I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Tufo, a leading voice in a new generation of authors who have found huge success in self publishing. He’s also a great guy. His ZOMBIE FALLOUT series reads like ZOMBIELAND in print–a great zombie story while at the same time being very funny. Here’s the interview:
Craig: Welcome to the blog!
Mark: First off I wanted to say thank you. As a huge fan of your work it is an honor to be asked to be on your blog!
Craig: Tell us about yourself and your work.
Mark: My name is Mark Tufo and I’m mostly known for my ZOMBIE FALLOUT series but I’m also trying my hand at some sci-fi and paranormal fiction.
Craig: What makes zombies so interesting to write about?
Mark: I think that zombies strike a chord deep in the human psyche. Of all the fictional monsters one could encounter this ranks as one of the worst, mostly because of the wide scale apocalyptic destruction they wreak. Vampires, werewolves and insert monster here are scary in their own right but they are usually only relegated to towns cut off from the rest of society for whatever reason. Zombies are everywhere, there is no safe haven, fighting zombies is a continual test for survival, and I enjoy that frenetic pace that this entails while writing.
Craig: Which writers do you particularly admire, and what did each teach you about the craft or profession of writing?
Mark: This blog isn’t big enough for me to list all the authors that I admire or have been influenced by. Stephen King was my first foray into horror and I will always be indebted to him for that. Another author that got me to love science fiction is John Christopher and The White Mountains series. Then I look to those that I consider pioneers in this indie movement J.A. Konrath, he proved that it can be done and it can be done successfully and also you Craig you’ve shown that small to medium presses can give authors a credible platform to launch their books from. It’s folks like you that have given me confidence in this field and for that I am eternally thankful.
Craig: What’s the last book in the genre that you particularly enjoyed?
Mark: I get asked this a lot from readers because they always want to know what zombie books they should read and I always tell them that there is a very high degree of probability that they have read WAY more books in the genre than I have. With that in mind the last book I read about zombies was Armand Rosamilia’s The Miami Spy Games, besides being a hell of a nice guy he’s writing a great series.
Craig: What are the key elements to a great story, and how do you approach them?
Mark: Memorable characters I believe is the key element. If you don’t care what happens to any of the people you’re reading about then it isn’t going to matter one bit what you think of the story, it will fall flat.
Craig: Your books have great action but are very funny at the same time. What is your approach to humor and what do you think it adds to your work?
Mark: When I first started writing the Zombie Fallout Series I did not intend to add as much humor into it, that was just a by-product of Michael Talbot, my lead character. I’ve had a lot of readers that love the banter in the dialog because it helps break up some of the under lying and ever present tension and danger. My goal was never to get schticky with it, I don’t want it to be cheesy I want it to fit within the confines of the characters I have created.
Craig: Michael Talbot is a great character in that he is heroic while being very flawed and human. What was your thought process in developing him?
Mark: I’ve read more books than I care to remember that the lead always comes off as super human or Rambo, doesn’t care what he or she kills and is never affected by what goes on around them. I never found them to be believable. To be human, is to be flawed, is to feel pain and loss, concern and worry. I wanted Mike to be the every man, I asked myself the question, ‘How would I act if zombies were at my door?’ and I went from there.
Craig: What are you working on? What can we expect next from you?
Mark: ZOMBIE FALLOUT 6 was just released on October 1st, currently I am writing a 4 part series, THE BOOK OF RILEY, it’s a zombie book through the eyes of an American Bulldog and currently I’m penning my 2nd go around with the paranormal genre entitled CALLIS ROSE. ZOMBIE FALLOUT is in a developmental deal for television production so I’ve been in contact with the producers as they turn the books into scripts (not an easy process). So busy but loving it.
Craig: Good stuff! Thanks for joining us today, Mark!
Mark: Thank you for the opportunity to be on your blog. You rock man!