Today for New Year, New Book 2016 (#NYNB2016), I’m posting an interview of Ben Mariner, author of Apocalypse Wow . I’ve checked out the book, and it is chock full of 90’s reminisce. Check out this cover:
So now that we know a bit about the book, Let’s learn about the author.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
To some extent, I think that everything that happens in my books and all the characters are loosely based on people I know or things that I’ve experienced. It’s so much easier to write from experience than trying to create something out of nothing. For me, everything seems more natural when it’s grounded in reality, even if that things is so far outside the bounds of reality.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
A Lee Martinez has always been a huge influence on my writing. His dry, sarcastic wit has stuck a chord with me from the moment I opened one of his books for the first time. He may not be the most famous author in the world, but his work is fantastic.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Alexis Radcliffe and her book A Vanishing Glow are amazing. I got the opportunity to read an ARC copy and I was just blown away. The world she creates is so rich and detailed, and the story is so well-crafted. Can’t say enough good things about her work. Everyone should be watching out for her in the future.
What are your current projects?
Right now I’m polishing the manuscript for the follow up to Apocalypse Wow entitled Apocalypse Wow 2: Apocalypse Wower. I’m hoping to have everything set and ready for an April 1st release date, so keep an eye out.
How do you develop your plots and characters?
I really just fly by the seat of my pants and let things develop themselves. Characters do what they want, and that drives the plot along. You can outline all day long, but if you listen to your characters and give them freedom, you don’t have to spend a single second on an outline.
We all need a hero! Tell us about your protagonist(s)? Was there a real-life inspiration behind him or her?
What can really be said about Jack Winters? He’s a 30-something with no real direction and a heavy penchant for sarcasm and 90’s pop culture. A lot of myself lives inside Jack, but he’s his own person and makes his own decisions. I can’t say I totally agree with all of them, but Jack’s just this guy, you know?
A good villain is hard to write. How did you get in touch with your inner villain(s) to write this book. Was there a real-life inspiration for him/her/it?
The villain in Apocalypse Wow is more of a man-behind-the-curtain type. There are plenty of monsters and obstacles barring Jack’s way, but everything is tied back to one villain. I wanted to create a villain that is muddled by personal conflict. He’s just evil. Completely and totally. Once I decided that, it was easy to write. Just think about all the horrible stuff that’s ever happened and filter it all down to one entity.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Such a tough question. I think I’d have to say that my favorite part of the book is the chapter on the Afterlife Express. So much fun to write about an old-timey locomotive that can provide literally anything a passenger desires. Also, a digital version of Bill Nye the Science Guy makes a cameo.
If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
Easy. Green Power Ranger.
What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
I do a lot of features on other indie authors on my blog, so I encourage everyone to go there to find new author friends. Outside of that, I’m always available through Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads (in that order).
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Apocalypse Wow was just so much fun to write. I loved being able to break free of some of the overused tropes of the post-apocalyptic genre and even poke fun of them a little bit. Nothing, however, gave me more joy than working in all the 90’s pop culture references and creating a 90’s-centric playlist for each chapter.
How do you feel about eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
This could certainly be a long winded answer, but I’ll be brief. I used to hate the idea of an eBook because I love the feel and smell of a good print edition, but eBook allow readers to access your work from literally anywhere now. It’s a huge tool in the arsenal of the indie writer. Everyone wants to see their book in print, but having people actually read it is more important and I think eBooks encourage that more so than print nowadays.
As far as alt vs. trad publishing goes, I think whatever gets your book out there is best. Traditional publishing gets harder to break into every day and there are just too many great, free options to self-publish. Honestly, in the future, I’d like to see major publishing houses offer a self-publishing option similar to Create Space or Kindle Direct.
Now that you know more about Ben, I hope you’ll check him out. And don’t forget to check out other authors and bloggers participating in #NYNB2016. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find your new favorite. 😉