13 Questions with Michaelbrent Collings

As mentioned earlier in the week by David, our featured author for episode 80 is none other than Michaelbrent Collings. The best selling author of Apparition, the first chapter of which will be featured on our HA episode on Saturday.

After asking my first question, I knew this interview was going to be a blast. Just read what Collings had to say about his first time on Horror Addicts. “You know that feeling you get when you win a Nobel prize right after you find out your lottery numbers came up? It’s like that.  Only less.   Seriously, it’s nice to be here.  I always enjoy talking to people who appreciate horror.  So since you guys not only APPRECIATE horror, but are actually ADDICTED to it, I like it that much more.”

Now I don’t want to get you too excited about hearing Michaelbrent’s Apparition. Though the story is amazing, we will only be sharing the first chapter with you. So once you are hooked, feel free to head on over to Amazon and pick up your very own copy. But for those of you unfamiliar with Apparition here is a summary of the novel by Collings himself. “Apparition is the story of a family.  Brother, sister, mom, and dad.  Only one night the mother suddenly goes crazy and tries to stab her children to death.  The father saves them, but the mother then turns the knife on herself.  A year later, what’s left of the family is still trying to heal, to come to terms with what’s happened.  But it’s not over.  Because whatever force turned the mother into a murderess… has also set its sights on the father.  He has to find a way to rid himself of a supernatural entity that wants to possess him and use his body to kill his own children.”

Michaelbrent then went on to explain the inspiration for his novel, “Basically, whenever I write a scary story the first thing it has to do is scare ME.  And as a father there are very few things more frightening than the specter of losing a child.  So I took that kernel of a concept and played with it, finally realizing that far worse than simply LOSING a child would be the idea that you had to KILL one of your kids.  And Apparition was born.”

Maybe a few of you are not entirely familiar with the name Collings but it rings a few bells. Well, Addicts you are most likely thinking about the All Write writing seminars, created by….you guessed it, Michaelbrent Collings. “Yup, it’s my baby.  I started it for a few reasons.  One is that I am partially based out of Idaho, and I’ve found that there is a lot of interest in writing in general out here.  There are also a lot of folks who are interested in screenwriting, which I know a fair bit about – I’m a member of the WGA and a produced screenwriter.  So I looked around and realized that there was a large group of interested people who didn’t have nearly the same number of opportunities to get quality instruction as you might find in Los Angeles, and decided that someone had to change that.  More than that, though, I wanted to create an “A to Z” seminar where people could come in and learn a tremendous amount about the art and craft of writing – everything from poetry to novels to screenplays.  Not just a refresher course or one of those seminars where they pump you up and get you excited but don’t actually teach you much; I wanted to provide the most comprehensive writing seminar available ANYWHERE.  And hopefully that’s what we’ve got in All Write.”

And if that wasn’t what you were thinking of then I am sure it was one of around a dozen of stories written by Collings. “[All of my books are] available as both print and e-books.  I love e-books (there’s something wonderful about having an entire library with me wherever I go), but I’ll never leave print books behind.  There’s just something about the smell…[I am also both self-published and traditionally published. But I have had far greater success with my self-pub works.  We’re in a moment of real change in the publishing and literary world, and it’s exciting to see that.  It’s becoming less and less about whether you’ve been published by one of the big houses, and more and more about how many people actually download your book.”

Being such a well known horror author I was curious about what it was that attracted Michaelbrent to the genre. “I like a few things about the horror genre.  One thing is that it’s one of the few genres left where you can posit the existence of something beyond this life.  It has become more en vogue to pretend that everyone in literature is an atheist – or at least an agnostic – which I have found does not really mirror human existence.  Most folks believe in God, most believe in Heaven.  I think writing about those things makes for a richer experience, and horror by its very nature allows for that, since it so often deals with the supernatural and “the beyond.” Another thing I like about horror is that the stories are dire enough that, perhaps ironically, they allow for characters to rise above themselves and become truly heroic.  Everything is more powerful when placed under the magnifying lens of terror, including the (I believe) inherent goodness of humanity.  The best horror stories elevate and inspire just as much as they terrify.”

Here’s a little tid-bit for all you fans out there, Collings’ favorite scary stories growing up. “Probably a three-way tie between Jackson’s The Haunting Of Hill House, King’s The Shining, and Koontz’s Lightning.  All three of them are pinnacles of what they are trying to do.  Gun to my head, though, I’d probably say The Haunting wins by a nose.  Jackson’s story is so subtle, so artful.  The creepiness of it crawls into you; seeps into your bones so gradually you don’t realize how scared you are until it’s far too late to just put down the book and walk away.  Wonderful stuff.”

