Shells Chats with author A.P. Fuchs
When did you get the urge to start writing?
It was in 1999. Though I did the occasional short story as a kid, it was in ’99 that I needed an outlet for the stories and ideas that would pop into my head and, since at the time, the animation school I was attending wasn’t delivering on their curriculum, writing seemed a natural alternative. My first aim was to make comics for a living, but the school I attended stopped teaching us about four months in and really through me for a loop.
I grew embittered toward the art industry due to what happened at the school and so devoted all my creative energies into crafting stories.
It’s only been in recent years where I’ve let go what happened and am now balancing my creative output between writing and art.
What do you find is the most important thing about being an author?
Out of all the stuff I’ve learned over the years, I think the most important part is perseverance. Back in the day, I found there were a lot of politics in this industry and they started to take their toll on me. It was when I decided to just keep my head down and do my own thing did progress really get made in terms of turning writing and publishing into a full-time career.
I agree with listening to advice and constructive criticism, by all means, but I don’t agree with someone else running your career. That tends to happen all too often in this business, at least from what I’ve seen.
Can you tell us a bit about your online serial, Zomtropolis, and where the idea came for it?
Sure. Zomtropolis is a free serial zombie novel I run on my blog at http://www.canisterx.com every Friday. There are 38 chapters posted as of this writing, and it’s the story of a guy stuck in a futuristic city where zombies have taken over. It’s written in journal form, and chronicles the protagonist—Marty’s—struggle with his circumstance, his wild mood fluctuations over not just the undead, but losing the love of his life, Selena, and the madness that comes with both. To make matters worse for him, Selena shows up at his apartment, only die sometime later, yet returns again . . . over and over.
What I’m hoping to do with the book is to be very real in terms of raw emotion, and try and tell the story as realistically as possible via the journal format.
Can you tell us a bit about the Axiom-man Saga and where people can find it?
As mentioned, I went to animation school, my first goal for a career being a comic book artist. My thought was, “If I could draw things in motion, drawing them standing still would be easy.” Though comics is a different artform, there are parallels to animation. That said, superheroes have always been my thing, ever since I was a kid. Still are. Axiom-man is a character I came up with in high school (grade eleven). Originally I was going to do comics about him under my company, Coscom Entertainment (also invented in high school), and that would be my job.
Things didn’t go as planned and my career path changed, so in late 2005 I really began thinking about showcasing my superhero to anyone who would listen and thus, in 2006, I began writing the first installment of the series. So far there are four books, one short story and one comic: Axiom-man, First Night Out, Doorway of Darkness, The Dead Land, Black Water, and Of Magic and Men.
I’m working on a comic series right now, writing and drawing it. I hope to release the first issue late March.
In short, the Axiom-man Saga is about Gabriel Garrison, a 24-year-old who, during one night of insomnia, is visited by a nameless messenger who grants him superpowers, but then disappears without revealing why, even how. It’s then up to Gabriel to decide what to do with those powers and, after a few select events, he decides to become a “self-evident truth” to the city he lives in and dons the guise of Axiom-man to carry out his crusade.
Complicating things, another being with superpowers arises. His name is Redsaw and every time Axiom-man gets close to him, it’s like his powers are being drained. The two are deeply connected, but as to what that connection is, I’ll let the reader find out.
The entire Axiom-man Saga is available in paperback and eBook at Amazon.com, or your favourite online retailer. You can also get copies ordered in through bookstores, too.
For the person just starting out writing comic strips, what suggestions can you give them based on your experience?
Step one is don’t talk about it, do it. I’ve met way too many artists and writers who are always talking about their craft but are rarely—if ever—practicing it. I’m actually being nice calling them a writer or artist here. Writers write. Artists draw/paint/etc.
Step two is the standard write a lot and read a lot. If writing novels, take note of how the novels you read are structured, how they’re written, what the author includes and what they don’t. If you want to do comics, you can view many samples of comic book scripts on the Internet, so I’d look those up plus, when reading comics, pay attention to how the story is presented, the flow of the panels, which actions are shown and their pacing, how mood is set. A good book on this is Making Comics by Scott McCloud. Though that book is about writing and drawing comics, it does get into detail about what makes good comics and, personally, it’s changed my view on the artform for the better.
If you had to pick a favorite comic series what would it be?
Right now I’m really enjoying DC’s monthly Batgirl book. I’ve always been a fan of Stephanie Brown (aka The Spoiler) and to see her don the cape and cowl as Batgirl has really brought that character into her own.
You write a lot of non-fiction articles. How do you feel that has helped you as an author and in the writing community?
Those are part of my effort to post new content on my blog every day. Sometimes they’re actual articles/opinion pieces. Other times it’s just me rambling about something.
It’s helped me as an author in that it helps me keep my focus. By dumping these things out onto the screen, it gets them out of my head so I can focus more on my stories.
Has it helped the writing community? I’d like to think so, especially the articles I’ve written about self-publishing, which is something I’m very passionate about. There seems to be a lot of misinformation about self-publishing out there nowadays and my articles are meant to be a kind of counter to that information. I have 7 years experience going it alone so I’d like to think my opinion carries at least some weight.
Where can we find some of these articles?
The easiest place would be at my blog at http://www.canisterx.com
How did Coscom Entertainment come about?
Coscom Entertainment was born when I was in high school, its goal to one day be a publishing house through which I could publish my own comics. As my career goals changed, it just simply ended up being an outlet for publishing my books.
It then became a traditional publisher when friend and fellow author Keith Gouveia asked me if Coscom Entertainment would be willing to put out a benefit short story anthology for the late Charles Grant called Small Bites. I accepted, and as one thing led to another, Coscom Entertainment took on other authors and projects and just grew.
Has being an author as well helped in understanding the publishing business?
Back in the beginning, yeah. Back when I was researching (albeit limitedly) publishing and how things worked. When I got suckered into subsidy publishing my first book, despite the whole ordeal being a nightmare, I ended up falling in love with the book production process. Then instead of using a service provider, I became my own and began to truly self-publish and be a publisher.
I’m also a do-it-yourselfer by nature and am very stubborn in terms of seeing my goals through. This, I believe, has helped me duke it out in this business for so long.
You have published a number of Eric S. Brown's books. How was it to work with him?
We have fun. He’s easygoing, easy to talk to, easy to work with guy when going through the book production process.
Plus we have a lot of things in common so when not talking about work, we hit it off over things like comics.
Where can people find Coscom Entertainment?
Easiest place is on the Web at http://www.coscomentertainment.com and follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mrcoscom
All of our books are also available through the usual channels like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, through your favorite bookstore, Kindle, iBookstore and more. Please see our website for a complete listing of available titles.
Where can people learn more about you?
The best place is my daily blog, Canister X, at http://www.canisterx.com, and to follow me on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ap_fuchs
Posted by Shells W