I’m Peter Martuneac (that’s a Romanian name, in case you’re wondering). I’m a husband, father, Boilermaker, Marine, and now a writer! “His Name Was Zach” was my debut novel earlier this year, over the summer I wrote a short story prequel called “Abby: Alone”, and my work-in-progress is a sequel called “Her Name Was Abby”, which I hope to release in just a few months. One fun fact about me: I have 100% memorized the movie The Emperor’s New Groove. Word for word, beginning to end, and yes, I’ve watched it in my head before on flights.
You can read more about Peter on his website here
1. Your novel is a zombie survival story. However, it’s about more than that; it’s about interpersonal connection. Can you share something from your book that highlights this?
Kinda hard to pick just one passage from my book, since really the entire dynamic between Abby and Zach is about that connection. Without giving away spoilers, I’d have to say their inside jokes, especially the way they express differences in taste when it comes to music or TV shows, and the way they’ve forged their own little family despite being isolated in the dangerous, zombie-infested Wild for almost two years. You could almost seamlessly plop them in an entirely normal timeline and they wouldn’t be out of place.
2. I really like the cover of your book. What was your process for procuring such a professional cover?
Thank you! My secret process is dumb luck, actually. My good friend Cody Phan designed the cover for me, and he’s doing another one for the sequel. He was in my platoon in the Marines, and we served alongside each other for 4 years, and he’s got a real creative streak.
3. Was there a specific piece of media that influenced or inspired you when you wrote your book?
Well, I was inspired to write when I was a young teenager after reading The Lord of the Rings for the first time, so I guess that was the first ‘inspiration’. As for His Name Was Zach, I honestly don’t remember exactly where it came from. I’d tried to do a dystopian fiction before, but abandoned that project after a few chapters. A couple years later, I grabbed the protagonist from that unfinished story, changed him up a bit, gave him a daughter, and that’s kinda how it started!
4. After all the editing and all the re-writes, how did you know your book was finally ready for publication?
After all the edits, after four different people read it through and told me it looked good, and once I found myself doing nothing but changing a word here or there while editing, that’s when I knew it was time to publish.
5. Is there any advice you would give to readers who want to publish their own stories?
My biggest piece of advice, and one I harp on constantly in my blog, is this: write the ending first! It makes it so much easier to push past writer’s block and creative walls when you have a concrete ending in place. That way, you aren’t entirely making it up as you go, and it narrows your potential paths a bit.
One day at a time, that is how Zach lives. It has been two years since The Crisis, the day when people contracted a mysterious disease that renders the host a flesh-eating feral. Both Zach and his daughter Abby are doing all they can to survive in this world where most creatures, living or undead, want to kill them. Moving from one oasis of solace to another, they journey in search of a true home. A place where they can finally live together in peace. But out in the Wild, friends are few, psychotic enemies abound, and Zach and Abby will be forced to confront demons from their pasts. Will their familial bond hold long enough to reach safety? Or will they lose themselves to the surrounding madness?
Check it out here