Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
My name is Anthony Avina. I’m 27 years old and live in Southern California. I work as a journalist for the online publications On Request Magazine and TheGamer, and when I’m not writing I’m filming videos for my YouTube channel, Avina Vlogs. I have been self-publishing for over seven years now, and have published over twenty books on Amazon and several other short stories on Wattpad and the online publication Sirens Call Publishing (eZine). While my main writing interest is in the horror genre, I do love to write in various other genres, like contemporary romance, drama, science fiction, fantasy and Young Adult.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is I Was An Evil Teenager: Remastered. The book is actually the collective work of my first series, featuring the novellas “I Was A Teenage Killer”, “I Was a Teenage Zombie” and “I Was A Teenage Demon”. The story focuses on a beautiful teenage girl named Lisa Etron, who appears to be the girl next door but harbors a dark and deadly secret. It threatens to consume those who make the mistake of caring for her, and it’ll take the ultimate battle between good and evil to find a way to stop her. It’s a terrifying look at what makes someone “evil” and our views on what “evil” should look like. I was inspired to write it because I noticed a trend in horror movies where the killer was always this outcast, hulking monster of a man with lots of rage. I thought to myself, “Why are all movie killers portrayed the same way? Couldn’t a woman be a monstrous killer too? In fact, what kind of person would be the last person you expected to be a killer?” That’s when Lisa Etron was born. I wrote this in 2010 and have come back to re-write the story and make it the best possible story it can be. It’s much more terrifying and chilling to read.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
While I usually listen to music while I write, sometimes I’ll put on YouTube videos in the background to help inspire or relax me. I especially enjoy the humor and sometimes horror related videos of Shane Dawson. I also enjoy writing in the late night/early morning hours, when the rest of the world is asleep. It allows me to work uninterrupted by day to day obstacles and gives me the quiet I need. Other than that I always make a cup of ice coffee and get a healthy snack, (fruit, Quest Bar, etc), get my preferred background music or video going, and get to work.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Stephen King is definitely my biggest influence. While I also love Dean Koontz and Ann Rice, my favorite author has always been Stephen King. The real world dialogue and situations of his characters combined with these larger than life plot lines helped influence the direction I wanted to take my own writing. While the Dark Tower series is my favorite of his, the book that helped influence me was Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub. It’s a sequel to my other favorite book The Talisman, and it features a really creepy serial killer that helped drive me to want to learn about what drives serial killers to do the awful things they do. It was a fantastic book that was a big influence on this series.
What are you working on now?
I just finished work on the second YA novella in my Nightmare Academy series. It’s a prequel series to my adult series Nightmare Wars, and follows a vampire woman named Francesca who must infiltrate a secret school that is training the supernatural creatures of the world for a coming war with humanity. She must find a way to stop the war before humanity is wiped out.
Next I am working on Book Four of the Nightmare Wars series, and that will be focusing on the continuing supernatural war between those who support humanity and those who want it’s destruction.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Instagram and Twitter are where I get the most interactions with readers and fellow authors, although Goodreads has been a great way of connecting with readers as well. The new Instagram Story feature has been a great way to connect with other authors and readers, allowing them to comment on the pictures and events of my day as they happen, and allowing me to have a more open dialogue.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Write what you love, not what you think others will love. A writers talent is reflected in the passion for their project, and if you write what you love others will recognize that and respond to it. If you aren’t happy with your book, then no one else will be either.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
One of the best pieces of advice I have heard is from of course Stephen King, who said, “Good books don’t give up their secrets at once.” This showed me that a good book benefits from showing the audience what is going on in your book rather than just telling them. A good book can reveal very little at the beginning and draw in the reader to want to find out what other secrets its hiding.
What are you reading now?
Right now I’m ready a horror/comedy anthology called Demonic Wildlife: A Fantastical Funny Adventure which features a friend of mine, author Maxine Grey. I plan to read Ashes to Ashes by Valerie Thomas next.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Next for me is working on my novel for NaNoWriMo 2017. It’s a sequel to my contemporary romance/drama novel VOID, so I need to map out the outline for the book and get ready to write this book in a month. After that I’ll work on Nightmare Wars Book Four.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
I would bring:
The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower by Stephen King
It Gets Worse by Shane Dawson
Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin