- GUEST AUTHOR -
Today, I interview an interesting author from Florida.
Welcome, Armand ...
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
My name is Armand Rosamilia, I love M&M’s, not walking on the beach, coffee and romantic comedies. Oh, I’m also a full-time author of crime thrillers, horror and contemporary fiction, too. I’m also a podcaster and an excellent kisser. If I do say so myself.
2. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
I owe it all to two things: being a horrible child, and Dean Koontz. Actually, my mother probably should get the credit. I was a wild child, always fighting with my brother. We’d get punished and I’d have to spend days or weeks trapped in my parent’s bedroom while other kids got to play outside. I started reading Phantoms from my mother’s massive paperback horror collection and it hooked me.
3. WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT? DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP?
I am a total pantser. I start with the most basic idea in my head. Sometimes I only have a working title, or a cool first line. Maybe a scene I want to flesh out, or even an ending I want to see if I can get to. I find outlining to kill the fun of the story for me, so I just wing it and see what the characters do.
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Not working for anyone else. Being able to control my own destiny to a point. Mostly, though, being able to sit around in my underwear all day and eat M&M’s while everyone else has to leave the house and put pants on like nerds.
5. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
The days when all I want to do is watch Netflix or read. There’s no one here watching over me. I can literally do whatever I want. Most days the fear of my wife questioning me when she gets home from her job or the fact of not writing and making money means I have to get a ‘real’ job again is enough to put me to work. Most days.
6. WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
I was famous, just like everyone who’s ever said they have been reincarnated or had past lives. Isn’t that the right answer? I imagine I was the squire for King Arthur or maybe Braveheart. Someone important like that. I got to carry their heavy garbage around and try to hit on their groupies.
7. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
They’re all great and motivating. Every sale. Every book in print. Every interview I do. Every fellow author I interview on my Arm Cast Podcast. If you put a gun to my head and told me to pick one: the day my mother read the first Dirty Deeds crime thriller book and told me how much she loved it. That was special.
8. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
I always work on multiple projects at once. I have five campy horror books due to a publisher in the next year. Writing Dirty Deeds 8. Finishing the last book of my Chelsea Avenue trilogy for a publisher. Co-writing two different books with other authors. I have two nonfiction projects I will be starting in September. I have three different novels I write a chapter on each month for my Patreon. Lots of short stories for anthologies coming up, too. Yes, I am busy.
9. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Fear. The absolute fear of having to go out and get another job if this stops working for me. I did retail management for over twenty years and hated every minute of it. Every employee. Every customer. Every day wasted doing paperwork that didn’t really matter. Whenever I start to slack I remember those mind-numbing weeks of eighty or more hours for awful pay and it motivates me to write and write some more.
10. WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
For a long time it was mostly horror and mostly zombie fiction. I expanded into nonfiction over the years with subjects I like, and then contemporary fiction. Writing crime thrillers is relatively new for me, having only gotten my first book deal in 2016 with the genre. Right now it is my favourite and I love writing it.
11. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Read. It sound s basic and cliché but it is true. Don’t just read your genre, either. Read as many as you can, to get a feel for how different writers write in different genres. It has been invaluable to my own writing when I can find tricks and techniques in genres I don’t write in.
12. DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
No. I suffer from laziness. If I don’t have a solid idea for what I’m working on at the moment, I have 57 other open documents to work on. I bounce around each day, some days writing on three or four stories. Only when I’m really in the zone on a story or the deadline is looming do I work exclusively on it, and only until it is done before jumping around again.
13. DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
I do what I call The Mando Method. At the top of every hour I drop whatever I’m doing and write for the next fifteen minutes. As many words as I can in that time and as quickly as I can get the ideas down. I usually hit about 600 words with each sprint. I try to do several each day depending on how many other things are floating around, like promotion, interviews, eating, coffee breaks, podcast issues and emails.
14. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
I like being home in my office with 80’s metal music blasting in the background. I like being home so I can drink way too much coffee and make my own lunch. I can write anywhere, though. I have gone to a coffee shop or a lunch place and written, too. Some days I’ll go to my wife’s office and sit in an extra room and write all day. I just need my laptop or desktop and some background noise and I’m set.
15. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
When a reader gushes over one of my books while at a book signing, and they want more of the series or another book. I love to see the look in their eyes and it motivates me to keep this going. Hoping someday the answer to this question will be ‘my first million dollars made from writing.’
16. WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
Definitely Dean Koontz. Most of my author friends cite Stephen King as their inspiration, but it was Koontz for me. Once I started reading his books I never stopped. At twelve or thirteen I wanted to become a writer and do it for a living. It took me over forty years to finally make the jump to do it full-time, and I owe Mister Koontz a handshake for being such an awesome writer and helping me without knowing it.
17. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
In my Dirty Deeds series, one of the characters has something bad happen to them. My mother-in-law, who reads this series and is one of my beta readers, got so mad because of what happened I thought she was never going to speak to me again. I don’t think she could’ve been madder if it was a real person it happened to. I took it as a compliment, and try to kiss her butt whenever I see her so she stops yelling at me.
18. WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
I had an early review for one of my first books, and the reader basically said ‘I read it and it was ehh’ and that was it. I’d rather you hated the book and told me why. Not getting anything out of my writing was worse than someone ripping it apart. At least I got a genuine reaction from someone who hated it. Of course, I would hope everyone loved everything I’ve ever written or will write, but…
19. WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
All the time. My running joke is I’ve killed both my ex-wives in most of my stories and made back some of the lost money over the years. My current (and amazing) wife will read my stuff and smile because sometimes she knows where I got a scene or conversation from in real life.
20. OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
I’m supposed to say my wife and kids. I also love baseball. I’m a Red Sox fan. I also have season tickets to the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, the Double-A team for the Miami Marlins. My wife and I run the team booster club. We even have three players that live with us during the season. I wrote a book about being a baseball fan and the 2017 season for the team, A View From My Seat. I am a fanatic.
21. DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
You have to if you want to succeed. I’ve mentored several authors over the years and the big thing I stress is having other eyes on your work. Never think you’re good enough to self-edit. You’re not. I work with a great editor who runs through everything I write before I submit it to a publisher or self-publish.
22. DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
I sleep in until nine and the coffee is magically ready. I go through emails and there are no problems, just people praising my work and how handsome I am. Then I do ten Mando Method sprints and get in over seven thousand brilliant words. Lunch is delivered and it is Chinese food and pizza. More coffee. A package arrives at my doorstep and it is a box of new books for me to read and blurb, and I’ll love them all. My wife comes home from a great day at work, we have a delicious dinner and watch the Red Sox win the World Series before several vigorous hours of lovemaking and then sleep takes me… too much?
23. IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
Author Chuck Buda, my co-hosts for The Mando Method Podcast. We’re born two days apart, he’s an awesome writer and person, and we have the same twisted sense of humour. Of course, we’d kill each other within a few weeks and then think of all the meat the winner would have… I mean… we’d have fun.
24. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
I’d get them to buy my book, or at least have a copy on the podium as they try to destroy the country and the world with your egomaniacal actions. Hopefully someone will notice and make my book a best-seller, which will happen seconds before the warheads are tossed around the planet. Decades later the apes will rule…
25. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
Short-term I’m going to grab another cup of coffee. Long-term I’m going to enjoy my life. Write more books. Go to more baseball games. Travel a lot and sell some of these books I have piled up in my house. Eat lots of M&M’s.
26. WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON BOOK TRAILERS? DO THEY SELL BOOKS?
Honestly… no. Not that I’ve ever seen. They look amazing and a lot of work has gone into most of them, but I never buy a book based on one. I don’t know anyone who ever has. They do look cool, though.
27. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
I see a lot of my insecurities and quirks in many of them. If I had to pick one it would be James Gaffney from the Dirty Deeds series. He’s pushing fifty, balding, overweight, sometimes lazy, and very snarky. When my wife first read the first book she said it was me. Completely. I always tell her it isn’t me, but she knows better.
28. DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
Not as much as it used to. I am a hybrid, so I do some self-publishing and also work with the small press. I have dabbled with the Big Five at times, too. I prefer to work with different presses and use it to expand my audience. I get how publishing has changed over the years. I had my first story published in 1988 while a senior in high school. I’ll be fifty in November. A lot has changed. Heck, a lot changes every three or four months now. I try to roll with it and not be the grumpy old man yelling for the kids to get off my damn lawn.
29. DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
Not seriously. I have gone through depressing times when the money wasn’t enough to buy a Happy Meal. I’ve struggled with depression and pushing myself to the limit without seeing any return. I’ll win and moan about it, swearing I will go back to retail management and find happiness. All lies. I suck it up and find a project I’m in love with and it’s all better. For awhile, anyway. Ahh, the joy of being a creative person…
30. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
I co-wrote The Enemy Held Near, a haunted house novel, with Jay Wilburn. It is my strongest story because writing with a writer I admire and respect, he brings my game up so far. I didn’t want to disappoint him. I love the story and the subtle nuances we added to it.
31. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER?
Being able to do what you want to do without any regrets. I’ve been a full-time author for six wonderful years. I love every minute of it, even when I’m stressed or freaking out because of a deadline. To me success is whether or not you’re enjoying what you do for a living. I certainly do.
32. WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
I hope they feel something. Ideally I want them to finish the last line and want to read whatever else I have written they haven’t read yet. I want them to experience the highs and lows of the story and want more. I want them to know I did my very best and I hope they appreciate it.
33. WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE YOUR BOOKS MADE INTO MOVIES? EVER WRITTEN A SCREENPLAY?
That is a bucket list item. I have had several of my books turned into screenplays over the years but none have gone beyond that. That would be an amazing thing to have happen.
34. HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
When I’m self-publishing I will have a basic idea for the cover at some point during the writing. Depending on who I’m getting the cover from, I’ll give them a few ideas or thoughts, but nothing too specific. I want them to surprise me. Usually it’s perfect on the first try if I’ve conveyed my idea to them correctly.
35. WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
Dirty Deeds turned into a TV series starring Bruce Campbell as James Gaffney. It would run for several years and win all kinds of awards. Actors and actresses would want to be my friend. I’d hang out with super famous people and they’d come to me for advice. I’d dine in the finest restaurants. Eat M&M’s all day and drink the most exotic coffees in all the land. Or maybe I just want to continue to be happy and write books with the amazing family I have… but add the coffee part in, too.
36. WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
It is about 80% of my day now. The marketing takes up a lot of time. Time I could be writing, if you want to be blunt about it. But without the marketing I might pump out an extra couple of novels a year that no one would read. You need readers to find your books and read them. Believe in your brand and you as a writer and a person. I love going to a lot of book signings and conventions every year so I can meet those readers in person.
37. DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS.
Sexy. Funny. Handsome. Gorgeous. Humble.
38. WHAT PISSES YOU OFF MOST?
Authors who don’t think long-term and think of this as a career. They’re too busy being the carnival barker at book signings, forcing people to buy their book instead of organically selling it, and selling future books because the reader had a good experience. I am also pissed off at turkey burgers.
39. WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? GOOD ONE?
I read an advance copy of Richard Chizmar’s Gwendy’s Magic Feather, the sequel to the book he co-wrote with Stephen King, Gwendy’s Button Box. It was amazing.
40. WHAT WOULD BE THE VERY LAST SENTENCE YOU’D WRITE?
And they all (finally) lived happily ever after.
41. WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN YOU ARE NOW? CARE TO SHARE?
Selling even more books. Even more traveling to see baseball games. More wonderful years with my wife. Seeing my kids grow to be amazing adults. Someone names a coffee after me.
42. ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
Thank you for the amazing interview. I had a lot of fun!
You can check me out in a buncha places:
Clancy's comment: Well done, Armand, and thank you. I've never tried a turkey burger, but I just might.