BricksoftheDead :How did Rotter World come about? Was it always about humans and vampires surviving in a zombie infested post apocalypse world or did it start out any different?
Scott M. Baker: The book started out as a simple post-zombie apocalypse novel in which I followed the stories of three separate people: a man who lost everything in the outbreak and then joined up with a government unit to fight back the living dead, a young woman who was kidnapped by a rape gang, and a misanthropic farmer who winds up taking in several dozen survivors and establishes a sanctuary. I didn’t like the idea, though, because it sounded too much like every other zombie novel I had ever read. Then I got the unique idea of adding vampires to the mix. (As far as I know, the only other novel touching on the zombie vs. vampire them is Roses of Blood on Barbwire Vines by D.L. Snell, who is also a Permuted Press author.) So I pulled out the main character from my original concept and made him into Mad Dog, added a sub-plot of distrust, and sent my characters off across country to find the vaccine for the Zombie Virus.
Vampires are a difficult creature to present to readers. Some might say half the potential readers are looking for a pop-culture vampire and the other half are hopeful cynics. Have you met any resistance from either side so far?
So far, the concept of vampires fighting alongside of humans has been well received. Though I have to admit it was tough at first to create sympathetic vampires. I’ve written about vampire before (The Vampire Hunters trilogy), but in those books my vampires are purely evil monsters with no redeeming qualities. It was not easy creating vampires that were not only evil and a potential threat to the survivors, but who also had a sense of humanity and vulnerability. I’m glad I was able to pull it off.
Any plans for a prequel or sequel to Rotter World? You didn’t write yourself into any sort of corner so a book in either direction would be very interesting.
Yes, there are. Permuted Press has requested two sequels, and I’m currently developing plot ideas for them. I plan on taking my second character from the original novel, the young woman captured by a rape gang, and work that into the second book as a central subplot. I also plan on including a war between some of the survivors and the rape gang.
I don’t want to spoil anything here but early in the book we learn about a cold war bunker called Site R. Did you base this off a real location?
It is. You can find it on line at here or Google Raven Rock Mountain Complex. Anybody who takes the tour will find there are differences between the real site any my novel (mostly because it’s been thirteen years since I’ve been inside the complex), but the basics are still the same.
I chose an Site R because to me nothing is more depressing or claustrophobic than being stuck underground with zombie hordes hovering around outside. It’s like being in a tomb.
How do you approach your writing? Do you try to write every day or do you find yourself taking long breaks between sessions?
I usually plot out my novel ahead of time on note cards, so when I sit down to write I have a basic concept of where the story is going. Once the process begins, I find that I constantly add scenes and develop new characters. When that happens, I go with it. The end result is always much better than the original concept.
I try to write at least for two hours every after work plus several hours on the weekend. On a good week, I can get up to seven thousand words written.
When I’m done with one writing project I usually take a month off while my beta readers go over the manuscript. During that month I catch up on my back-logged reading, begin plotting the next book, and sometimes pump out a short story or two.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to write a novel but can’t seem to get started?
Just start writing. Eventually the creative process will kick in and the book will start flowing. In the beginning you will write crap and make numerous mistakes. That’s okay as long as you learn from them. (Hell, I don’t even admit to the first book I ever wrote because it’s so bad.) Remember, no one who has ever given up has ever been published. It takes time and perseverance, but if you keep on writing sooner or later you should get published.
Philosophical question. Are zombies evil?
No, they are not. Zombies are not like vampires, who have control over their actions but willingly give in to their carnal desires. Zombies are the most relentless monster out there. They have no emotions or rationale thought. They don’t feel pain and they don’t tire. They are merely driven by the base instinct to feed. What makes zombies terrifying is that they are us stripped of our humanity.
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