me in the mood’ for writing. They generally have the same tone I’m looking to set in the book, and lyrics often match to plot elements or character personalities. If folk are interested, they are all publicly available on Spotify.
CR: Are there genres or types of stories that you feel more drawn to tell? Why do you think you are drawn to those?
When I was younger, I was drawn to fantasy. This was very much an escape from the world around me – I was a very introverted child, and socially awkward. I loved the ideas of such vast, sprawling worlds and the people within them. I started creating my own worlds early on, and have never stopped.
CR: What is one genre that you don’t think you could write, and why?
Romance. I don’t have a thing against romance authors, nor romance novels – there is no such thing as an ‘easy novel to write’ – I just couldn’t do it myself. I find sex scenes on television (especially ones with mashing kissing noises) cringeworthy enough, so trying to put pen to paper on a sickly romance would be completely alien to me. I’d pity anyone that ended up reading it.
CR: Do you utilize writing tools, such as scrivener, or do you go old school and use MS-DOS like George R.R. Martin?
I’ve tried using Omm (an immersive word processor) and Scrivener, and both had their benefits. I do, however, just keep falling back to MS Word, along with my hand-written notes, though now I use a Surface, I’m using OneNote more and more. Virtually everything I do is Microsoft-centric, thanks to my career in IT, so it’s easier for me to integrate everything, and access my work from any machine when I’m on the move.
CR: Is there an author, alive or dead, that you would love to collaborate on a book with? Why do you think you would be a good fit together?
Terry Pratchett. His humour is darkly funny, and his observations on the modern world are so cynical, it’s a joy. I’m not sure my zombie writing would necessarily be a fit, but I do like to inject dark observational humour throughout my work, and so much of that stems from the way Pratchett went around his Discworld novels.
CR: What are you reading right now?
I’m reading Z Plan: Blood on the Sand by Mikhail Lerma.
CR: Do you read in the genre that you write in? If you do read it, do you think it helps or hurts your own story?
Always. I think it helps – it certainly doesn’t hurt. I don’t tend to pick up others’ styles, and I like hearing (or reading) the way they have gone around their work. I find more and more, that I go for very popular genre titles and pick them apart, comparing them to my own, trying to find various elements where I can improve as a writer. I’m still reasonably new, and there’s no such thing as ‘knowing everything’ or being perfect at your craft.
CR: Do you read books based on fan recommendations? How do YOU choose what to read next?
Definitely – they’re one of the most important ways I find a book these days. In the early days of Kindle, and before I was an author, I would go through and download freebies left, right and centre. I have 760 titles on my Kindle, and I think only 20% of those have been read. In recent years I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not fair on those authors, who think their book may get a review from me, after downloading from a freebie. Therefore, I generally now use Facebook groups such as Contagious, or ZBotM, as well as peer recommendations, for where my next novel will come from.
CR: What are your reading pet peeves? (Things like: over used words, and phrases. Lack of research, infinite ammo, or lack of editing.)
A lack of pro editing will have me quitting the book partway through. I don’t care how good your story is; if the execution is lacking, if you haven’t taken the time and care to wrap your work neatly, I’m not going to invest my reading hours in your world. There are too many authors out there that *do* take the time and care, not to mention the expense, for slack work to pass muster.
CR: What is one book that you enjoyed so much that you recommend it to everyone?
This one is fresh in my mind, as I only reviewed it a few days ago. But, Suffer the Children by Craig DiLouie is an immense piece of fiction. I’ve already read it twice, and I think I’ll be going back to it again – it’s a masterclass in characterization and interweaving POVs.
M&M’s or Skittles
Coffee or Tea
Coffee, black, no sugar.
Music or Silence
It depends on my mood – though usually, music.
Morning or Night
Night. All the creepy ideas come at night 😉
Cold Weather or Hot Weather
Cold weather. Cold brings clarity. Heat makes you sluggish.
Contagious Reads would love to thank Dawn for taking the time to answer our questions!!!
You can also purchase Mr. Classical by Warren for .99 cents on Amazon HERE!