Anthony Almato doesn’t think of himself as an author, and Free Worlds of Humanity began as a video game concept before taking its current form. Having survived nearly insurmountable challenges during childhood and adolescence, in addition to his former careers as a professional gamer and a corrections officer, Almato uses his personal experiences to breathe life into his stories. When he isn’t writing, he can be found snowboarding, smoking cigars, and enjoying the company of his wife and children. Anthony has lived with Type One Diabetes for over 30 years.
Perfect for fans of Dune and The Reality Dysfunction, Anthony Almato’s debut, Free Worlds of Humanity, reveals the long-lasting effects of corruption and colonization in a distant future where humankind has discovered interplanetary space travel–and weaponized it.
In the colonized planets forming the Free Worlds of Humanity, a select few, like Henry McWright, live richly as politicians governing the masses through lies and deceit. They proliferate their wars with exhausted soldiers, like Askar, whose wish to die is still unfulfilled. Dissenters, like the legendary resistance leader Isabel Sideris, believe that the only way forward is through a governmental purge. Among the key players hide the pawns: wayward souls like Mace Applegate, who’s been fleeing across space with corporate secrets, and Kathryn Norcross, whose vengeance is a bag of teeth tied at her hip. For all of them, freedom isn’t free, and they’ll pay with blood if not coin.
Blending the gritty multiple-perspective narrative of Leviathan Wakes, the complex politics of Foreigner, and the trauma and conviction of Old Man’s War, the powerful tale of perseverance in Free Worlds of Humanity will leave you fighting for breath as the players dig their own graves and attempt to pull themselves out.
Witness the downfall…
Romelia: WHEN DID YOU FIRST REALIZE YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER?
Anthony Almato: When my wife told me I didn’t have a choice but to write a book…. No seriously. I’m going to tell you a simple truth. I’ve never read a book a day in my life and wouldn’t know the first thing about writing styles, formats, or standard writing practices that most authors follow. What I do know how to do is tell a good story. Not just any story, something I’ve spent the last 20 years of my life developing and world-building into the finished product available on Amazon right now. You might think, “Well, I don’t want to read some chicken scratch from an amateur.” I can say that I’ve worked with professional beta readers, editors, proofreaders, and designers who have over 100 years of experience between them. All have helped mold this into what it is.
I began concepts for this story during my senior year of high school in 2001. My original thought behind world-building was to turn it into a real-time strategy (RTS) video game. I drew concepts and wrote in my free time on the physics within the story. I would spend random amounts of time doing it through the years. Then put everything back on the shelf until I felt like doing it again for a few months here and there every year. Around 5 years ago, I found over 300 pages in a storage box that included story detail, world-building, societies, characters and more. My wife raised an eyebrow and wondered where I found all the free time to work on so much stuff. I had no idea what to do with all this stuff. Who would? I had wondered if I should make it into a comic book, try to pitch it as a game concept to developers, or maybe make a tabletop board game from all the details. For the life of me, I can’t remember where the idea to write a book came from, but I spent lots of time researching what to do, which included second-guessing myself numerous times because I had never ever read a book, let alone written one. It wasn’t until I reached out and got a response from Mercedes Lackey, a NYT best-selling published author with over 135 books on the market. She convinced me to write this book myself, which is what I did. Without her push, it might never have happened. I started writing the first draft 4 years ago and finished it within 90 days at nearly 300,000 words. Then the refining started.
Romelia: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE A BOOK?
Anthony Almato: The first draft of book 1 took me 4 months to write. Refining that down to at least 15 drafts start to finish over and over and over again took another year.
Romelia: WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INFORMATION OR IDEAS FOR YOUR BOOKS?
Anthony Almato: As I stated above, this concept came from a video game idea I spent 20 years developing. I was a big fan of Real Time Strategy games with factions with unique identities. These concepts were a work in progress at random intervals when I felt like drawing or writing down the conceptual details for each society.
Romelia: WHAT LITERARY PILGRIMAGES HAVE YOU GONE ON?
