A Chat with Bestselling Horror Author, MICHAELBRENT COLLINGS
Welcome back! On today’s Witch Haunt, I’m thrilled to be interviewing the internationally-bestselling author, produced screenwriter, and maker of awesome waffles, MICHAELBRENT COLLINGS!
WH: Welcome to the blog, Michaelbrent! Please give us a brief introduction of your fabulous self:
I'm an internationally-bestselling indie author, multiple Bram Stoker Award Finalist, and produced screenwriter and member of the WGA.
WH: What other career would you have if not writing/publishing?
Gah! What kind of a question is THAT? Seriously… no idea. I've had numerous times where I've asked myself that, and I've got nothing. Going from lawyer to writer means you're essentially a lunatic, and I'm pretty sure that if writer fails the only places I might find myself are soup kitchens.
WH: It never ceases to amaze me how many lawyer-turned-authors there are out there! Your first horror/sci-fi book, RUN, was rejected by traditional publishers multiple times then went on to be a successful bestseller as an indie book. What did you learn from this experience?
Very little, it turns out. RUN hit pretty well, so I actually thought I knew what I was doing. I wrote the next book expecting to be showered in money and fame… and I think it probably sold a dozen copies. Mostly to my mommy.
Back to the drawing board. And nearly a decade and forty books later, I'm STILL not sure what I've learned. Maybe that I have a high tolerance for self-inflicted pain?
WH: Moms keep us going, don’t they? What is your writing process like?
I sit. I type. I get up to pee. I return to the sitting.
Seriously, one of the things that most surprises/upsets people who want to be "real" writers is when I tell them that it's mostly NOT magic puppies prancing through fields of fairy flowers watered by unicorns as they weep in happiness over the latest inspiration by the Blessed Muse. Mostly it IS just sitting and writing, and then crossing things out, then writing some more. The days where I've gone home with cramping hands have FAR outnumbered the ones where I spread my arms wide as I pass the threshold of my abode to pronounce, "My woman! Fruit of my loins! Come and rejoice, for today I HAVE WORKED MAGIC."
WH: I don’t know. Magical puppies are pretty magical. But yes, BUTT IN CHAIR is more effective. Which of your written works are you most proud?
Usually whichever one I just finished. Mostly because I saw it through to the end. So with utmost sincerity I can say my proudest work is PREDATORS, which just came out a few weeks ago. And "recency rule" aside, it IS pretty awesome. So far the reviews have been the best I've ever gotten, from audiences and critics alike, and it says some things that I think are pretty important about what makes a woman into something powerful and amazing.
WH: Will have to check it out ASAP! So, if you could interview any horror author, gone or alive, who would it be?
Hmmm… probably Dean Koontz. I've interacted with him a fair amount through the years, and he's a delight. So at least I'd know that, no matter how the interview turned out, I'd have a nice time of it.
WH: Sweet! How have you changed as a person from your early life until now?
Gosh, I hope so! I poop less in my diapers now, for one thing. I mean, I still DO do that from time to time (I said, "DO do," which is a meta-layer poop joke for those paying attention), but it's mostly for comfort.
In all seriousness… yeah. I got a great compliment once from a friend I'd not seen in a long time. She said, "You're still funny, you're still YOU, but it's a kinder you." That made me feel fantastic. For a long time I worried about being liked. Now I worry more about liking other people, and I'm astounded at how many people you CAN like if you really set your mind to finding good in people.
WH: That IS a dung-good compliment. HA! See what I did there? :) How do you like your coffee? Do you have a favorite libation? What’s your favorite dessert? This is the food portion of the interview.
Coffee: nope. Hot chocolate: yep. I LOVE Christmas-time, because (among other reasons) Starbucks does its Candy Cane Hot Chocolate thing, which is every bit as great a thing as their Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate is a horror fit for consumption only by Elder Goods and other Lovecraftian horrors.
Dessert… oddly, I'm not a huge dessert person. I mean, I LIKE it (I am a human being, after all), but I don't have a lot of faves. That said, when I finish a book I'll often celebrate with a pint of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food or Cherry Garcia.
WH: I’m sorry…did you say something after “Candy Cane Hot Chocolate?” What’s your favorite Halloween tradition?
I LOVE seeing my kids dress up. One of them is about to age out of the process, I think, and that's an oddly affecting thought. He was our first one to take out – we dressed him as a tiny gladiator, and wheeled him around in a laundry hamper I'd spray-painted gold as a chariot – and to see him hit the "too old for trick 'r' treats" stage of his life is weird and melancholy.
WH: That’s happening here too as well. My 17-year-old says he doesn’t “do” Halloween. Weird coming from the kid that used to draw Universal monsters with me on the old coffee table. What is the witchiest thing about you (we’re all a little witchy)?
Sigh. Is it okay to plead the Fifth?
I'll settle for this – I have major depressive disorder with suicidal tendencies and a couple other fun things in the Crazy Train Bag o' Tricks, and when those are hitting… yikers. My wife is going to Heaven, if for no other reason than because she still hasn't murdered me.
WH: Thank you for sharing that. It’s important to talk about mental illness instead of wearing it like a stigma. Who would be your favorite Addams Family character?
Wednesday. Because I can remember her name.
WH: How do you develop that feeling of dread and true terror that’s so difficult to capture in a psychological horror novel? How do you make the story “scary?”
Mostly I just think of people I'd like to know in real life, then remove everything they have from their lives – everything they think is important, that makes them who they are – and then sit back to watch if they'll make it through or not. Horror is all about loss, and when you couple that loss with the hope that things MIGHT get better and the fear that they probably WON'T… that's scary. Because that's life.
WH: Love that. What is the most awesome thing happening in your life right now that you’d like to share with us?
I come home every day and I have a wife and kids that I absolutely KNOW love me. Still not sure why, but that's part of the awesome, I suppose. It's a mystery, and mysteries are always fun!
WH: What’s next for you? We can’t wait to see what you have coming up!
I'm finishing an epic fantasy series that turned into a dystopian sci-fi at the last sentence of the last book. The series is called THE SWORD CHRONICLES, and I'm going to give the eponymous heroine, Sword, the worst few days of her life… and see if she's the hero I hope she is. Fingers crossed!
Thank you so much for being with me today, Michaelbrent! Have a wonderful Halloween!
* Website: WrittenInsomnia.com
* Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Michaelbrent-Collings/e/B003VSI88O/
* Latest release: PREDATORS
* Facebook: http://facebook.com/MichaelbrentCollings
* Twitter: http://twitter.com/mbcollings
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🔮 GABY TRIANA ☠️