With his canoe drying from the day's paddling and his dependable tomahawk buried into a piece of firewood beside him, Clay began drifting toward slumber.
Clay's luck would have to streak if he had any hope of surviving the outbreak's aftermath.
Soon, he would find himself amidst gritty close quarters battles with the infected, improvising weapons and waging a war against the infected. Clay had no choice but to become a warrior, a tactician and a leader if he wanted to survive.
Release Date: March 2, 2014
Tell me about yourself.
I have two young boys and a wife, and we love spending time together in the outdoors.
I have been a longtime fan of the zombie genre, having been reading and watching since I was a kid. Becoming a writer has been something I have romanticized about for a long time, and have been working towards for a few years now. It was only natural that my first completed work of fiction was of this category.
As a young man, I was a huge comic book and graphic novel fan. I think the writing and content of those books differs greatly from traditional fiction, and I have tried to merge the two in my work. I also practiced both Judo and Karate (not currently), which has also contributed to my writing. Before I met my wife, I spent a brief period of time in the Canadian Forces, where I met a number of amazing individuals who inspired some of the characters inBetter Lucky than Good.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve really enjoyed writing as a hobby for a long time. But I only started seriously writing fiction about eighteen months ago.
Before that, I ran my own traditional archery website which was taken down long ago (thenakedarcher.com), and had an outdoors/canoeing blog which has also become inactive since I began writing fiction. Both were successful in my opinion, but neither felt “right” for me.
Now, I recognize both of those as having been a precursor to where I am now, having fully realized my passion for writing fiction.
What’s your story about?
The zombie apocalypse. The title, Better Lucky than Good, has a lot to do with the content of the book. Based on the skills possessed by the “main” character, he stands a very good chance of surviving the zombie outbreak. Yet, despite his skills, a certain degree of luck is required to live. By chance, both the skilled and unskilled alike, survive the outbreak. Regardless of how prepared an individual might be for such an event, a degree of luck determines their survival.
What genre would you consider your book?
The zombie sub-genre of horror.
Give me some insight into your main character.
Well, the main character of Better Lucky than Good is not the main character of the series. But so as to not spoil anything, I’ll answer this question as if Clay were the main character. Clay isn’t the typical man of today, his interests and history making him somewhat of an outcast in modern society. Yet, those same skills that made him ineffective prior to the outbreak, are exactly what make him so successful post-outbreak. He is a natural, albeit unwilling leader, with a sympathetic heart for those he encounters. I know the whole “zombie apocalypse - nice guy” thing has been done, but this series is more about an organized effort to save humanity, rather than a few individuals.
What makes your book different from others in its genre?
This is a tough genre to stand out in. Readers have a crazy amount of material to choose from right now. Better Lucky than Good is about the early formative days of a small colony of people, and how they come together. Where it differs from many stories in this genre, is over the course of the series, from initial survival, to growth, to the eventually regaining of dominance by mankind, goes beyond the typical end of the world scenario.
What inspired you to write your book?
Timing, really. I’ve been a long time fan of the zombie genre and with the popularity of The Walking Dead being so immense, there has never been so many fans of this sub-category of horror. Along with that goes the variety of work available to readers, which is somewhat of a two edged sword. Still, I don’t think there has even been a better time to be a zombie fan!
How did you come up with the title?
It’s a phrase I use on a daily basis. I really struggled with writing the metadata for my book, and the title really stumped me. I played around with titles and descriptions for the better part of a month, and as of right now, the series still remains unnamed.
What’s your favorite part of it, without giving anything away of course?
Melanie, without a doubt.
Tell me about your writing process?
Well, I have a spot in the house where I do my writing. I’ve commandeered a corner of our living room. I’m not the type to go sit in a Starbucks in front of a laptop. I like to have my own place to work.
What do you find most difficult about writing?
The looming prospect of failure. Not everyone will like my work, and I understand that. If someone wants to write a scathing review, full of personal attacks, I’m alright with that too. I’m not into interacting with miserable, uninteresting people. I can handle that. But what I can’t handle is the thought of putting a lot of time and hard work into something, making it available for the public, and not having an expanding audience. That’s the whole point, right? For our work to have an audience?
Are you a full-time writer?
Nope! I have a full time job in the manufacturing industry. It has often been to my advantage, as it gives me a lot of time to be alone with my imagination. I keep a pen and a pad of paper right next to me on my tool box, and jot down anything of significance that comes to mind.
What are your writing ambitions?
This is going to seem like a strange answer, but I’m not sure what my writing ambitions are. I was about twenty-thousand words into Better Lucky than Good when I decided that I would go through the self-publishing process. I’m a big fan of experiencing a variety of what life has to offer, and actually writing and finishing a book was definitely on my list. When I was done, I remember having a conversation with my wife and in that she asked what my future writing ambitions were. I really enjoyed the writing process, and explained that if a single person enjoys the book, outside of friends and family, then I’ll continue self-publishing. So far, I’ve had some very kind and motivating reviews, so I plan on finishing book two, hopefully by the summer. Where I’ll go from there, I have no idea.
What do you do when you get writer’s block?
I stop writing. I’m a huge music fan, so if I’m just struggling with a paragraph or two, I like to throw on my headphones and cause long term damage to my hearing. I pick an artist or group whose sound matches the mood of the situation I am trying to portray and let my imagination be guided by the sound.
If it’s an entire chapter, or more, I search for inspiration. I share a lot of similar interests with my characters, and by doing something that they would do, I can often find the answer by acting it out myself.
