Friday, September 5, 2014

Author Interview: Michael Hammor Author Of Bedtime Tales From The Apocalypse

Hey ya'll
So I am sure in the past few days many of you have heard all about a particular author who had a meltdown via Facebook (We shall call her "She Who Shall Not Be Named"). It really does make me sad to see an author care so little for her readers and fans, and I know as a blogger I have had to email and ask many a questions to authors. If any of them answered back the way "She Who Shall Not Be Named" is answering I think I would never contact another author again. And that folks is plain sad.

Well in the middle of all the social media drama that went down that day I happened upon a post that absolutely cracked me up. Many of you probably saw the post I made on FB sharing it, but if you haven't seen it I'm sure I can dig it up. 
The post I'm referring to is that by Michael Hammor, who in the middle of all the "She Who Shall Not Be Named" drama decided to treat everyone that would email him to 2 of his books for free to show his appreciation for readers. 

Well I emailed him. And after sending several messages back and forth he volunteered to do an interview with me. 
But before I get to that let me share a little about his books with you

Bedtime Tales From The Apocalypse
Earth: a nearly dead world. The deserts in what used to be the southwestern United States expand as the polar ice caps claim ever more territory. No one notices because almost no one is left. Selfishness, pride, and arrogance have destroyed this once vibrant world. For the few humans remaining, the world has stopped being about fashion, IPods, fast food, and the internet. Now it’s about survival. Surviving the elements, each other, and worse. The Veil is torn. Whatever ended the world shredded the barriers that separated Us from Them. Now, Legends and Nightmares walk among us. Some are here to save us, others are here to drag us down to Hell. The Apocalypse, the end of days, it doesn’t matter what it’s called or what broke the world. Its broken and humans are no longer in charge. Welcome to the Apocalypse!

Book 1: The Girl With No Name:
In a post apocalyptic world a lone girl is ambushed under an overpass. A coyote follows her. The Boss can't wait to meet her. Read the exciting introductory short story to the series, Bedtime Tales From The Apocalypse, today.

Buy link:

Book 2: Aluminum Butterflies:
In a post apocalyptic world a lone girl wanders the American southwest searching for revenge. The Boss has placed a price on her head. Read the exciting follow on short story to the series, Bedtime Tales From The Apocalypse, today.

Buy Link:

Book 3: By Lantern's Light:
In a post apocalyptic world a lone girl has to make a difficult decision; give up her quest of personal vengeance and join forces with the Mayor of Huachuca City, or Dance with the Dawn. Read the engaging third installment to the series, Bedtime Tales From The Apocalypse.

Buy Link:

So just to let ya'll know I have not personally read these books yet but I am planning on it. Plus Michael seems like a really super guy and hey if I can support an author and help get their name and books out there I will. The readers are the most important part in an authors world, and I think that one fact right there was what caused so many problems to begin with. "She Who Shall Not Be Named" forgot that one simple thing and because of her outburst it caused many of her readers, future readers, and fellow authors to lose respect for her, and thus began the bashing and side comments by some.
Like I said before though I kinda just stumbled on Michael Hammor during all this though and while some see his offer as opportunistic I see it as a way of making a bad thing good. Why not show readers kindness when things are craptastic. And hey if you get a bit of free publicity all the better for you. It to me is no different then the authors that PM me asking to share their info and books on our Facebook page.

So here is my interview with him

  • What is the most important things to you as a writer that you want to convey to the people who read your books?

The most important things I want to convey with my work are foremost, entertainment, and secondly, to look deeper into the story. It’s fine to read for entertainment but in almost every fine book that I have read, there has been a message. Let’s use the revamped Battle Star Galactica for an example. I know it’s a TV show, but it was very well written and complex. SPOILER ALERT. They spent the entire series running from the murderous Cylons and searching for Earth. As it turns out the Earth they were looking for wasn't a place, it was an acceptance of self. They weren't fighting and running from Cylons, they were trying to escape their own dark nature. If you look at the main plot points as a metaphor, it is very profound and deep. In the end, they accepted their dark nature, and by accepting it, negated it as a threat. Only then, when they were complete, did they find the peace they sought. I want to entertain my readers, but also explore deep and profound ideas. I am always curious to hear what my readers think my message is.

