Looks like I am back in the hot seat again to arrange another opportunity to chase away those Monday Blues.
For tonight’s entertainment beamed directly into your living room, may I introduce you all to versatile author Craig DiLouie, as we chat about his latest release “One of Us” and find out more about the man behind the books.
Thanks for reading folks, as always have fun and enjoy yourselves 🙂
Hi there Craig, a sincere pleasure to have you over here to discuss your prolific writing endeavours and also to help us to get to know you a little better too.
Thanks for having me!
Let’s start with your books themselves. You write popular thriller, apocalyptic/horror, and sci-fi/fantasy fiction. Can you tell us a bit more about each of your novels, their plots/themes/protagonists and the adventures that we will be taken on when we dive into them.
My latest novel, One of Us, published by Orbit, is now available in all physical and online bookstores in hardcover, eBook, and audiobook. This novel is about a disease that produced a generation of monsters, who are now growing up rejected and abused in rundown orphanages throughout the Deep South. When a “normal” kid is murdered, a plague kid is blamed, which might just be the spark of a revolution. Author Claire North (84K) aptly described it as The Girl with All the Gifts meets To Kill a Mockingbird; it’s a misunderstood monster story cast as a Southern Gothic—dark and gritty. Readers have described it as a “gut punch,” “powerful,” and “important.”
My previous novel from a major publisher was Suffer the Children, which was published by Gallery Books in 2014. This novel is about a parasite that turns the world’s children into vampires. If they drink blood, they reanimate from corpses to become the children they once were, but only for a short time. The children are vampires, but the monsters in this horror novel are the parents, who will do anything they need to keep their children alive. The result is ordinary people doing horrible things out of the purest love in the world. The novel asks, how far would you go?
My Crash Dive series is much lighter, escapist fare. This self-published, six-part military historical thriller series of short “dime novels” chronicles the adventures of a submariner rising to the rank of captain while fighting the Japanese Empire in World War 2. Thriller author John Dixon described it as Horatio Hornblower on submarines, which I think nails it. A huge amount of research went into depicting the hard service on submarines accurately, and the series has a big fan base among Navy personnel. It’s a very popular series—the sixth and final episode recently debuted at #1 in both new war fiction and military historical fiction releases on Amazon.
For some readers, I’m still best known for my zombie novels. I wrote the first military-versus-zombies novel, Tooth and Nail, which launched a big subgenre in zombie fiction. After that, I wrote two additional zombie novels, The Infection and The Killing Floor, for Permuted Press, which did phenomenally well. Currently, I’m also doing a series with the great Joe McKinney and Stephen Knight titled, The Retreat, and another series, The Front, with David Moody and Timothy Long.
I’ve done a lot more, but I think that hits all the big stuff. It’s been an amazing ride, gratifying and humbling.
What would you choose as your own personal mascot or spirit animal when it comes to you and your style of writing?
The first image that popped into my head was a wolf. Though sometimes it travels in a pack to take down larger animals, generally it hunts alone, ranging in hunger and perseverance until it launches itself to rend its prey with tooth and nail.
What do you think most characterizes or defines your writing? Do you have any writing quirks or themes that constantly crop up in your stories?
My writing is constantly changing as I evolve as a writer and take on different novels, each of which call for something a little different. My zombie books, for example, were written in present tense to provide an immediate sense of danger. One of Us is written as a Southern Gothic, taking its time while slowly boiling to explosive action. My Crash Dive books are crisp, bare-bone, pulpy thrillers.
What they all have in common is while I write speculative fiction, my goal is to make the imagined world as realistic as possible and the characters similarly make realistic choices while being heavily sympathetic. For me, that is the crux of a good story because if the reader empathizes with the characters, they will experience the story, and if the world-building is done right, everything, including the fantastical story elements, will feel natural. After that, it’s all about where the story goes and the explosion it’s building toward. My books have been described as gritty, realistic, and featuring characters that come to life.
Otherwise, my fiction trends to be dark with flashes of violence, as my career has strong roots in apocalyptic and horror fiction. Today, I’m more writing mainstream fiction with dark elements rather than dark fiction.
What do you find the most difficult thing about writing? And what do you find the easiest?
