by Ben Mariner
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GENRE: Science Fiction/Humor
Jack Winters is in a bit of a pickle. Things started out just fine. He had a decent job and a few friends. Then he met the woman of his dreams. They go out on a date and things go really well. That’s when things go south. The morning after turns out to be a week later and the world went ahead and ended itself while Jack was far away in dreamland. Now he’s awake in a post-apocalyptic world with no family, no job, and worst of all, no girlfriend. Along with his friends and some other random tag-alongs, Jack will journey cross country to find the woman of his dreams against zombies, heavy metal horsemen, pirates, and a power so immense and evil it will put his very soul to the test.
Now that I was fully dressed, I slipped on a pair of blue and white checkered Vans and walked to the kitchen. No day can possibly start right without a hearty bowl of Cap’n Crunch with Crunch Berries. I’m pretty sure that’s in the Bible somewhere. I took a clean bowl out of the cabinet next to the fridge and poured a heaping pile of delicious sugary cereal for myself. My fridge was divided into three categories assigned to each of the three shelves. The top shelf was reserved for everyday use items such as milk, eggs, and butter. The middle shelf was home to a series of take-out containers that had been systematically arranged Tetris-style one night when I was drunk and jonesing for a real world Tetris experience. I never had the heart to rearrange it. The bottom shelf was for beer. Cold, delicious beer.
I grabbed the milk from the top shelf, filled the bowl with a generous amount, and put the jug back into the fridge. The clock on the microwave was telling me I had just over twenty minutes to get to work on time, if I cared to do so. Luckily, I didn’t, so I ate slowly, enjoying every last crunch berry and washing it all down with the remaining milk that now tasted fruity and wonderful. I rinsed the bowl out in the sink and left it there for later. I walked around the kitchen counter and into the main room of my apartment.
It is my pleasure to welcome Ben Mariner, author of Apocalypse Wow, to Room With Books! Please tell us about yourself.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
My dream professions have been (in chronological order): Ghostbuster, Ninja Turtle, Power Ranger, drummer, writer, marine biologist, video game creator, writer. Since writer was the one thing that kept coming up, I figured it was time to go with it.
How long have you been writing and who or what inspired you to write?
I’ve been writing on and off since I was a kid. I get my inspiration from all over, but mostly the ideas come from a voice in my head. It only speaks German though, so I have to get a translator.
That was very Seinfeldian.
Do you do a job in addition to writing and would you tell us more about it?
As much as I’d like to answer ‘no’ to this question, I do have a day job. I currently work in the IT department of a major satellite TV provider. It’s not much, but it pays the bills. As long as there aren’t too many or cost too much.
How would you summarize this book in less than 20 words?
A slacker goes on a post-apocalyptic road trip to find the love of his life.
Now, let’s talk about writing and how you came to be a published author.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
I’m not sure that I fully consider myself one now. I guess it depends on what the generally accepted definition of ‘writer’ is. I’m just some guy that likes to write stories and hopes people enjoy them. I think I’ll fully consider myself a writer when I can quit my job and write full time.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
Well, I self-published it so about as long as it takes to get it prepared for release. In all, it probably took about three months from the time the first draft was written to the time I first put it out for sale.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to “The End”?
Depends on how strong the idea is and how much time I have to write. On average, I’d say probably six-nine months. Sometimes less, but usually not more.
What can we expect from you in the future? More of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
Apocalypse Wow is the first in a series, so there will be two more before the end. After that, I’ll be exploring different genres from literary fiction to suspense to maybe even romance. We’ll see where the wind takes me.
Who is your favorite character from your books and why are they your favorite?
Barry is probably my favorite. He’s just this guy, you know? He really only fits into the story because he’s friends with Jack. He has no stake in things, just along for the ride. That’s what makes him fun to write. There’s a complete freedom with the character.
What is your routine for writing?
Whenever I can, wherever I can. I’ve written on a tablet on a plane, at work, at home. The only thing I make sure I do is put on Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen. That always gets those creative juices flowing.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
Depends on what comes to me first. I like to get the title set as early as possible. I don’t know why, it just frees some stress from my mind. It might not come first, but it’s definitely worked out by the time I save the file for the first time. I guess I feel like I have to have a title so I have a good identifier for the saved file.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books?
Hard no. I’m definitely not the kind of person to push lessons or impart wisdom on someone. I just want to make people laugh and hopefully I succeed. Leave the hidden messages to the people who are a little more battle hardened by life.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
Love the smell and feel of those paperbacks, but recently I’ve been more satisfied with ebooks. Having a bunch of books on a tablet gives me some freedom of choice. If I don’t like something, I can quickly change to something new even if I’m somewhere a physical copy isn’t available.
What is your favorite book and why is it your favorite? How many times would you estimate you’ve read it?
The top spot in my heart always belongs to Harry Potter. But for an individual book, it’s probably In the Company of Ogres by A Lee Martinez. It’s just a fantastic book full of excellent humor, entertaining characters, and a strong storyline. I’ve read it probably 4 or 5 times and it never gets old. Long live Never Dead Ned.
Do you read all the reviews of your books?
Always. Good or bad. The good reviews are always uplifting and the bad ones help me improve. Reviews are an extremely valuable tool in the indie author’s tool box. They should never be ignored.
That’s enough of the serious business. How about a handful of fun questions?
What is your favorite food? Pizza is always #1 because it’s so versatile. Asian, mostly Chinese, is my favorite cuisine as a whole. Love my some dumplings.
Who is your favorite singer or group? Taking Back Sunday/Motion City Soundtrack. There’s always a debate in my mind over the two. Both have an amazing library of work.
What is your favorite color? Probably green. Maybe blue. Definitely not orange. Get a life orange.
What is your ideal getaway dream vacation? I’ve been all over the world, so I can say that I don’t have a specific dream destination in mind. If I’m going on vacation, I just like to have fun and be able to see and do things that I’ll never forget. Wherever I can do that.
What final words would you offer to our readers?
Purple. Gizmo. Beatnik. Flapjack. Swizzle stick.
Thank you for spending time with us at Room With Books. I appreciate your time and wish you the best with your book. I hope you will come back again!
Ben Mariner is the author of Apocalypse Wow as well as The Many Lives of Zane Montgomery, which definitely sold some copies to some people. He currently lives in Denver with his wife and animals. He enjoys mozzarella sticks, dunk tanks at carnivals, and solving crime with his psychic powers and best friend/sidekick.
Ben Mariner will be awarding a $25 Amazon/B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.