1. Before we start talking about your book, why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about yourself?
I was born and raised in Massachusetts, spent 14 years in Las Vegas, and now live in Oklahoma. I’ve been writing as a hobby for over twenty years, and three years ago I decided move up to semi-professional. I hope to retire someday in front of a keyboard writing novels.
2. Besides writing, what other things do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I’ve ridden horses for twenty years, participate in a sport called Cowboy Mounted Shooting, where we engage targets with old-west revolvers, while riding a horse at a gallop. I didn’t have a horse when I was a kid. It took me until my mid twenties to figure out that I enjoy being around them and that taking the occasional girlfriend on a horseback rides often resulted in the horses being better company. Not that I don’t like women. My wife is an avid horsewoman. I just had to find the right person.
3. What is your daily routine as far as when you have an idea for your story?
I don’t have a routine. I usually try to write before going to bed. When I was out of work I wrote everyday. My routine was somewhat similar to Robert Parker (Spencer for Hire book series.) I would wake up, go for a jog, lift weights, jump in the pool, shower, and start writing by 9am. I’d take a two hour lunch playing video games or cleaning the house, then write for three more hours. I’d pickup the kids getting out of school, have them do some chores and homework, eat dinner, and finally sit down and write again until one or two in the morning. When I wrote “Julie Rayzor - Romance, Adventure, Zombies (Zombie War Book One)” I completed 40 pages in three days - I knew that was going to be a great book and it is my best of two published works so far.
4. Where do you get your ideas from?
Sometimes I dream of the story line or specific plot points. Sometimes they just come off the top of my head. I have a very active imagination. I constantly see people interacting or just walking along and it will just pop into my head that maybe this guy is going to rob a bank, or that he has killed three people and he keeps the body parts stored in his grandmother’s freezer without her knowing it. He tells her it is meat from his hunting trips... and then my brain fills in the rest of the details in a kind of photographic sense.
5. Out of all of the stories you’ve written so far, what would be your favorite and why?
“Julie Rayzor - Romance, Adventure, Zombies (Zombie War Book One)” was probably my favorite because it came out so easy. I’m finishing a Las Vegas Mystery novel that I started four or five years ago at the moment. It took me a long time to imagine the plot. That will probably be my favorite when it is completed.
6. Tell us something funny about yourself that not a lot of people know about?
I’m hilarious. Most people, including my wife, would disagree.
7. Are any of the stories you’ve written based on real life experiences or basically just from imagination?
8. Does your ‘muse’ have a name and if so what is his/her name?
I take inspiration from my wife. (She insisted that the preceding statement was written into our marriage vows.)
9. What other genre besides the one you are writing about now would you like to venture into writing?
I am currently working in Zombie adventure and mystery novels, but I have a western floating around in my head. I sort of look at all my books as modern-day westerns.
10. Who are your favorite authors that are out now?
Robert Parker and Dick Francis, both mystery writers. I didn’t even care for mysteries before I read their work. Before them there was Stephen King, So that explains my mystery and zombie books.
11. Who is your favorite female and male characters from your books and why?
Julie Rayzor is a tough, young, smart and independent-minded person who thinks for herself. She also loves her best female friend and tolerates her boyfriend when he is unthinking and careless towards her. Sully from Sullyland, my work-in-process Vegas PI mystery. He is sort of like Spencer in Robert Parkers Spencer book series; Tough, intelligent, loving.
12. What do you think is the hardest thing about being a writer?
Frankly, paying the bills - which is why I write parttime - But I don’t write to be rich and famous. I write because I enjoy it.
13. What advice would you give someone who wants to start off being a writer?
I have several pieces of advice: Pay attention in English class. I know that English Lit teaches you that famous writers can break the rules, but be aware that you won’t be allowed to do that. Grammar is your toolbox. Would you hire a car mechanic who showed up with only a hammer and a screwdriver? Now that you have the tools, put them all away and write what you enjoy. When you think you are done, then edit. When you are done editing, edit again. Repeat that process at least ten to fifteen times.
