****Deathina Nite is our winner!****
This giveaway is closed. Thank you everyone who entered. Stay tuned as we have many more lined up.
Punky Moms co-owner Jennifer is lucky enough to be married to this hunky author. And he is lucky enough that she thinks he is hunky. It’s a match made in heaven! Michael’s first stand-alone novel was published last month and we were able to secure a little interview and an awesome giveaway. Make sure to read to the end to learn how to win an autographed copy of one of his books.
Michael Fisher, Fish to his friends and family, has worn many hats in his long life including US Navy Hospital Corpsman, club DJ, security specialist, psychiatric technician, painter, and currently: father, Mason, author and tattooer, but not necessarily in that order. He has a love of ugly Hawaiian shirts (XXL & XXXL, if you want to send some, the uglier the better) and bears a passing resemblance to Walter Sobchak in The Big Lebowski. You can find and stalk him at Epic Fish Tales.
His work has been previously published in The Tall Book of Zombie Shorts from S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Anthologies as well as winning Honorable Mention for Short Story of the Year 2013 for The Return of the Devil Fly in the Midnight Remains anthology, the Rejected for Content anthology, both from J. Ellington Ashton Press and the Feral Hearts collaboration from JEA. His first novel, DC’s Dead was released by JEA Press in 2014. He is also an editor and cover designer with JEA Press.
We had the chance to sit down with Michael recently to discuss his life and his new book, DC’s Dead.
Punky Moms: “So tell your readers about yourself. When did you start writing?”
Michael Fisher: “My name is Michael Fisher, Fish to my friends. I live in South Florida after an extended duration in Washington, DC.
I first start creating my own stories when I was in elementary school, playing Dungeons & Dragons. I created entire worlds and peopled it with characters, with the exception of the main players’ characters.
Before I relocated to South Florida in 2002, I had an exceptionally good gaming session with some friends, whose reactions inspired me to write the story down. That story would eventually become DC’s Dead.
Once I moved to Florida, I had quite a large amount of free time, so I picked up a spiral bound notebook and began writing it down. Eventually, I shifted over to typing it, but I still have the longhand manuscript, or at least part of it.”
PM: “What authors inspired you to write?”
MF: “I have been a lover of horror my entire life, ever since seeing Bela Lugosi’s Dracula at four years old. I grew up reading short horror in Alfred Hitchcock Magazine. As soon as I cleared the double digits in age, I started in on Stephen King and HP Lovecraft, later moving onto Clive Barker’s more extreme splatterpunk horror in the Books of Blood. I never left.”
PM: “How do you fit writing in with not only working, but parenting as well?”
MF: “It is very difficult. I work 48+ hours a week tattooing, plus all the responsibilities with being a husband and parent. I cannot maintain a daily writing regimen like many full-time authors. Instead, I do most of my writing in waiting areas, whether it is at my kids’ taekwondo classes, Boy Scout meeting, doctor’s appointments or in the pick up line at school. When I am not writing in those places, I am likely either doing cover design or editing for my publisher. I keep my plate overflowing. So far, and hopefully for the foreseeable future, I have done the covers for every book I have been in, with the exception of the upcoming Lycanthroship.”
PM: “What is the best part about being a writer?”
MF: “I truly think the best part about writing is getting to share my stories with others. While I would love to be the next King, Barker or Rowling, I am realistic in knowing that it will not happen. I am happy when people decide they want to read what I have written.”
PM: “What advice do you have for new writers?”
MF: “If you want to be a writer, write. Don’t do it for the money or the fame. Do it because you need to do it, to let those stories out to run wild in the world. Sure, if you make some money: wonderful. But it shouldn’t be your driving force. A creative person, in any form, creates not because they want to, but because they have to do it to be happy.”
PM: “What book do you wish you had written?”
MF: “The Game Changer: such as when Lovecraft defined Cosmic Horror with At the Mountains of Madness, when Barker created splatterpunk with The Books of Blood, or when Matheson’s I Am Legend created the roots of what would become zombie survival horror.”