  • With all of the “She Who Shall Not Be Named” drama that has been blowing up Facebook the past couple days you made, in my opinion, a great post telling upset readers to email you and that you would give them 2 of your books as a way of showing how much you cared. What made you go ahead and decide to do this?

Initially I was very angry. I am an avid reader. I have corresponded with some of my favorite authors since beginning my own writing career. At the worst they were merely cold and professional. I have an extensive customer service background and I know how to treat people. What that author did was akin to slapping a four year old because they asked for a drink. I can only imagine what that poor person felt, seeing their question had sparked such an outrageous response. I decided that an angry response wasn't the appropriate way to handle the situation. I thought ‘If she doesn't want her readers, I do!’ I didn't do this for money, I did it to reassure the reader that authors appreciate them. If one person stops reading because of what she said, its tragic. I don’t charge a lot for my books. My greatest joy is actually giving them away for free. When people have a response to your free book, you know it is true and genuine. They haven’t invested money. I think that sometimes when people purchase a book they are reluctant to acknowledge that it’s bad because they feel like they wasted their money. This author is going to see a dramatic decrease in her sales. Her die hard fans were trying to make excuses for her, saying she’s human, she had a bad day, and calling me names. Very mature. There is no excuse for treating her readers like that. She showed her true colors; how she really feels about her customer base. Can you imagine if this tirade happened at a live book signing event?

  • Do you think that something like this drama will have a lasting effect on the book community as a whole, and that readers will be more leery to approach authors now?

Unfortunately, those that have knowledge of this event may be reluctant to contact an author directly for fear of just this sort of response. Readers, don’t be shy! I know many authors that would love to answer questions from readers, short of revealing our stories or secrets. I love live events for just this reason. I get to talk to people, answer questions, and hear what they think is happening in my books. I mostly encounter potential readers, but I have had a few fans approach me. Some of their insights were interesting and insightful. In several cases, they found things that I didn't even know were in there, but overall enhanced the basic message this series is trying to convey. I missed the last trade show in my town. The organizer messaged me stating that I HAVE to come to the next one. People were asking where I was. That is awesome!

  • What is something that you answer daily or most often from your readers?
The question I get most often is why the Girl doesn’t have a name. I have not revealed her name to anyone except my wife and my editor. Her name reveal in Book 6 is a pivotal part of the series. There are hints along the way. I can tell you why she doesn’t have a name, just not what it is. She considers herself a monster, in her eyes she isn’t a person anymore. She doesn’t deserve to live. Her only goal is revenge. She died when her family was killed. The other question I get a lot is why my books are so short. My books are short because I am writing a serial novel in six parts. Once they are all done, I will combine them and add some expanded content and release it as a full novel. There will eventually be three full length novels in the series. I have started on the fourth book. I am shooting for around fourteen thousand words for each of the last three parts.

  • Do you think that it is the author’s responsibility to answer “repetitive or frivolous questions”?
I would not call it a responsibility to answer every question. It is a responsibility to ensure your readers are treated with respect and dignity. A year ago I was a civilian contract instructor at a military base. I trained soldiers in the same job that I performed when I was deployed. I literally answered the same questions, sometimes within seconds of the last one, thousands of times a month. Is it frustrating? Yes. Should you lash out at someone asking you for help? No! I have seen instructors walked out of the classroom and fired for the same behavior that the author displayed. If you find yourself answering the same questions over and over, in any field, you should write a Frequently Asked Questions list or FAQ. This will save you time and frustration. I like to help people so I don’t mind answering questions. One time during the holidays I made the mistake of going to a big box store with a red ball as the logo. I was wearing a red polo shirt and my name badges from work. A lady asked me a question about the vacuum cleaners. I spent forty five minutes with her helping her pick one out based on price and capability. I was a janitor in a past life and I appreciate a capable vacuum. Eventually I had to excuse myself to conclude my own shopping. The lady was shocked. She thought I worked there! She asked me why I would spend so much time helping her pick out a vacuum cleaner. I replied that it was common courtesy and picking out the right vacuum was very important and something I was a bit of an expert on. The sad part is that it shocked her. It should be common place. If you are an author, and you have such a volume of readers clamoring for your attention that you can’t write… then get on your knees and thank Jesus! If you can’t answer with a polite and respectful response, just don’t respond at all.

