12 Questions with William Vitka

What books have you written?

Stranded, Emergence, Live From the End of the World (nee Infected), A Man and His Robot, Blood God, Kill Machine (all are part of the Hroza series), the Bartender series, and there are a few more in the pipe coming from Permuted and Post Hill Press.

What first inspired you to become a writer? And what compels you to continue your career as an author?

I’m not an author. There are a lot of fart-sniffing jerks who like to call themselves “authors,” so I feel like it’s a contaminated word. I’m a writer. I write. I work.

I started writing when I was twelve. Bad offshoots of crap I’d seen on TV. I wrote imaginary sequels (to stuff masterpieces as Aliens and The Thing From Another World [1951]) and had my friends run through the motions as though they were pretend scripts.

My mom was supportive and my dad told me to work harder, so I did.

What is the first book you read that made you fall in love with literature?

“Literature” is another loaded word, but the people who helped me fall in love with writing were my parents. And the guys who made me wanna write were Edward Murrow and Richard Matheson. Murrow’s broadcasts from Britain during the Blitz and Matheson’s Twilight Zone episodes. Obviously, Rod Serling is in there as well. Ditto Elmore Leonard and HP Lovecraft. Yes, I realize how odd it is that television and movies made me wanna write.

What do you think is the most difficult part of being a writer? What is the most rewarding part?

Finding the right idea can be difficult, though as a writer, one should be used to the process. I tend to think of it as writing the biography of a group of people. That simplifies things in my brain.

The writing itself is rewarding—but contracts are better.

Characters often find themselves in situations they aren’t sure they can get themselves out of. Can you tell us of one?

If the characters you’ve placed inside your world are too dumb to figure out how to work it, then they’re dead. That’s my general rule of thumb. It also helps whittle down the number of “darlings” one might have in their story. Stupidity and inaction get people killed.

So, to the point, when a character of mine is faced with an impossible situation, and they aren’t smart about it, they die.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

Nobody immediately comes to mind. There are casting departments that I think do a good job finding excellent character actors, though. “Justified” for example.

How much research do you do?

An absolute ton. I spent ten years as a journalist, so that’s a big part of the fun for me. From basic geography, to bathymetry, the mathematics, all the way down to what the kiloton yield of an ounce of antimatter would be. I love it.

Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares?

No, though I do love my nightmares. They’re superb fun.

Who would you rather fight, an alien or ghost?

Ghosts play by particular rules, and I think they’re pretty boring. I like a challenge. So I’ll vote alien on this one, since we wouldn’t have a clue what to expect. If you found me the ghost of a monster, though, then I’d be down for that.

What do you think are the most common misconceptions about writers?

That they’re good at what they do.

Why did you decide to join Permuted Press?

Strangely enough, Permuted flunked me at first. Then we reconnected a few years later. I’ve always wanted to be with Permuted. I think they care about the same things I do. And I love my editor, Matthew.

Where can people find more information about you?

I act like an idiot here: