Today I welcome Armand Rosamilia to beavisthebookhead.com. Armand is a super busy chap and I’m delighted he found time to stop by. He has written over 150 stories which are currently available. He is a podcaster on the Project Entertainment Network….the list goes on. Anyway, enough from me. Here he is.
TGR: Where did your love of reading and writing come from?
Definitely my mother. She has a huge horror paperback collection. I started reading some of them, especially Dean Koontz. When she knew I was interested she started reading books and then giving them to me to read. While she’s a huge King fan I’m a Koontz fan. I guess that was my rebellion as a kid.
TGR: What are some of the books/writers that had an impact on you and inspired you to write?
Obviously Dean Koontz. I read a lot growing up. I still do. Robert E. Howard. Lovecraft. Phil Rickman. JA Konrath. Brian Keene. David Gemmell. So many more.
TGR: What does a typical day look like for you?
I usually get up about 9 am. Immediately start the first pot of coffee. Check my emails and once the first cup of coffee kicks in I’ll do my first writing sprint, hopefully at 10 am. If I have a lot of other work (I also run Project Entertainment Network, which is a podcast group of 25 shows) I try to hit the first sprint by 11 am. Make my lunch at noon and watch a TV show or read a bit. By 1pm I am back with another writing sprint. The afternoon is usually spent alternating writing and emails and promoting. Once my wife gets home about 6 pm I try to stop working, although it doesn’t always happen.
TGR: How much research do you do before you begin writing?
Not much. Usually, if I have an idea to write, it’s because I already read something that piqued my interest for a story. I use the basic knowledge of whatever it is and just see how far I can get with it. When I first started writing I would waste a lot of time researching, especially things that became minor details in a book. Five hours of reading about animal control workers and it ended up being two lines in the story. But it is necessary. For my latest book, Chelsea Avenue 2, I had to research 2004-2010 in New Jersey and what the technology was and what the city of Long Branch, where the story is set, looked like back then. Even though I grew up near the setting it’s been a long time since I’d lived it.
TGR: What genres are you comfortable writing in and is there any other(s) you would like to write in?
I have always written horror stories. I like to challenge myself with other genres, too. My Dirty Deeds series is crime fiction. I’ve written contemporary fiction. Supernatural thrillers. Post-apocalyptic. I keep trying to expand the spec fic arenas I am involved in. Maybe someday I’ll write a good fantasy or science fiction story. Who can say?
TGR: What is the most important aspect of your writing? Is it character, plot, tone, or something else?
Definitely character. As a reader, it begins and ends with characters you love or hate. Without someone to cheer on or hiss at, the plot and everything else doesn’t matter. When I’m writing a story I focus on the main character and work outwards, trying to give life to everyone around him/her. Otherwise, the reader won’t care enough to keep reading.
TGR: What writing lessons have you learnt from you first publication to your most recent?
That I am (thankfully) a much better writer today with a long road ahead to keep getting better. My first short story, “Beastie,” was released in 1988. I was still in high school. I cringe when I read it today because I want to rewrite it. The bones of it are good but the execution was terrible.
TGR: I’m a big fan of ambiguity in stories. Particularly with short stories, I like to be made to think about the story and its meaning long after I have finished reading. What are your thoughts on ambiguous stories? Is ambiguity something you incorporate into your stories?
Definitely. I was always more interested in a story where I had to put together the entire ending in my own head. I hate a story that wraps it all up neatly in a bow, like a Scooby Doo episode. I also like to give an underlying feel or theme to each story when possible so it makes the reader question what they’ve read or if they were reading an unreliable narrator. You can really have fun with stories as a writer.
TGR: Social media is a tool for getting yourself noticed. Do you think it is easier or more difficult these days to get your work noticed? Why?
More difficult. When I started writing full-time it was because Amazon was in its infancy as far as ebooks. It was the Wild West. I wrote a lot of novellas and short stories and tossed them up and they sold. The competition wasn’t there and readers wanted more and more. Nowadays (I sound like an old man, I know) you get lost in the shuffle, especially if you throw a really wide net looking for readers. I’ve had to change my mindset to reach each reader individually if possible and hope their word of mouth will help build the fan base.
TGR: As a writer, what do you consider to be the do’s and don’ts of self-promotion.
It is a real turnoff to see writers acting like used car salesmen. Every conversation includes a link to their book or they only want to talk about themselves. You can tell they’re not being themselves and genuine. I always say I’ve sold way more books by just being myself and having a conversation that has nothing to do with books. Readers remember that. They like the personality and the interaction. It’s why I love going to conventions. I can chat with a reader and relax. I look at this long-term. If I don’t get you to buy a book today I hope you’ll come back again to chat some more and maybe something will look interesting enough to read.
TGR: Tell us about your work. What does your back catalogue consist of and what is your most recent release?
I have over 100 releases. The most recent is Chelsea Avenue 2, a supernatural thriller set in Long Branch New Jersey. It takes place the following year from the end of the first book (conveniently titled Chelsea Avenue) and was released by Devil Dog Press. Here is the teaser description for it:
Evil Never Dies.
The vacant lot on Chelsea Avenue, site of so much death and horror in Long Branch New Jersey, has been purchased by a mysterious developer.
No one knows what plans are in store for the dark corner of the city.
Can Tammy, Stephanie and Mark fight off another July 8th against the monstrous entity lying in wait on Chelsea Avenue?
TGR: You’ve been invited to contribute a story to an anthology! If you could choose 5 other writers (living or deceased), who would they be and why?
Dean Koontz. He started this ride for me.
Brian Keene. He’s the reason I write zombie fiction.
Scott Nicholson. One of the first writers to be patient with me and answer all my annoying questions.
Jay Wilburn. Great author and I’ve collaborated with him on three projects to date.
Robert E. Howard. I’d love to read more of his weird fiction and sharing a ToC with these five would be amazing.
TGR: What are you working on now (apart from these questions) and where can we stalk find you on the World Wide Web?
I am finishing up my nonfiction baseball book, A View From My Seat. It’s about my love of baseball and going to the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp games all season. Will be finishing Dirty Deeds 5 soon. Starting Chelsea Avenue 3, the final part of the trilogy.
You can find me at https://armandrosamilia.com and look for Author Armand Rosamilia on Facebook. I’m @ArmandAuthor on Twitter.
I have two podcasts, too (yeah, I’m busy): Arm Cast Podcast and The Mando Method Podcast (with co-host Chuck Buda) on Project Entertainment Network.
Visit them and see the entire lineup at https://projectentertainmentnetwork.com/
I thank you for the great interview and good luck with everything you do!