The Gore Spotlight

Checking back in with
The Bookie Monster:
A Q&A session with Shana Festa

The Bookie Monster aka Shana Festa, has been the definition of the words busy woman since we last interviewed her. She took the time to answer our questions the day before her debut novel, a Permuted Press release, Time of Death: Induction launches. Read the exciting things that Shana has to tell us in an HMS exclusive interview.

HMS: Shana! Last time you sat down with us at Horror Metal Sounds, you were stuck on the last chapter of your book, Time of Death, and now you have not only signed a publishing contract, but the release of your novel is TOMORROW! Congratulations, tell us how this all came to fruition!

SF: Hey Stevie! Thanks for having me back, HMS has been so great to work with. So you want the backstage tour, eh? Who am I to deny… ☺

You’re right, I was completely blocked with my last chapter. Someone once told me that when writers are stuck it usually means one of two things. They’ve either written something they didn’t like, or they’ve got a decision to make. They were absolutely right. I was facing both options. I’d just written something into the story that I couldn’t see myself continuing with, which means I needed to scrap it and find another alternative. Since I’m not skittish about killing people off, once I did a little fancy reworking I had a fresh perspective and things started flowing again.

I knew where I wanted the book to end, but I needed a plausible way to get there. As soon as the light bulb went off, it was smooth sailing to the finish line.

HMS: What has this publishing journey with Permuted been like for you?

SF: I keep thinking that I must have built up some major karma. This entire experience has been smooth sailing. I handled seeking a publisher the same way I handled applying to college when I was a kid. I picked my one and only choice and got it in my head that I would be a Permuted Press author. After all, they’re the authority publisher in the apocalyptic market.

I’m still amazed at how painless the process was. I mean, I’ve heard horror stories about authors waiting months to hear back from a publisher, which would drive me absolutely batty. I’m a hear-and-now kind of gal, and have a low threshold for patience. I’m that chick in line tapping her feet and tapping her wrist (not even wearing a watch, mind you) to hurry folks along.

Two days.

That’s how long I had to wait to hear back from Permuted. I worked directly with their president, Michael Wilson, and he’s been excellent. So far they’ve delivered on all their commitments, and have worked hand-in-hand with me to ensure Time of Death: Induction will be a resounding success and to schedule release in time for me to be a part of the Summer of Zombie Blog tour 2014. If you haven’t signed up to attend yet, get on it! It’s jam-packed full of talent. Over 30 authors! We’ve got a cool T-Shirt!

HMS: What exciting spoilers can you dish out on the adventures to come in your Time of Death series?

SF: Well, a lot of people die. Mark Tufo, who wrote the foreword for the book, made me laugh when he finished reading it. He said, “Holy shit you have no problem tossing people off the pages!” It’s true, I even killed off my mother-in-law. Now, I know what most of you are thinking…and I can tell you that part is pure fiction! I’ve been blessed with in-laws, it’s that karma thing again.

So let’s see, in book two, Time of Death: Asylum, I worked just as hard to give readers a traditional zombie story with differentiating myself from the masses by providing original characters and settings. Only a handful of characters continue on in the second installment, since most splashed the pages of book one with arterial spray. And the snarky humor continues…oh, yeah, and there’s not as much poop in this one. Personally, I think this next book has a few really great emotional scenes. I cried for an entire day trying to write one chapter.

But if you want to know the gory details, you’ll need to buy the book. It’s worth it!

HMS: Tell me why the novel’s title went from Time of Death to Time of Death: Induction.

SF: I realized that when I thought about the series, it was Time of Death. The title encompassed it all and I wanted it to carry through from the first word to the very last. Instead, I gave the book a subtitle. While I’m not a particularly speculative thinker, one of the things I do enjoy is the double entendre. I believe the title of a book should be in direct relation to its content. For Time of Death, not only is it a kick-ass title for zombie fiction, but it is also a direct quote from the book. As soon as I wrote the sentence, the words stuck out like they were in neon lights and I knew that was my title.

