Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Interview with Tony Baker.

Full Name:
Tony Baker

Do you have a nickname or what do your friends call you?
I’ve been called a few other things over the years but nothing I would care to repeat here. *winks*
Don’t you try your masculine wiles on me, good sir!  You’re not the first interviewee to throw me a wink and you won’t be the last!  What were we talking about? Damn it!

“Small Town”, Indiana

Current hometown:
San Francisco, California

Favorite city and why?
Carmel, Indiana.  This is where my family lives and I greatly enjoy the slower pace. Friendlier people, season changes and I just find a greater peace when I am home.  Plans to move back to Indiana in the very near future.

Birthday / Age:
January 20 / I am 56 years old.

How would you describe yourself physically?
6’6” tall, about 230 with hazel eyes and salt & pepper hair. Decent shape for an old(er) guy.
Jeez!  You ain’t just whistling Dixie!  I’m just short of 40, 5’10” and 250.  You’re making me look bad!  Wait, maybe I’m making me look bad.  I’ll just blame you… or society.   It’s easier that way.
Yeah, believe me, height can either be a blessing or curse depending on the circumstances.

How would someone else describe you physically?
About the same way.

The first thing people notice about you is…
I’m tall.
…dark and handsome.  It’s okay.  This is your interview.  Brag a little.
Naw, at my age I’m good with just being described as tall.

Religion, if any?
I keep my options open in that regard.

Are you superstitious at all? Any phobias?
I guess I am kind of boring in that area.  No phobias I am aware of, or at least that I have discovered yet.  The only superstition I have, if you can call it that, is I always pick up a coin I might find laying on the ground.  But only if it is heads up and it has to go into my right shoe!  No idea where or when that started but I have always done it.
Weird!  I just wrote a short for an anthology based on that superstition.  “Find a penny.  Pick it up.  All day long, you’ll have good luck.”
I have thought about this a great deal since you asked and I can’t remember for the life of me where I picked that up. 

Do you smoke / drink? If so, what? Any bad habits?
No smoking and I enjoy an occasional nice red wine or jack & coke.

Current occupation / Dream job:
I am lucky enough to be able to write full time.  Retired from one career and started a small business in the property management field.  Lots of flexible time to pursue what I love the most; writing.
Living the dream!
Living the dream hugely!

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
Reading, movies and gatherings with friends.  I do some volunteer work for the City of San Francisco as well.  I have to also admit that I am somewhat of a Dead Island game junkie.  PC version so I hope X-boxers will not judge me too harshly.  *chuckles*  Over the past year I have been consumed with completing my first novel so unfortunately some of those things have neglected more than I would have liked.
Oh, dude!  If you like Dead Island you’ll probably LOVE The Last Of Us.  The gameplay looks AMAZING!
I’ve set a pretty stiff writing schedule for myself for 2014.  Twelve novels in twelve months.  Not counting an anthology a month from each of my publishing imprints.
But next Christmas I see a move to a warmer climate and a Playstation in my future and a month of playing The Last Of Us in my future.
I will definitely check that out!

What is your zombie outbreak survival plan?
Kill the zombies, collect supplies, fortify, and did I mention kill the zombies!  There are a few other things in place but nothing I would reveal of course.  *winks*
There you go with your sly winking again.  If you keep it up you’ll have to buy me a drink.
That wink thing was a big for my main character as well.  Drove my editor crazy!  *laughs*

Weapon of choice:
Glock 21, .45 caliber and a Remington 870 pump shotgun.  I own both and would have both.  There would also be a rather sharp katana nearby.  Sorry, that’s more than one weapon but that’s what I would have.
You just published a book.  You can have three weapons.  You earned it.
Thank you.

Do you have any special skills?
I’ve garnered a few ‘specialized skills’ over the years.
Alright then, Captain Vague… like what?
Now, now.  A few ‘secrets’ keeps writers interesting, don’t you think?
A man of mystery.  Fine then.  You can keep a couple secrets… for now.

Did you go to college and, if so, what for?
Yes, Business Administration and Criminal Justice.

If you went to college, did you manage to pay off your student loans?
I have and a long time ago.  Age has some benefits.

Any pets?   If so, what are they and what are their names?
No pets at the moment.

What is your favorite animal?
Cat and much to the dismay of some of my friends.  If I lived outside of the city I would greatly enjoy having a dog companion, though.

Speaking of pets, any pet peeves?
People who are narcissistic.  That’s a big one for me!  I have never understood folks like that. Otherwise, I try not to be judgmental and just go with the flow.

