"When it comes to authors,we may hide ourselves from others but within our pages, our true souls emerge." - Nicole Hill
"I want a Vampite of my very own. Until I find him, I'll just keep writing him into existence." -Nicole Hill
" I write like people talk. It may not be perfect but it's damn entertaining." - Nicole Hill

Saturday, July 13, 2013

#IndieSpotlight of Mike Zimmerman @DracApprentice Author of Dracula's Apprentice

The Author:
Mike Zimmerman

The name of his work:
Dracula’s Apprentice

Where he creates:
From Detroit, Michigan currently residing in Phoenix, Arizona

The genre that gets to claim him:
I write in the historical fiction, vampire, and non-fiction history genres. 

In his own words, what his book is about? If he were not the author and trying to explain this awesome book he just read to a friend, what would he say about it?
If I were not the author, I would explain Dracula’s Apprentice in the following way. Zimmerman has taken vampires back to being killers, not teen lovers. This guy, Leon, is desperately afraid of losing his soul and becoming a vampire. He is fueled by fear; because he knows that one day, the Eve of St. George, that it is going to happen. His only hope is to drink the ashes of the vampire who has doomed him in a mixture that his uncle, Milos, has discovered. Leon doesn’t trust Milos but he does trust his other companion, Jarvis. Milos is all about self sacrifice. He does not care what Leon thinks of him as long as Leon makes it out of this alive. Suzanna joins them, but she has her own alternative motives. She is all about revenge and the other men must reel her in to make sure she does not recklessly put herself in danger. Petru is that vampire the four hunts. Despite death among them, setbacks, kidnappings, lunatics, vampire attacks, and everything else Zimmerman decides to throw at them. The ending is both satisfying and tragic. If you are a fan of vampires, history, period pieces, or just a good read; give it a try. It is only $1.99 and exclusive to kindle.

What is your writing style? Do you follow all guides and rules? Synopsis, outline, etc. or do you just sit down at the computer and type to see what happens?
With Dracula’s Apprentice and its forthcoming follow up, I start with historical research. I want to know what was happening in the 1750s and how my characters might interact with it. Some of the historical interactions include the excavations of Arnold Paul and Peter Plogojowitz, using publications from Calmet, and vampire accounts from Johannes Fluckinger. Secondly I look into scouting locations. I search for interesting settings for action to take place. Many places in Cluj, Romania are featured in Dracula’s Apprentice including St. Michael’s Church, their Roman ruins, Hints House, and Corvin House. Then it is time to write, and rewrite, and rewrite, and make sure events line up on the timeline, and rewrite some more. Finally the last step is editing and publishing. 

Has he ever written anything and thought, “The world has got to see this!”?
I believe that Dracula’s Apprentice is a story that needs to be told. Three characters are motivated in three distinct ways. They all lose something in the end. I am very excited about writing “Slayers of the Devil Dragon,” to follow it up. Apprentice is my Hobbit and this is now my Lord of the Rings!

Who can we thanks for the look and feel of his book?
Daniel Bauer is the talented individual who drew and painted the cover of Dracula’s Apprentice. Editing was done by With Pen In Hand. Brinkley did a wonderful job and was easy to work with. 

Who is his favorite author. Not just someone that he read a lot. I wanna know whose book he read that made him suddenly know that if he didn't do this for the rest of his life then he would never be happy.
 I realized that I wanted to write these stories when I read Diaries of the Family Dracul by Jeanne Kalogridis. Writing for my history classes in college was also a heavy influence in my nonfiction writing.

Is there anything he finds particularly challenging in his writing?
Challenges include keeping my events in order. I am visual and want to see what happens to my characters on a timeline. Sometimes in a day I spend more time tweaking it than I do writing. Historical accuracies at times can be challenging as well. 

Does Mike write his characters or do they write themselves through him?
I am no actor. My characters come to life on the page. I know their thoughts when the reader doesn’t, I know what their motivations are, and I know their histories. I give then each a back-story; they don’t just appear the day my story is told and go away when it is done. 

Does he ever write himself into the characters?
No, I am too boring a person. But I will confess that my characters’ birthdays fall on the same dates as my family. I share Leon’s month and date of birth; my parents share his parents, and so on. 

Is writing his full-time job or is he “Keeping his day job”?
I am a full time history teacher at a charter school in Surprise, Arizona. I could not, at this time, provide for my family based on writing alone. Perhaps after the movie adaptation…Wishful thinking!

If he could go back in time and meet one famous person or legend in history, who would it be?
As a history teacher, there are just way too many. Let’s stick with the vampire theme and say Vlad Dracula. No wait that might not end well for me. How about Stoker?

There are millions of new books released every year. What, in Mike's mind, makes his stand out from all those millions in his genre?
What makes Dracula’s Apprentice stand out is that I have woven history and fiction. If you have read J Gordon Melton or Calmet you can say, “That is where he got that.” Or, “look the place he is describing is real.” It has taken the genre back to darker days, where vampires were not worried about falling in love and more worried about ripping out throats for entertainment before a kill. People feared becoming vampires as it would damn them. And the most interesting part is, people in Easter Europe were superstitious enough to dig people up and stake them. 

In the world of Indie, marketing is very difficult, especially if you don’t have the funds to pay for it. Has Mike found a great free way to market his work that he thinks other Indies will benefit from?
Marketing has been difficult. I am constantly on facebook, twitter, goodreads, linkedin, my website and blog, looking for blogs to interview me (THANK YOU!), passing out cards, and anything else I can think of. I have a filmmaking friend coming up with a book trailer to youtube as well. offers some free advertising for self published authors. When in doubt, google what you should be doing. There are tons of good ideas online. 

Twitter: @DracApprentice