Born and raised in Everett, Massachusetts (just outside of Boston), Scott M. Baker has spent the last twenty-two years living in northern Virginia. He has authored several short stories, including “Dead Water”, “Rednecks Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things”, “Cruise of the Living Dead”, “Deck the Malls with Bowels of Holly” (an alcoholic mall Santa battles zombie reindeer), and “Denizens.” His two latest short stories – “The Last Flight of The Bismarck,” about steampunk zombies, and “The Hunger,” a tale of cannibalism during a zombie outbreak – will both be released later this year in anthologies being published by Knighwatch Press.
Scott’s first zombie novel, Rotter World, which details the struggle between humans and vampires during a zombie apocalypse, was released by Permuted Press in April 2012. He has also authored The Vampire Hunters trilogy, which has been published by Pill Hill Press and received excellent reviews from Famous Monsters of Filmland and Fangoria, among others. Scott has finished his fifth novel, Yeitso, a homage to the monster movies of the 1950s set in northern New Mexico, which is currently with a publisher, and is wrapping up his sixth novel, Hell Gates, the first in a series of young adult novels set in a world in which the realms of Hell and earth have merged.
When he is not busy writing, Scott can either be found relaxing on his back deck with a cup of iced coffee, or doting on the four house rabbits that live with him.
Please visit the author’s website at www.scottmbakerauthor.blogspot.com.
As former Boston cops, Drake Matthews and Alison Monroe thought they had experienced it all... until they found themselves tracking down a serial killer who turned out to be one of the undead. Stopping him cost them their careers and almost their lives. Thanks to an influential and anonymous benefactor, Drake and Alison find a new job ridding the streets of Washington D.C. of the vampiric threat terrorizing the nation's capital.
Only this time, Drake and Alison are not facing a single vampire but an entire nest led by Ion Zielenska, one of history's most evil and twisted masters. As the vampires indiscriminately prey on humans, seeing them as nothing more than food to satiate their hunger, they create a wave of violence that threatens to engulf the city. Orchestrating the carnage is Antoinette Varela, the mistress of the nest,who realizes that for the nest to survive the hunters must be eliminated. However, when her vendetta turns personal, the hunters find themselves in struggle they are not prepared for.
As the adversaries faced off, the train pulled into Foggy Bottom Station. The passengers practically pulled the doors open to escape. When the doors finally did open, they ran out onto the platform and dashed to safety. Seconds later, the doors slid shut and the train began to pull out of the station.
“Well, bitch,” taunted Alison. “It’s just you and me.”
“That suits me fine.” Toni hissed and sprinted down the rail car.
Alison pushed off the deck with her left foot and spun her body around, slamming her right foot into Toni’s head in a tornado kick. The master careened to the side and stumbled between two rows of seats, smashing the window, momentarily stunned. Pulling a stake from her belt holster, Alison ran between the seats and raised the stake to inflict the fatal blow. Toni’s hand shot up and grabbed Alison by the wrist. With one thrust, Toni threw the hunter over three sets of seats. Alison landed on her right shoulder in the opening by the doors, sliding across the deck until her back slammed into the center pole.
Toni flew over the seats and landed on top of Alison’s chest, knocking the wind out of her. The master pushed herself down on Alison, pinning the hunter’s pelvis to the floor with her own, then ripped open Alison’s blouse to expose her neck. Bearing her fangs, Toni leaned over, pausing only inches from the Alison’s neck.
“Relax, hunter. In a few moments, you’ll be one of us.”
“Not if I have anything to say about it,” a voice shouted from behind Toni.
Toni looked up to see Drake standing at the opposite end of the car. She snarled. “You have nothing to say about it. She’s ours now.”
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If I had to rate this book I'd give it a 3. Now don't get me wrong, the story had a lot of potential. I just wanted more development and a clear path that the author intended the reader to take.
I loved the main characters. Especially the chick. I could connect with her. I wanted to know EVERYTHING about her. But when it came to filling out the other characters, the book felt like maybe the author just didn't want to.
It's a hardcore action book. But the plot suffers a little because of this. There is SO MUCH action packed into the story that the story seems to have gotten lost within it.
I really like the idea. I just feel like there should've been more character and plot development. That being said, this book might just as easily be a 5 star for someone that doesn't want to know a lot about the characters, but loves to read action! If you love reading action now, now, now... then this book is for you!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Since I was old enough to write. When I wasn’t reading, which was rare, I was writing. I began when I was about ten years old, jotting down stories in notebooks or creating my own monster magazines. I loved doing book reports in elementary school because it allowed me to explore my two passions. My favorite class in high school was creative writing. And I was one of the few in college that actually enjoyed term papers. I didn’t start writing professionally until I was out of grad school. I would say that I’ve spent forty years reaching this point in my writing career, but that sounds depressing. [chuckles]
How long does it take you to write a book?
It takes me up to a year from first developing the idea to getting the manuscript ready for submittal, and that’s because I do this as my second job. I spend a month planning out the novel and developing the characters so that, when I actually sit down to write, everything flows quickly. It takes about five to seven months to complete the first draft, depending on the size of the book. I give my beta readers a month to comment. Then it takes another eight weeks to incorporate the feedback into the final draft and review it one last time. Once I retire and devote all my time to writing, I hope to cut that time in half.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I usually write for about ninety minutes a day when I get home from work, and try to fit in two- or three-hour marathon sessions on the weekend. If I’m on a roll, I can easily crank out 2500 words a session.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I include a lot of action in my novels, more so than in your average horror/urban fantasy. When I write, I imagine how the story will play out if the novel was ever made into a movie. I like to have blockbuster endings that go on for thirty or more pages and keep the readers engrossed. My favorite compliment is when fans tell me they stayed up late finishing my book because they couldn’t put it down.