Favorite / Least favorite Food:
I enjoy eating!  Not picky at all and can’t think of anything off the top of my head that I don’t care for really other than fish.  But I love sushi.  Conflicted.
Sushi isn’t fish.  It’s bite-sized lumps of heaven on earth.
I know right!   My 15 year old nephew, Eric, loves the stuff as much as I do much to the dismay of my sister.  *laughs*

What is your favorite quotation / motto / saying?
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your” - Mark Twain

What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
Reconnecting with family after several years’ separation and finally starting on this writing journey.  In that order.

What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?
Among a few things the highest on that list is losing contact with family.

Ever had your heart broken? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
Nope.  Confirmed bachelor here.  I’ve been ‘disappointed’ a few times over the years but never allowed anyone to break my heart.
Watch out for those author groupies, sir.  If a girl gives you a card for her pet-walking service at a book signing, she doesn’t want to walk your dogs.
*almost winks then changes to sheepish grin*

Ever broken someone’s heart? Is there a story worth telling behind your answer?
I sure hope not!

What is the best thing you’ve ever done?
Pursued a rewarding career and then started writing.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
Started writing?  *laughs* I have some regrets about certain things I have done, as we all do, but nothing noteworthy or very interesting.

If you could kill one person, who would it be, and why?
Nope, not a single person on that list.

What do you do?
I have finally become comfortable with claiming the title ‘author’.  I am a writer.
Once your name’s on a cover and someone buys a copy, you’re in the club.  Good luck.
I guess I’m in the club now for sure.

How did you get started doing what you do?
I have always been an avid reader and across a broad spectrum of genres.  Horror and post-apocalyptic fiction have always been my favorites, though.  For a very long time, twenty-five plus years, I have wanted to try my hand at writing but never pursed that dream thinking it would be nearly impossible to achieve.  Several years ago I purchased my first Kindle and discovered this new approach; indie-publishing.  I finally realized that my dream of writing might be achievable.  After continuing to build my Kindle library with several hundred books I finally decided that I could probably write as well as the worst I have read and took the plunge.  I sat down for the first time in September 2012 and began that journey and have not looked back since.
That’s a great story!  I love encouraging new talent!  As long as they provide the talent part.
Sometimes people need just a little encouragement to allow their talent to shine.

What is your advice to other people that want to get started doing what you do?
Chase your dreams!  Do not allow naysayers or self-doubt to stand in your way. I am a testament to the fact that if you have the drive and commitment you will succeed.  Don’t allow anyone to discourage you and seek out support from like-minded people.  I faced some very stiff opposition when I first began, but I always kept a quote from Earnest Hemingway in mind; “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”  I have found that simple statement to be quite true in my experiences so far.

What are some of the projects you’ve worked on/finished in the past?
Give us a little history if you will.
Nothing really interesting.

What projects are you working on now?
I just published the first book in the Survivors of the Dead series, From the Ashes.  It went live on Amazon Kindle January 16.
Woah, SERIES!  You got bit by the writing bug in a big bad way didn’t you?
As I said, this story has had years to develop in my head; to evolve I suppose. Writing it has been the easy part.   As it stands right now, yes, I envision a minimum of three books in the Survivors of the Dead series.  But I am certainly not limiting the series length.   As long as the
readers enjoy the story I will keep writing it.

What are you watching?
I love Blacklist and Sleepy Hollow!

What are you listening to?
My tastes run the gambit.

What are you reading?
I am just beginning DA Roberts’, Ragnarok Rising: The Crossing which will be followed by Mike Clary’s, Broken.  My Kindle is packed with titles I have not read over the past several months as I have finished writing my own book so I there is a lot of reading to catch up on.
I know that feel.  But that’s the price you pay.  I can’t be reading someone else’s book and writing my own.  After I finish my latest, I’m going to make some time to read and review three or five books from my new author friends I’ve made through my interview blog.  There’s some really good stuff waiting for me and it’s a great inspiration to meet my personal writing goals so I can just kick back and read for a change.
I agree completely.  I am giving myself a few weeks break before diving back into my work.  I plan to put a huge dent in my TBR list during that time.  I, too, have some great stuff waiting and I really look forward to jumping into other writer’s worlds for a time.

