IndieView with Noah K. Mullette-Gillman, author of The Dead Have Ruled Earth for 200 Years

… Which is a bit of a bait and switch. I bill the book as being a hack and slash bloody and gory adventure, and it is. But if that’s all a reader notices, they’re missing half of what I’ve done.

Noah K. Mullette-Gillman  – 10 November 2012

The Back Flap

Two hundred years after humanity was forced to abandon Earth to the zombie hordes, three humans descend in great armored battle-suits into a world populated only by the ravenous and rotting undead. They will gun down as many hundreds and thousands of the monsters as necessary in their fight to retrieve the most important possession we left behind.

Too bad one of them is an idiot.

The Dead Have Ruled Earth for 200 Years is not a love story. It is not a work of spiritual mythology. It is bleeding and biting, cutting and explosions; a written rocket of death and disfigurement, with all humanity’s future at stake. Get ready for a white-knuckled descent into the worst of all possible nightmares. Two centuries after the end of the world, it may be the last story of humanity’s battle to survive.

About the book

What is the book about?

There’s two ways to answer this question. First of all, two hundred years after humanity had to abandon the planet Earth to the hordes of undead, three humans return from outer-space to get something important we left behind.

But as I hope anyone who has read my work before will understand, everything I do is very symbolic, and this journey from outer-space and into the world of flesh and people is the journey from the mind into reality, from thought into sex, from ideals into real-life. It’s about facing your fears and accepting the need to become what you fear most.

Unfortunately, like many of my books, I don’t expect all the symbolism will be understood on the first reading. I really do write books intending them to be read more than once. My work is wasted on speed-readers and those who accept things at face value. Those who like to think about deeper meanings and symbolism will most deeply enjoy this book.

Which is a bit of a bait and switch. I bill the book as being a hack and slash bloody and gory adventure, and it is. But if that’s all a reader notices, they’re missing half of what I’ve done.

When did you start writing the book?

About a year ago. I’m not a fast writer. I wish I were. I fill pages and pages of ideas, thinking all the details of my books through before I write more than a couple of pages. I then sat on this book for a number of months once it was done. I really wanted to make sure the editing was as perfect as it possibly could be.

How long did it take you to write it?

The better part of a year.

Where did you get the idea from?

A hundred different puzzle pieces.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

Just one. I had two endings and for a long time I wasn’t sure how to reconcile them. Did I have to pick one? Would they get in each others’ way? But as I got into the third act it all worked itself out and I’m very happy with how it materialized.

What came easily?

Describing the blood and gore. I’m a very kind and gentle person, but I do have that side. I like exorcising my darkness onto the page. This isn’t stupid violence, but it is violent.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

These characters are as fictional as any I’ve ever written. I find that when an author starts writing there is a need to use the act to explain, justify, apologize, or in some other way make sense of one’s life on the page. It’s a mark of passage to get past that and be able to tell good stories.

That said, I am still working out my fears and deepest thoughts on the page. The themes grow from what really bothers me. The struggle is my internal struggle. I just don’t need my characters to be me with thick glasses and a moustache anymore. They can be themselves, with maybe just a hint of my soul, and that’s enough.

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

As I approach a work there are two halves of the act: The intellectual and the sensual. The ideas, the plot, the concepts in my work are influenced by the likes of Alexandro Jodorowsky, Philip K. Dick, Stanislam Lem, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Robert Anton Wilson, Graham Hancock, Doris Lessing, H P Lovecraft, R E Howard.

But I’m bored stiff by books which only have ideas. The descriptions are important to me. The sense that one can see and feel everything on the page is very important to me. Here I’m influenced by poets and musicians. I owe as much to Blake and Baudelaire and Robert Smith and U2 as I do to any artists. One of the issues I had to be very careful with when writing The Dead Have Ruled Earth For 200 Years was that the plot required that I not completely describe certain elements early in the story, so as not to spoil the surprises. I had to resist my usual inclinations.

Do you have a target reader? 

If I did, I’d sell more books. I’m writing the stories I love and hoping that I and my tastes are less than completely alien to the reading public.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

I begin by writing a couple of pages, as best as I understand the story. I then spend a number of months thinking about the story. I do a lot of research, both factual, and also atmospheric. I try to take in the right kind of art to inspire myself to create what I want. I fill hundreds of pages in my notebook thinking the ideas through, challenging what I thought I was writing earlier in the week.
Then, when I feel I understand my story at least 50% I sit down and begin writing in earnest.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

I love when I outline. It makes thing so much easier! The more detailed my outline is, the faster the work goes. That said, not all stories reveal themselves to me the same way.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

Both.

Did you hire a professional editor?

Yes.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Tom McKean and the Emperors, U2, The Cure, Faith No More, David Bowie, Richard Cheese, many movie soundtracks especially The Fountain, Pan’s Labyrinth, and Dead Space.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

Not in many years. However, I am seriously considering doing so again in the future. I’ve come to understand that I’m not a salesman. The work they do is worthy of respect. They went to school and study hard to learn to do what they do, just the same as I did. It would be great if I had someone who actually knew what they were doing pushing my books, because I sure as heck don’t know what I’m doing!

What made you decide to go Indie? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

I spent 2004-2006 writing a 250,000 word fantasy novel. During that time my life was very difficult, but I put all of my spirit and hopes and dreams into the book. I managed to get some agencies to take a look at it and they had a lot of kind things to say, but in the end they said that they wanted to see my NEXT book.

I was devastated. I’d just spent two years sacrificing everything for one book, and now they wanted me to spend a couple of years on the next one? I didn’t write at all for about a year.

Frankly, I think this happens to a lot of artists. We struggle to create our first flawed masterpiece and the world somehow doesn’t manage to bow down and declare us geniuses. I suspect that it has kept most people who ever write a novel from attempting that second one.

Anyway, I eventually heard about direct publishing and decided to tidy up my novella The White Hairs for publication. I had a pretty good experience, found a few readers, and made some friends. Now, two years later, I’ve self-published six books!

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did it you do it yourself?

I did this one 100% by myself and I’m very proud. In fact, it’s a self-portrait. I took a picture of my shadow against a rock on the cliff-side of the Grand Canyon. I then played with the colors in Photoshop and… viola!

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

Sadly, I’m just winging it.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

Write a story no one else could. Write it in a way no one else has ever thought of. There’s no point in creating something which would have been made even if you’d never been born. Pour your soul into it and believe in what you’ve created.

About You

Where did you grow up?

Montclair, New Jersey

Where do you live now?

I’m deep in the woods, where the bears and the monster are, but I’m seriously considering moving back to my aforementioned hometown.

What would you like readers to know about you?

I just want them to know about my work. I sometimes feel like people who meet me, but never read my work don’t know me. Sometimes I want to walk into a bar, hand out some paperbacks and wait for everyone to do the required reading before we introduce ourselves. The best way to know me is to read me.

What are you working on now?

It’s always tricky for me to answer this because a lot of my stories enter the development stage and never make it out. I do have a few pages of a possible sequel to The Dead Have Ruled Earth for 200 Years done. I have maybe a hundred pages or more of notes to a big science fiction epic that I want to write. It’s by far the most complicated and difficult writing project I’ve ever contemplated working on, but I’m very excited about it. I add a few more ideas to it every day. I did promise my readers that I would write a sequel to Luminous and Ominous and I want to. At one point I did put down 30,000 words of a story, but I decided it wasn’t good enough. That project will have to wait until I get the right idea to justify it.

End of Interview:

For more from Noah, visit his website or like his page on Facebook.

Get your copy of The Dead Have Ruled Earth for 200 Years Amazon US (ebook or paper), Amazon UK (ebook or paper), or Smashwords.

4 responses to “IndieView with Noah K. Mullette-Gillman, author of The Dead Have Ruled Earth for 200 Years

  1. Great interview, Noah! I really enjoyed it, thank you for doing this. You are such a mystery. I love the insights into the human condition you put into your books, I know I don’t always get all of it but I do ‘get’ some of it. That is what I enjoy most about your stories. :)

  2. Thanks so much. I really enjoyed this!

    And thanks, Linda. I always appreciate your thoughts on my books. :)

  3. | Funny you should bring it up. I am in the midst of moinvg my personal blog to WordPress with the idea of blogging some of my creative work and things I’m passionate about (like the 3-Day Walk for Breast Cancer).I have been a huge fan f Creative Copy Challenge and started a Death & the Detective series from the challenges that I want to do more with. So, I have been playing around with the idea of the blogging that series (revised for possible book).I haven’t totally fleshed out the idea so your post is timely. Is your plan to post the whole book online as you go along? I guess I’m having a hard time understanding why someone would purchase it after reading it all online. But, then I am a total novice about this.I would love to hear more about your experience with indie publishing. Thanks, Jenn, and I can’t wait to see the fruits of your labor.

    • Arny, I think you misunderstood my comments. No, I have no plans to make my book available online for free. I did post the first chapter on my website, but I think that’s all that is appropriate.

      I also don’t see any reason why someone would buy a book they have already read for free. My books are currently available for purchase on Amazon.com, bn.com, Smashwords.com, and a few other places as well, in paperback and ebook formats.

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