TIH 456: Michael J. Seidlinger on My Pet Serial Killer, The Cecil Hotel, and Literary Agents

TIH 456: Michael J. Seidlinger on My Pet Serial Killer, The Cecil Hotel, and Literary Agents

In this podcast Michael J. Seidlinger talks about My Pet Serial Killer, The Cecil Hotel, literary agents, and much more. 

About Michael J. Seidlinger

Michael J. Seidlinger is a Filipino American author of Anybody Home? (CLASH Books, 2022), Scream (Bloomsbury’s Object Lessons), and other books. He has written for, among others, Wired, Buzzfeed, Thrillist, Goodreads, The Observer, Polygon, The Believer, and Publishers Weekly.

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Michael David Wilson 0:07

Welcome to This Is Horror, a podcast for readers, writers and creators. I'm Michael David Wilson, and every episode alongside my co host, Bob Pastorella. We chat we're masters of horror, about writing, life lessons, creativity, and much more. Now, today's guest is Michael J side Linga. Rejoining us for the third and final part of our epic conversation. As revolver these episodes, though, you can listen in any order. So by all means, listen to this one now, and then go back to 454 and 455. When you're done. Now, Michael is a Filipino American author of books, including his latest one from Clash, anybody home and it is absolutely fantastic. And he has also written for a number of publications, including wired, Buzzfeed, the observer, and publishes weekly. Now in this part of the conversation, we talk about literary agents, we talk about his literary agent Lane Heymont. We talk about his fantastic novel, my pet serial killer, we talk about his current work in progress, and indeed what Michael should be kinder to himself about. But before any of that, a little bit of an advert break.

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Michael David Wilson 3:20

Now if you're enjoying these adverts and you're thinking oh, I'd like to have my advert featured on This Is Horror Podcast. Well good news folks, you can just drop me a line Michael at this is horror.co.uk and let's talk let's see what we can arrange what we can work out in terms of advertising. And if you've been on the edge about getting advertising, now is a fantastic time because at the end of the month we are putting up our advertising grades but if you buy adverts now you can lock in those old grades and you don't need to use them now. So if you wanted you could buy 235 and four months well you could buy as many months as you want of advertising and then you could use it next year or even the year after so if you want to lock in these original rates before they go up at the end of the month drop me a line Michael at this is horror.co.uk well without said from one Michael to another is time for the third part of our conversation with Michael J side linger on This Is Horror. It's interesting too, and I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to phrase this which is maybe a mistake just start talking before I formulated exactly what I'm going to talk about but of course I Perhaps no where else is it so apparent that we are performers and putting on a persona than on social media? Because the the Great, the great, bad and good of our time, you know, for all of us, it's done. So many kinds of positive things that so many detrimental things. I mean, particularly, as people working with independent publishers, and as independent artists, I mean, it's, it's such a good way to kind of get your work out there and in front of people and, you know, reach people that you wouldn't have, I mean, probably without social media, the three of us wouldn't be having this conversation now. And without technology, we certainly wouldn't be having this conversation with both of you and America, I'll be at different states and me and Japan. But, I mean, goodness, how do you cultivate using social media in a way that will be positive to you, rather than ultimately detrimental to your well being in your health?

