Matt Micheli is a writer from Austin, TX, Wild Card Winner of the 2012 Halloween Book Festival. He has several fiction and non-fiction pieces featured in various literary magazines and is a multi-contributor to ManArchy Magazine, Revolt Daily, and Paragraph Line. He is a loving husband and father by night.
What first attracted you to horror writing?
I love horror movies and horror books. I like anything that can make me feel something. And horror writers are some of the best at extracting feelings from their readers. You have the gut-feeling that something really, really bad is about to happen but you continue on, your body tense in anticipation. It reminds me of slowly making your way to the top of a rollercoaster, knowing that the higher you go, the farther you have to come down. Long story short, horror is fun.
Smut is my newest release. It’s gained some killer blurbs from credible folks and is starting to gain some solid ratings. I’m happy with how it turned out and extremely proud of where I’ve come. Other than that, my train-wreck of a first novel won the Wild Card category at the 2012 Halloween Book Festival.
What are you working on now?
I am working on completing a short-story collection (I’m about 5-10 stories away) that delves deeply into the male psyche—the good, the horrifically bad, and the ugly. Men deep down are all pathetic. Some of us are better at hiding it. I’m also in the beta-testing phase of the first in a series titled Masked. The book is about a female superhero that has severe sexual issues and wreaks havoc on abusers of women. This book may be the darkest thing I’ve written and has some pretty intense violence and brutality.
How much planning and research do you undertake before writing?
As little as possible. Ha. I try to write about what I know and go into research-mode only when absolutely needed. Of course, my writing is pretty straight forward—sex, drugs, mutilated bodies, more sex. When not reading fiction, I’ve become quite familiar with psychology, which helps my misguided characters.
Describe your writing routine.
I’m most creative in the morning right after breakfast and my second cup of coffee (milk only; sugar’s for girls). Obviously I do my best to limit any and all distractions. I send my wife off to work and baby girl to daycare. When it’s just me, I get a refill of coffee, open the blinds to allow as much warm daylight into the office, turn on whichever Pandora station will be a suitable soundtrack for what I’m writing, sit down, and start typing. Where that typing goes, nobody knows.
Who do you admire in the horror world?
John Ajvide Lindqvist has written the best vampire story of all time with Let the Right One In. His second, Handling the Undead was also pretty damn good. Of course, you can’t be a horror fan and not mention Stephen King? The guy’s a creative genius (or whacko). One that’s not mentioned all that often in the horror world is Bret Easton Ellis. His characters’ detachment and lack of compassion—although not gory or providing the edge-of-your-seat thrills—is pretty terrifying. I hope to encompass some of this within the pages I’ve written.
Do you prefer all out gore or psychological chills?
Definitely psychological. But to pull off the psychological thrills, there must be some element of brutality and gore. But in my opinion, the gore should merely accent the story, not overpower it. There’s nothing I hate more than a book or movie that drowns you in gore for nothing more than shock value.
Why should people read your work?
Candid answer: I got kids to pay and bills to feed. Honestly though, I had a ton of fun writing the words and I believe you’ll have just as much fun reading them. I keep the chapters short and the book shorter, and at worst, if you absolutely hate it, you’re only losing about two hours of your life by reading it. Plus, there are some hardcore, descriptive sex-scenes. So even if you hate the book and curse my very existence, you’ll have gotten your rocks off. You can thank me later.
Recommend a book.
There are a lot of great books out there, but the best book I’ve read recently is Good Sex, Great Prayers by Brandon Tietz. It’s a brick of a book and weighs about ten pounds, but it is well worth the read. The story twists and turns and unfolds perfectly. Not for the faint at heart as there are controversial topics covered.