Michaelbrent Collings is an internationally-bestselling author, produced screenwriter, and a multiple Bram Stoker Award Finalist.
KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?
Sure! I’m an internationally-bestselling author, produced screenwriter, and multiple Bram Stoker Award Finalist. More important and interesting, however: I make amazing chocolate-chip waffles, and was once recruited as a spy (for realsies). I love writing, reading, and watching movies – mostly with my wife, who is ten tons of Awesome in a petite little frame – and when I’m not doing those things I’m either working or Doing Dad Stuff with my kids. Oh, I also do contact juggling. Not well, but I do it.
KR: What do you like to do when not writing?
KR: What is your favourite childhood book?
Oooh… probably Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. And yes, that’s a “childhood” book because I read it when I was nine. We got into the horror gig early in my house.
KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?
I have no favorite album, but music keeps me moving along as I write. That’s also why I have no favorite album: I listen to Spotify or Pandora pretty much all the time when I’m writing, and I’ll listen to anything from classical to techno to pop to trance to… well, you get the picture. Pretty much the only thing I don’t listen to is country. Because I have good taste that way.
KR: Do you have a favourite horror movie/director?
Director… hmmm… probably James Wan right now. There are the “greats,” of course – Romero, Carpenter, Craven, and others like them – but I love the esthetic Wan has developed over the years. He’s got a real specific “look” that I like, and I tend to enjoy his films. Oddly, he’s also become an extremely subtle filmmaker since the Saw days, which shows growth and evolution and marks him as someone who will probably keep growing – and so keep being interesting as a filmmaker.
KR: What are you reading now?
Reading now… yikers. I tend to read a lot of things at a time – to say nothing of listening to audiobooks. I’m reading one of the Joe Ledger novels by my friend Jonathan Maberry, one of the Dresden files books by Jim Butcher, just started re-reading Wilson’s The Keep, and am reading Dave Butler’s Witchy Eye series. I’m also constantly reading and re-reading graphic novels like Watchmen and Gaiman’s Sandman series. Then, to round it all out, I am starting on a book on ancient religious traditions of Israel. Because nerd.
KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?
My dad, first and foremost. He’s a great horror author, an ASTOUNDING poet, and he was one of the first academics who really got behind the idea of modern horror (meaning King and Koontz) as literature, as opposed to something to be hidden in the dust jackets of “real” books. He’s one of my heroes.
KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
Depends. Sometimes I’ll start with an outline – usually about a page or so – and a boatload of scribbled notes that say things like, “Make dog explode – would be cool” or “What if the nanny is AN ALIEN?” or the like. Occasionally I’ll start a book with nothing but an idea of where I want it to end up and see what happens. My series The Colony Saga is seven books, and it wasn’t until book four that I had a single clue how it was going to wrap up.
KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Depends. If I’m writing a techno-thriller, or something with a lot of technical aspects, the research is a lot longer. My Bram Stoker Award Finalist novel The Deep deals with scuba diving, and I spent a LOT of time researching the details of that, mostly so I could put people in terrible situations. <grin> If it’s a ghost story, the research tends to be more along the lines of “what horrible dream did I have last night, and how can I make it even horribler for my audience?” Both are fun – I like to research, but I also like just trying to imagine something no one’s ever thought of before!
KR: Describe your usual writing day?
Wake up. Emails. Write stuff. Facebook-Twitter-Facebook-Twitter-Facebook-Twitter-Facebook…
Sometimes I actually get back to writing stuff, too. It’s a miracle!
KR: Any advice for a fledgling author?
Yeah: get it out of your head that you’re going to write something and then sit back and watch the sun set as you sip something expensive from a crystal glass and count your money. Writing is HARD, and being a full-time writer is CRAZY HARD. I used to be a high-priced lawyer in Los Angeles, and I work ten times harder now as a writer than I did then. Most people don’t really want to be writers for a living – they want to be rich and respected and famous, but those aren’t what constitutes “being a writer.” Being a writer is mostly just like any other job: it’s hours and days and weeks and months and years of tedium. I love the job, don’t get me wrong… but it IS a job. If you don’t want to work your brains out, then stick with what you’ve got and do writing on the side as a hobby. You’ll probably be happier that way anyway, and still have dental insurance. Ha!
KR: What scares you?
