Born and raised in St. Louis, USA, Robert Holt is CFO of a start up screen printing company. He hikes in his spare time and in July 2017 released There Are No Zombies in America.
What’s your favourite place to hike?
Mountains. I love to hike in mountains. With mountain ranges being a seven hour drive east or a 12 hour drive west, I don’t do it often. I usually just settle for hiking the rolling Ozark.
What was your inspiration to start writing?
I had a loving mother and father that really provided me with all I needed and most of what I wanted. And then I had two older brothers and a younger sister that humiliated me and tortured me to the point where I pretty much stayed locked in my room acting out stories with my action figures. Bullied at school. Bullied at home. Yet I was always a pretty happy guy because I always had my stories. It was the perfect upbringing for a writer really.
What do you think it would take for you to become a full time writer / author?
Oh man, I view that as winning the lottery. Truth be told, I have no idea what it would take. The security of a full dive in would make me very nervous.
Can you tell me about your publishing history?
I published my first book, Death’s Disciples with James Ward Kirk Publishing back in 2012 or something like that. My second book, The Vegetarian Werewolf and Other Stories, came out the following year. My latest, T.A.N.Z.I.A. There Are No Zombies In America came out last year and I went alone on that one.
Great title. Now I need to know more. What’s it all about?
It is a zombie book without zombies. The idea came to me when I read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, which I hated. Having read a lot of zombie books, I recognised it as a zombie book, but he left out the zombies. The story line was exactly the same and every part of the book was predictable and obvious to me. AND IT WON A PULITZER! I got to thinking a zombie book without zombies could be fun, but go the other way. Instead of making a story that is the same as every other zombie book, write a zombie book instead about a zombie apocalypse that happens across the ocean and never touches the lives of the characters but still affects them in many different ways. Around the time I was flushing out the story, Trump won the election. The story quickly became about Trump’s America. I don’t feel there are cheap shots at Trump in the book, but many reflections of his policies. Now, I’m not fair and balanced either. If you are a Trumpeter, my book may not be for you. Read it anyway and write me a nasty review.
How would Trump’s America react to news of a zombie apocalypse being reported? Think about it for a moment. Police state, heavily armed militias roaming the street, authoritarian dictatorship, walls everywhere, religious cults because … you know…Jesus was a zombie. And that is just on the political right. The left has their wackos flying into it also. I had a lot of fun with it.
Can you pin it down with a genre?
So hard to nail it. Dystopian comedy zombie political horror. But maybe that order is screwed up.
What was your biggest self-publishing challenge?
My cover art was the biggest challenge. I set it up and was pretty proud of it. One of my readers read the book and loved it and decided to update the cover for me. Stan Davis did an absolute brilliant job. He moved the book up about three notches. He did it because he liked the book too, which means so much to me. If the book ever takes off I will have to buy him a car or something.
Do you have a marketing plan?
No. Not a plan. I’m shooting from the hip here. I posted it on Facebook, but Twitter has been my go to. Somehow I got 25,000 Twitter followers. I don’t even know how. Not all of them are bots either. A few of them actually post real things.
And finally, do you have any advice for new writers?
Don’t. Do something else. If you read that and get discouraged, it is good advice.
Yeah, that is great advice. Thank you for taking the time to join me today and I wish you every success with your writing and I hope you continue to enjoy it. Robert’s novels are available to buy now from Amazon and you can keep in touch with him via Twitter.
If you enjoyed this interview then why not follow my blog where I’ll be posting more interviews soon. I regularly provide an insight into my own experiences as I publish my debut novel, In The End, an apocalyptic thriller that will leave you breathless, available to pre-order now.
If you’re an author, or work in the industry and you’ve got an interesting story to tell, drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org