Now to all the horror and especially the vampire fans out there, be on the look out for Michaelbrent’s upcoming projects. “Well, I’m working on a couple things.  Something I’m working on that HA fans might want to look out for is a book I’m calling the anti-Twilight.  It’s going to be called Hooked, and though it’s a vampire tale, I’m doing some very fun things with the vamps that cast them in a light that is brand new.  No one has ever touched on this aspect of vampires before, so it should be a fun and (hopefully) creepy tale.”

For more information on Michaelbrent Collings, be sure to check out these websites!

http://www.michaelbrentcollings.com
http://fandemonium.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=114:author-guest-michael-brent-collings&catid=2:guests&Itemid=68
http://www.facebook.com/MichaelbrentCollings

Apparition and The Void

The featured author for  episode 80 of Horror Addicts is Michaelbrent Collings and at the end of the podcast you can hear the first chapter of his latest book Appartition. Apparition is a hard core supernatural horror novel that is going to scare the hell out of you. I don’t even need to say to much about this book because when you hear the first chapter your going to want to buy it.

This book has everything that you would want in a horror novel, a spooky house, ghosts and an evil entity that possesses parents and makes them kill their children. The story is about a a father named Shane and his two kids trying to build a new life after Shane’s wife Kari tries to kill their two kids. The family moves into a new home that has a dark past. Shane and the kids start to hear footsteps and see hings that shouldn’t be there. Then Shane starts to have feelings about killing his children that he has a hard time controlling.

Apparition is well written and extremely scary. Each chapter starts off with a diary entry about someone that killed their children which adds some realism to the book. This is the thing that made the book hard to read for me the concept of killing your own children is a hard one to deal with and I found myself cringing quite a bit while reading it.

If you look at horror as something that is supposed to make you look at the dark side of life and make you deal with it then you will really enjoy this book.  Also at the end there is an afterword by the author that explains what he was thinking when he wrote it and and why he wrote it which really helped me to understand the main idea of the book.

Some of the things I really enjoyed in this book was the opening chapters when you know whats going through Kari’s mind as she contemplates killing her children. I also liked finding out how the rest of the family deals with it. There is also a great scene with a Ouija board that was absolutely chilling. Just when you think its not going to get scarier there is a scene at an insane asylum that out does it. From there it is a roller coaster ride right up to a shocking ending.

My favorite part of this book wasn’t the scenes with the ghosts in it, it was reading about how the family deals with what they’re going through. I like hearing how Shane feels he doesn’t deserve a good family or a loving wife. Despite his feelings he does the best he can for his family. He also talks about how after the effects of the first two chapters he sees his wife as being a better person then she really was and since he sees her that way he is forgetting how she really was as a person. I was really hoping Shane would get a happy ending. I also liked how his daughter acts like she hates everyone but then thinks to herself: “why do I act this way, I don’t hate my family,” but she cant tell them that. Despite their circumstances you see they love each other and they just want to get back to the normal life they had before the events of the first chapter.

The next book I want to talk about is The Void by Brett J. Talley and it has a very different setting. The year is 2169 and Aiden Conner has just woken up on a space ship he is not familiar with and he doesn’t remember how he got there. Aiden was working on a transport ship that had a mysterious accident while traveling at warp speed.

In the future, man has mastered space travel, but when their ship goes to warp all crew members have to go into a sleep chamber and sleep until the ship comes out of warp. The downside of this is while sleeping the crew dreams and for some people on a ship the dreams are enough to drive them insane. While sleeping through warp, the crew sees the same dream every time. Some dreams tell of the future, some of the past, some are terrifying and a few people actually enjoy their dreams.

After the accident Aiden finds he can’t get a job on any other ship. That is until Captain Caroline Gravely comes along and hires him to work upon her ship, The Chronos. Caroline has waited a long time to command her own ship and she has assembled a six person crew with very diverse backgrounds. She also has her own problems with the dream state during warp drive. The rest of the crew also has their own issues and none of them are looking forward to what will happen when they enter warp. To make matters worse when they drop out of warp they are surrounded by black holes and find a long lost abandoned ship.

I loved the concept for The Void.  This is a good horror story with a science fiction background. Brett J. Talley does a great job giving a scientific explanation to how the space ships travel, how gravity is created for a ship and what is happening when a ship travels at warp speed. I also liked how all the crew member’s dreams were described and how there was a little mystery to what all of their dreams mean and how the dreams effect each person. It was a nice touch how all the dreams we’re very different and despite the fact that everyone fears the dream state not all of the dreams were bad.

I found myself thinking The Void would make a great movie that could satisfy both horror and science fiction fans. Brett J. Talley has done an excellent job bridging two genres. Brett has one another novel from Journalstone press called That Which Should Not Be which will make Lovecraft fans very happy.