PM: “Do your covers matter?”
MF: “Covers matter so much. They always say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but we most definitely do. As an artist, I usually have an idea of what I would like the cover of my story to look like. Luckily, I have developed both an eye for design and the skills to create my own, not to mention a position on staff at JEA as a cover designer. Generally, by the time my story is complete, so is its cover art.
PM: “Tell us a little about your latest publication, what’s it about, where can we find it, do you think it will have a sequel?”
MF: “My first novel, DC’s Dead, is about a group of friends in the DC Freak Scene who witness the zombie rise happening on Memorial Day 2001. Yes, it is a period piece. It had to take place before 9/11. Mainly, people were not as paranoid of helping strangers before the Towers fell. We lost a lot of our innocence on that day. It is the classic tale of friends bonding together to survive the zombie uprising, and what they will lose in their struggle to survive. It has been described as being as much a buddy story as a zombie story.
Interestingly, although it uses DC in its title, none of the story actually takes place in the city proper. I did this deliberately. Many people will say they are from DC or Baltimore, but do not actually live in the city itself. The entire Metro area is DC to the locals. In fact, the entire third act is set in the mountains of Virginia, hours away from the area.
I have discussed a few ideas about continuing the story in a few different ways. I left it open so that a true sequel could be written using the characters that make it to the end. I have also thought about telling the story of the same day from a different group’s perspective. Thirdly, I have considered doing an anthology of short stories about different people’s encounters during the Rise. These could all be interesting as the main characters in DC’s Dead, and likely any potential sequels, are fictionalizations of my real friends in DC, with their permission, of course. The DC Scene is quite large and I had a plethora of people to give me inspiration.”
PM: “Can you tell us about some of your other work?”
MF: “My next novel is currently titled It Always Bites You in the End, and is a combination supernatural story crossed with a police procedural. It is told from the perspective of Detective Bill MacCallen of DC Metro Homicide. He encounters a series of unusual deaths that are all obviously connected but, while he is trying to find the killer, he gets himself involved with something much more powerful than himself.
I also have quite a few other projects that are already out, or due out soon. I wrote a story called The Return of the Devil Fly, which was my first published piece with JEA, released in the anthology Midnight Remains. This story also won the second place for short story of the year from JEA Press. It is the story of a Korean War vet returning to small-town Ohio after being injured and the descent into the madness that can follow a soldier back from war.
Feral Hearts is a collaborative novel written with five of the other talented authors at JEA. It is a story of six young singles that encounter a group of vampires at a getaway in Italy. It makes vampires scary again, as well as sexy. It is part of the JEA666 line, which involves six writers, six main characters, and six endings.
There are a few other anthologies coming out in the near future containing some of my stories. They include Rejected for Content, an anthology of retro exploitation cinema-style horror, which was just released to glowing reviews; Floppy Shoes Apocalypse, a collection of clown horror; Axes of Evil 2, a heavy metal horror book; and Under the Bridge, reimagining the classic troll into something for the new millenium.”
PM: “Thanks for taking the time to talk to us today. Is there anything else you wanted to share with our readers?”
MF: “The life of a tattooing, horror-writing dad can be quite hectic, but worthwhile. Luckily, I have a wonderful wife who supports me in my creative endeavors. I joke with her that instead of buying a red convertible and taking a mistress for a midlife crisis, I started a writing career.”
DC’s Dead (Don’t forget that apostrophe) is available through Amazon, both in Kindle and DeadTreeEdition™ (print). If you pick it up, please leave me a review so that others can see what you thought of it.
Thanks for making it this far. Now is the time to let in on the giveaway we are having. To help get Halloween off to an early start, we are giving away an autographed copy of Midnight Remains, the book containing his award-winning story. Entries will be taken through 10/21 and the winner will be contacted on 10/22.