Michael J. Seidlinger 6:14

Yeah, man, it's a tough question. Because so many, so many artists, writers, they create their own, you know, quote, unquote, brand online, and they work through it that way. And they like try to chase some sense of relevancy and, and then there's the whole quote, quote, unquote, discourse, that is usually just a bunch of drama that happens every fifth, seemingly, there's some new outrage every other minute. And then, you know, people if people can get caught up in it, like for me, I definitely live I definitely was very, very, very online for a lot of my like, like, up until maybe like two, or three or three years ago, maybe like, yeah, like maybe a year or two before the pandemic or something like that. I just like, quote, unquote, lived online. So meaning like I would document document and everything that's happening in my actual life, I would pretty much always be like checking my phone or checking whatever on my laptop. And you know, I was a little more conscious of some kind of idea of what I would want to be online because everyone at No, there's no one that's not doing that. If you're online, I don't, you can say it's just being yourself. But also, when you say you're being yourself, you're actually being your social media self, which is still a curated through the fact that you're sitting there and choosing and focusing on what you're actually going to save you that tweet via that post your that whatever it is. But in recent times, I like made a conscious effort of being like, alright, this is very bad on my health, like, I definitely knew that. I started I started realizing that I was living through like actual, like, real experiences with this sort of filter of like, how do I document it online. And that scared me a little bit. And in recent times, for me, personally, I've just basically pulled back and I use my social media, mostly just to talk about writing, talk about the books I'm working on and share the articles I've written for, you know, for work. And I'm of the mindset now that like, we're definitely at this stage with social media, where the halcyon days are over. It's, it's now even more of a public forum, where most people, a lot of people are gonna be the journalists and the ones that are and I'm thinking, of course, explicitly of Twitter here, like they're gonna be the journalists and the people in the pullet politicians and stuff like that, that are talking about those kinds of topics. And then you have the writers on the outskirts kind of, some of them will really want to try to be part of it, because I think that's going to help them get a book deal or get some relevancy. But in actuality, I'm just have the argument now that like, just use it for what it's worth, but be mindful more of your mental health because it's not all it's cracked up to be. It really isn't. Yes, like, we wouldn't be here to having this conversation if it wasn't for social media, but at the same rate, it's not our lifeblood, it can't be our lifeblood, because it's, it's it's not a sustainable thing. Like it's only a matter of time before some other platform comes in like Twitter has been around forever. But like we even saw that Elon Musk thing happened recently and we're like people had a mass exodus like there's it's social social media is ephemeral. It's going to it feels like it's always going to be there and it's super important, but reality is it's it's it's noise and noise will eventually give way to silence. And so like I don't know where I'm going with this specifically, but I'm just saying more like for writers in general like use it for some sort of inherent good but like, the days of being like I have to be on social media and, and super active is a very negative Have slash like maybe not count. It's counterintuitive. That's the word counterintuitive approach to like say like thinking career minded for your career. Use it if you want to, maybe still have it on account, right? Like and like talk about your books or talk about maybe you there's an argument that you want to talk about in a constructive manner. But the idea of being a brand and being all this other stuff, like unless you really want to be a social media influencer, I don't think that's the way to go these days.

Because it just takes away from so many other things. I've seen so many writers that are amazing writers, but they spent so much time cultivating their social media brand. And it has negative effects on them to like people, like unfollow them and like, like, I don't want to I don't want nothing to do with this person, because they ignore so excruciating online. That sucks, right? Like, it's not supposed to be, I don't think anyone wants to go online and be like, I want to, I want people to, I'm gonna put out a book. And then I'm going to be so horrible online that no one buys my book. I don't think anyone actively goes online to do that. But But by virtue of people trying to be so relevant on social media, and to chase that concept of a public facing persona, and a brand. Sometimes it comes out that way. Some of the kindest people like actual real, like, really kind awesome people, I'm sure. Are they come off horrible on social media? There's that too. Like, you're, there's this like, disconnect?

Michael David Wilson 11:29

Yeah, well, I mean, enough, a problem with social media and in terms of people coming away with other people with a negative impression is I mean, it's the opposite. The long form conversation as we're having now. I mean, in Twitter, in particular, there's 144 characters, or I don't know, maybe they, yeah, maybe they expanded it, okay. Or definitely, then that will relieve you on that one. But, you know, it just means that people are constantly being quoted and out of context. And then so people are pushing up against someone for saying, whatever it is, man, and you know, that that is then interpreted or misinterpreted. And then that person according to, you know, others that they're gone their cancer, or to use the modern parlance, which I don't really like. But it's easier to just say that rather than come up with some circuitous way to, you know, phrase it, but I just, I just think it's dangerous when, you know, people are being taken out of context and out of out, yeah, out of context, because context is important. And something said, might be bad, but without seeing the full picture. And without knowing all of the facts. I mean, it's very dangerous to just be like, right, that person said, this, they're fucking done, as like, Well, what else did they see? What's the full conversation? What was their mental state, like, how much they consumed? How intoxicated, were they and these things don't necessarily absolve them. But it's ridiculous to say that every negative act is equal, you know, now we're coming back to the binary and we're almost coming back to the Bible where all sins are equal, which was something I never really vibed with when I was younger, because I grew up in a religious household, not so much anymore. But, you know, I could not wrap my head around the fact that it's like, well, hang on, if I covered my neighbor's dogs, and he might have a really nice ops, or I murder someone that is equal. doesn't fucking compute.

