Special Feature: Author Interview
with Mario Acevedo
By Lesley L. Smith
Mario Acevedo is the bestselling author of the Felix Gomez series. His
novels include The Nymphos of Rocky Flats, X-Rated Bloodsuckers, The
Undead Kama Sutra, Jailbait Zombie, and the new Werewolf Smackdown. He
also has a new graphic novel Killing the Cobra: Chinatown Trollop. Mario
is very active in the writing community, belonging to several writers
groups including Lighthouse Writers and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers
(RMFW). He's the current president of the Rocky Mountain chapter of
Mystery Writers of America. In 2009 he was named RMFW's Writer of the
Year. Among other awards, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats was named by Barnes
& Noble as one of the Best Paranormal Fantasy Novels of 2000-2009.
Wow! Mario, you've achieved significant success in a fairly short time
period. How did you do it?
Being stubborn. And the short time took seventeen years.
Was The Nymphos of Rocky Flats the first novel you wrote?
It was my seventh manuscript. The other six were training wheels.
What motivated you to keep trying for so long?
Relentless optimism and delusions.
Is Nymphos based on a true story?
Absolutely. That's why Nymphos was the first and so far, the only
vampire book that had to be declassified by the Federal government.
I have to say the beginning of Nymphos is one of the best openings I've
ever read: "I don't like what Operation Iraqi Freedom has done to me. I
went to the war a soldier; I came back a vampire." How did you come up
Like most writers, I played around trying to nail the opening paragraph.
After a night of especially potent Manhattans, this line popped into my
Urban fantasy is a relatively new genre. Some scholars say literary
fantasy was created as a reaction against the rationalism of the
scientific method/industrial revolution. Do you think this is consistent
with urban fantasy?
I wouldn't know from anything scholarly. As a subgenre, urban fantasy
has been around in some form for a long time though it was given that
name fairly recently. Urban fantasy as a subgenre sprang from paranormal
romance, defined as supernatural characters in a contemporary setting,
meaning lots of relationship problems, magic, and occasionally, sex.
Would you say Felix' demographic is primarily male or female readers? Do
men and women look for different things ...in literature?
It's difficult for me to tell as my fan mail is evenly split between
male and female readers. I have a hard enough time keeping track of
what's rattling in my head, much less try to imagine what's going on in
the mind of another reader. Toss the gender mix in there, and I have no
Why do you think vampires are so popular these days? What's the appeal?
Fangs. Immortality. Superpowers. A nice wardrobe. The vampire always
gets the hottest babes (usually). What's not to like?
What adventures does Felix get into in the latest novel, Werewolf
Felix gets caught between rival werewolf clans in Charleston, South
Carolina. It's like the Sopranos only with fangs and fur.
The cover art (and titles) for the Felix books are very intriguing and
provocative. As an author and an artist, how involved were you in the
I'm involved a hundred percent in the cover art. My editor sends the
cover and I say I like it a hundred percent.
Speaking of art, Felix has an exciting new medium, a series of comics,
which have been collected into a graphic novel. Congratulations. What
kind of adventures does Felix get into in Killing the Cobra?
Felix goes up against the Chinese Han Cobras. They may be mortal but
their boss, Jiang Chow, is a vicious badass.
What was the comic/graphic novel process like and do you have any tips
for authors who'd like to get into this medium?
Go to comic book conventions and make yourself known. It wouldn't hurt
to be outrageously famous before you do this.
Do creating art and creating fiction have anything in common? What do
you think drives people to create?
My visual art and fiction writing run on parallel tracks. People create
because it gives them a voice in the world. It might also be a God
complex. We're always trying to create a world in our image and to
project our desires. Imagine someone made in my image? Poor sucker.
Since you continue to be active in writers groups, they must be
important to you. What do you think writers get from interacting with
Interacting with your fellow writers reminds you that you're not alone
in this solitary process. Plus, since most writers like to drink, party,
and geek out, you've found your tribe!
What's your opinion of critique groups? How can authors get the most out
I endorse the idea of a critique group. The right group can give
valuable feedback and help you better understand your story. And it
builds character to have a fellow writer say to your face: your work
Early in the game, before many other authors, you produced some
acclaimed book trailers. What was the origin of these and do you
recommend book trailers for authors?
My youngest son makes great Lego videos. He and I brainstormed ideas and
our videos have been relatively successful on YouTube. Like any other
promotional idea, a book trailer has to catch and hold people's
attention. Unfortunately, most don't. Gratuitous nudity might help.
Your blog, Biting Edge, seems quite successful. Do authors need to
market themselves on the web these days? Do you have any marketing tips?
Absolutely, you need a presence on the web. Once you've got a contract,
get a professionally-made website and keep it updated. Blogs and
Facebook help spread the word and make contacts, but you have to keep
your postings updated. Twitter I'm not so sure. It seems more of a
distracting time suck.
I know you have a story in the Broken Links, Mended Lives anthology. How
often do you write short stories? Do you think writing short fiction
Writing something different stretches the brain muscles. But if you're a
novelist, don't lose focus on writing your next book.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Don't give up. And if you see me at a con, buying me drinks is good
Is there anything else you'd like to tell us?
Writer's block is an excuse used by wimps.
Thanks a lot, Mario. This has been fun.
Thank you. Happy fanging!
Readers can find Werewolf Smackdown, the fifth Felix Gomez novel, and
Killing the Cobra, Felix Gomez' graphic novel adventure, at all major
Mario's webpage is: marioacevedo.com.
Mario's blog is: biting-edge.blogspot.com.