Shells Chats with author Matt Nord

What's your background with writing?

Actually, I don’t really have much of a background in writing. I started reading when I was very young, mostly Stephen King and also those old Chose-Your-Own-Adventure books, and enjoyed the writing assignments I used to get in school, but never really got too much into it. In fact, I wrote a pretty sweet werewolf story that, thinking back, I may have to revisit...

Anyway, I really got into writing a little over a year ago, after I started listening to the Library of the Living Dead podcast by Dr. Pus. I enjoyed it so much that I joined the forum and ended up submitting a Letter from the Dead. That was actually the first story I had get accepted into an anthology. It was only about 500 words, but when I got the acceptance email I was thrilled. Since then, I’ve gotten over 10 more stories published, as well as several more accepted into future anthologies.

Who are your inspirations/influences?

I would say that a lot of my inspiration comes from King, Clive Barker and Anne Rice, simply because those were the writers I read growing up. My major influence would be Romero movies, for subject matter and whatnot, and again King and Barker and maybe a touch of Lovecraft.

I would also same that Rhiannon Frater’s As the World Dies books have had some influence, as well.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment as a writer?

At this point in my career (for lack of a better word), I’d have to say that my biggest accomplishment as a writer is just getting published at all! That’s huge for me!

You have a liking for Zombies, why that particular subject compared to many others?

While zombies are definitely my favorite subject to write about, I enjoy writing on many topics. Most still involve horror, of course.

Anyway, on the subject of zombies, it’s a funny story actually. My first introduction into the realm of the undead was watching Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ video over at my aunt’s house. She had it on VHS and I remember being enthralled by it and watching it over and over, all the way through, including the kick-ass making of documentary afterward. That was the biggest influence that got me into zombies. Then, there was ‘Return of the Living Dead,’ which was my first zombie movie. Come on, Tar-man was the coolest freaking zombie ever!

On a more serious not, I just think that the scenario of a zombie outbreak/zompocalypse is really about the survivors and how they interact. The zombies are just a catalyst for the human conflict that really makes the story.

As a writer, why pick the Horror genre and how do you feel this genre has changed over the years?

I picked the horror genre because it’s who I am! I was watching Child’s Play and A Nightmare of Elm Street when I was 10! I did a book report on Thinner, for crying out loud! I love horror! I don’t think that I’d be interested in writing if I weren’t writing horror.

I see that horror has become a lot more mainstream, which has its good and bad points. It gives horror writers a much bigger potential audience, but it also opens up the potential for... shall we say “soft core” horror? Can anyone say “Twilight”?

You have written many short stories, which is your favorite and where can we find some of them?

I would have to say that the favorite story I’ve written hasn’t even seen print, yet, and it’s not even a zombie or horror story. It’s actually a story named “The Rebirth of Farmer”, a super-hero story that will be in the upcoming anthology No More Heroes. It’s a sad story with a happier ending and there’s a real connection I feel to it.

NorGus Press is a small press you work with, can you tell us about this and where can we learn more about NorGus Press?

NorGus Press started out as an idea that a guy I work with and I had. The name is the first part of my last name and the last part of his. We decided that we wanted to try our hand at putting out anthologies filled with stories that we thought people would want to read. I know it sounds a little elementary, but it is what it is. Our first anthology, Strange Tales of Horror, will be released early 2011.

How does working as an editor for a small press compared to being a writer, are there more challenges, does it help with your writing in any regards?

Editing is like... getting a tooth drilled without anesthetic. Actually, it’s not that bad. It just takes a long time. The problem is that I love to read for pleasure, and when you’re editing you are reading to find mistakes. After doing that for a while, it makes it hard to go back to reading for the fun of it because you are constantly looking for mistakes, grammar and spelling errors and such.

But the end product is worth the work!

Can you tell us a little bit about "Eat or Be Eaten?"

I was approached about this project earlier this year, and was immediately intrigued. The premise is that we’re telling one story in three novellas through the eyes of vampires (Shells Walter), zombies (yours truly) and the unfortunate humans that are in the book (Jessica A. Weiss). I’m currently in the progress of writing my (middle) section of the book. It’s coming along very well. I’m really excited about the ideas I have in place and can’t wait to get it on to Jessica.

Who did the artwork for "Eat or Be Eaten?"

The cover for the book was done by Robert Elrod. He’s done several other covers for horror novels and anthologies, including Dead: The Ugly Beginning by T.W. Brown. Check out some of his work at

When will "Eat or Be Eaten" be available?

I’m not sure about that, as it’s not even completed, yet.

How has it been to work with Wicked East Press?

Jessica is really great to work with. I love that most of the small presses that I’ve worked with really seem to get along. It’s like we’re all networked together and everyone is very friendly. Jessica is one of the people that I feel like I’ve really bounded with as far as working together goes. We participated in a couple of writer’s shootouts together, and then put one on in collaboration.

You have collaborated with other authors before on a project, putting you on the spot here, how has this particular project been different?

Well, the other collaborative project that I’m currently involved with is different because whereas Eat or Be Eaten has three authors all writing a (roughly) 20,000 word novella, Collaboration of the Dead has 19 writers each writing two short story length chapters. It’s similar, though, in that it’s basically like one writer finishes there section and then it’s “Tag, you’re it!” to the next one. It’s been a really cool experience and the story has really evolved. I’m really excited about it and can’t wait until it’s finished!

Based on previous experiences, would you work with another author on a book?

Absolutely! I talked to Mike Gardner a while back about a really cool idea he had for a project and we brainstormed a bit. It’s been a while, and we’ve both been super busy, but I’m hoping that we’ll be able to pick it up again at some point.

I’d also love to do something with Patrick D’Orazio some day. He’s one of my favorite new authors and I’m proud to call him a friend, too.

It’s been really cool to work with other writers on one project and try to integrate everything into one story, while still being able to use your own voice.

How do you or have handled marketing your own work and what suggestions would you have for others for marketing their work?

I don’t really do a lot of marketing or promotion. Most of it I just do through networking and word of mouth. I guess I have a decent Internet presence and have made lots of friends. It turns into kind of a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” type of thing. My suggestion to others would be to make a lot of friends, join all of the writing forums you can, and pimp the crap out of your stuff!

What projects do you have planned for the future?

I have a novel in the works that has kind of been put on hiatus. Hopefully, once I clear my plate, I’ll be able to get down to that and get a lot of work done. The idea is there, it’s just a matter of getting it out the page!

NorGus Press also has several anthologies in the process. We got so many stories sent in that we had to put a hold on them so we can sort through them all. Also, we’re in the process of getting our first anthology finished. Once that one is out, I think things will move along pretty quickly!

Any events planned for the future?

We will be doing a release party in Auburn, NY, but the location and date haven’t been set, yet. Stay tuned!

Any advice you would like to give to new writers who may not know how to approach the publishing world?

Where can people know more about you?

Check out my blog, which doesn’t get undated as much as it should:

Check out my forum, which has been a little dead (pardon the pun) lately:

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