Thanks as always to Eric S. Brown for bringing us A.P. Fuchs, author of the Undead World Trilogy and the man behind Coscom Entertainment.
You're both a writer AND a publisher. How does that work?
Lately I’ve been finding that I get the most done--deadline crunches excluded--by doing Coscom Entertainment-related stuff during the day, then write for myself at night.
Running a publishing company and writing a book require two different mindsets so dividing the day like I do really helps with that.
What got you into doing this?
The love of creating, really. It started with drawing comics then got into writing. After subsidy-publishing my first two books and despite the headaches from that (namely the first book), in some weird twist I fell in love with the book production side of things so decided to be a true self-publisher. Then that led to being asked to put out a benefit horror anthology for the late Charles Grant called Small Bites, and everything has since rolled on from there.
Tell us some about your new Z novel and the series it's a part of?
Sure. My latest zombie novel is called Possession of the Dead and it’s the second book in the Undead World Trilogy. The first book is called Blood of the Dead, and Possession of the Dead picks up one nano-second after the first one ends. In this latest installment, Joe and his crew must face off against not just human-sized zombies, but also against giant undead some fifteen stories tall. Add in to the mix some supernatural elements--angels and demons--and you got a story loaded with action, thrills and just plain fun. (i.e. There’s a cool El Camino roadtrip that involves running over zombies.)
You also write the superhero Axiom-man. Which do you enjoy more: superheroes or zombies from a writing standpoint?
To be honest, I write my books more or less from the same stand point: good vs. evil. It doesn’t matter if the good guy or bad guy has powers or not, it’s just that you have the good guys and bad guys.
For superheroes, I get a kick out of it because of all the fantastic elements associated with them. For example, writing Axiom-man’s flight scenes are always a thrill for me because flying is my favorite superpower.
The Axiom-man series is my own love letter to the superhero genre, and it’s my way of imagining how a superhero would begin his career in our world in as realistic a way as possible.
For zombies--I’ll admit I haven’t read every zombie book or seen every zombie movie--but I’d like to think that I’m creating some new ground in my Undead World Trilogy, which is not just about survival, guns and the undead, but also about our place in the universe, the supernatural realm, and trying to depict an all-out war between Good and Evil. I’m treating this series more like a low-key superhero series, in that I have my good guys, I have my bad guys (the undead) and it’s very much a case study on humanity’s inner strength to survive against not just the monsters that haunt the streets, but also for those involved to survive against themselves, especially since most of them have gone through so much heartache and pain it’d almost be better to just put a gun to their heads and pull the trigger.
Even with Zombie Fight Night: Battles of the Dead, aside from blatantly writing a book where fighting was the main focus, I tried to do something different by taking my main character, Mick, and using him to explore what would happen if you go too deep into your selfish desires and how that affects the people around you. In his case, it was gambling.
Also in that book I tried to not make the fights one-dimensional and just have people fight zombies and that’s it. Each fight scene is told from the point-of-view of the fighter and each fighter--whether samurai, ninja, superhero, pirate, Viking, etc--has a story and a purpose for being in that ring. I wanted the readers to care about the characters first . . . then watch them get it on with a Shambler or Sprinter (even both) and hope for a victorious outcome.
Who's your inspiration?
I try to soak up inspiration from a plethora of places and people, everyone from comic creators to fellow writers. In the old days, it was Stephen King, Alan Moore and Terry Goodkind that inspired me the most. Nowadays, my pool of inspiration is a complicated mosaic of “a little bit of this guy, a little bit of that guy” and so on.
Marvel or DC?
DC, hands down.
In the end, it’s tenure for me, tenure in my own life. It was Superman who I first fell in love with way back when I was, like, two or three, and so most of the action figures I had were characters that revolved around him. Likewise with the movies. I mean, Marvel didn’t have much going on movie-wise in the ’80s. So it just kind of stuck.
Marvel right now is dominating in the movie arena, and DC has paid attention because they got all sorts of movies planned: a new Superman, the third Batman, Green Lantern 1 and 2, Wonder Woman . . .
And it’s DC I follow month-to-month in comics. Mostly the bat titles, though I’ve been buying Superman since issue 700.
What are you currently working as both a publisher and a writer?
As a publisher, at this moment I’m doing my quarterly tallies. In the background, I’m dealing with New York for our mass market reprints with them (The War of the Worlds Plus Blood, Guts and Zombies; Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim; Alice in Zombieland), and with the firm who manages us in LA in regards to some film interest we’ve had for our titles. And, of course, trying to get the word out about me and my authors’ books as much as I can. We just did the Central Comic Con, for example, and Coscom Entertainment did well there selling its books.
Personally, I’m working on a vampire novella trilogy, my free weekly web serial novel, Zomtropolis, and am making notes on a top secret comic project I’ll be doing with Axiom-man cover artist Justin Shauf.
Coscom has been very blessed this year getting mass market deals and representation for its properties as film. How has this affected you and company?
It hasn’t affected me on a personal level. I’m still the same old foodie comic nerd. On a professional level, it’s elevated the company to a new arena in terms of respect in the industry, credibility, and an overall image of producing quality material across the board.
What's up next for you in terms of zombie fiction as a writer?
Aside from my regular work on Zomtropolis, which I hope to put out in paperback and eBook next year (complete with some special surprises), I’ll be tackling the third and final book in my Undead World Trilogy for publication hopefully sometime before June of 2011.
After that, it’s finishing my ultra long overdue Axiom-man novel called City of Ruin. I have fans waiting for it and I need to deliver.
And any advice to writers in general or folks hoping to submit to Coscom someday?
If you want to submit to Coscom Entertainment, be sure we publish the type of book you wrote. You’d be surprised how many queries I get for genres that have nothing to do with our catalog.
I also expect a query without any sample chapters. If I want more, I’ll ask for it.
Be professional. Doing so tells a publisher you’re the real deal instead of some “Hey, buddy” chummy author. Being professional provides the sense you’re dependable, which is critical when producing a book.
Also be patient. Publishers get lots of queries and have lots to read never mind the other stuff we have on our plate. Sometimes things take time.
Last, to have a successful book at Coscom Entertainment, an author should be willing to really get out there and market their stuff. This is a business where sales don’t just happen. You need to let people know you and your book exists. Coscom helps with that, of course, but the books that have done best for the company are from those who also put on the hat of marketer and went out there and made a fuss about their title. Those are the folks who’ve had the greatest success.
Thanks again to A.P. and Eric for guest-blogging with us. Be sure to visit Coscom Entertainment for a huge variety of terrific books and ebooks!