Monday, 12 August 2013
Author Interview: Glyn Gardner
I grew up in Grand Prairie Texas, a suburb of Dallas. I was a normal suburban kid; playing football in the front yards (and the occasional street game), basketball in the driveways, and all the other things young boys do. I grew up watching Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Shining. The movies that spoke loudest to me were the Apocalypse types. The Stand and Night of the Living Dead were my two favorites. I’d always been a fan of one other type of movies and books. Those were military in nature. I’d always been fascinated with the military, and guns, and things that went boom.
I graduated from South Grand Prairie High School in 1990. After high school, I took my first steps away from home and went to Southwest Texas State University. In 1994 I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice. Unfortunately, although I wanted to be a cop, I wasn’t able to get on with any law enforcement agency.
So, the next chapter in my life began with a trip to the Army recruiter’s office in San Marcos Texas. The army opened my eyes to so much of the world. I spent 7 years active as a Combat Medic in places like Germany, Kosovo, and Bosnia. It was here in the former Yugoslavia that I learned what real horror was. After seven years of struggling to run faster than my lungs and legs ever wanted to run, I met my soul mate and got out.
I spent the next 5 years following her around the world (she is an Airman in the Air Force). During this time I was able to earn a Bachelor’s in Nursing. As a former army medic, working as a nurse on the floor was never my goal. It always seemed too mundane, and routine. I knew from my first day of nursing school that I wanted to be an Emergency Room Nurse. In April of 2011 my dream came true. I haven’t looked back since
During my travels with my wife, we have had 2 wonderful boys. They are the greatest joy in my world. I realized as I wrote this book that the worst horror for a father isn’t the death of himself or his neighbors, but the safety of his children take priority. My oldest is almost 10, and is chomping at the bit for the day he gets to read his daddy’s book. He’s a bit of a mini-me. And soon, he will get the chance.
Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?
I’m a let the story flow kind of guy. I may have an idea of where I want the story to go, especially towards the end of the book. But, for the most part, I let the characters tell me what’s going to happen next.
Do your characters ever want to take over the story?
Yes, they do. I have three main characters, and they all have very strong personalities. For the most part, I let them handle the situations however they see fit. Occasionally I have to throw in a flaw in their logic or they get to miss some detail in order to keep the story going the way I want it.
What is your favorite food?
Steak! I absolutely love a good steak.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I used to be a night owl in my younger days. But as I’ve grown older, and work makes me get up early, I’ve become a morning person. Although as a nurse, I still require copious amounts of caffeine.
Where do you dream of travelling to and why?
I’m a fan of the Greece. My wife and I took a trip to Crete when my son was one and we were stationed in Germany. I absolutely love the blue waters of the Med and the Aegean Sea. I’m also a big fan of Greek food and the history that the Greek Isles and Italy hold. I could wonder around those two countries for a year and never see everything I want.
Do distant places feature in your books?
Not this book. For my first book, I decided to keep it close to my current home.
Do you listen to music while writing?
I do. I have about ½ of my iTunes library that I like to listen to when I write. It’s a pretty eclectic playlist. It’s some up-beat pop stuff, some dark stuff (Five Finger Death Punch), I even have some Eminem and country in the mix.
Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?
It’s a zombie thriller set in Louisiana. My two main character’s whiteness their neighborhood get overrun by zombies. They watch their neighbors fall victim to the rapidly growing hoard, only to join it as it wonders around outside their door. They take in the kids from across the street after their father is bitten and turns. Soon they are forced to flee their house.They eventually find several members of the Louisiana National Guard who survived the military’s first encounter with the zombies. The group is unable to reach the local Air Force base, and is forced to leave the city. They find other survivors, some good others not so good.Let’s leave it at that for now. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.
What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?
It’s a real roller coaster ride. I loved the writing. My wife is active duty Air Force, and was deployed last year. I found that on the days my kids were in school, I had all kinds of time to let the creative juices flow. I also found that on days when my kids were driving me up the walls, I could reach into the book, kill someone off in a horrible way, and it would make me feel better; kind of therapeutic literary murder if you will.The publication process is a different story. I tried for about 6 months to go the traditional route for getting published. Unfortunately the general rule seems to be: We don’t know who you are, so we don’t want anything to do with your work. The only exception was Damnation Press. The person I submitted to was very kind, and even gave me some advice; all the while declining APEX.Then there is the matter of self-publishing. On the one hand, I have a published book. On the other hand, I had to front some money that my wife still isn’t convinced she’s ever going to see back. I have no advertising budget, and my publisher basically told me to make a Facebook page and get on goodreads.com. The rest I’ve kind of had to figure out on my own. I’m still learning.
Is there anything you would do differently?
I don’t know. I would definitely find an editor. You can only read your work so many times before you stop seeing the mistakes. I had several friends help, but I still worry there are more mistakes than are acceptable.
Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?
Well, I first got the idea to start writing after I read The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks. He laid down the zombie rules. As a nurse, there were a few that I had trouble with (like the fact that zombies could conceivable walk on the bottom of the ocean and cross from Asia to America with little or no decomposition). I know I’m knit-picking the science of zombies. What can I say? You should see sit next to this old soldier during a war movie.
Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?
Don’t give up. EVER! If you believe you have a good product: write it, read it (over and over), edit it, and sell it. Sell it to anyone who will listen. There are people out there interested in your subject. You just have to find them.
What are three words that describe you?
Smart (my wife would add –assed to that), funny (at least I think I am), and I guess I’d have to say nerdy.
What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?
My favorite book is Ender’s Game, but Orson Scott Card is not my favorite author. My favorite Author is Howard Wasdin. He wrote Seal Team 6: Memoirs of an Elite Navy Sniper. This guy is a real American Hero. Got wounded during the battle of Mogadishu, you know the Blackhawk down incident. While he was in the hospital, one of the other Special Forces guys was in a lot of pain and the hospital staff wasn’t controlling it. Wasdin unhooked his Morphine drip from his IV and hooked it to his buddy. Really? What wounded soldier gives his Morphine to someone else? Like I said: HERO.
Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book
Mike and Jen live in a quiet Louisiana community. Quiet, that is, until the dead begin roaming the streets; devouring everything in sight. The couple is forced to barricade their home and await help. Soon the National Guard is sent in the restore order. SSgt Brown and his troopers are the sole survivors of the government’s first response to the Zombie Invasion. Join them as they struggle to survive in this new environment, an environment where Man has been replaced by a new APEX predator. This predator never sleeps, doesn’t feel pain, hunts in packs, and doesn’t ever quit.
Who will survive in this new world, and who will succumb to the ever-growing hoard of undead?
APEX is a non-stop zombie thriller written to compliment such titles as The Walking Dead, and the Crazies. APEX was inspired by such greats as George Romero and Max Brooks.
Any websites/places readers can find you on the web.