Favorite author / book?
That list would be quite long and spanning a broad spectrum of genres!  People like Mark Twain, Poe, King and Hemingway.  Even a few obscure folks like Ambrose Bierce and Algernon Blackwood!  *laughs*  You’ll probably have to look those two up.   Some of the indie authors I have enjoyed immensely are DA Roberts, Mike Clary, Stephen North, David Reuben Aslin, Mark Tufo and so many more!  The list, as I said, is quite long!  Another upside to achieving some age.  *winks*
Don’t you go winking at me, sir!  I’ve got tattoos of Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff.  I love myself some old school gothic horror.  I’m one of those people that actually read The House Of Seven Gables before I took the tour… on a school trip… in sixth grade.  My literary tastes were forged by Poe and Lovecraft.  When I was a kid, whenever I’d get in trouble, the only place I was allowed to go was the public library, and I read everything they had.  I remember distinctly when they finally let me borrow books from the “adult” section.  I borrowed a non-fiction book about the Mary Celeste and the thickest Stephen King book they’d let me walk away with, which ended up being It.  I never looked back.
Ah yes, I most certainly am feeling my age!  *laughs*

Favorite band / song?
No favorites really.  I enjoy just about all types of music.

Least favorite band / song?

Don’t have either.

If you could do anything other than what you do now, what would you do?
I really just could not see myself doing anything other than what I am right now; writing.

Who would you want to meet that you haven’t met?
You get three choices: Alive. Dead. Fictional.
Wow, heady question.  People like Martin Luther King, Albert Einstein, Poe and Hemingway come to mind off the top of my head.  Many more, though.

What’s the best and worst job you’ve ever had?
The best is finally beginning a writing career.  There are several I could list on the ‘worst list’ as could we all.  *laughs*

Are there any questions that I didn’t ask that you wished I had asked that you would like to answer now?

Nothing comes to mind. I think your questions are great and I really appreciate this opportunity to chat with you, Scott!
Keep me posted if anything comes to mind in the follow-up phase.  I like having the chance to get to know you too, especially considering the somewhat inauspicious start that our acquaintance began on, with me talking big game in a thread on David Forsythe’s wall.  But with seven books self-published in the past two months I hope I’m starting to live up to the line of hype I laid down! *laughs*
I don’t judge people for what they say in posts, Scott.  You are self-confident and frankly I enjoyed what you had to say.  Didn’t necessarily agree with everything but that’s one of the great things about the country we live in.  We can all have our opinions.   I wish you only the very best for your success and will be there cheering you on.
I still remember your comment, and knew we’d get along famously, “I don’t know who this “Scott Lefebvre” character is, but I looked him up on Amazon and he’s only got one book and five anthology credits to his name, so I’m waiting to see what he does before I pass judgment.” …or something like that.  Seven books later I hope I’m living up to your expectations!  *laughs*  I love some healthy competition…
just as long as they don’t sell more books than I do!

Anyone you recommend I interview that you can put me in touch with?
I think the folks you are currently working with are fantastic!  I’ll refer names to you as they come up, though.
Well appreciated!

Thanks for letting me subject you to being interviewed!
It has been a pleasure, Scott, thank you!

About the Interviewee:
Originally from Indiana, Tony moved to San Francisco in the early 1980’s where over the next 30 years he garnered a great deal of insight onto human nature.  Experience which created a perfect understanding of the possibilities that await should an apocalyptic event should befall society.  Being an avid reader of the horror genre for years, Tony developed a deep-seated desire to write, often jokingly saying, “I think I would write as well as the worst I have read.”  After years of contemplating that desire he took the first step on that journey in September 2012 and began writing From the Ashes, the first book in his Survivors of the Dead series

About the Interviewer:
Scott Lefebvre can write about whatever you want him to write about.
Mostly because when he was grounded for his outlandish behavior as a hyperactive school child, the only place he was allowed to go was the public library.
His literary tastes were forged by the works of Helen Hoke, Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. P. Lovecraft.
He is the author of Spooky Creepy Long Island, and a contributing author to Forrest J. Ackerman’s Anthology of the Living Dead, Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction, The Call of Lovecraft, and Cashiers du Cinemart.
He is currently working on ten novel-length book projects which will be released in 2014.
He also publishes themed collections of interviews from his interview blog You Are Entitled To My Opinion.
His reviews have been published by a variety of in print and online media including Scars Magazine, Icons of Fright, Fatally Yours and Screams of Terror, and he has appeared in Fangoria, Rue Morgue and HorrorHound Magazine.
He is the Assistant Program Director for The Arkham Film Society and produces electronic music under the names Master Control and LOVECRAFTWORK.
He is currently working on a novel-length expansion of a short-story titled, "The End Of The World Is Nigh", a crowd-funded, crowd-sourced, post-apocalyptic, zombie epidemic project.
Check out the blog for the book here:
Check out the Facebook Fan Page for the project here:
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Check out his publishing imprint Burnt Offerings Books here:
And here:
Check out his electronic music here:
And here:
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Follow his Twitter here: or @TheLefebvre
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