Eamon Ambrose may be a new author, but he’s already making waves with his rather brilliant ‘Zero Hour’ series. You like your stories post-apocalyptic-y? Then you just discovered a new favourite read.
GR: So serious question first: Your next book will sell 50,000 copies in its first month, BUT THERE’S A PRICE: Neil Gaiman and JK Rowling will both tweet about you, calling you a ‘No good, hack, butt-faced son-of-a-dick.’ Worth the hit?
Eamon: Absolutely. That will cause even more controversy as I expose them as the trolls that they are, leading to even more sales in the second month. Boom!
GR: ‘Zero Hour’ is your debut series as an author, how long has the story been rattling around your head?
Eamon: I actually started it about a year ago. I’d gotten through the first chapter but I hadn’t a clue where to go with it. When I decided to start writing more seriously back in late July of this year, it all just seemed to come together.
GR: Why did you go indie with your work?
Eamon: I’ve spent the last couple of years as a book reviewer, and ended up reviewing a lot of indie writers after reading Hugh Howey’s Wool. I made a lot of friends in the indie scene and I found it fascinating to watch the process from inception to first draft to beta readers, publishing and marketing and all the work that goes into a book launch. I have an amateur interest in design and marketing so I was eager to give it a try and see what I could achieve. I really had nothing to lose with Zero Hour. It cost me very little to publish. I also wanted to show people that you don’t have to spend a fortune to produce a book, as this something that was constantly being mentioned in the media. I know some authors who spend thousands on book production and launch, and to be honest I’m not sure it always works out.
GR: Could you take Stephen King in a fight? No, not modern day, old-guy Stephen King; Stephen King in his mid-Nineteen-Eighties, drunken, coked-up prime.
Eamon: No. I probably couldn’t even take old King. I’m a terrible fighter. I was always sorry I didn’t learn some sort of martial art as a kid.
GR: If you could write in any book/TV/Film world, what would it be, and why?
Eamon: Carnivale. It had such a fantastic cast and it’s a travesty that it was cancelled. There was so much scope for that show. I’m also fascinated with carnivals, probably Ray Bradbury’s fault.
GR: What’s the biggest influence on the kind of thing you write? Another author? A TV show? Some other thing that is neither of those two thing? SPILL!
Eamon: For post apocalyptic fiction, which I love, my influences are surprisingly recent – Hugh Howey, Nick Cole, and Michael Bunker, while being very different writers, are all masters of the genre for various reasons, and are probably the reason I’m writing in the genre. For everything else – Stephen King. My favourite book of all time is probably Catch 22 though.
GR: What’s the last great book you read?
Eamon: As in life-changing great? It would have to be Monica Byrne’s debut The Girl In The Road. I’ve never read anything like it. It’s a challenging read, but ground-breaking.
GR: Do you have a set series of parts in mind for ‘Zero Hour’, or is it the kind of world you can keep delving in to?
Eamon: To be totally honest, I never envisaged anything past the first short story! It was meant to be a standalone and I had no plans to continue it, until my wife, followed by a lot of other people asked “What happens next?” I have a rough outline with an ending for the first series which should be about five parts in total. There is potential for expansion so I may come back to it later. We’ll see!
GR: What are you reading/watching/hiding from right now?
Eamon: I’ve been reading some anthologies, Samuel Peralta’s The Time Travel Chronicles, another called Tails Of The Apocalypse, which is a collection of stories with animals as the main characters, and another called Uncommon Bodies. I don’t watch as much TV as I used to, but I loving The Walking Dead, The Flash and Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. at the moment. I’m trying to hide from the internet so I can get some writing done!
GR: If you could improve one thing about your writing or routine that would get you producing more, faster, what would it be?
Eamon: I have a family and still have a day job, so it would be nice to have more time. At the moment I’m writing in my car on my lunch breaks! I actually find it hard to write at home now, it’s gotten to be a bit of a habit!
GR: Name me a ‘classic’ novel that you’ve started, then not been able to get through.
Eamon: I got halfway through Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road” it just didn’t resonate with me. I guess I’m a home bird at heart!
GR: That Hugh Howey quote on the front of ‘Zero Hour’; how’d you get one of the giants of indie to gush?
Eamon: Blackmail. Just kidding! Wool was actually the first book I reviewed on my blog way back when. He was grateful for the reviews and when Dust was coming out, he gave me the world first review of it, which for me was a huge deal. We’ve kept in touch since and I wrote a piece on him for a website I write for earlier this year, which runs a feature on people’s favourite author. He was really happy with the article and the amount of details I got right. When I finished the first draft of Zero Hour, he was in South Africa waiting for his boat to be built before he began sailing around the world (I know!) so it was a good time to catch him. I sent him a copy and waited nervously for a response. I knew if it was crap he would tell me and I would go back to my day job with my tail between my legs. The next day he emailed me and said he loved it. I was blown away, and in my delight, cheekily asked if he would be interested in giving me a pull quote, and he said yes. Achievement unlocked!
GR: What was your favourite book as a kid? (No, you can’t include ‘The Joy of Sex’ that you found in your parents’ bedroom when you were nine and giggled over.)
Eamon: Lol not quite! It was a book called Marcelino by Jose Maria Sanchez-Silva that my grandfather gave to me when I was six years old in hospital. It was about an orphan who was taken in by a monastery, and was terribly sad. I think it was probably the first proper book I read, it was all comics before that. I always remember finishing it and sobbing. It was really late, about two in the morning, and the nurse asked what was wrong. I said the book made me cry, she answered “Then that writer has done his job.” It’s such a vivid memory. I recently found a copy of it and it has pride of place on my bookshelf.
GR: D’you have a favourite book cover or movie poster that you think is triple-boss ‘n bitchin’?
Eamon: The cover for Michael Bunker’s Brother, Frankenstein is fantastic. Ben Adams’ artwork is just amazing. It’s also a fantastic book.
GR: What’s you’re writing schedule like? Are you super regimented, butt-in chair every day, tip-tapping away for hours, or an airy-fairy ‘when the muse strikes’ sort of a person?
Eamon: Monday to Friday on my lunch breaks, and whatever I can squeeze in on the weekend!
GR: D’you listen to music whilst you write? The TV on in the background providing a pleasent white-noise babble? Or d’you DEMAND SILENCE WHILST YOU CREATE FROM NOTHING.
Eamon: No. I love music, but the musician in me can’t hear music without trying to analyse it in some shape or form and getting totally distracted. I have a terrible attention span, so silence is golden.
GR: Outliner or pantser?
Eamon: At the moment – total pantser!
GR: Forget being humble, you’re 100% AWESOME with mad writing skillz; so what line/short extract of your own writing gives you a big ‘ol joy tingle at its pure amazing-ness?
Eamon: To be honest, I’m not sure I’ve written it yet, although the last line of Zero Hour, which I can’t reveal, because spoilers, gave me a lot of pleasure…
GR: Thanks, Eamon!
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