14. If you hadn’t become a writer, what do you think you would be doing right now?
I can’t say that I’ve made it as an author, so I will continue programming computers for a while longer.
15. What would be the perfect Romantic getaway?
You will have to ask my wife.
Well now that we got the question and answer out of the way…..why don’t you tell us about your latest story you have out now?
What does a 17 year old girl do when the zombie apocalypse comes to Tulsa, Oklahoma?
The new young-adult zombie novel Julie Rayzor ~ Romance, Adventure, Zombies features 17 year old Julie caught between a world of zombies outside of "Fort Tulsa" and a life of drama inside. With everything she loves in life is stolen away, her soldier-boyfriend missing-in-action, her troublesome best friend causing problems, a nerdy medical researcher fawning over her, and daily chores cleaning up after a troop of soldiers, plus a broken leg cast to weigh her down, Julie has to grow up fast and sacrifice her own desires for the good of everyone around her. When she learns of a plan to rescue her boyfriend and save the city, she uncovers a dark secret - a secret that she must keep hidden deep inside until she can complete the most dangerous task of her life.
Julie Rayzor takes a unique approach to the zombie apocalypse theme that is currently sweeping the media markets. This full-length young-adult romantic-adventure-thriller has twists and turns you will never expect.Reviews for Julie Rayzor Zombie War Series:
“I finished Julie Rayzor last night. I wasn't sure what I was expecting when I started it but I never expected to be so pleasantly surprised. I love zombie books; that's my favorite genre. But in this book the zombies are different from the average boring zombies. From start to finish I was engrossed and had to make myself put it down to go to sleep at night. When I finished it I was only disappointed that it was over and now I look forward to what I hope will be a sequel.”
“Howes does a good job of unfolding surprise after surprise and letting the reader feel that same shocks and heart-racing fear the characters experience. Julie endures heartbreak, pain, happiness, love, betrayal, fear -- you name it, this poor woman is blasted by it. And so are those around her, including her best friend.
This is not your typical zombie book, but it is. It's also a romance and it's also a tale of a young woman growing up amidst chaos. It's an action book, it's paranormal. And all those aspects blend well together. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would recommend to most fans of the zombie genre.”
I am finishing up Sullyland, a Las Vegas Private Investigator novel.
You can find excerpts from my books on RichardHowesBooks.com and I am also on Facebook.
Excerpt from my new coming novel: Sullyland.
If you enjoy this please look for “Julie Rayzor” Zombie War Book 1 (book 2 out soon) and “The Killer’s Co-op”
“Wake up dead man.”
“What?” I awoke to the muzzle of a gun staring me in the eyes. I focused and saw a large man pointing my own gun at me. I contemplated taking the gun, my gun, away from him. I wondered if he had racked a round into the chamber.
“Get up. Someone wants to talk to you.”
“Who?” I asked as I sat up and put my feet on the floor. The man was tall. He wore Bertuli shoes and a Canali suit. He backed away, giving me room.
“The guy you been harassing. Let’s go.”
“You think you’re a big man taking a knife away from a kid?’ The man backed to the doorframe.
I needed him in close if I was going to act. He seemed to suspect that and he gave space with every step I took.
“At least I didn’t kill him.”
“He’s my brother.”
“You want to return the favor?”
“And not kill you?”
“If you insist.”
“Ha. Get in the car. Today I don’t get to kill you. Maybe later.”
“Comforting to know.”
The man smiled and backed down the left hallway towards the living room. Another man, shorter, fatter, ex-wrestler or rugby player, stood in the doorframe of the bathroom to my right. The man gestured with his gun and said, “Move it.” He had a thick Italian accent. My guess was Tuscany, but I could be wrong. He swore slacks from a department store and a golf shirt. Black sneakers completed the classy ensemble.
We went out to the car; a white limousine sitting in my driveway. A driver and another man waited. It was the kid from last night. He had a shit-eating grin on his face as he hefted a double barrel shotgun. I could tell he was loving every minute of this. Well, the day wasn’t over yet.
“Where we going, Tony?” I figured someone might be a ‘Tony’.
“Get in,” the driver said.
I climbed in the back and sat facing forward, in order to see where we were going. Tall-Tony waved a gun inside and said, “Over there.” Pointing to the backward-facing-seat. I complied. Tall-Tony and Stocky-Tony got in and kept their guns pointing at me.
I rapped on the glass behind me. The window slid down. “No bumps, okay? We don’t want any accidental discharges back here.” The butt of a shotgun knocked the back of my head.
“Wise-ass.” Tall-Tony said.
“Dead Wise-ass.” Laughed Stocky-Tony.
I rubbed the knot that swelled up on my head. The window slid up. The doors closed. The windows were tinted dark, almost black. The men pulled shades down over the side and rear windows. I’d have to find Guiseppi’s hideout on Google-Maps later.
“So what would Mr. Medici like to talk to me about?”
“What makes you think we are going to see him?”
“Because... When Mrs. Medici hired me, she didn’t need four gun men and a limousine ride.”
“Veronika is nice eh?”
“Mrs. Medici? She’s a looker.”
“She’s very nice? Very pretty? I’d like to fuck her. He’d like to fucker her. Would you’d like to fuck her?”
“She’s very pretty.” I smiled. I tried too anyway.
Tall Tony raised his gun. “You don’t laugh. You don’t talk like that. Only we get to talk like that.” The two Tonys laughed. I frowned.
“Good. You frown. That’s good.” They laughed some more.
I saw a newspaper beside me on the seat. I picked it up, finding it to be printed in Russian. Big Tony grabbed the newspaper from my hand and slapped at me with it.
“No reading. You gonna be dead soon. You don’t want to waste time reading the news. Look out the window. Enjoy the view.” He gestured to the covered windows and laughed.
“Russian?” I asked.
“It is Veronika’s,” he said.
He placed the newspaper down on the seat beside him and glanced at it. As we drove, I found it interesting that his eyes kept darting to the newspaper and away, almost as if he felt guilty about something but I could not conceive what that might be.
The remainder of the ride went about the same. They told stupid jokes. I kept my mouth shut. They laughed about it. We got on a highway, probably I-15 but could be 215. We cruised at high speed for twenty minutes and then entered an interchange, judging by the speed, and we went back up to highway speeds again for another five, followed by surface streets and six or eight turns. We stopped and the doors opened under a Mediterranean style shade attached to a Mediterranean style house. Good. We could be at almost any house in Las Vegas, or Los Angeles, if the ride was longer. I looked around for the mountains. I could put position by the ever present Sunrise Mountain, Black Mountain, Mount Potosi, or Mount Charleston. A gun barrel in my back told me to move on.
The men escorted me up the stairs where another business-suited guard held a door open. We all entered a marble tiled foyer and stood waiting. The guards put their guns away. We stood for fifteen minutes. The guards didn’t seem to mind. I took a chair. It was one of those red cushioned and gold-gilt chairs similar to what you see in museums - the ones that have a plush barrier across them. The guards looked at me sitting down and at each other and shrugged.
John Medici came down the stairs. He wore a polo shirt and dress shorts. Sandals with white socks completed the ensemble.
“The sitting room.” He said as he walked through the foyer. He didn’t even look at me as he passed by in the same manner that one ignored a turd on the sidewalk. The guards motioned for me to follow.
We walked to the back of the house where glass windows opened up on a green lawn, sporting a large water fountain. To the right was a swimming pool where children played and dived into the water. It’s great to live in the desert.
We entered the sitting room where overstuffed leather couches circled a glass coffee table. A gas fire flickered in a marble fireplace. Two wildcat statues were chained to the hearth. One laying down and the other sitting. Nice. Veronika Sokolov-Medici, wearing a bikini bathing suit and a flowery wrap sat at the end of one of the couches. Her bleach blond hair was tousled. She leaned on her right hand, cupping her face. I could see tears in her eyes as she stared at the floor.
