Adam Messer is a journalist and fiction writer, currently writing his way through a series that brings together two of my favorite things–vampires and heavy metal. He’s got a lot of good things to say on the subject, so I’ll let him take it away!
Q (Infamous Scribbler): Tell me a little bit about yourself, and what brings you to writing and publishing?
A (Adam Messer): My name is Adam Messer, and I love helping others. I started writing and doing photography for the Savannah Morning News Do Savannah in 2014, and fell in love with writing and meeting people. As a journalist, I have had the opportunity to interview a lot of different people, and I would ask questions about doing things as an indie creator. There are a lot of talented people and with the way of self-publishing, entry level is open to everyone, but you have to do the work.
My background is in business and leadership. I love reading self development and leadership books, and am always learning. I decided I wanted to write and self publish as an extension of my creative side, and fiction is a natural fit for me. You can do anything you want with fiction; create your own world, characters, problems and solutions, and I feel that a good story also helps share the human condition.
Q: In addition to Blood Thrasher, you are also a newswriter, working for the Savannah Morning News. Can you talk about the similarities–and differences–between journalism and fiction? Do you see yourself primarily as a journalist or a fiction author? And why?
A: Journalism and fiction writing are similar and dissimilar. With journalism, you are held to a higher standard of reporting the
accurate and truthful facts without biasing it with your opinion. Print media with newspapers took a big hit this year with tariffs, and many newspapers have reduced the number of articles they are printing, but they are increasing more online multi-media and interactive media documents and articles for readers to engage in and with, and enjoy. People are inundated with clips, vids, soundbites, and advertising, so capturing someone’s attention is an ever changing platform. People will check out something that is interesting, but click away quicker and not return if it does not grab their attention within the first couple of seconds. Most people do not want to invest in reading through anything if it is too long.
I write about community events, not daily beat stuff such as politics and crime. I like to call it popcorn because it is light and fluffy, and people enjoy the event coverage. I have had the pleasure to interview celebrities like Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dave Ramsey, Jerrod Niemann, and others, but I enjoy interviewing local people just as much. The idea of any interview is to be able to encapsulate the story for the audience as informative and entertaining without selling them on anything.
Fiction writing is a free for all. Sure there are tropes, and the hero’s journey, and formulaic storytelling we are used to consuming, but the world is whatever you want to make of it. I have been dabbling with self-publishing for a couple of years, and finally had a story I felt was worthy of printing.
I consider myself to be a creator, able to do both journalism and fiction writing, as well as other areas like photography, drawing, painting, etc. It all ties in together and benefits other areas.
Q: We keep hearing that the vampire novel is “dead” — and yet people keep reading and writing vampire fiction. Can you talk about your decision to write in the genre? What do you think keeps people fascinated by vampires and the genre overall?
A: Vampire lore is as old as storytelling. Humans created myths to explain the natural world around them, including monsters to explain away fear, control the masses, and make children obey their parents. I am a fan of vampire lore, and had the idea to write about the history of vampires in Savannah, Georgia. Savannah is considered the most haunted city in the US, but there is not a lot about vampires here. I decided to change that.
I think the perpetual myth of life after death is at the core of vampire lore. The idea of dying and coming back to life with supernatural powers gives a vampire a certain appeal. Some are monstrous, while others are charismatic and charming. Although they are powerful, their weakness is the need for blood because they cannot reproduce their own to live, so they must take it from other sources.
I feel that when a person can visualize a character and see part of themselves as the character, the story can take on a life of its own for the reader. The escapism allows the reader to become the character and live vicariously through their eyes for a little bit. They get to enjoy the highs, the lows, the adrenaline rush of a fight, or the unraveling of a mystery. I think people can relate to the problems the characters deal with in the stories. For example, in Blood Thrasher: The Devil’s in the Metal, Anna hates the glamour and fame of being the lead singer of the band. She also hates being a vampire.
Q: The novelette, Blood Thrasher, is the first in a planned series. What is coming up next for the characters we meet here?
A: The second novelette in the Savannah Vampire Novel series is called Blood Thrasher: Vinyl All Night.
Johnny, Anna and Greg escape the Order and go into hiding. Greg, the 900 year old renegade vampire, is nowhere to be found after he left for London to secure passage for them. Johnny and Anna move and assume new identities working in a grunge record store that is open from dusk til dawn. David’s obsession with vampire hunting puts him in imminent danger, jeopardizing his family and the Order.
When night falls, whose blood will be shed?
Q: What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received? Worst?
A: Write every day. Do the work. Finish it. Make it a discipline.
Ask questions. Ask a lot of questions. Research online. Watch videos, read books, articles, and forum groups.
Worst…I think sometimes people who you may think are giving good advice to help offer bad advice unintentionally. For example, someone may act like they are more experienced than they are, so take any advice you get with a grain of salt and consider the source.
Q: Anything to add?
A: Act professionally. Take your writing career seriously, even if you are not making any money yet. Wherever you are in your journey, do not compare yourself to others. Learn from everyone, but set your own goals, and follow your own path. What works for others often will work for you, but you will have to adapt it to your own style.
Don’t take criticism personally. Don’t fall for troll bait. Don’t reply to negative comments on the internet. Don’t leave a review for your own book.
Do write. Do research. Do love what you are doing. If you cannot enjoy it, why do it?
Here is what I have learned about writing as a paid professional journalist, and a self-published author:
Write every day.
Write even when you don’t want to write.
Meet deadlines and be friendly.
You’ll learn as you go.
Learn to say Yes to opportunities.
You can do it.
Some people wait for inspiration to write. Forget that. Write daily. Write when you are happy. Write when you are sad and lonely. Write through pain. Write when you don’t feel like writing, but write. There is no mystical or magical path that opens up for the perfect writing scenario. Don’t wait for inspiration. Write to become inspired.
~ ~ ~
Adam Messer is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio. He moved to Savannah, Georgia in 1996 and fell in love with the grand city. He started writing for the Savannah Morning News Do Savannah in 2014, and is passionate about education. He founded The Savannah Quill, which is an author convention, in 2016, connecting writers and readers to promote literacy. He hosts Muses, Memoirs & More radio show on community radio station WRUU.org interviewing authors, artists, and entertainers.
He is the author of The Savannah Vampire Novel, with his first novelette Blood Thrasher: The Devil’s in the Metal.
Author page: https://amzn.to/2B2dOpx
Muses, Memoirs & More : https://bit.ly/2OZtlsY
Blood Thrasher: https://bit.ly/2KMxY6x
Newsletter signup: https://bit.ly/2M9DaHa
Indie Authors & Readers Book Club : https://goo.gl/b8mc5N