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!