Blogoversary Day 5: T. Michael Martin

Five days down, two days to go. Hey, everybody! Today I have another interview for you guys, this time with the funny and all-around awesome T. Michael Martin, author of the original and intense THE END GAMES! Stick around for this one, you might just learn some valuable tips for surviving the zombie apocalypse. Because it's going to happen people. 


Remember Florida? The naked man eating people on the highway?


Interview with T. Michael Martin

1. Your debut novel, THE END GAMES, is set in a post-apocalyptic West Virginia, which, as I've gathered from watching a vlog of yours, is your home state. Was writing a novel set in your home state of West Virginia an easily done effort for you, considering you know the state/area well? Did you incorporate any of the places in West Virginia you've seen in your life into THE END GAMES? 

Being from West Virginia was a huge help. Honestly, part of the reason I wrote the book was that I wanted to share my ideas about my (much-loved) home state. And I'm proud of The End Games's sense of place, which is something my earlier (unpublished) work lacked.

At the same time, one of the things the book tries to deal with is the idea that there are “two West Virginias”: rural and suburban. We all know the popular WV stereotypes—dueling banjos, cousin marriages—and there's definitely more despair and poverty in the state than anyone would wish. But as a fairly sheltered kid of a pretty idyllic suburb, I wasn't really aware of “that West Virginia” until I left the state for college and got a distant look at my home. The End Games is partly my effort to reconcile those ideas.

(In fairness, it's also my attempt to figure out as many ways as possible to destroy zombie brains.)

2. The relationship between the two main characters, Michael and Patrick, is truly incredible, powerful, and moving. Have you ever experienced a relationship similar to Michael and Patrick's in your life that helped make their relationship as authentic as it was? 

Thank you! And yes, I definitely have been lucky enough to have a similar relationship, with my own (real-life) little brother, Patrick.

I'd been wanting to write a zombie story for years (seriously: I have on my hard drive an unfinished screenplay from eighth grade, titled—don't judge me—Planet DEAD). But it wasn't until 2008, when Patrick and I visited Pennsylvania's Monroeville Mall (which was the shooting location for the original Dawn of the Dead) that a random thought occurred to me:  Why not write a post-apocalyptic about two brothers, separated by ten years or so in age, trying to survive Armageddon in my home state of West Virginia?

I love my little brother so much, and because of our age difference, I acted as both a sibling and a semi-parent to him as he grew up.  So when I wrote The End Games, I was also writing about this question:  How do you protect innocence during the apocalypse?  Or, perhaps better put:  Can you?

As the book grew, the characters “Michael and Patrick” wound up being very different from me and my real brother. But one thing that never changed—in life or in the book—is the brothers' love.

3. Are there any other future novels you're working on that you can tell us about? 

Right now, I'm working on my next novel for Balzer + Bray, which will be published in Autumn 2014. It's another YA thriller, and although we're keeping the plot a secret at the moment, I will say that it isn't post-apocalyptic or a sequel to The End Games, and it also doesn't have any zombie-ish creatures.

4. Has making videos on YouTube (and awesome ones, might I add) impacted your writing style or your experience as an author in any particular way?

I don't think it's changed my style, but in a way, it has changed my emotional experience of writing. 85% of my (awesome!) YouTube viewers are teenagers, and getting to interact with them has been an unexpected gift since I started vlogging in November.

Also, I have to say, the opportunity to create something and present it to other people after only a few hours' work is wonderful. 'Cause writing a novel takes me, like, 2-4 years.

(By the way, I hope your [awesome!] readers will check out my channel!)

5. What is your writing schedule/routine like? Are you a plotter, or a pantser? 

I try to write 3-5 hours a day, 4-6 days a week. I used to force myself to keep a “regular job schedule”—i.e., write from 9-5—but I realized after a while that it was a really frustrating and unhelpful way for me to approach my work.

As for the Eternal Debate of the Plotters and the Pantsers: I am in awe of the Pantsers of planet Earth, but I'm very much a Plotter. The stuff I write tends to depend on deliberately-paced reveals (both to the audience and to the characters), and also I get a lot of anxiety if I don't know where the story is going, so I try to structure the plot pretty fastidiously.

True Confession: The End Games took more than a year to plot out, and I eventually wound up with an outline that was 120 pages long! (Eeeek!)


6. What would be your weapon of choice during the zombie apocalypse?

Like a ton of United States Marines.

7. Your partner of choice during the zombie apocalypse? (Fictional or otherwise) 

My wife. (Without her, I'd kinda be the walking dead anyway.) Also Dumbledore.

Blythe: I'm gonna have to go with Liam Neeson as my answer for this one.

8. Your skill of choice during the zombie apocalypse?

The ability to radio in like a ton of United States Marines. Also Dumbledore.

9. The characters in THE END GAMES are looking for their Safe Zone. If placed in a zombie apocalypse, which location would be your safe zone?

I recently learned this from Jonathan Maberry: The best place to go during a z-pocalypse is a local food distribution center—few windows, lots of doors to lock, and tons of generators.

10. And lastly, are you prepared for the inevitable zombie apocalypse? If so, what survival tips do you have for all of us? 

Oh man, not at all. My primary survival tip would be Don't Follow Mike, and also Look For Marines/Dumbledore/Maberry.

Thanks so much for the interview, Mike!

Thanks so much for having me, Blythe! This was so much fun!


Add to Goodreads
It happened on Halloween.

The world ended.

And a dangerous Game brought it back to life.

Seventeen-year-old Michael and his five-year-old brother, Patrick, have been battling monsters in The Game for weeks.

In the rural mountains of West Virginia, armed with only their rifle and their love for each other, the brothers follow Instructions from the mysterious Game Master. They spend their days searching for survivors, their nights fighting endless hordes of “Bellows”—creatures that roam the dark, roaring for flesh. And at this Game, Michael and Patrick are very good.

But The Game is changing.

The Bellows are evolving.

The Game Master is leading Michael and Patrick to other survivors—survivors who don’t play by the rules.

And the brothers will never be the same

T. Michael Martin’s debut novel is a transcendent thriller filled with electrifying action, searing emotional insight, and unexpected romance.
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Michael's Website | Twitter | Goodreads
T. Michael Martin is a novelist and screenwriter who holds a B.F.A. in Filmmaking from University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He was inspired to write his debut novel, The End Games (Balzer + Bray 2013), by his own younger brother, Patrick, and their shared love of zombie movies. He currently lives with his wife in West Virginia.


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