Interview with Anthony Armstrong, author of Cadavar Dogs
How long have you been writing?
I started writing at about eight, but that was pretty much only when stories were assigned in school. I knew I liked the process and thought about writing a lot, though. My desire to really be a writer was cemented in sixth grade when my teacher sent me to a junior writing seminar that only allowed two children from each elementary school in town. I was one of the lucky two, and when he sent me, he told me he expected to see my face on the back of a bestseller someday. Still working on that one, Mr. Weaver.
Where did the inspiration for Cadaver Dogs come from?
The title came from a tv show I had on in the background. It was some true crime show, and even though I knew what cadaver dogs were and had heard the term many times, it stuck out to me that day and I wrote it down on a scrap of paper, saving it until I had an idea to go with it. The story itself came out of the ether. I’m sure you’re familiar with the feeling. I had an idea of the tone, and I knew I wanted it to be about someone struggling with loss, but not being able to grieve or stop and wallow in their sorrow because of some outside horror that had to be dealt with immediately. I wrote about 3,000 words of it and got stuck. It sat untouched for probably two years, then I discussed the idea with a close friend and she inspired me to finish it. (‘Inspired’ in that last line should be read as: ‘threatened bodily harm’)
What is your writing routine?
I try to be a disciplined writer and set aside time to write every day, always in the wee hours, but that doesn’t happen as much as it should. When I get an idea, I make notes first, especially when I think it will be a longer piece: title, character names, plot points, settings, etc. Then it’s a matter brainstorming and typing. Sometimes in my notes I will write every thought that comes to me, sort of freewriting, trying to plot things out to the end or as far into the work as I can see. Once I get a first line written, it begins to spill out and I let it go. Once I’ve started, I try to write a set number of words each day. As for the writing itself, I put on mood appropriate music and lose myself in the words that are flowing.
Are you a pantser or plotter?
Both, actually. Short stories I usually get the idea and fly by the seat of my pants. For longer works, I put as many plot points as I can in my notes and the stuff in between getting my characters from one point to the next is on the fly. Some of the time, my characters disagree with where I think they should go, so they kind of rewrite my plotlines.
What scares you?
The world we live in scares me more than anything I’ve seen on the screen or read. I’m kind of an ostrich. I can only take so much news, politics, reality television, etc. I also kind of hate it when my printer turns on by itself at 2:30 in the morning.
What do you do for fun?
Other than writing, I love reading. I also love horror movies, and I play bass in a band called November Mourns www.facebook.com/novembermourns. The record we just put out is very horror influenced as well.
If they made Cadaver Dogs into a movie, who would play Father Englund?Why?
Yeesh…as long as Robert Rodriguez directs it, he can choose who he wants. I trust his judgment.
Are you a zombie fan? What’s your favorite zombie movie?
I am a zombie fan, but I think the over-saturation of them in media is getting pretty heavy. The idea for Cadaver Dogs came before they really took off. Way before The Walking Dead and such. As for favorite movie, I have to go with the start of it all and say Night of the Living Dead. Honorable mention to Fulci’s Zombi.
The book ends on kind of a cliffhanger. What made you decide to do that? Will there be a Cadaver Dogs sequel?
That was completely intentional, and originally I had no plans for a sequel at all. The reason I chose to end it that way was simply because I love books and movies that are brave enough to leave open ends, give you something to think about, ponder over, obsess over. I really wanted people to finish it in their heads. I’ve heard many thoughts on what happens after I ended the story and I guess it really bothered some people, a couple of co-workers in particular. I am glad to say that there is a sequel written, and I like to think what happens is unexpected and will please readers. It’ll see the light of day, providing Angelic Knight Press likes it and wants to put it out there. (Don’t tell anyone this, but it was written out of fear of being shanked in the parking lot after work by one of two or possibly three co-workers upset by the end.)
Do you have a zombie apocalypse plan?
No, but I can run fast and I’m not above tripping people.