Friday, March 21, 2014

I Left My Heart In San Francisco; Tony Baker Came Along And Ate It

You're reading Books, Beer and BLOGshit! It's the only blog that is getting too old for this shit. I am your blogging pal, Mr. Frank.

Zombies. I can't help it. I'm sick of them and yet I keep going back to the well. It's a sickness. This time the virus that's infected me is author Tony Baker. I got to know Tony through the intertubes early on in his freshman writing venture. He was nothing short of a real nice guy and he had a passion to write his first book, SURVIVORS OF THE DEAD. Though he was proudly displaying book covers and advertising book trailers for the book, he had still to complete writing at the time.

Ballsy to say the least. If he failed to get it done he would have looked the fool who invested in a passing dream. If he succeeded he would have pulled off one of the most innovative pre-marketing campaigns I've ever watched conducted on social media.

Well, the later was the case and Tony Baker produced as promised. I was so impressed I invited Tony Baker to be interviewed here on The Blogshit. He was only too happy to take part.  So here is Mr. Get-It-Done himself, Tony Baker:

The Blogshi:  Welcome to Books, Beer and BLOGshit, author Tony Baker. How does it feel to have the moniker of author?

Tony Baker:  Thanks, Frank. I’m still not use to the title, but I guess I have claimed it. Hard to get my head around the fact that I have finished, let alone published, my very first book, and certainly hard to believe how well it seems to have been received in the genre.

The Blogshit:  Your first book, the zombie thriller, SURVIVORS OF THE DEAD, follows retired San Francisco police officer Harold Lancaster as he struggles to find a foothold of a safe haven for himself and those he finds still struggling for life at the start of a zombie outbreak. What sets your story apart from other zombie apocalypse stories?

Tony Baker:  I consider my series to be another installment in a genre that has been written about many times. I do not think there is anything specific or dramatic that sets Survivors of the Dead apart from the rest of the amazing work that has already been published. My work is just a different take, or perspective, on that same story. Like a different episode of a TV series, featuring different characters, and a slightly different story line. The end of the world as we know it, humanity brought to its knees, and survival. Good versus evil. The same story told through the experiences of a different group of characters and circumstances.

The Blogshit:  As stated before, the main character is a retired police officer, did you write this character from experience?

Tony Baker:  The best, and most common, advice I received prior to starting on my writing journey was ‘write what you know’. The short answer to your question, is yes, I developed the character of Harry Lancaster from direct experience

The Blogshit:  Have you learned anything about your first writing experience based on reader’s reaction to the book do far?

Tony Baker:  As of this interview I have received eighty-two reviews on Amazon. Mostly high praise for a first attempt at writing, but many of the reviews have offered insights that I will take into account going forward. I will not change my style, my voice, but there have been suggestions and observations that make sense to me. My goal is to produce the most enjoyable experience for a reader as possible, and to that end I am thankful for the input from those who have read the book, and shared their thoughts.

The Blogshit:  Will you be focusing exclusively on this series going forward or do you have plans to expand the scope of your writing as you continue the story of Harold Lancaster?

Tony Baker:  Harry’s journey has only just begun, and with at least three more books in the series I am not certain where I will go afterward. I have some ideas, but it is too early in my career to spend a lot of time dwelling on that right now. THE ROAD UNKNOWN, book two in the series, is on track to publish this Fall so that is what I am currently concentrating on. I certainly plan to keep writing as long as readers are interested in reading my work.

The Blogshit:  What was the toughest moment from the first word you wrote to the publication of SURVIVORS OF THE DEAD?

Tony Baker:  That could be an entire interview by itself, but I think the toughest was the learning curve. Not only writing, but learning how to market myself, the book, and how not to step on too many toes in the process. I can honestly say, however, that the past year has been one of the most exciting experiences of my life.

The Blogshit:  You had a very unique marketing technique leading up to the release of this book. Basically you had the cover, several book trailers and tons of social media hype before the book was even remotely complete. Did that technique serve as a personal motivator for you in addition to creating a lot of buzz and did doing things that way bring a lot of naysayers?

Tony Baker:  Oh yes, there were certainly naysayers. Some quite vocal, while others simply stood back, I’m convinced, and watched. I really did not have a specific strategy in mind other than to allow folks to get to know me as a person, and share the experiences I had while writing. I truly enjoy connecting with people, and what happened over the past year allowed for that. I certainly talked about this project I was working on, but I also shared, supported and promoted other folks work along the way. I was privileged to meet some incredible people who have shown a huge amount of support since the book published. 

The Blogshit:  Do you plan on a similar campaign leading into the next book in the series?

Tony Baker: Yes, but I suspect it will be slightly different. I am thinking that folks will take me a bit more seriously? I am well into book two, and there is a video book trailer planned for release sometime this summer. I plan to continue to do what I always have; have fun writing, share other writers successes, and promote my friends work whenever possible.

The Blogshit:  I'm sure you've accomplished a great many of your goals upon completion of SURVIVORS OF THE DEAD, are there still some goals that have eluded you however?

Tony Baker:  From the Ashes is the first book in the Survivors of the Dead series, and with at least three more books planned this series remains my primary goal. The biggest accomplishment with this first book is very simple; I finished it.

The Blogshit:  In three sentences or less, tell us why we need to read SURVIVORS OF THE DEAD.

Tony Baker:  Harold Lancaster, a retired San Francisco police officer, as he witnesses the devastation of humanity after a worldwide viral terrorist attack that will change the course of history forever.

Harry learns that he and his family, as well as a portion of what remains of the population, is immune to the mutated virus that has been unleashed. During forced relocation, his young nephew is separated from his parents and left in a world now ruled by anarchy and filled with horrors beyond comprehension. Harry's unshakable resolve, his only reason to exist, is to reach his nephew and reunite with the rest of his family. Along with a small band of friends who refuse to leave his side, and after assisting in establishing a safe haven on Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay, Harry embarks on an arduous twenty-three hundred mile trek across a ravaged country.

Although Harry faces the infected and unspeakable horrors, he also discovers incredible acts of courage and resolve by those who remain among the Survivors of the Dead...

Well, that wasn't three sentences, but we've all learned by now that Tony Baker is a rule breaker. That is why he's here. 

SURVIVORS OF THE DEAD is available on Kindle for only $2.99 as well as paperback. Please take a moment to check out Tony Baker's web site and add him as a friend on Facebook. He is about the most modest, humble writer you could ever meet. Don't let that fool you though, his zombies are anything but friendly...