Michael J. Seidlinger 13:55

Yeah, I mean, so yeah, social media operates on a very thin line of like the most binary of binaries. Yeah, I mean, I tend to lean towards what you're saying, like we're in that? I wish. It would be that if something happens on social media, where there's an outrage isn't just bandwagoning or people like take choose aside and the fact that you have to even say there's a side yeah, is already a problem, because that's already in the putting the binary like, this side or that side. Yeah. Blank versus blank. To have a real conversation, a constructive one that that involves more than just those that that delineation. I mean, when he went like way back, like the whole art, like the philosophical art, like with Phil and Phil and Phil's philosophers argued, they would argue in these long tangents and these sweeping conversations that often took hours and like would it they'll be resolved with a nice bow at the end. No, but they would constantly get deeper and deeper. And will we can we even do that with social media? And no, of course not. It's not it's not built to be that way. But like, a lot of what happens on social media, I think, could benefit from more of those deeper conversations, but by virtue of the platform that is designed, it's never going to lend itself to that. And that's the inherent fallacy of like, specifically Twitter. I mean, Facebook is like some dead ass platform anyway. Instagram is like food pics and fun stuff or whatever. Yeah, no. Tick tock is a beast that proves that I'm getting old and I will never join it. So I don't know what's going on there. But like with Twitter, specifically, like it's not going to it unfortunately has become the place where all these like really deep conversations are these topics that should be having deep conversations end up happening, but they're happening on such a fucking shoddy platform like, can't can't sustain the real conversation so we end up with with bandwagoning that like witch hunt, kinda like cancellation of people. All these like negativity and then it happens it blooms and like people get affected they arrives or ruin and then it just disappears 15 minutes later and someone else like they literally shift to the next day meaning just the proverbial day like the there's the next outrage and the one after that we're talking right now I guarantee you somewhere in some community on Twitter, someone has been canceled and drag like mother like motherfucking crazy. Via the same problem. It sucks. It really does suck because for every one that like one person that probably deserved all that hate. There's so many others that get suicidal and maybe killed themselves because they're at the receiving end of that. And they were just misunderstood. It was a far more nuanced kind of you know, situation that involved that deserved of deeper conversation but Twitter's 280 characters and no one gives a shit they just want their hot takes and they want you know whatever capitalistic you know draw that they get out of being quote unquote irrelevant. They want their only invest in so much as their own fucking, you know, their own gains. I don't think there's very many people on Twitter right now that are doing it for like a conscious like, oh, I care about all you guys. Yeah, that maybe actually no, I'm not gonna I don't want to say that because that's too limiting. But there are definitely people that are probably doing that. But like, generally is the Twitter as a spectrum. So many people are on there just to like, have their cake and eat it too.

Michael David Wilson 17:38

And a companion piece kind of your novella, runaways, the right as dilemma might be something that people want to kick out.