Anthony Almato: I’ve never read a book in my life. Never even opened a cover before. No seriously. In school, I always got cliff notes or worked out deals with friends who did the reading. I’m not proud of this, nor do I try to wear it as a badge of honor. It’s just a simple truth. Other fellow friend authors tell me not to advertise this fact because it will turn people off of reading my book… well, to be honest, I don’t buy that. The pages speak for themselves. Free Worlds of Humanity has been out for three months, and I have over 1000 sales to date. The book also had a best seller badge for roughly 48 hours on one of Amazon’s sci-subcategories.
Romelia: WHAT IS THE FIRST BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY?
Anthony Almato: …. So sorry I can’t answer this. I’ll say the first movie that made me cry was Titanic. Yeah, you heard me. Rose will never let go of Jack! Lol.
Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST UNETHICAL PRACTICE IN THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY?
Anthony Almato: Nepotism. Someone on the outside can’t get in easily.
Romelia: DOES WRITING ENERGIZE OR EXHAUST YOU?
Anthony Almato: Energize. When I write, I go into a zone where I make myself become the character pov I’m writing about for the day. It’s a form of method acting. I think and act like my pov character. My wife has funny stories of me acting like Isabel Sideris or Master Gunnery Sergeant Askar when she talked to me. Doing this helped me fall into the character’s uniqueness and give them a voice that sounded nothing like any other character within the story. My heart races every time I fall into the zone, and my fingers move at 80 words per minute.
Romelia: WHAT ARE COMMON TRAPS FOR ASPIRING WRITERS?
Anthony Almato: Vanity presses – Emails of companies promising to advertise their books for $100 USD to their 200k followers… DON’T FALL FOR THIS GARBAGE. It’s all fake. While writing, just get it down on the page. Don’t go back and tweak the chapter when you finish. Move on to the next. Get everything down, then do the drafts and tweaks.
Romelia: DOES A BIG EGO HELP OR HURT WRITERS?
Anthony Almato: Both. They shouldn’t be JERKS and cocky to the point of acting like they’re better than everyone, but they need the confidence to make people believe they know what they’re doing.
Romelia: WHAT IS YOUR WRITING KRYPTONITE?
Anthony Almato: Refining everything is the hardest part. That takes patience and stamina. The only trap I can think of is a trap you set for yourself. Stay off social media, don’t watch the news, or fall into a rabbit hole of arguments posted in your feed. Immerse yourself into character and write. That is also something I do while writing. I turn my brain into the character chapter I’m writing at that moment. I become the character. I think like them and try to sound like them in my head. Character acting in a sense. That’s how I spend each day of writing. One day is a chapter of Henry McWright. I give myself an accent (in my head) and become Henry for the day. Even in real-life dealings, I respond and act as if I were the character for that day. My wife can tell you all about that. I’m a peach on days when I’m pretending to be a 63-year-old warrior who is grief-stricken from endless wars.
Romelia: HAVE YOU EVER GOTTEN READER’S BLOCK?
Anthony Almato: I’m not a big reader… writer’s block isn’t real. It’s all in your head. Sit down and force something out, even if it’s unrelated to your book. Write about what you did since waking up and add some fantasy aspects of something completely fake into the mix. That will wake your brain up.
Romelia: DID YOU EVER CONSIDER WRITING UNDER A PSEUDONYM?
Anthony Almato: I am writing under a pseudonym. It was a personal choice because my characters are dark and do twisted things sometimes. The amateur in me didn’t want to have my real name associated with it. I realize now that many authors are creative and write dark stuff; there’s nothing wrong with a fictional story.
Romelia: DO YOU TRY MORE TO BE ORIGINAL OR TO DELIVER TO READERS WHAT THEY WANT?
Anthony Almato: I write these stories for me. Sorry, but that’s the truth. I’ve never read the marketplace or know what readers want. I write what comes to me as entertaining. It seems people like it so far, so I’ll stick to it.
Romelia: DO YOU THINK SOMEONE COULD BE A WRITER IF THEY DON’T FEEL EMOTIONS STRONGLY?
Anthony Almato: That’s a tough question. I can’t say for sure. People can explain details of what’s happening in a scene without giving full-blown emotion. If they’re clever enough, they might be able to simulate an emotional response from the reader without adding too much of their own emotion into the scene.
