Book Name and Description: Rotter World (book 1 of trilogy):
Eight months have passed since vampires released the Revenant Virus on mankind, nearly wiping out both species. For Mike Robson, the situation could be far worse. He has joined up with a small band of humans and the last coven of vampires who are riding out the zombie apocalypse in an old fort along the coast of southern Maine. The uneasy alliance between humans and vampires is strained with the arrival of the creator of the Revenant Virus. Compton claims to have a vaccine that will make them immune from the virus and allow mankind to take civilization back from the living dead. However, the vaccine is located in a secure underground facility five hundred miles away. To retrieve it, Robson leads a raiding party of humans and vampires down the East Coast, which has been devastated by the outbreak and overrun by zombies and rape gangs. Yet none of the horrors he deals with on the road can prepare him for what he will find in Pennsylvania. Once inside the underground facility, the Robson encounters the greatest threat his group has faced to date, not only from zombies but from betrayal within their own ranks.
(after interview, see more descriptions of Mr. Baker’s books)
What got you into writing in this genre?
I originally started writing back in the 1990s. At that time I worked for the CIA, so I wrote espionage novels and techno-thrillers. I had one manuscript with a literary agent (about a nuclear war between North Korea and the United States) who had several publishers interested in the book. Then 11 September took place, and overnight the market for that genre dried up. I still wanted to write, and since I had been a fan of monsters movies since I was a little kid, I decided to write horror. I actually enjoy this genre more, because it allows me greater creativity. When writing about military aircraft or nuclear weapons, I had to be precise in what I wrote otherwise I lost credibility. When writing about zombies and vampires, I’m only limited by my twisted imagination.
Tell us about your past books and stories?
My Rotter World trilogy is a different type of zombie apocalypse saga in which I detail the attempts by a small group of vampires and humans to survive the apocalypse. What I do differently is to develop the series where the main characters eventually join the final battle to rid the world of the living dead, a battle in which only one side prevails.
Nazi Ghouls From Space is a tongue-in-cheek novella. At the end of World War II, the Nazis launch three German soldiers into space in an attempt to develop a long-range missile that can be used against the United States; the space capsule crashes in the United States in 1947 with the expected consequences.
The novella Dead Water is about a zombie outbreak on an oil rig off the U.S. coast. The anthology Cruise of the Living Dead includes stories about a zombie outbreak aboard a cruise ship, rednecks vs. zombies, and cannibalism during the zompoc (because being eaten by the living dead is not scary enough).
If zombies are not your thing (shame on you), I’ve also published The Vampire Hunters trilogy, about humans battling the undead in the nation’s capital, and Yeitso, my homage to the big bug movies of the 1950s.
What is the writing process like for you? What is your writing day like? What have been the biggest influences on your writing?
I have two times I write. My wife works shifts as a nurse and my daughter is still in school, so I do most of my writing in the morning when I have the house to myself. In the early afternoon I take a nap with the dogs, and spend the rest of the day and early evening with my family when they get home. Once they’ve gone to bed, I go back to writing. My goal is 10,000 words a week. Usually I reach that goal.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
If you’re referring to my creativity, I don’t think that I’ve evolved. I’ve always had an active (some say warped) imagination. I’m constantly reading a news report or having a conversation with friends that sparks an idea for a novel or short story. My problem isn’t coming up with ideas for mu books; it’s having the time to put all those ideas into print. Every time I mention another story idea, my wife laughs and says, “Why don’t you finish the other books you’re writing first.”
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Ten years ago, when I was still struggling to get published, J.F. Gonzalez told me, “Enjoy writing, because publishing is hard.” I never understood what he meant until I signed my first contract. The creative process is the fun part. Editing and revising, marketing, and the other business ends of the industry are the prices we have to pay to be published writers.
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
That’s a tough one. I’m proud of all my work for difference reasons. My zombie trilogy brings a new aspect to the genre. Nazi Ghouls From Space blends history with the living dead and answers some of the unanswered questions of history. However, I’m very fond of one of the stories in my anthology Cruise of the Living Dead titled “Deck the Malls with Bowels of Holly,” my Christmas zombie story about an alcoholic mall Santa battling zombie reindeer. Think Army of Darkness meets A Christmas Story.
The Rotter World saga best represents my style. Most of my writing is dark, and my views of a post-apocalyptic world are bleak. That comes out in full force in my Rotter series where the world is a dangerous place, and not just because of the living dead. As the main characters attempt to save the world from the zombie virus, they encounter rape gangs, incompetent government officials, black marketers, and people who are looking out only for their own survival. In my opinion, it’s what the world would devolve onto following a societal collapse.
What are you doing next?
Currently I’m working on two projects simultaneously. The first is a five-book series of young adult post-apocalypse novels I’m writing under a pseudonym (the Hell Gate saga by Josh Matthews); the novels deal with portals opening up between Earth and Hell, allowing demons to escape into our realm, and the struggle by sixteen-year-old Jason McCreary to close them. The second is a hybrid between horror and political thriller called MAG: Mutant Assassin Group. In this book, the U.S. Government develops genetically-enhanced mind-controlled assassins to hunt down America’s terrorist enemies, but at the last minute decides to use these zombie-like assassins against North Korean leader Kim Chong-un. If the first novel is successful, I plan on extending the series until it eventually ends in global biological warfare. (I told you I have a bleak outlook on the apocalypse.)