For Induction, I wanted something to hit readers in the face, in case they weren’t sure (haha) that this is where Emma’s journey begins. She’s gone from everyday nursing student to survivor of an apocalypse and a leader of sorts. The second book, Asylum, has a double meaning as well. Emma will seek safety behind the walls of a community, aptly named…wait for it… Asylum.

The third book’s title is Crossroads. Not to give too much away, but Emma will begin the third installment of the Time of Death series with a major decision to make. Essentially, she’s stuck at a crossroad both figuratively and literally. From there, I don’t know where the story will go, if it will continue on or resolve. I’m writing it organically and need to see where Emma takes me. She’s pretty strong willed, and I’m just along for the ride.

HMS: Your Virtual Release Party for Time of Death: Induction is tomorrow, what can you tell our readers about your party and how can they attend like all of us here at HMS?

SF: I am stoked for the release party! I’ve been seeing these Facebook parties popping up all over the place and the concept totally intrigued me. What better way to launch a book in the digital age. Instead of dishing out cash for food and drink, I can put all that money toward prizes and swag for party goers.

The Time of Death: Induction Virtual Release Party will elevate this type of event to new levels. I’m giving away over $750 in prizes. Heck, the Grand prize itself retails at over $300! A digital collection of over 80 books from 50 authors will go to one very lucky winner.


"I handled seeking a publisher the same way I handled applying to college when I was a kid."

I’ve got to hand it to these generous authors for donating their work to the prize. I’m bursting with respect for them, and pride to be among them.

Additionally, I’ll be giving away Bookie Monster and Time of Death swag: physical books, eBooks, mouse pads, coffee mugs, bookmarks, wrist-bands, etc. AND, I’ve got quite a few other great prizes to dole out.

In order to be eligible to win prizes, all fans need to go is RSVP yes to the event and participate in some fun games and contests throughout the day. I hope to see everyone there.

June 1st, 10 AM – 8 PM EST – RSVP HERE

HMS: How has finishing up your novel and publishing effected The Bookie Monster? Have you been able to keep up with the reviews while balancing your own writing career?

SF: It hasn’t been easy, Stevie, I can tell you that much! I’m a lucky girl! To help me keep things going, I’ve got one hell of a team over at The Bookie Monster. I couldn’t do it without them. Yes, I’m still reviewing, but instead of a book every two days, I’m reading a book every five days. But with the support of my team, I’m still able to publish at least one review a day. There has been no negative impact for fans and readers of the site. Quite the opposite, actually. We’ve been able to add more genres to the site, and every reviewer has a distinct voice, so there’s something for everyone. (Except crocheting…sorry crafters, that won’t be seen on TBM any time soon)

I’ve also enlisted help to make sure readers still get daily free book lists. Seven days a week, each day a different theme.

HMS: I know this is looking pretty far ahead, but what do you see yourself writing once you’ve wrapped up the ToD series?

SF: I’ve got a contemporary fiction story jumbling around in that noggin of mine. Fans of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series will love my Aria Chase. Until I get further along with Time of Death, though, she’ll stay in my head (and a few scraps of notepaper).

HMS: So, since I have already asked you my signature question, we know that your only means of defense against the undead at your door was a roll of scotch tape. So this time, tell me how you successfully disposed of a zombie with your scotch tape

SF: Sadly, I didn’t. In fact it got me…the infection is coursing through my brains this very minute! The end is near. I can feel it. Hmm, something smells good. Now if you’ll excuse me, my neighbor is mowing his lawn and I must go see him. He looks so yummy-yyyyaarrrrgghllll.

HMS: Well, that was unexpected. I’m now shouting over the blood curdling screams of an unfortunate victim, thanks for sitting down with us Zombie Shana! From all of us at HMS, good luck with your launch tomorrow and congrats!

You can purchase "Time of Death: Induction" here. Find Shana Festa's work on her Website, and follow the Bookie Monster on their Blog, Twitter or their Facebook page.

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Stevie Kopas, Managing Editor HMS

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