Acclaimed horror author Craig DiLouie is a writer on the verge of being a massive household name. DiLouie is the author of the bestselling zombie novels Tooth and Nail (Salvo Press, April 2010), The Infection (Permuted Press, February 2011) and its sequel The Killing Floor (Permuted Press, April 2012). He's also dabbled in military science fiction comedy with The Great Planet Robbery, and tried his hand at crafting a psychological thriller, Paranoia.
His latest release, Suffer the Children from Simon & Schuster, might just be the one that pushes him permanently into the spotlight. It's a gut wrenching tale of about a world in which all the children have died due to a mysterious new illness. Soon the kids are back and begging for blood. Once they get fed they return to their original state for a short period before fading back to rotting corpses. A pint will buy only a few hours with the dearly departed and then they need to feed anew. Soon we learn in horrifying detail just how far parents will go to bring back their lost children.
DS: Tell us a little about your journey as an author. How did you get started writing?
Craig DiLouie: I wanted to be a writer since I was nine years old. I had two loves around that time-disaster movies, and a few years later, Star Wars, which would shape my genre interests for the rest of my life toward apocalyptic and science fiction. My first "novel" was a ramshackle story about the world being overwhelmed by natural disasters. Washington is hit by a tidal wave. Moscow is buried under miles of mud. During my teen years, I read pretty much everything Robert E. Howard ever wrote. He blew my mind. After that, my interest in being a fiction writer went from idle fantasy to hardcore enthusiasm and lifelong dedication.
In the 1990s, traditional publishing ruled, and it was a hard game to break into. The advent of print-on-demand publishing gave rise to a lively small press industry. I got two books published by a small press in the early 00s, but they didn't go very far. After my first child was born, I was just about ready to hang it up but decided to write a zombie novel I always wanted to read. A year or two before, I'd read David Moody's Autumn series and Hater, which I thought were amazing. I had already been interested in zombie fiction after reading Brian Keene's The Rising and Joe McKinney's Dead City. So I wrote Tooth and Nail, the first military zombie novel, and its popularity exploded. This was a matter of being at the right place at the right time - writing about zombies before they got big, and just when the Kindle was rapidly expanding the market for small press genre books. I've been writing apocalyptic fiction ever since. Mostly zombies, but my latest - Suffer the Children, published by Simon & Schuster - is more straight apocalyptic horror, otherwise defying easy categorization.
It's been an amazing journey, gratifying and humbling. I've met a lot of great people and enjoyed my success, and despite the mounting pressure of going from writing for fun to writing professionally, it's been a blast. People ask me the formula for getting published and making a name for yourself. Some writers, they like to share their own success story and then point to it as the Way to Do It. I don't think there's a formula. Every writer's path to success is different. If there is a formula, it would have to be to put in the hours producing as much quality work as possible, put yourself out there, and then get lucky.