Michael J. Seidlinger 17:48

Oh, yeah, that's so that was how briefly can exploit it. So that book and this other book dreams of being they were sort of like the companion books in ways where I definitely went through a creative crisis where I'm trying to figure out you know, why, right. And my association with social media, my association with all of it, and yeah, it resulted in Well firstly, dreams of being where I if you guys remember lazy fascist press do back in the day. Yeah, Cameron Pierce, great guy. He was a great friend, a great editor. He he gave me a five book, contract deal back in the day and I published through lazy fascist, and I remember he had a Facebook post once where he had like a group of like a bunch of funny parody prompts. And one of them was Jiro Dreams of Sushi, where Joe does nothing but dream of sushi having failed to become a sushi, sushi chef. And I joke, I joke with him saying, yo, I'm gonna write that book. And he like, kind of like, was like, Haha, yeah. And I'm like, You're gonna publish it. By the time I finished writing it. He was out of publishing, you know, he's asked, enjoying his life and Astoria, he, like, I think he's like a manager at a brewery now. Like, now he's living his own, like, Next Level life, like he's doing awesome. But like, he was no longer in publishing. So I had this book there. And then like, shortly thereafter, runaways Kevin Samsel it future tense. Kind of like wanna you want, we wanted to work together on something. And I think I remember like talking about this book, like this idea for a book, which was pretty much the hard and fast, like reflection that I had with social media, and the whole gamut of a writer thinking that you need to be relevant, you need to be part of this part of that and do all this for all these people and like, be this certain person in the certain brand. And just generally the despair of being a writer. That book kind of became the crystallization of that. And then together those two, I guess I look at them in terms of like, all the, all the stuff I've written, is sort of like our It's this this is Michael having his like, quarter like midlife crisis writing style, you know, or some like that, like midlife crisis in terms of like as a writer. But yeah, I need it was a purge in ways it was like, and I feel like all this with runaways, people that have read it, there's a lot to be gleaned from from it in terms of maybe you if you pick it up and you give it a shot, the you might just see elements of your own social media experience in there, or just experience as being a writer in this modern day, where we have this constant noise, this constant like thing in the back of our minds, aka social media and all this like this, this feeling that that you're not enough, and you're in the sense of imposter syndrome. And this, this idea that if you're not like some brandable entity online and like this character, you're not going to be a hotshot writer or something. You know, like, all that stuff is in that? Yeah. But for me, it's like just just this, this kind of like form the full, full explanation of both books actually. Like, for me, it was very much those books were written because I needed to figure it out for myself. And like, although I can say that I have, it's a constant battle. It's not like it's like, Oh, check done. I got it all figured out. No, I mean, I'm constantly fucking battling this shit. There are good days, bad days and horrible days. As you guys know, being writers, to be a writer anyway is fucking brutal. Like, why the hell would you want to be? Why do we choose to be writers that damn,

Michael David Wilson 21:42

yeah, well, I think of many people. We've concluded if you have the choice, then choose not to be, you know, you are a writer, because there is no choice in the matter.

Michael J. Seidlinger 21:54

Yeah, you kind of just fall into it. And I mean, I definitely did. I didn't, I would have never expected this to happen. Like, I wanted to be a musician. And then after that, I wanted to be a game developer. And then after that, I don't know that after that, I ended up like doing sociology for a hot second, and then kind of fell into writing.

Michael David Wilson 22:13

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. We're talking about the good days, the bad days, and the horrible days. I mean, my understanding is you had quite a horrible experience during the runaways time with your former literary agent.

