markgunnells (markgunnells) wrote,
markgunnells
markgunnells

Origin Stories: Fort/Companions In Ruin

I got a little sidetracked for a while, but I plan to become more active on this blog again. I want to return to my Origin Stories series, where I detail the path to publication for each of my books.

For this one I am going to double up, and we will be discussing the publication of my zombie novella FORT and my collection COMPANIONS IN RUIN.




I had the idea for FORT shortly after the publication of my other zombie novella ASYLUM, and actually started writing it at that time but ended up putting it aside for a while. A couple of years, actually. I happened to look over what I had while I was finishing up a novel I was writing with my friend James Newman, and I thought going back and finishing FORT would be a good thing to do for my next project.

Shortly after James and I finished our novel, DOG DAYS O’ SUMMER, we started talking about it online, and Tristan Thorne from Sinister Grin Press expressed interest in reading the novel. We had already promised first read to another publisher, which ended up buying the novel. However, Tristian asked if we had anything individually that we might want to submit for consideration with Sinister Grin.

As a short story lover, I immediately inquired if they would be interested in publishing a collection. He said sure, so I set about going through my stories to select a table of contents. In most of my previous collections, I had favored newer, never-before-published stories, but I had amassed quite a few tales that had previously appeared in anthologies and magazines but the rights were back with me and I wanted to give them a chance to find a broader audience. The title for the collection actually came from a phrase I heard in a Buddhist talk about choose our associations wisely. I thought COMPANIONS IN RUIN was a perfect title.

I also told Tristan that I was in the midst of writing a zombie novella and asked if they would also be interested in reading that once it was done. He said yes, and so I sent it to them as soon as I was done. They accepted both books, though FORT required work. I ended up fleshing the story out with several flashbacks to deepen character and expand the scope.

Sinister Grin published both these books. FORT first in November of 2015 and then a few months later COMPANIONS IN RUIN in February of 2016. They delivered two distinct and absolutely stunning covers, and helped me snag a few podcast interviews. While the books didn’t break any sales records, they did all right for me and even today I still get feedback on them.

One big thrill for me was that on the Fangoria website at the end of 2015, FORT was named one of the best books of the year. As someone who grew up on Fangoria it was something that filled me with a joy I can’t quite express.

I’m very grateful to Tristan and everyone at Sinister Grin for taking on both those books and doing such a fine job with them.

You can purchase both books on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Fort-Mark-Allan-Gunnells/dp/1944044078/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
https://www.amazon.com/Companions-Ruin-Mark-Allan-Gunnells-ebook/dp/B01BN7INXE/ref=la_B005C18L7Q_1_17?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1526334560&sr=1-17&refinements=p_82%3AB005C18L7Q
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