Do you outline and plot your book as you’re writing or does it go where it goes?
Both. I start with a mind map of the book, but I like the characters to take it where it goes. Typically what happens is only the main events end up being written. As I really like the characters to write themselves, and make their own decisions. How a character might act when I’m first working on the plot, varies greatly from how they act after a few chapters.
What is your favorite book?
1984 by George Orwell. If there was ever a book more relevant to our time than this, I’ve never read it. I try to read it once a year.
Are there any new authors that have grabbed your interest?
No. But that’s not because they aren’t out there. I got so wrapped up in finishing my first novel, that I neglected my search for interesting independent works. That’s why I joined the Goodreads community. If someone has a suggestion, look me up! I’d be happy to check it out. As of right now, I only have four friends on Goodreads, and it’s getting a little lonely.
Are you self published or traditionally published? Do you wish you had gone about the process differently?
I am self-published. Aside from “Better Lucky than Good”, another phrase I frequently use is “I don’t do hoops”. It might seem arrogant to believe that my work would even be accepted by a publisher, but that’s not what I’m attempting to convey. I’m not sure that it would be. The point is, I enjoy my independence. For me, writing is more about entertaining an audience, than it is about making money. I have little patience for pretentious people, and strive to avoid demonstrating it myself. So what I may lack in sales and notoriety, is more than made up for by my appreciation of independence.
I can say without a doubt that this book is one-hundred percent, my work. No one other than myself has fiddled with it in any way, and that’s something I’m very proud of. The entire novel is the work of the author, rather than a team of individuals, only one of whom is given credit on the cover.
The internet has done amazing things for independent authors, and it’s only going to get better. But we own most of the issues plaguing it’s expansion. I think we need to demand a higher quality of work from ourselves, especially in the department of editing. I’m not perfect in this regard, but I do the best I can and as my skills improve, it will be reflected in my finished product. Along with the expanding acceptance of independent work, comes increased revenue from sales and from that, writers will garner a greater variety of resources to improve themselves as well as their work. Progress requires patience.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
I’m not sure that I don’t qualify as being an aspiring author myself…
I really hate this question, because I dislike sounding critical of other authors, but I’m going to give it a shot anyways.
Have first hand knowledge about what your writing. If you don’t “know” what you’re writing about, the first reader who comes along and has experience in that subject is going to recognize your baloney in an instant. Research via written works only goes so far. This is something that plagues most forms of entertainment.
An example that pretty much everyone has seen at one time or another, is those crazy gun fights where the hero is being shot at and dives behind a table in an attempt to take cover from the hail of gunfire targeted at him. Table tops don’t typically stop bullets, so congratulations, your protagonist is now dead.
People who are reading a book, obviously have interest in the content within it, and likely have some knowledge pertaining to it. Sure, some creative license is necessary for the sake of the story, but respect your audience enough that you’re willing to put some sweat into your research.
If you could have dinner with any person dead or alive who would it be?
Alexander the Great… Or Joe Rogan.
When you aren’t writing, what do you do for fun?
I’m outside, enjoying the outdoors with my friends and family.
What's your biggest fear?
Hornets and wasps. Both the hanging and ground nesting varieties. Not honey bees or bumble bees, but specifically wasps and hornets. I hate those jerks. Always flying around your face, and climbing into soda cans… And they know that I’m afraid of them too. I could be standing with a group of people, and you know who they pester? That’s right. Me. On one occasion, I was stung twice while minding my own business, reading a magazine. It was an unprovoked attack by an insect trying to assert it’s dominance over me, in my own backyard. An act that drastically shortened it’s lifespan.
Who is the most annoying character you've ever encountered in a book, on tv
or in a movie?
Dakota Fanning’s character in War of the Worlds. All she did was scream. I love the book, but I absolutely hate that movie. Imagine being the crew running auditions for that part? Child after child, screaming their face off? I have two kids, and it drives me nuts when they scream. I don’t want to inundated with that annoyance throughout the duration of an entire movie. Shoot me now, please.
If you were on death row, what would you choose for a final meal?
A double of Jack Daniels in a short glass with three ice cubes, and pack of cigarettes. Don’t forget the matches… That would just be cruel.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Miserable people. I can’t handle them. Always trying to spread their unhappiness to everyone around them…
If you knew you could get away with anything without consequence, what would you do?
If money being no concern qualifies as being without a consequence, I would quit my job. This world is such an amazing place, and I lose forty hours a week building machinery, when I could be exploring what humanity has to offer.
What is your biggest regret in life?
I don’t spend time dwelling on mistakes that I’ve made, because they’ve all lead me to where I am now. I have a killer family, a roof over my head, and the best friends anyone could ask for. The mistakes I made contributed to me getting where I am right now.
If you had Doctor Who's TARDIS, what time would you travel to?
The fourth Egyptian dynasty.
I wanna know how they built the Great Pyramid of Giza!
What is the best present you ever received?
My wife bought my an iPad, which really contributed to my writing. Wouldn’t be writing this now, if she never had of thought of me.
What's your secret guilty pleasure movie you don't want to admit you love?
Haha, nice try. You almost got me to answer that one…
What is your most prized material possession?
Much like Clay in Better Lucky than Good, I too own a tomahawk. It comes with me on every canoe trip, or wilderness excursion. When I go through pictures that have been taken on those trips, it’s always there, hiding somewhere in the background. It has been an invaluable tool over the years, and I’d sooner give up my computer than I would, it.
If you could say anything to your readers, what would it be?
Thank you for giving me the time to entertain you.
Where can we find you?