Michael J. Seidlinger 22:30

Yeah, yeah, that was just that was bad all around, like the short version is I, in 2017, I did this month long social media driven road trip that was supposed to be sort of the nucleus of a nonfiction book that examines connectivity and connection in our modern day. And I was able to, before I was able to do the road trip, it almost killed me, like, in many ways. But basically, the, the gist was, I could only go where social media told me to go, but I had to go cross country. So I started obviously, in Brooklyn, where I've been living since around like, 2016 1516, somewhere around there. To the other side of the country, Portland, Oregon, and I chose it mainly because budget car rental was cheapest to drop it off there. It was, like really, like that's, that's the only reason why I chose it. And I was able to do it. I was like, really cool to me a lot of people on the way. But it was sort of a breaking point with not only why I was writing, but what I wanted out of this. And social media, actually. And basically, what I realized, well, first of all, the agent that I had thought he could sell it, and then he couldn't sell it. I don't even know if he did try to sell it. So there's a whole fucking crazy scenario with that guy. But that's, you know, you don't want to even dwell with that negativity, because it's not even worth it at this point. But what the real takeaway of this whole experience was like, Yeah, first of all, I wrote those two books after it, to try to make sense of it. But I realized that in order to sustain whatever it is that whatever kind of creative career you have, you have to know what the fuck you actually want out of this. You know, some people may say they want the big bucks. And I argue like, why are you writing a book, do do something else, because you'll make more money that way. I guarantee you. You put the time, the work the effort, and you have you in a modicum of talent. And that's also a target talent is arguably like a very elusive term that very few of us can really truly define. It's all kind of who knows. But um, yeah, you'll end up like making more money just by virtue of that industry drawing, like more more revenue, but um, what I realized is I won't do it What I really wanted to what I realized I needed to do is to do a whole kind of like, full reflection of why the fuck I'm doing this. You know, and I put out number of books I put out five books with lazy fascist, I put this modern retelling of Albert Camus, the stranger. It's called the strangest with audiobooks, which is a politically like a left leaning political ish press based in Manhattan. And they publish like Julian Assange and Yoko Ono, and all this other stuff, it was really cool that I got with them, but like, they didn't sell the book and kind of like flopped. But, um, anyway, I needed to figure out why I was here, like, why am I continuing to do this and throughout, like, you know, my searching and writing dreams of being and then before writing runaways is more the social media, like kind of focusing on that. I realized that like, it's not for like, the book deal. It's not for I fucking love that people are reading my stuff. And specifically with anybody home, it's been amazing. It's like literally giving me life to hear that people are enjoying this book. But at the end of the day, if there's only one, if there has to be one thing that keeps us doing this, and for me specifically, it's truly because I love getting lost in the project and being able to live in that world, that thing that I'm creating, like to feel that rush when like, that scene starts working. That's what I want. I'm chasing that all the time. I want nothing more than to always work on ideas and stories. That's my proverbial like necklace that I wear that I hold on to when I'm in doubt. Like, that's the thing that keeps me doing this. I don't care. I don't want you to know, I don't care. But like, if anything else, I can control you anything else. Like I don't, I have no right to control and be able to control anything else. All I can control is the fact that I know and love and want to continue writing. And then yeah, with social media, it was just, I was never on social media is never the same after that road trip. I just I went from documenting everything about my life and really thinking that that's what you're supposed to do to, to like, just having panic attacks and, and looking at social media as this horrible thing. And then realizing that it's not a horrible thing. It's just my association with it. And

yeah, nowadays, I'm just doing them doing what, what feels right for me with social media, which is just like doing minimal, honestly, like, I used to always think that I had to tweet like, potential viral tweets every day, and tweet and like retweet and tweet about other people and like, you know, amplify them and like be Oh, lit citizen. I mean, I want to be good to other writers, and I'm good to my friends and all that stuff. But that that's a horrible, horrible like feeling to feel like you have to be so responsible all the time. And like always have to be like amplifying everybody else. It's tiring, man. We're all just people here. So I kind of like washed out with social media. And so like, what do you see on social media these days? For me, it's really just like, I'm retweeting all the cool things that people are saying about like, you know, anybody home or whatever. Occasion I'll probably tweet about, like a film or a game or something. I'll tweet about articles that I had to write for clients and stuff like that. And that's all I have, like mentally left for it. And I have to believe that it's okay that that's okay. Because, yeah, man, if if that's not okay, then why the fuck is social media thing? Yeah. Like, why are we doing any of it? Like, to think that in order to be a part of something, you have to like, give half your soul to it, like all the time, that sucks, man, like, it almost ruined me already. Like, and I don't want it to ruin me again. So like, I will definitely like retweet and amplify my friends and like the people I respect and stuff like that, but I can't chase that fucking thing anymore. I can't think that way. Yeah, I argue that anyone that feels that they have to, yo do take that reflection, sit down one day and like truly reflect on what you want out of this thing and what your association with social media is and, and all of it because the sooner you have that conversation with yourself and like at least start to have it and like start to make sense with it. Because I feel like most of us don't we just get caught up in it. In the act of writing act of trying to get published all this other stuff. The sooner we search the sooner you start to find that proverbial Netflix necklace and whatever it is that like you hold on to and know that that's truly what you want out of this. The sooner you can like find some footing some ground from which you can make sense of all this. Like I learned the hard way man and I'm still learning constantly clearly. Because anybody home was this back drawer novel this this this like, thing that I didn't think anyone wanted to read and Now it's showing the opposite. So what the fuck?

