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Interview with Stephen O'Pry

He is a father and husband, first infected our world with Zombiearth in 2019 just before our own world experienced a pandemic. He has also instilled the fear of giving hitch hiker's a ride with his psychological thriller, Hitch Hacker.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
I never thought I would be an author, my inspiration for writing came from a failed attempt at starting a band. I started writing lyrics at eighteen and actually did not have much interest at all in writing or reading, partly due to a writing assignment in high school.

Q.2 Are we going to read more from you shortly? Any new project you’re working on?
I will hopefully have at least two projects completed by the end of the year, I jump around from project to project to keep from getting burned out. 

I have recently been working on 2ombearth: Decimation, Zombi3arth: Genesis, Don't Run In The Dark, Standing Ovation, and a couple of interactive fictions as well.

Q.3 When did you decide to write Hitch Hacker?
I decided to write Hitch Hacker after giving a stranger in need a ride, despite the many friends trying to convince me otherwise. So I came up with the base idea of a hitchhiker who hacks people up and actually wrote most of it without too much planning, it was a spur-of-the-moment type project.

Q.4 It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing. Tell us about your marketing campaign?
I mostly go to events for exposure and use social media to the best of my abilities, working on branching out to other media formats to gain even more exposure.

Q.5 How long does it typically take for you to write a book?
With Zombiearth, it took nearly four years, but that's including all the note-taking I did for the majority of the series. Hitch Hacker took about a month since it is a novella, the shorter word count made it easier. 

The sequel to Zombiearth's first draft has been roughly two-thirds of the way completed, for quite a while, but due to my mom passing away in 2021 I stepped away from it to work on my interactive fiction, which will take years to complete.

Q.6 Were there any challenges you faced while writing this book?
The main challenge I faced was myself. After losing my mom, sticking to any project at all was difficult, so taking the new approach of just writing and not planning actually helped get me back on track.

Q.7 Do you have a routine when it comes to editing your books?
I like to write roughly three chapters, go back through them with the initial clean-up duty, and write three more chapters. Then start over from the beginning until the first couple of chapters are to my satisfaction.

Q.8 What kind of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Never give up. You can not expect to be the next Stephen King overnight. We are dreams, we do not exist, we create our existence. We have to work hard on making those dreams a reality, writing is just the first stepping stone to becoming an author. Always strive to learn something new, even the small things go a long way.

Q.9 Do you believe in writer’s block? If yes, how do you deal with it?
Yes. Usually, I jump to a different project to get through the block. But after my mom passed away it has been a difficult struggle to get through the writer's block with my typical means.

Q.10 What were your feelings when you first saw the cover of the finished product?
Accomplished. Up until getting the book in hand, it was all talk.

Q.11 Does your family support your career as a writer?
Yes, if it wasn't for my family (especially my mom) I would have never started writing. Writing chose me, I didn't choose to write.

Q.12 How did you select the name of your characters?
With Zombiearth I named characters based off of real-life people and changed the name up a tad. For example, Stan is based mostly off of me, so instead of using a variation of Stephen, I decided on Stan. 

In my other works, the names just come to me, in Hitch Hacker the main character's name just had to be Sarah. No real reason behind it

Q.13 What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I am a stay-at-home parent, so I can write at any time, but also have to be “on-call,” at any given moment.

Q.14 Do you have any unique and quirky writing habits?
I make sure there are no plot holes, so my note-taking is pretty extensive. I place myself in every character's shoes to express how they would feel in the situations they are placed in. So in a way every character is a piece of me.

Q.15 How do you come up with the name of your books?
Zombiearth, Zombie, and Earth, since they share the 'e' I decided to smash them together. Hitch Hacker comes from hitchhiking and hacking up body parts and also computer hacking. 

Don't Run In The Dark, comes from having to tell my kids not to run and in all the horror movies the victims run in the dark, getting tripped up and... Well you know. Decimation, for the Zombiearth sequel, is because of the loss that takes place.

Q.16 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I try to portray all my characters properly, sometimes characters of the opposite sex can be difficult to properly do that.

Q.17 How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
Two so far. Zombiearth, due to it being my first outing as a writer and the connections I have with all of the characters.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead, would you like to meet and why?
I've met a few famous people already, I'm thankful to have the opportunity to have met them and there's no one, in particular, I can think of that I would like to meet. All of the ones I have met have been kind and humble.

Q.19 How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
I don't have a set formula for all my projects, but I do typically have notes I start with or just a basic idea of what type of story I want to write.

Q.20 Share the experience of your writing journey so far?
So far, my writing journey has been filled with valleys and mountains. My first release was in August 2019, just before the pandemic shut everything down. I had my first event in September where I only sold two books, which at first was soul-crushing. But I was about four hours away from home, no one had ever heard of me since I just released the book the prior month and pretty much jumped into the deep end without learning how to swim.

My mom passed away just as the pandemic was starting to shut everything down and losing her took a lot of my creative flow away. She was one of the main reasons I was able to chase this dream I did not know I had. There are still tough days, but I'm working on getting back on the right track with writing. I've done several more events and sold quite a few books, even getting some in the hands of celebrities (either by selling or trading) and hopefully encouraging others to chase their dream, whether or not it's writing.

1 comment:

  1. Great interview I loved “Writing chose me I didn’t chose to write.” Many authors myself included feel the same. Stephen never give up. Randy RATHEL