Hot on the heels of his latest release, Michael agreed to answer a few questions for my latest Author profile...
Michael Fisher, Fish to his friends and family, has worn many hats in his long life including US Navy Hospital Corpsman, club DJ, security specialist, psychiatric technician, painter, and currently, father, Mason, author and tattooer, not necessarily in that order. He has a love of hats and ugly Hawaian shirts. He also bears a passing resemblance to Walter Sobchak in The Big Lebowski.
Author: Michael Fisher
Books/SS: DCs Dead (SS)from the Tall Book of Zombie Shorts (STALKER Anthologies), The Return of the Devil Fly (SS) from Midnight Remains and Feral Hearts collaboration(JEA Press) (upcoming)
Links to author pages and websites and Amazon page:
What genre(s) do you write in and why? I prefer to write in horror because it is so versatile of a genre, whether it is the personal horror of slowly encroaching insanity to the global horror of the zombocalypse.
What is DCs Dead about both on the surface and down deep? It is the classic tale of friends bonding together to survive the zombie uprising, and what they will lose in their struggle to survive.
What inspired this? A group of my dear friends in Washington, D.C. and their diversity were my primary inspiration.
Who is the main character? The main character is the group as a whole. If I had to narrow it down, it would be Patrick and Fish as a pair, although who will survive is to be seen.
What was difficult about penning this? I started writing this years ago, as my first story, but then hit a creative wall. It wasn't until I got a kick in the ass from a certain editor and publisher, that I got over it and focused on my writing.
What is difficult for you as a writer? I think my biggest difficulty is staying concise. I would like to think that growing up on a steady diet of Lovecraft and King contributes to my love of details.
What is the best part about being a writer? It lets me get the monsters in my head out for the world to share.
How did you begin your career? I started telling stories when I was ten, playing D&D with my friends and kept it up, running many different role playing games, many horror games, into my thirties. I decided to start writing my stories down when I hit a slow stretch in my work.
What advice do you have for new writers? Just like Journey said, don't stop believing, especially in yourself.
What writer(s) inspire you and why? As I said, I am a huge fan of the otherworldliness of Lovecraft, as well as how minuscule we are in the scope of the universe. I also feel the extremity of Clive Barker's horror writing motivated me to not limit myself.
What book(s) do you wish you have written? The game changer, such as when Lovecraft defined Cosmic Horror with At the Mountains of Madness, when Barker created splatterpunk with The Books of Blood or when Matheson's I Am Legend created the roots of what would become survival horror.
Do you write for yourself or for readers? I write for the sheer pleasure of writing, so I guess it is for myself. If others enjoy it, even better.
Do you ever use dreams/nightmares as a basis for writing? No, but I have used gaming sessions as inspiration.
What is entertaining/scary/ exciting to you? I am a big fan of splatterpunk and body horror as well as a long affair with the zombie world established by Romero.
What is difficult/frustrating about writing or being a writer? I think that the big frustrations are the same that plague many writers, muscling through that wall called writer's block. I have learned that if I can't seem to work out a particular scene, I'll go work on a different story so that I can come back fresh. Oh yeah, rejection letters suck too, but even the greats were rejected.
Have you had a strange fan experience? I have fans? Not yet, but I expect it to happen sooner or later. One thing I am so grateful for, with the advent of social media, is the ability for an author to connect with his or her readers. You can develop quite a devoted following this way. We have come a long way from the days of fanzines.
How is your writing evolving? I am constantly striving to improve my skills, not just in writing, but in all of my creative mediums, be it writing, tattooing or doing cover design work for other authors.
What work of yours was enjoyable to pen? I had a blast writing The Return of the Devil Fly. Its shifting viewpoint was a fun change.
What 3 words describe your writing? Never enough time.(Yup, I hear you on that one!)
Which actors/actresses would you love to see in a movie version of your works? Well, if DCs Dead ever got made, I could easily see Seth Rogen as a certain DJ in the story.
What is a genre you will never write in and why? Paranormal romance, simply because I don't have the stomach for it.
Do you like to write a series or stand alones? Why? So far, I have only written stand alone works although, I would like to think that someday the epic storyline will come to me.
Who, of your characters do you most want to hang out with? The main group in DCs Dead, of course, as they are based on my real-life friends, so I have already spent lots of time with them.
How did The Return of the Devil Fly get its title? I was listening to The Return of the Fly by The Misfits and contemplating a story idea when it came to me. Write this period piece, set in the Fifties, with characters inspired by the actors and their characters from the film. To be honest, other than inspiring names and the titular Devil Fly, there is nothing of the Vincent Price classic in the story.
How do you pick names for characters and which ones are you fond of? Some of my characters are named after friends, with their permission, of course. I always let them know that if they are in one of my stories, they won't make it out either alive or sane. I do, for some reason, like the last name of Fleming. It shows up in a few of my pieces. I don't know if it is a subconscious tribute to Ian Fleming or because a Mr. Fleming owned the liquor store across the street from the first tattoo shop in which I worked.
Have you ever written real people into books? See the above question. Most of the main group of characters in DCs Dead are real people. I wasn't sure if they would be up for it, but every single one was happy to be included and are looking forward to their literary demise.
Do you outline and plan or wing a book? Both. I generally have a rough outline in mind but it isn't rigid. Ideas come to me all time, usually forcing me to go back and tweak what is done to include the new bit. Nothing I say is written in stone, unless I am reading the Lincoln Memorial.
Which of your works ended differently than you anticipated? None yet. Like I said, I generally have a plan on how it is going to end. I just need to massage the details to make certain the narrative arrives at that destination, rather than the yellow house down the block.
Do your covers matter? Covers matter so much. They always say, don't judge a book by its cover, but we most definitely do. As an artist, I usually have an idea of what I would like the cover of my story to look like. Luckily, I have developed both an eye for design and the skills to digitally create my covers. Generally, by the time my story is complete, so is its cover art.
Does art/ music influence you? Of course, just as I must have my music playing when I am tattooing, the right music can really get me in a good headspace to write.
How do you begin a novel? With a concept, short and simple. A story that I am currently working on started out as the idea of tattoos coming to life and it has branched into full murder mystery/horror story that is rapidly growing into a novel.
Do you get “writer’s block”? I had writer's block for almost ten years until the lovely woman, who would become my esteemed publisher, gave me the necessary kick in the ass to get back at it. (If we're talking about the same person, and I think we are, then she's good at that!)
Will you be prolific/ are you? I think we all aspire to that goal but I can't control it. When a concept shows itself, I write it down and revisit it. When if is in me, and needs to get out, it will.
What is your goal? My goal, as an author, is to share my stories with the world and hope there are at least a few people out there who will enjoy them.
Do bad reviews bother you? Of course, they do, but I am able to avoid the personal drama aspect and learn from it.
What do you wish to learn? To be a better man, father, artist and writer.
Do you research books? If you don't have the personal experience, you have to research if you want that feeling of reality that detail provides. For Feral Hearts, I made certain to get the details such as specifics as what airport he would fly from and to, on which airline, what brands he would wear, et cetera.
Which books have been grueling to write? DCs Dead has been eleven years in the writing and, finally, an end is in sight.