This time I had the pleasure to interview Adam Millard who writes mainly horror and fantasy, though he has been known to dabble in Science Fiction. He is probably best known for his post-apocalyptic zombie novels Dead west and Dead Cells. Adam is a proud father and husband to the two most beautiful people in the world, and he tries to divide his time equally between his work and his family.
Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?
Adam Millard: I used to write sci-fi novellas in my bedroom, when I was about 13. I had an old, Olympia typewriter which I would just bash away on for hours, and the stories that I came up with were mini space-operas. They were like Red Dwarf but not funny. The first story that I had published was "What's The World Coming To," which was a macabre tale that satirised the popularity of reality television.
Books & Writing: What fascinates you in Horror and Fantasy?
Adam Millard: Everything. I love the freedom of writing about zombies, ghosts, and goblins. There are no restraints, which means that your story can go as far as your imagination allows it to. I would probably find it difficult to write a romance, or a drama; I'd have to keep reeling myself back in. The rules of reality don't apply to authors in our genre, which is one of the main reasons why I love it so much.
Books & Writing: Can you tell us something about your first short story “What’s the world coming to?”
Adam Millard: I was really proud of that story at the time. It was my first accepted short, which is a major event as far as struggling writers are concerened, so that story will always be special to me. It was a grisly tale based on the sudden increase in reality TV. My story was about a man who wakes to find his wife lying next to him, dead. He is unsure whether he has somehow killed her, so he decides to drag her body into the garden and bury it. The whole thing is a setup, though, and the cameras are still rolling when his wife appears in her nightgown. The guy's just buried a perfect replica of his wife in the garden, been driven to the edge of his sanity, and a film crew are just rolling around, happy with the footage they got. It was a very grim outlook, but something that might yet happen thanks to those moguls over at channel 4.
Books & Writing: You have published several books. Which one are you most proud of and why?
Adam Millard: I'm proud of all of my books, but the one that stands out for me would be Dead Cells. It was exactly the kind of claustrophobic, balls-to-the-wall, zombie thriller that I intended, and it came out better thanks to my recalcitrant characters. That book has been called "Con-Air with zombies" which is a huge compliment, I think.
Books & Writing: Can you tell us something about the dead series you wrote?
Adam Millard: The first book, Dead West, was something that I had been wanting to write for years. Zombies against cowboys, to me, was an amazing battle, and one that people would love to read. That was, and still is, the longest book I've written, and to be honest I could have quite easily penned a sequel immediately after finishing it. The second book in the series, Dead Cells, is set in modern day America. A maximum-security prison themed zombie outbreak ensues, and guards, prisoners and zombies fight it out in what limited space they had available. The third book, Dead Frost, is released on the 25th February and will continue the story with the survivors trying to cope with an evil ensemble of military personnel and a sudden blizzard. Lots of snow, khaki and carnage, and a kick-ass set-piece with munchkin-zombies, but I can't say too much about that until it's released.
Books & Writing: Are you working on anything new at the moment?
Adam Millard: I'm planning the fourth book in the Dead series, but I'm also getting a bunch of short stories out of my system. There are a lot of great anthologies coming out this year, and I am honoured to be writing for several of them.
Books & Writing: Which writer(s) inspires you?
Adam Millard: The writers that I grew up with, Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, Shaun Hutson, James Herbert. I wouldn't be a writer today without reading everything I could get my hands on by those four authors. Nowadays, my inspiration comes from great authors such as: Brian Keene, Jack Ketchum, and David Moody.
Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Adam Millard: Read! Read anything and everything you can. To be a successful writer you need to absorb every printed word as if your life depended on it. Go out and grab yourself a copy of On Writing by Stephen King; what that man doesn't know isn't worth knowing. And make time to write. It doesn't matter if you only put down a hundred words a day; you are writing. That novel that you've had burning away at the back of your brain is on the way to completion, and it doesn't matter how long it takes, or how many rejections it gets, it's yours, and that is the most important part of writing.
Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?
Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?
Books & Writing: Thank you Adam for the interview!
Below is an excerpt from Dead Frost
The world ended on October the seventh, 2011. Not with a bang, as some theorists predicted, but with a whimper. There was no fruition of a Mayan prophecy, no alien attack, no terrorist uprising, and no supervolcano eruption. It was a simple virus that finished mankind off; a superflu that couldn't be cured once it had been contracted. It started in America, in a place called Burlington, Oklahoma. From there it spread North, taking out the surrounding states within thirty-six hours of the first reported incident. Within three days, the entire United States of America was under attack, the infected people – brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, children – searching the wastelands for human flesh to sate their cravings. The rest of the world soon followed suit, and in less than a week the survivors were outnumbered by the infected a hundred-to-one. By the end of the second week there were barely a hundred uninfected in what were once some of the most populous cities in the world. It has been a month since that first known incident down in Burlington, Oklahoma.
But to any survivors, it felt like years.