For me, the hardest part is deciding which story idea will be told next, and then grappling with turning a concept, a feeling, and a few mental images into the start of a solid novel. The easiest part is always when I reach the second plot point, around 75 percent into the story. That’s when everything is coming together and I can barely write fast enough to keep up.
Who are some of the authors, musicians, poets and/or historical figures that inspire you?
Professionally, I’m inspired by friends and colleagues who work their asses off and find success, such as Peter Clines, John Dixon, David Walton, and David Moody. I met David Moody when he was self-publishing PDF’s and barely making it. But he had a growing following, Guillermo del Toro optioned his novel Hater, and St. Martin’s Press bought the rights to and then published his two major series. These great writers show me what’s possible, and that success is often a combination of working hard, producing a quality product, and being at the right place at the right time to catch a break.
Otherwise, there are so many writers who inspire me with their work—too many to list—each of them teaching me at least one thing, big or small, about the art and craft of writing fiction. Some truly great books I read recently were The Power by Naomi Alderman, The Genius Plague by David Walton, and Sisyphean by Dempow Torishima, all of which had great writing and powerful ideas.
What sort of research do you do to write your books?
I do a huge amount of research. Overall, it yields great world building, tiny details that make characters and situations come alive, and even new story directions. The more realistic the world, the more fantastic yet familiar the strange element you choose to disrupt it. In some cases, the research is a massive effort, such as for my submarine series, where I was reading actual submarine manuals from WW2.
Why do you write? What inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve never wanted to be anything else. My day is split between journalism and education for the lighting industry and fiction, both big-idea novels for big publishers and self-published series.
What keeps you motivated during creative slumps? How do you deal with Writers Block?
Writer’s block usually comes for me when I’m stuck on a problem in the novel—for example, I have two paths I can take and both have strong merit. I’ll sleep on it and ponder it while driving, in the shower, etc. Eventually, the solution will pop into my head with certainty.
You have access to a time machine. What advice would you give to your younger self?
I’d say don’t be too shy to go to writing conferences and network, as you don’t need to have a lot of publishing credits to be accepted in the tribe. That and don’t let any success you achieve fool you, because success is often fleeting and there is still much to learn.
How do you spend your free time when you are not writing?
I’m a proud father of two wunderkinds, who keep me young and very, very busy! And I have a wonderful partner, horror author Chris Marrs.
Tell us more about your upcoming projects. Are you working on anything specific or have plans in the pipeline?
I just finished a second draft for another novel I wrote for Orbit, which is about a brother and sister forced to fight as child soldiers on opposite sides of a second American civil war. As with One of Us, I believe it will be very thought-provoking.
Finally, are there any nuggets of wisdom that you can impart to other aspiring writers?
Writers who make it tend to say, “Here’s what I did, and you can do it too.” The problem with that is everybody’s path to success is different. My own path looks like somebody falling up the stairs. What I can say, generally, is always be reading and writing and learning and growing. So much of success is an elusive X factor—that is to say, luck, being in the right place at the right time. Produce as much as possible to maximize the number of “dice rolls” you get. Meanwhile, go to conferences and network even if you don’t have published credits. Networking can help narrow the odds.
And that’s a wrap! Thank you for all of your wonderful advice Craig and filling us in on your works, we can’t wait to get out there and read the hell out of them soon! 🙂
Thanks for having me!
Craig DiLouie is an author of popular thriller, apocalyptic/horror, and sci-fi/fantasy fiction.
In hundreds of reviews, Craig’s novels have been praised for their strong characters, action, and gritty realism. Each book promises an exciting experience with people you’ll care about in a world that feels real.
These works have been nominated for major literary awards such as the Bram Stoker Award and Audie Award, translated into multiple languages, and optioned for film. He is a member of the HWA, International Thriller Writers, and IFWA.
You can connect with Craig via the following Social Media channels:-
Facebook:- Craig DiLouie – Author (FB)
Goodreads:- Craig DiLouie (Goodreads Author)
Twitter:- @CraigDiLouie (Twitter)
Website:- The Website of Author Craig DiLouie
You can buy his books here:-
If you too would like to be interviewed on my blog at TooFullToWrite and you have a book or a series of books that you would like us to chat about then fill out the Contact Me form here with your details and we can arrange a future interview slot.