GJ: Can you describe your journey to publishing your first novel?
CP: Have you seen the Lord of the Rings? My publishing journey closely resembles Gimli’s experience, but with about ten times as much rejection. No really.
I wrote my first story on a blog for fun, had it take off, got a publishing offer, and after 16 months of working with them, they walked away, and my blog readers said screw them, self pub.
So I did, and then I threw a ring in to a volcano and kicked it with some hobbits in Rivendell.
Haven’t looked back since, and now I’m a full-time writer, mostly self-pub’d.
GJ: What was the most difficult challenge in your journey?
CP: Rejection, I would say. That or realising that there is no one ‘right way’ and that things that work for others may or may not work for you when it comes to selling books. Coupled with that, I’d say my biggest revelation was to realise I had to write what I wanted to write, not just what I knew would sell.
GJ: Can you put your finger on why you have a post-apocalyptic / zombie obsession, like so many?
CP: My childhood. My friends and I were OBSESSED with watching Romero movies. We turned that into being obsessed with making a plan for the apocalypse, and that itch never really got scratched. Since then, I’ve remained in love with the post-apoc genre, and theorising about it, and now writing about it.
I love the idea that we’d all lose the trappings and crap that weighs us down in this modern world, and restart in a simpler (though more dangerous) way.
GJ: What is the most rewarding part of the writing process for you?
CP: Connecting with fans, by far. I’ve met so many amazing people all across the world because of my writing, and they-by far–fantastic people. I guess you could group in getting reviews with that, but really, it’s making friendships.
GJ: Do you have much contact with your fans? If so what is the weirdest question you have been asked and what is the most frequent question you have been asked?
CP: I talk to fans every single day on Facebook or Twitter (now Instagram too) I would say I get asked about how I got published most often, and as far as the weirdest question…. Boy, that’s a toughie. I did once get into a heated (but rewarding) online debate that lasted for weeks about theology with a Muslim woman from Dubai several years back. My main Adrian’s Undead Diary series has a lot of theological ideas in it, and she felt inspired to engage with me. Weird, but cool.
GJ: What can we expect from you in 2019/20?
CP: Lots of inappropriate jokes. That and a few books. I’ve got the AUD 10 audiobook dropping in a week, and the week after that my debut YA SciFi novel The Phone (written as WJ Orion) releases. I’m doing a special secret project after that, and then I’ll be writing AUD 11 and 12. I’ll also be releasing the 5th urban fantasy novel in my Reemergence series.
GJ: What genre of books do you generally read and can you name a favourite in each, or at least a book that stood out for you?
CP: I’m all over the place. I do tend to read mostly horror and sci-fi though, coupled with military history to help keep my writing about that subject tighter. In horror, I love The Bachman Books by Stephen King, as well as Joe Hill’s stuff, and for SciFi, I love the Horus Heresy series. Give it to me dark, apparently.
GJ: What has been the highlight of your writing career so far?
CP: Two things; all the travel I’ve been able to do, and the basic idea that I get to make shit up for a living. The day I quit my job and felt good about it was so incredibly liberating.
GJ: What advice would you give to new writers looking to writing to publish?
CP: Research the living crap out of marketing. It isn’t enough to write good books in the indie world. You got to write well, then market and build an audience, and the two jobs are VERY different.
GJ: How prepared are you for the apocalypse?
CP: Depends. I’m completely ready to die in the apocalypse right now. Like, if it started before I finished this interview, I am ready to kick the bucket.
As far as survival goes… I’d wager I’m somewhat ready. I have weapons, and a fair amount of ammo, and we live rurally with fresh water and game nearby. We’d do okay, so long as the neighbors all wanted to work together to survive.
Are you ready for the apocalypse? If not then why don’t you sign up to my mailing list and receive a FREE copy of Survivor – Your Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse which is not only packed with over 100 pages of advice, but also loads of atmospheric short fiction! Sign up here to get your copy!
If you enjoy apocalyptic fiction then you’ll enjoy my debut novel, In The End, an apocalyptic thriller that will leave you breathless.