Today I am excited to be interviewing Antony Stanton, Author of The Blood of the Infected series. This series includes titles such as Once Bitten, Twice Die, Once Bitten, Twice Live, and Twice Bitten, Twice Die. I read and reviewed the first novel in this series (review here) and I found that I truly enjoyed his take on how a zombie apocalypse could occur and what if there were more than just humans for the tasting 😜.
A conversation with Author Antony Stanton
Q. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I was born in London and although I lived in other places and countries, I am back in London now. After university, I joined the Royal Air Force as a pilot, and then changed to fly for British Airways as a commercial long-haul pilot, which is what I still do.
Q. When did you realize that you wanted to become a writer? What was the very first thing you ever wrote?
I started to write a fantasy book when I was about fifteen years old. It was along the same kind of lines as the Shannara books. I actually wrote a good couple of hundred pages of it and one day I may finish it.
Q. What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
The impetus to actually begin to write these books came from a semi-inebriated bet with mates. They challenged me to write and publish a book. So I woke up the next day, and thought, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, why the heck not? The challenge was the motivation I needed to stick my head above the parapet and risk being shot down. It was the incentive to risk failure and if anyone else wants to write a book but doesn’t want to risk the ridicule or failure, I’d just say, sod it! Go for it. What have you got to lose..? I wish I’d started 10 years earlier.
So many of us wish we could have made different choices in life and cheers to doing what makes you happy!
Q. Once Bitten, Twice Live, the second installment of The Blood of the Infected series, how did you come up with the idea for your book/series?
I always feel irritated when an author treats readers like idiots, expecting them to accept events or behavior from characters that is just unbelievable. That happens too much in vampire and zombie literature and film. Even with a subject that is based on the fantastical, everything should still make sense and be logical. So I wanted to write something that was more grounded in fact and hopefully more convincing and almost conceivable. Also, it occurred to me that vampires are often pitted against werewolves, even The Mummy or Frankenstein’s monster, but rarely ever against zombies. I love both vampires and zombies and so always wondered, what would happen if a suave and sexy vampire was cornered by a horde of enraged infected? What if the vampire, used to being top of the food chain, for once had to fight for his or her life, and had to (ironically) avoid being bitten? And how many zeds would it take to bring down a vamp anyway? There are so many interesting scenarios to explore, hence this series of books.
Q. What are you working on at the minute?
I have just published “Twice Bitten, Twice Die”, book three in the series. I have been in contact with an American production company who are keen to adapt the books for TV and film, and so now I am working on a rough draft of the first 10 episodes. We are about to pitch to a major studio. I think that the books would work really well on the screen so hopefully this could be the start of something big. It’s still a little way off becoming reality, but it’s looking very promising and it doesn’t hurt to dream, right..?
I agree completely. I think this would be a fantastic book to film story! So many possibilities, I love it!
Q. What are the upsides and downsides to being an author?
Upsides are the love of creating something that moves you, yourself. Holding the first paperback copy of your own book is an amazing feeling, and having someone you don’t know write a great review of your book is utterly thrilling. On those days I am smiling all day. Downsides – it does take a lot of effort, but as I enjoyed it so much that was not really a downside. Marketing the books is a fairly time-consuming, thankless and joyless task, so that would be my main downside I guess.
Q. What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Writing is not my main job. At the moment it is something I do in my spare time, but I would love to develop it, to write more books, both in the same series and others, and to become increasingly successful. I have self-published my books so far, but I guess like most indie-authors I would love to get a proper publishing contract.
Q. What do you do in your free time when you aren’t writing?
I am always busy. I love sports and do a lot of different types. I like to keep fit, and I am also very sociable, with a lot of friends and family in London. Also, although my main job is as a pilot, I still love to travel.
Q. Describe yourself in three words?
Energetic. Adventurous. Considerate.
Nice way to describe yourself!
Q. What’s the one piece of technology you can’t live without?
I’m not exactly a luddite, but I am no techno-geek, so I don’t really have any one essential bit of technology. However, after having tweaked, altered and edited my books countless times, I have the utmost respect for anyone who wrote a book in the days before computers and word-processors. Without that one bit of technology there is absolutely no way I could have written my books.
Q. If you could bring one of your characters to life, who would it be? And why?
Great question. Without a doubt – Flavia. She is the sexiest bad-ass vampiress of all time. I think she would be fascinating, and it would be amazing to meet her for real and fall under her spell. If my books do get adapted for TV and film I can’t wait to see who plays her character. One thing’s for certain, she’s gonna be hot!
Ha ha ha, I can just see those scene reads.
Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write, write lots, and keep on writing. Don’t listen to the nay-sayers who tell you that you can’t. Because if I can, then you certainly can. And also read – a LOT. Try to get someone else to read your work as you cannot see your own mistakes. And if I can be of any assistance (contact info included below) then please do get in touch. I’d be delighted to help, if able.
Q. Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you?
When I started I thought I knew pretty much exactly what was going to happen in my story. But as I wrote I realized that so much more was going on than I had realized. Any single event would need fleshing out, for example. There would be reasons and back-stories behind any one character’s actions. So I was taken on an incredible journey myself. The American poet Robert Frost once said something like, “No tears for the writer, no tears for the reader. No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.” I didn’t really understand before how an author can be surprised by his or her own story, but now I do. I found myself amazed by the twists and turns (and there are many) that my story takes, and sometimes actually found myself in tears as I wrote when I realized that one of the characters, whom you can’t help but get emotionally attached to, was about to die… It’s an incredible experience.
Ooooh I like that, great insight!
Q. Any last words?
Yes. Many people have sent me photos from around the world of them reading one of my ebooks / paperbacks, but sometimes just of the book by itself in an ‘unusual’ situation. In order to say thanks I print these photos in the back of the ebooks and paperbacks, along with a mention in the acknowledgements section. So if anyone wants a book with their picture in it, send me a photo of you reading one of my books, or just the book by itself. Be creative, the more unusual the better. You can get in touch through my website: http://www.oncebittentwice.com or I am on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and Instagram. All my contact details are also in the backs of my books. I’d be delighted to hear from anyone with any questions and guarantee to reply in person to everyone…