Interview With A Horror Expert: Thomas Amo, Author Of An Apple For Zoë

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing author of An Apple For Zoë (The Forsaken), Thomas Amo. An Apple for Zoë is Tom’s first published paranormal fiction novel. A very well rounded author, Tom has been a great supporter of indie authors since I first met him a few months ago. Henceforth, let’s learn more about him!

But first, An Apple For Zoë (The Forsaken)’s book description, for those of you who haven’t read it yet:

The City of San Francisco is locked in a grip of fear. A series of occult murders has lead, Inspector Thomas James to a crime scene similar to a murder committed 90 years ago in the once grand Aleris Hotel. A place where power barons of the early 20th Century engaged in witchcraft. And silent film stars indulged in the most wicked of sins. A place where no one questions the black smoke that rises from the hotel’s incinerators in the middle of the night.

Welcome Tom! I’m so glad to be interviewing you today. Let’s get started.

What motivates you to write?

Wow great question from the start! The idea that I’m going to take a new journey and go on a new adventure, because I know that part of the process of writing a new book means learning about the subject I’m going to write about. Some of it will mean hours surfing on the net. Some will mean taking a trip to a location. While writing “An Apple For Zoe” I traveled to Hollywood and spent 3 hours in The Hollywood Forever Cemetery. This is a place I always wanted to see, because not only was it the final resting place of such heavy hitters like, John Huston, Victor Fleming (director of Gone With The Wind/Wizard of Oz). Rudolph Valentino. But it is the final resting place of two people I have always been fascinated by, silent film director, William Desmond Taylor, and silent film actress Virginia Rappe. So taking the journey there, and touching their graves, standing there, being photographed with them, made it real for me.

When telling a fictional tale, even though 95% of it is all made up in my mind, I still want to experience as much of it as I can. The other thing that motivates me to write, is that if I discover something I become interested in, I can write a book about that subject and in a small way, the thing I have obsessed on, now I am a part of it, instead if it just being a part of me.

Which authors inspire you and/or influence your writing?

Richard Matheson, “Hell House.” Sidney Kirkpatrick, “A Cast Of Killers.” Robert Graysmith, “Zodiac.” Of course Stephen King is an influence as others were his when it came to writing horror. I’ve never been a fan of Straub, Koontz or Clive Barker. I don’t care to read, gore, but love a twist or something that makes me stop reading and check the doors. I felt that way recently with a short story from A.M. Harte from her book, “Hungry For You” a story called, “Dead Man’s Rose.” That story really gave me creeps and actual nervousness.

What led you to write An Apple for Zoe, a horror/crime novel, after spending a lot of your time on writing plays and theater productions?

I always wanted to write a really scary book. I always wanted to write about the killers who captured my attention with their terrible deeds. An Apple For Zoe was finally a way for me to do it all. I’m so glad I wrote plays for the theatre like I did. That really helped me learn a great deal about keeping a story moving, keeping the audience entertained. I’ve tried to approach AAFZ in the same respect as I would a comedy play…I believe a comedy should begin with a laugh, the first act should end with an OMG! The second act should be a bigger laugh and the end should leave their stomachs hurting from laughing so hard but satisfied with their evening. So a scare or at least a twist…an OMG…a possible.WTH?  and a….I so did not see that coming!

Did you do a lot of research in the process of writing An Apple for Zoe?

An Apple for Zoe Back Cover

I did a lot of research with Zoe. From casual Internet surfing to as I mentioned before the journey to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. I researched buildings, actual addresses, looked up locations on maps. This all started originally from my days working with the San Joaquin Country Coroner’s Office. The book was inspired by an actual murder scene I worked on and wasn’t allowed to discuss for two years. The crime scene was for lack of a better term..felt evil.

You just felt this cold presence that kept you doing that involuntary chill thing, your body does every now and again when someone walks past you. In fact I did so much research, it’s landed me with 3 books out of this story.

Which character is your favorite from An Apple for Zoe and why?

I’m really drawn to Paige Collins. I think because there is so much more going on, than we know or understand. I like her strength and I see her as a puzzler. Someone, who is always working something out in her mind, she doesn’t speak a lot but when she does, I always feel she has something important to say.

Do you have any side projects planned aside for the sequel to An Apple for Zoe (which I’m so pumped for!)?

I have a screenplay for a film company. It is YA. No paranormal just good old everyday, teen angst. It’s a teen drama with some light comedy with it.