Michael David Wilson 30:04

Yeah, yeah. And if people are lifting people up for the algorithm, then really, they're not lifting them up at all. It's artificial and it's fake. So, you know, just with the room that same as with the right and do what is true to you, but don't fucking do something because you feel you have to just do whatever the fuck is right? What comes naturally to you.

Michael J. Seidlinger 30:30

Authenticity you said earlier with the likeable, unlikable was talking about authenticity is a very important thing. You know, like, I feel like we're losing a lot of that today. Yeah. There's something to be said about, like someone being themselves. Like, honestly, like, think about this way, like in that era of everyone always trying to be a persona and all that. Try to be yourself for once. Maybe that might work out for you. Who knows? Stop being a persona online, be yourself. You know, who knows? I just like kind of think about that sometimes, like how many people that go online are actually even even remotely their true selves. They're mostly posturing a certain hot take a certain brand, even where they really realize it or not, and like half the time, maybe it's because they have to, they feel like they have to be guarded, because yeah, it's fucking scary out there. Or they've they've and or they think that they have to be entertaining or something. And then then you have to ask yourself, are you trying to be like, uh, like, I don't know why I'm bringing them up. But like, he's his YouTube, not Twitter. But like a Markiplier, like social media influencer kind of person, where you literally make shit tons of money just influencing people know, most of us writers are not going to be that. And even if we aren't, we probably have already, like done things outside of it. Right. And then we went on social media, and because by virtue of having a fuck ton of movie adaptations, or like a lot of really huge best selling books, yeah, I'm thinking of like, the bigger names. You just have a big following anyway. And then it just adds, but most of us don't really, I feel like most writers aren't actually aspiring to be social media influencers. So maybe think about that, you know?

Michael David Wilson 32:16

Yeah. Yeah. And I would add, you don't have to voice your opinion on everything, even though some people will say, Oh, it's very telling that that person hasn't commented on this political event. And it's like, well, maybe because they're a writer. Maybe because they're an artist. They're not a political correspondent, where people are waiting for their take. It's okay to shut the fuck up and not say anything. Right.

Michael J. Seidlinger 32:45

We all have our opinions and all that. Yeah. I mean, I agree in the sense that no one should feel like they are forced to give their opinion on a public platform, you know, like, what happened to the freedom of speech? Yeah. Like, Jesus Christ. Like to feel like you need to say anything about anything. It's kind of a fucked up scenario. Like, I don't know, I'm trying to think of a scenario where like, I know someone, like, I haven't been in that scenario where like, someone was like, wait for me to say something like, I don't remember anyway. And that scares the fuck out of me to think that people will be like, Hi, we need you to say something about this. And it's just like, wow, like, what kind of fucked up mentality? Is that already?

Michael David Wilson 33:30

Yeah. And, and normally, with these things, I find like, I mean, we've most people, like, your perspective should be pretty clear. Like, it probably doesn't need to be explicitly stated, as a good person, what your opinion might be on that topic, for example. Yeah,

Bob Pastorella 33:55

I tend to block people like that. If they like, and, you know, start, like, you know, even even if they're talking about someone else, if they say, Well, I was hoping that somebody else would, would have weighed in, or something like that, about some political topic. That's a fucking block.