The thought of losing my family, or seeing people close to me in pain. I am also afraid of the ocean – which is weird since I find it one of the most stunningly beautiful things in existence as well.
KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?
E-book or paperback. I like reading “real” books, but there’s definitely something nice about having a thousand books in my back pocket at all times. Not much of a hardcover guy, though. I grew up with books as friends, and things to take everywhere. Hardcovers seem more like museum pieces in that they’re designed to last, and to be admired. Nothing wrong with that, but I’m a grab a book and read it ’til it falls apart kind of guy.
KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?
Sure! It’s called Predators and it’s about a group on safari in Africa. The expedition goes hideously, horribly awry, and soon the survivors are on foot, trying to stay alive in one of the world’s harshest environments while being hunted by a pack of spotted hyenas – which, for the record, are some of the most physiologically and psychologically MESSED UP creatures in the universe. The book is one I’m really proud of – not just because the story is pretty good, or because the writing works, but because it says something important. The main characters are all women – even the hyena who is the main antagonist – and the story is, above all, a rumination on how powerful women are, and how many skills and benefits they bring to any table. I also love it because it’s the first book I’ve written where almost all the beta readers sent back screen-caps of various pages with words to the effect of, “This is where I started bawling!” written across them. Great responses from readers, the critics are seeming to like it as well, and I couldn’t be happier.
KR: You find yourself on a desert island, which three people would you wish to be deserted with you and why?
You can choose…
a) One fictional character from your writing.
b) One fictional character from any other book.
c) One real life person that is not a family member or friend.
a) The safari guide from Predators. She’s Maasai, and she’d probably keep me alive in a place like that. She also tells great stories, which is important to me!
b) Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. Because if I ever got rescued, that little detail would guarantee me a HUGE amount of money for the movie rights.
c) Hmmm… Stephen King? It’d be fun to hang out with him and tell stories. Plus he’s an Important Guy, so having him there would probably ensure that more people actually looked for us!
KR: Thank you very much Michaelbrent.
You can follow Michaelbrent on Twitter @mbcollings
Find out more about Michaelbrent by visiting his official website www.writteninsomnia.com
Michaelbrent’s author page can be found here
She is one of the only animals
who can chase a lion from its kill…
Evie Childs hoped the all-expense-paid trip to Africa would give her a chance at adventure. Maybe it would even let her forget a past that haunts her, and find safety from a husband who abuses her.
Her jaws can crush bone to powder…
But when a group of “freedom fighters” kidnaps her safari tour group, intent on holding them for ransom, the adventure turns to nightmare.
She knows no mercy, only hunger…
Now, Evie and the rest of the survivors must travel across miles of the harshest, most dangerous environment on Earth. No food. No water. No communications.
And they’re being hunted.
She is the only animal alive
who laughs as she hunts…
A pack of Africa’s top predators have smelled the blood of the survivors, and will not stop until they have fed. Because in this place, you can be either one of the prey, or one of the…
There are places we were never meant to go…
A woman searching for a sister lost at sea. A man bent on finding lost treasure. A mother who has lost all hope. A maniac who believes all life exists for his pleasure. The man who would keep them all safe. Together, they will all seek below the waves for treasures long buried, and riches beyond belief. But those treasures hide something. Something ancient, something dark. A creature that exists only to feed on those that would enter into its realm.
A creature… of The Deep.
They have the beginnings of a perfect family. A husband, a wife, a baby on the way.
But something will stop them from being happy as they move into their new house: the power of the undead that roam the halls of their home.
The demons that have come to claim them. The darkness that seeks to destroy them.
A doctor who has lost his child. A woman in an abusive relationship. A man who thinks he is god. A madman who lives only to kill. These are the people who will come together and find that they are not alone. Cut off by a freak storm, they will discover the meaning of terror…in The Loon.
IT ONLY TAKES TEN MINUTES FOR THE WORLD TO END…
In under 10 minutes, 99.9% of the world’s population will be dead… or changed. Conversion is instant. Headshots just make them angry. And they’re getting smarter.
Ken Strickland has made it through the first moments. But his family is still out there.
Can he survive? Can he find them? And even if he does, what comes next? Will they survive? Will they, with the few other survivors they have found, find a way to stop this menace? Or will they simply become a fewmore of the
creatures that now rule our world?