How do books get published?
All of us imagine we’ll be the next J.K. Rowlings whose first novel will be an overnight sensation. Reality is far less kind to most writers, though. For most of us, it’s a long, slow, and frustrating process. I started out by getting several short stories published, which got my name in print. Eventually, because of my success as a short story author, I found a publisher for The Vampire Hunters trilogy. A series of great reviews, some from the leading magazines in the horror genre, helped solidify my creds. With the success of The Vampire Hunters trilogy, I have found it much easier to get my other books published. I am at the point now where I have people contacting me and asking if I can write stories for their upcoming anthologies.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Mostly from a warped and over active imagination. Seriously, though, I conducted a lot of research while preparing to write The Vampire Hunters trilogy, mostly on vampire history and the origins of the various legends. I then picked which aspects I wanted to include in my mythos (for example, my vampires are immune to religious symbols and garlic but are horribly scarred by holy water). I’m also a historian by training, which is one of the reasons I included so many flash back sequences in my books. Those scenes were fun to write, and it finally gave me an opportunity to put six years of college and grad school to good use.
You would also be surprised at how many people are willing to be interviewed by writers. For The Vampire Hunters trilogy, I was able to arrange tours of the Washington D.C. sewer system and a local funeral parlor, which greatly helped the realism of those scenes. For Yeitso, I spent an entire morning with an entomologist for the National Archives who answered all my questions about insects. I have as much fun researching my novels as I do writing them.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote my first novel while in graduate school, when I was twenty-nine. It was an espionage thriller, and it was amateurish and pathetic. But I learned a lot from that experience, and my next novels were much more professional.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I spend what little free time I have reading, watching monster movies, and playing with the four house rabbits that live with me. I also enjoy video gaming, but have not had a chance to play anything in over six months. I’m still stuck at a boss fight on Dead Island.
What does your family think of your writing?
My family and friends are very supportive. And my colleagues at work think it’s cool that they have a horror novelist in their ranks.
My mother is the funny one, though. She used to be a nurse’s aide and is a gorehound in her own right. When I get feedback from her it’s usually, “There’s not that much blood in the human body” or “That’s not what intestines really look like.”
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
How great ideas seemingly come out of nowhere. Once I started writing The Vampire Hunters, the plot for the next two books in the trilogy just came naturally. The entire concept for Hell Gate developed while watching an episode of SyFy Channel’s Face Off. A lot of my short stories came from passing news reports or stories someone related. My friends are becoming careful to watch what they say around me otherwise out of concern I’ll turn whatever they say into a novel.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have four books currently in print: The Vampire Hunters trilogy and Rotter World, which is about a small band of vampires and humans putting aside their distrust for each and trying to survive a zombie outbreak. My fifth novel is currently with a publisher for consideration. It’s called Yeitso and is my homage to the giant monster movies of the 1950s that I grew up with as a kid. I’m putting the final edits on Hell Gate, which is a young adult novel dealing with a sixteen-year-old boy coming to age during an apocalypse caused by his mother. And I’m about to start work on my seventh novel, a sequel to Rotter World. I’m proud of all of them, but I’m partial to The Vampire Hunters: Dominion because I think it has the best character development of all my novels, and I love the spin I put on the vampire legend.
I also have an impressive selection of short stories: six published in anthologies or on line and two that are scheduled for publication this fall. Of those, my favorite is a zombie Christmas tale titled “Deck the Malls with Bowels of Holly.” An alcoholic mall Santa battles zombie reindeer. You can’t get much campier than that.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Write every day, even if you don’t feel like it or are not inspired. Like any skill, the more you practice, the better you’ll become at it. And don’t give up, no matter how discouraged you get. No one who has stopped writing has ever been published.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
So far I’ve gotten only positive feedback. A few reviewers have become devoted fans. And several readers who picked up one of my books have written me to tell me how much they enjoyed it. Several have even provided feedback, which I always listen to. I’m writing for them.
I have one fan in particular who is very special. She reached out to me in March 2010 after The Vampire Hunters was published and complimented me on my book. In the course of our chats, I discovered that she also wrote vampire novels, and volunteered to read her manuscript. Her first book is being published later this year, and we’re about to celebrate the anniversary of our first date.
Do you like to create books for adults?
I do. I can get away with things in an adult-oriented novel that I can’t in other genres. However, I am experimenting with new formats. Yeitso is the first book I published in which I don’t use the “f” word and I keep the gore and sex to a minimum. And Hell Gate is my first attempt at a young adult audience. Someday I want to try my hand at a children’s book based on one of my pets. It’ll be called Ruby, the Rude Rabbit.
What do you think makes a good story?
The most important element to a good story is well-developed characters. The story itself is important, but if the reader isn’t emotionally invested in your characters and doesn’t care what happens to them, the novel will fall flat.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be a horror movie star like Boris Karloff or Bela Lugosi. All my friends told me I’d be a natural. I used to think they were being supportive, but now I realize they were just being mean.
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