Michael David Wilson 34:13

Yeah, yeah.

Bob Pastorella 34:14

No, you know, just I only I don't even want to see it. Because it's like, it's almost like, you know, in a sense, and it sounds dramatic. But how dare you even question anybody? You know, at that point, right there, it's nothing but virtue signaling.

Michael J. Seidlinger 34:28

There you go. That's true. Yeah. Like what was mentioned earlier about how like, how many of us actually know what anyone is actually going through when they're like, tweeting or in you know, in that frame of mind, right? There's so much else going on? Um, no one ever thinks that way. When they're like, Alright, now I'm gonna fucking like tweet at this person and be like, you piece of shit blah, blah, blah. It's like Jesus like, and just generally in like, generally speaking, like, like, why the fuck do you want to put that negative energy be out in this world, right? Like, there's already, there's already enough of it, I'm tired. I feel like most of us are tired. Most of us are like, dealing with a lot of shit. We all have our problems and things that we're dealing with and like the, but then again, you know, that same, the same mindset. A lot of people have that mindset too, but they go online on Twitter as a release, and they want to release it. Like, there's very much that too, I think there's something to be said about that, like, people do want to just shut out some hate and feel better, and then walk away. You know, like, there's, I 100% guarantee, like, there has to be like that, like grading mindset of that magnitude where like, they want to see something bad and they want to feel like they're like a part of something that's fighting the mat, the bad thing. And then they like, feel vilified, and also have their hot take out there and they can walk away from it. Because it's as simple as that. Anyway, you just hit refresh. And here's a new new sequence of whatever the fuck is happening.

Michael David Wilson 35:58

Yeah, yeah. Well, I mean, and as we spoke about your bad experience with your previous literary agent, I did want to kind of turn it forward to something more positive, because you're now working with Lane Haymond of Tobias, literary agencies. So how did that come about? And how is the experience thus far,

Michael J. Seidlinger 36:23

he's been great. Like, I finally feel like I've found an agent that gets me, you know, and, like, he's, he just, I can trust that he is like, making doing whatever moves he thinks that needs to be done in terms of like working on that and the business side of things. Um, what happened was, I want to say like, they're on the library journal review, like when I got that star review, I got on a call with him. They called me like, zoom thing with him. And where he talked about where I was, there was like, like, a brief stint of of their, like little film stuff happening on for this book, but like, there's whatever was happening at that particular point in time. needed some agent thing, right, as well. So he came in, and we talked about it. And then he also asked about what I was working on. So I sent him a couple manuscripts. Next, it was really quick, too. It was like next day, we got on another zoom. And he was like, yeah, so here's, like, this is huge. This is like the agency terms blah, blah, let's work together if you're down, you know, whatever. And I was like, Okay, let's do it. And then you know, he's been he's been he's on top of things like he there's a reason why like, people seem to let everyone says good things about lane because Lane Lane knows this stuff. Like I think I feel like when you're an agent's in this in this industry, you're your bread and butter is like being you know, knowing what knowing how to pitch books and knowing how to find the editor that might like that book, and just generally being like, the opposite of a writer, basically, like, being sociable, and endearing, and just being like a person, right, like being like being that forward facing thing. Like we are generally all kind of like having our own neuroses with social stuff. Like we're all like, it takes a lot out of us to be social. I'm generalizing the fuck out of that, but like writers tend to have to really try hard to be that forward facing kind of thing but like I feel like like it would lay in for instance, like now he like. He makes he forges business friendships and like, like as agents do, right, like, now. It's been great. It's been great so far. I feel like I'm in a happy place with that too. And yeah,

Michael David Wilson 38:46

I did. I did want to say that in terms of anybody home if ever there was a companion piece of yours to it, I think it might be my pet serial killer, as this explores the desire and motivations of serial killers, and again, it has that very seductive voice from a pretty abhorrent protagonist and pretty abhorrent is just me being very British, obviously. Horrendous.