I’m also developing a series of World War II-themed novels titled OSS: Office of Supernatural Service, about Allied intelligence officers battling Nazi occultism. ‘
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
I have two bits of advice. First, keep writing. I know life places other demands on us, but you must set aside time every day to put something down on paper. Even if you only write a page a day, in a year you’ll have a 350-page manuscript, which is more than most people can say. Writers write.
Second, don’t give up. The changes in the industry in the past few years, especially on-line publishing, have provided opportunities for writers unheard of ten years ago. It also has provided more complexities and aggravations that effect both indie and mainstream writers. Are you going to doubt your sanity for trying to become a writer? Constantly. Should you give up and do something more emotionally rewarding, like becoming a stripper? Hell no. If you love writing and are serious about the craft, then see it through. Don’t let your one regret when you’re in your eighties be that you gave up on what you loved.
Scott M. Baker was born and raised in Everett, Massachusetts and spent twenty-three years in northern Virginia working for the Central Intelligence Agency. Scott is now retired and lives outside of Concord, New Hampshire as a full-time writer along with his wife and fellow author Alison Beightol and his stepdaughter. He has written Yeitso, his homage to the giant monster movies of the 1950s that he loved watching as a kid; Rotter World, Rotter Nation, and Rotter Apocalypse, his post-apocalyptic zombie trilogy; The Vampire Hunters trilogy, about humans fighting the undead in Washington D.C.; as well as the novella Nazi Ghouls from Space (the title says it all), his zombie-themed anthology Cruise of the Living Dead, and his anthology of non-zombie horror Incident on Ironstone Lane. He is currently working on a series of dark techno-thrillers and is planning a second series about Allied intelligence officers fighting Nazi occultism in World War II.
When not writing, Scott can usually be found doting on the two boxers and two cats that kindly allow him to live with and dote on them.
Other books by Scott M. Baker
Despite being nine months into a zombie apocalypse, life had taken a fortunate turn for Mike Robson and Natalie Barzagan. Not only had their group retrieved the vaccine for the Zombie Virus from the underground military facility at Site R, they had found love with each other. That optimism is short-lived. When the group returns to its camp, a rape gang has destroyed the compound, murdered their friends, and kidnapped one of the young women. With everything they have achieved now destroyed, Robson makes the fateful decision to split his group. As he organizes a desperate attempt to rescue their friend from the rape gang, Natalie leads her Angels through a rotter-infested nation to bring the vaccine to the government-in-exile on Omaha. Both groups soon discover that everything that has happened to them up to now cannot compare with the horrors they are about to encounter.
The zombie apocalypse is about to reach its inevitable conclusion, but not before it unleashes a few more nightmares on Natalie Barzagan, Mike Robson, and Windows. After breaking away from the rest of the group, Natalie and her Angels succeeded in getting the vaccine to the government-in-exile in San Francisco where Natalie joins the military effort to clear the West Coast of the living dead. Robson destroyed the rape camp that had kidnapped Windows, but not until after she had escaped. Along with the remaining vampires and a band of camp stragglers, he sets off to build a new compound. Windows and the ten-year-old girl she rescued from the camp are taken in by a kindly widower who gives them the opportunity to start over and heal their wounds, emotional and physical. Just as Natalie, Robson, and Windows are settling into their new lives, each will be confronted with a final life or death decision that will decide their fates.
Nazi Ghouls From Space:
January 1945. The Allies have crossed the German border. In a desperate effort to avoid the inevitable defeat, the Third Reich develops a long-range rocket capable of striking the United States. Three German soldiers pilot the capsule, volunteers who agreed to test fly the craft to ensure victory for the Fatherland. However, a technical malfunction propels them into orbit with no way to bring them home.
July 1947. The capsule plummets back to Earth and crashes in the isolated flats of the New Mexico desert. What returns are not the bodies of the three German soldiers lost in space for over two years, but something far more ghoulish. When an unsuspecting rancher opens the hatch to check inside, he unleashes on America the reanimated bodies of the test pilots who are now living dead creatures that crave human flesh.
When the crew of an oil platform off the Virginia coast rescue a survivor from a lifeboat adrift at sea, they inadvertently release a zombie virus aboard their rig. As the crew is rapidly transformed into the living dead, the captain must find a way to stop the infection before it can spread to shore, even if that means sacrificing those on board.
Cruise of the Living Dead:
An outbreak of the living dead aboard a cruise ship. Cannibalism among the survivors of the rising. Steampunk reanimates. These are some of the nightmarish scenarios that Scott M. Baker has written about. Now most of his zombie-themed short stories have been pulled together in Cruise of the Living Dead: A Zombie Anthology. This collection contains the never-before-published short story “Recognition” which follows the turning of a human into one of the living dead from the zombie’s point of view. The other stories include: “Cruise of the Living Dead”, “Rednecks Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things”, “The Hunger”, “Last Flight of the Bismarck”, and “Is Anyone Out There?”