  • What pays your salary? (Sorry this one is to more make a point about a part of one of those posts that “She Who Shall Not Be Named” made, not to just be all up in your business)
Sadly, I am currently unemployed. The white house administration has drastically cut funding for the military. They laid off over fifty of us from just my course alone. These cuts happened in many departments. Now, nearly twelve months later we are living in an RV in the desert. Due to the cuts on the military post we are seeing businesses shut their doors in my small town. Unemployment is rampant. The most recent job I had was digging ditches for a swimming pool company. It was hot, hard work. I’m not 19 years old anymore. Two weeks into the job they laid me off, too. They were out for work for me. Orders for new pools or repairs and upgrades were at the lowest point they had ever seen in their 35 year history. I didn’t really mind as the work was wrecking my body. It would sometimes be over a hundred degrees with no shade or even a breeze. It was hard, but I felt blessed to even have that kind of a job. Now we exist off of food stamps and the kindness of strangers in our town. They have been very supportive and we have had people randomly show up at the RV and stuff it with food. My daughter goes to school wearing clothes purchased by strangers out of the goodness of their hearts. It is very humbling but also uplifting. This whole experience has restored my faith in humanity. I will never be able to pay these people back. Some of them haven’t even told me their names. The only thing I can do is pay it forward when things are better for us.
As far as income from my books, honestly, there isn't much. While I have extensive writing experience from my time in Military Intelligence, no one knows me from jack in the literary world. I sell my books as cheaply as I can. Purchasing a book from a new and unknown author is a huge risk for a reader. I have purchased books before that were so bad that I filed for a refund. Right now I am concentrating on building my fan base. I am not looking to get famous or rich. I just want to be able to support my family at a level slightly above destitution. I expect that I will see more attention and sales when the novelization of this first series is complete. Writing for me is something I do to keep my sanity. I enjoy it. It calms and soothes me. Money is nice, don’t get me wrong, but I like to write.

  • Is there something I didn't ask that you want shared?

I am a contributing author to an upcoming romance anthology to benefit Breast Cancer Research in Australia. Romance isn't my normal genre so it was interesting and challenging. I wrote the piece I am submitting in the same reality as my series, but a few years before Book one. The character in the romance will be introduced into the series in my next book. If for some reason my story doesn't make the final cut I am also a contributing author at Far Horizons Magazine so I may get it included in a future issue. I had a prologue to my current series published in the August issue of the magazine. I am currently finishing up the first novelette in a series with Stacey Welsh, and Australian author. It’s written in the thriller/adventure genre. I don’t want to reveal too much about the project but it’s pretty intense. We plan to get the first few books written before we release the first so we can have some time to work on our other projects, but still be releasing work every sixty or ninety days for our readers.
Lastly, I am currently working on a Sci-fi book that has been bugging me since I was a kid. While I love the Star Wars franchise, it didn't satisfy me, so I wrote my own. It will be a combination of all my favorite elements of sci fi. I can’t guarantee 100% originality, but it will be unique and engaging. I have an artist rendering a 3-d model of the ship, the main character, as we speak.  She’s old, tough, and 40 years past her prime. The story is about her last flight.
P.S. I was just contacted by someone close to the Author discussed. This person liked my comment and doesn't understand why the author posted what she did. This party wants to buy my books. Part of me thinks this might just be a way for them to leave negative reviews and lower my ratings in retaliation. Maybe I am just being paranoid. I responded respectfully to this person and thanked them for contacting me.

So I just want to say thank you to Michael Hammor for doing interview with me, and please take the time to find out about his books and maybe pick one up.

Links to his website and Blog:

If anyone has any questions regarding Michael or the "She Who Shall Not Be Named" issue feel free to comment below :)

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