Book Name and Description: The Human-Undead War Trilogy
What gave you the idea for the Human-Undead War Trilogy?
As clichéd as it may sound, it all came to me in a dream, one involving me in a prison cell, a hideous blood-producing mushroom, and a typical-looking vampire antagonist. It was rife with strong emotions and information that I felt could turn vampire lore on its head.
Immediately upon waking, I shaped what I could recall into a short story for one of my Long Ridge Writer’s Group assignments. The instructor said it wasn’t a true short story; it was a snippet of a larger piece. I thought on it, and after some intricate character sketches and outlining, I agreed with him and jumped on Book 1.
How long have you been writing?
I started reading adult-level material in kindergarten, and I’ve been writing ever since.
What is the writing process like for you? What is your writing day like? What have been the biggest influences on your writing?
My writing process is painstaking and meticulous. I’m not like all these other writers who claim they can take 10 minutes of spare time during lunch and crank out a paragraph or page of prose. I need large chunks of time (preferably 6 or more back-to-back hours), no music, no interruptions. Between my demanding day job and my wife being in college again, though, those large blocks of blissful peace don’t often occur right now—maybe once a week. Hence, my recent trickle in output. This will continue for at least another year, when I hope to pick up where I left off in 2017 and churn out more consistent word vomit for the masses.
My biggest influences have been several of my indie peers. They keep me abreast of viable markets, allow me to vent in privacy, and keep me writing and editing even when I’d rather give up.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
When starting out, subscriptions to The Writer, Writer’s Digest, and other such magazines are helpful. A subscription to the Chicago Manual of Style Online also proves fruitful in the polishing phases. A website and some kind of social media presence (regardless of how limited it may be). Beta readers, coffee, alcohol, an illicit drug of choice, a thick hide, all the spare time in the world, a laptop or other updated piece of typing technology, and a healthy dose of insanity round out the essentials.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
All that advice about posting in freebie Facebook groups? Pfft. That might work for some, but it doesn’t work for many, myself included. On top of that, I’ve sunk hefty sums into advertising with the more generic sites, with zero results.
The Bold Mom, however, has been a godsend in the marketing world. TBM is a specialized marketer, in a specialized niche, catering to a specialized fanbase. She knows her shit, and she can help breathe new life into your horror work.
The key is to keep trying different avenues until you find the ones that work for you, regardless of whether you shell out some dough or not. If you do fork over your hard-earned cash, beware all the impersonal bot-like sites out there. You’ll know the good ones from the bad by the level of personal care they provide. If they’re conversing and listening and checking in from time to time to gauge your satisfaction, you’ve got yourself a gem.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
“Plumb Fucked Island”, which was the story I contributed to VS:X – US vs UK Extreme Horror, a popular anthology from Shadow Work Publishing that pitted US writers against UK writers in epic one-on-one judged showdowns. This piece required weeks of poring through documentaries regarding Plum Island conspiracies, local tornado history records and maps and photos, and articles pertaining to the upcoming move of Plum Island from New York to Manhattan, Kansas. I also had to weave some science fiction into it, which included many more hours of research. It was intricate, and though I ultimately lost to my opponent, I felt it was indicative of how far I’ve come in my writing journey. It has also spurred ideas for more interconnected stories, which I plan to write for a future collection tentatively titled Plumb Fucked Conspiracies.
What are you doing next?
With my spare time severely limited at least for another year, there isn’t much on my plate aside from the impromptu editing stints I take on. David Owain Hughes and I have been tossing around an idea for a bizarro novella for some time now, but we haven’t gotten around to the nitty gritty yet. I’d love to create and compile the short story collection mentioned earlier (Plumb Fucked Conspiracies) sometime before truth comes to light. If any themed anthology strikes my fancy over the course of time, I’ll try for that (I’ve usually got 2-4 pieces circulating the market at any time). Also, though the Human-Undead War is over, there is still turmoil in the Human-Undead War world . . .
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Listen to your editors and beta readers and apply the knowledge you gain to future works. There’s already too much published first-draft shit swirling around the bowl. Don’t add to the steaming pile.
Learn to stand on your own merit and avoid falling prey to the grandiose circle-jerking so prevalent in the biz today. Popularity rarely means quality.
And, most importantly, don’t give up. Ever. Even when you want to disappear into obscurity. A true writer may step out of the limelight, but they can never leave the shadows.
Jonathan Edward Ondrashek is an Operations supervisor by day and moonlights as a horror/dark fantasy writer and editor. He’s the author of The Human-Undead War Trilogy (Dark Intentions, Patriarch, and A Kingdom’s Fall). His short stories have appeared in numerous horror anthologies, including the highly acclaimed Rejected for Content andVS: US vs UK Horror series. He also co-edited F*ck the Rules, What Goes Around, and Man Behind the Mask, anthologies featuring work from established and new voices in the horror genre.If he isn’t working at his day job, reading, editing, or writing, he’s probably drinking beer and making his wife regret marrying a lunatic. Feel free to stalk him on social media. He loves that shit.
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2f8IWXe
Entire Trilogy (US): http://amzn.to/2iGEJOY
Entire Trilogy (UK): http://amzn.to/2BKPgBu