How do you feel about the debate over traditional publishing versus self-publishing? Would you opt for traditional publishing down the line or stick with self-publishing?

I find it’s a bit odd to debate over it. I see the publishing world is changing and for the good. The old trads don’t like it, because now the writer’s don’t have to get their permission to be published. I like anyone would like to be a household name in my genre. I simply want to do this as a living, and if traditional can provide me a living, then naturally I would go that route. But if I can manage it myself without an agent or publisher…I’d be very content with that as well. In fact, quite honestly I’d prefer to remain independent. Then I get to have final say on everything to do with my book. I only need 1 million people to buy a copy, and I’d even like that with a $0.35 royalty. That’s still 350K.

What does a typical day in the life of Thomas Amo entail?

I’ve come to the place in life, where I’m no longer dependant on my radio alarm to wake me. Most days I’m up at 7. Coffee brewed, depends on who gets up first, my wife or me. Have my wife to work by 8am. Then back to do the first volley of emails, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and usually by 10am, start looking at my book and where I am at. Try to write or at least research till noon. Lunch.. Write/research until I get really stuck…go for a walk, drive, take a shower, do some laundry or vacuum, anything to get my mind cleared. Pick up the Mrs. @ 5 and chill with her or maybe write some more between 7 and 9pm. Watch news at 10…crash on sofa wake up middle of the night stagger to bed…(not always).

Do you ever regret giving up your previous job to focus on writing?


Have you ever taken any writing courses? Were you ever or are you now part of a writing group?

I never have taken any classes. Never been part of a writing group either.

For fun, what is your guilty pleasure?

Play Rock Band on PS3

What is your favorite crime TV show?

It used to be the original CSI. Now I don’t watch them. LOST was the last show I was connected to.

What are you reading, right now? What are you looking forward to reading next?

I have 11 books I’m trying to read. Mostly for friends who have asked me to. But I’m looking forward to reading “Amaretto Flame” by Sammie Spencer.

If you could be king for a day in any time period, who would you be?

Possibly King of England around 1900. England is less hostile than Henry the VIII’s time.

There is pain medication and dentists. It’s the gilded age and I could travel in a balloon. I’d like to have lived long enough to ride in the airship Hindenburg; I think that would have been amazing. Pre-1937 of course.

Excellent. Thank you, Tom, for joining us today. It was so much fun learning more about you!

You can pick up An Apple for Zoë (The Forsaken) in paperback or ebook form right on Amazon.

Get your ebook for just 99 cents (Sale!)

Or your paperback edition for $9.99

You’ll be consumed with each page you read. Enjoy! This comes from someone who has read it and gave it a 5-star review


About Renee

I'm a self-published author searching for her place in the publishing industry. I seek out inspiration through yoga and the world around me to transcribe into my writing. I work retail in the daytime and escape into my writing at night.
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9 Responses to Interview With A Horror Expert: Thomas Amo, Author Of An Apple For Zoë

  1. Allie Burke says:

    Great questions, Renee! Wow. What a great interview. I loved An Apple for Zoe. I can’t wait for the next book.

  2. Blaze McRob says:

    I am impressed with both the interviewer and the interviewee. I’ll be back for more! Wonderful questions leading to wonderful answers.

    I’m too fidgety for yoga. Blaze is hyper! Keep up the great work!


  3. Renee says:

    Thank you both! It was a blast interviewing Thomas. So glad to share it with you all 🙂

  4. Thomas says:

    Renee! Thank you so much, it truly was an honor to be your guest..but your first guest! I’m going to have to send you like a case of champagne whenever you get married or the biggest box of chocolates ever!


    • Renee says:

      Haha. Well, you were an excellent first guest! I love my champagne and chocolates, but that’s way more than I could ask for. Now I’m craving chocolate *walks off to find some*

  5. Wonderful interview. This makes me want to read An Apple for Zoe even more! That is so interesting about the crime scene that you visited, Tom…and the way you approach your writing. Fantastic interview, Renee!

  6. CKPalmes says:

    Fantastic interview! The structure was really well thought out, with light entertaining segments placed between the meatier questions. The book sounds really interesting, and I really enjoyed reading Thomas’s thoughts on self-publishing vs. traditional.
    Congratulations on your first interview, Renee, and to you as well Thomas for the success of your book!

    • Renee says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by and checking it out. I’m glad that extra attention to question organization shone through. Glad you enjoyed it!

  7. Anna Harte says:

    Working at the Coroner’s Office must have been creepy!

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