“Sit down.” He ordered, like I was a dog.
“I’d rather stand. Giuseppe.”
John motioned to his guards. I turned to them, clenching my fists.
“Okay. Stand.” John stood also and the guards encircled the room. Tall-Tony took my Glock from his waist band and placed it on the coffee table. It sat eight feet from me. I might edge closer to it, if the opportunity presented itself. I waited for John to speak his mind. I would listen. It’s important to do that around people who could have you buried in the desert.
“Giuseppe?” John’s eyes opened at me.
“John, Giuseppe, Guido. Whatever.”
“You are tool. Aren’t you?”
“You were hired by my wife to follow me. To take photographs of these… supposed illicit affairs. She thinks I’m cheating on her. She hires you so that she can divorce me. Take my children from me. Take my house. Take my restaurants.”
“You are cheating on her.” I looked him in the eyes.
John crossed the room in an instant and slapped me across the face. I could have easily blocked the blow but the guards all took a step forward and I watched hands go the grips of holstered revolvers and semi-autos. I held my pride, for the moment. John stepped back and rubbed his hand. It must have hurt. Probably more than the slap did. I didn’t rub my face. I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction.
“That was not a question. You are not with the FBI, or the DEA, or the police - all this I am sure. So I want the photographs. I want your notes. I want to pay you for your time. For all this, you are free to leave and I will let you live. Do you agree?”
I saw something move by the fireplace. The cat statue that was lying down stood-up. The cats were not statues. They were real bobcats. The one that stood up stretched its legs. Large claws extended from its paws to gain tenuous grip on the smooth marble tile. It yawned, sat upright on the tile and looked at me with intense eyes.
I looked back at John. “I agree with exception.”
“There are no exceptions.”
“I work for your wife. She has paid me. I am under her employ.” I looked at Veronika. She looked back at me and her right hand moved. I saw purple and red along her cheekbone. She quickly looked away, her hand moving to cover the bruise. He’d been beating her too.
“You are no longer under my wife’s employ.”
“Excuse me, but I don’t think you get to decide that.”
“Who gets to decide that?”
“I do, and Veronika does.” I gestured to Veronika, who sat quietly observing us with nervous eyes. I referred to her by name not only because she was sitting in the room, but also because I knew it would annoy a man who treated people like objects. I succeeded.
“I will decide. I will decide if I should have you killed or not.” John motioned to Tall-Tony.
Tony removed his hand from under his suit jacket. He held a small frame 1911. I looked at my Glock on the coffee table and wondered if there was a round in the chamber. I looked at Veronika. Her nervous expression turned to terror. A long time ago, I would have looked the same if someone was about to be murdered in front of me.
“Okay.” I said.
“Okay, you accept?”
“Okay. If Veronika accepts.”
John and I both looked at Veronika. The terror was still in her eyes but she nodded her head.
John smiled. “Great. I knew you could be reasoned with. Let’s have a drink.” John motioned to the bodyguards and Short-Tony poured two glasses of scotch on the rocks. We stood looking at each other, John bearing a crooked smile - the kind that made me want to smash his teeth in. I restrained myself in light of the overwhelming firepower. Short-Tony handed a drink to John and the other to me. I sniffed the scotch. It was good; single malt. I couldn’t read the label on the wet bar.
John took a sip and asked me, “What are your rates?”
I took a swallow of the scotch and thought for a moment. “For you, one dollar.”
“One dollar? You are joking. What is your hourly rate?”
“My rates are based on the type of client.”
“What do you mean?”
“I have to gauge what a client is worth.”
A look of anger came over the man. “You insult me? You insult me in my own home?”
I took another sip of the scotch. John stepped towards me again, raising his hand. I dropped the glass, stepped back to block the blow but my arms felt like mush. My knees slipped. I felt myself falling, passing into unconsciousness. The floor rose and I knew I’d been drugged.
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