Romelia: WHAT OTHER AUTHORS ARE YOU FRIENDS WITH, AND HOW DO THEY HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER WRITER?
Anthony Almato: Ron Lahr is my favorite guy out there. I promised him that I would take him with me if I ever got famous. I mean it, buddy, don’t you forget. He’s funny as hell, and I love the titles/covers of his books. Maybe one day we will write something together. 😊
Romelia: DO YOU WANT EACH BOOK TO STAND ON ITS OWN, OR ARE YOU TRYING TO BULD A BODY OF WORK WITH CONNECTIONS BETWEEN EACH BOOK?
Anthony Almato: Each book in my series will be connected. None of them are stand alones. Book 1 follows multiple POVs, and all of my reviews so far state that people really want more.
Romelia: IF YOU COULD TELL YOUR YOUNGER WRITING SELF ANYTHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Anthony Almato: Save more money before you start. This stuff is expensive. I’m satisfied with the way I went about this process. It’s been awesome to watch it take on a life of its own. I would probably tell myself to slow down. When I get an idea in my head, I’m a heat-seeking missile that doesn’t stop until it’s completed. I was in a hurry early on to pump this thing out and was rushing to do stuff. Now I realize this will be a development that will go for another twenty years because there’s so much lore and craft to the story and characters that by the time I’m done, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were tabletop board games, card games, and comic books followed by the main series (and novellas,) prequel, and a sequel already in development. I’ve got over 50 illustrations on the wiki page that gives people a sense of everything. The book is only a fraction of what’s available right now. I think people will love the details and the fact that I don’t gloss over anything. If fans want more information on something, I’m going full throttle to overachieve their expectation. I don’t have to rush to do that. It’s a process that takes time.
Romelia: HOW DID PUBLISHING YOUR FIRST BOOK CHANGE YOUR PROCESS OF WRITING?
Anthony Almato: I self-published the first book in my series and was happy with that based on the sales so far. I’ve sold more than most traditional published books do in their lifetime, and my book has only been out for three months. As I said above, my writing process is a form of method acting where I become the POV I’m writing about for the day. I literally turn my brain into that character and act like I am he/she for the entire day while writing.
Romelia: WHAT WAS THE BEST MONEY YOU EVER SPENT AS A WRITER?
Anthony Almato: EDITOR! Developmental and copy/line editing. It’s a must. You don’t have a choice. If there’s no money, save and wait until you have it.
Romelia: WHAT AUTHORS DID YOU DISLIKE AT FIRST BUT GREW INTO?
Anthony Almato: I don’t have any issue with any authors because I don’t read their books! Heh. Sorry, this really is a funny thing for me.
Romelia: WHAT DID YOU DO WITH YOUR FIRST ADVANCE?
Anthony Almato: Put it in the bank and saved it for my awesome editor and book 2.
Romelia: WHAT WAS AN EARLY EXPERIENCE WHERE YOU LEARNED THAT LANGUAGE HAD POWER?
Anthony Almato: I took a class in verbal judo where I learned how to use language and dialog in a way to redirect confrontation. It amazed me how well it worked. Speaking is an art form, the way in which someone expresses themselves can hold the keys to an entire society.
Romelia: WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT MAGAZINES FOR WRITERS TO SUBSCRIBE TO?
Anthony Almato: I follow a few. One that helped me out a lot was Authors Publish. They give great free classes and links for information regarding writing and publishing.
Romelia: FROM WHERE YOU GET INSPIRED WITH YOUR FIRST BOOK?
Anthony Almato: Video games… Yep, you read that one right too. Video games were my original inspiration because this book’s world-building was originally designed to be a video game.
Romelia: DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN A FEW SENTENCES. TELL US SOMETHING WE DO NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU AND SOMETHING YOU HATE ABOUT THE WORLD.
Anthony Almato: I’m a laid-back guy who enjoys a good conversation with others regardless of my own point of view. Engaging is important, and it takes a lot to get under my skin. I’ve also lived with Type One Diabetes for 30 years and have pledged to donate 1/3rd of all profits to the juvenile diabetes research foundation.