Michael J. Seidlinger 39:16

I feel like that's a deep cut right there. Because like I always, I mean, I'm, I have a special that book has a special place for me and my like, mine are hard. Yeah. Yeah, I would say that's the only other horror novel I've written like this polish right now. Like I've I've been writing other stuff, too, that I guess could like fall under horror. But like that was Yeah, that one definitely was is whatever. Claire, the main character, definitely, like, you know, has her own little place in my proverbial heart as well. Yeah, I guess it could be right. It could be a companion piece. She, she's also very voice driven first person, but done in a way where it's less about what I was trying to do with anybody at home. even more just that she had she just felt like she had to be a domineering kind of voice you know like very confident but also under the illusion that maybe it's all more so the confidence that she hides behind the veneer of maybe being withdrawn person in a crowd you know like she's not some like FEM the towel character that's going to like strut around unless maybe she needs to, but in reality she has that inner you know like drive yeah my pezzulo killers that was a fun one. I mean, I in hindsight, I'm like, trying to think like, did it find its audience? I don't know. I don't know if it did but if I'm late to horror I will say like I realized that like maybe I was always reading transgressive slash horror leaning stuff, but no one put me in that container I guess until recently. And I don't care I don't care what you what container anyone puts me in I'm just gonna write stuff that I want to write, you know, and I mean, nine times out of 10 They're gonna definitely probably fall into a transmission mode the way you're saying. Because that's generally what I find fascinating. least enough to write books about

Michael David Wilson 41:20

Yeah, well, what is it that you're working on at the moment?

Michael J. Seidlinger 41:25

Um, all I can all I can say is that I'm writing about writing something that's spiritually successor to anybody home but focusing on true crime.

Michael David Wilson 41:34

Hmm, okay.

Michael J. Seidlinger 41:37

Yeah, so it's not necessarily in the vein of hey my home like in terms of like, well in terms of all kinds of things but but it's definitely doing something with true crime where it points the lens at the actual phenomenon that is true crime specific podcasts and stuff like that. With a lot of influence from the Cecil Hotel Alyssa Lam story There you guys are familiar with that one.

Michael David Wilson 42:04

I don't actually know that one.

Michael J. Seidlinger 42:07

Really, Bob Do you know that one?

Bob Pastorella 42:09

Um, is that the correct me if I'm wrong, because there's so many stories but is that the one where the the lady supposedly like disappeared? And then they found her like in like a water tank or something?

Michael J. Seidlinger 42:23

Yep. Okay. Yep. So see so hotels this like kind of notorious flop House Hotel in LA. That has numerous stories and tragedies attached to it including like, during the height of night, Richard Ramirez knightstalker. He during the height of his like, you know, menace he would actually he actually like he squat he had a room there see? So this this hotel he would like fame infamously you know, do his evil deeds or whatever and like walk back to the seaside hotel in the back alley all bloodied and shit and like take his clothes off and walk up the back steps into like third or fourth whatever floor he was on. Still bloodied in like you know, like right after a kill. And like you know, it's one of those like, kind of Cursed places the Cecil Hotel, but yeah, the short version of this is like Elisa Lam. I think she's from Canada. I can't quite remember but she she flies into she visits la you know like like many tours to like all star studded like for the reason. And yeah, like she lives she takes she stays at Cecil because she's on a budget. It was like rebranded by then as stay on Main because they want to like you know, somehow just have people forget that it's the Cecil Hotel. And I don't know what the time spent like timespan is oh how long it takes from like when she's She checks into like disappears, but basically she disappears and no one knows what happens and then the but then they find the elevator footage of her during like some odd hour of the night. Seemingly being stalked or chased after someone just like jumps in the elevator stands there, like kind of looks around the corner as if she's being like hunted and then hides again and then eventually walks out of the elevator and the elevator closes and then that kind of caused an uproar throughout all the the armchair investigator True Crime circles online people like what the fuck happened? Yeah, for a long time no one really ever had theories but no one knew the real whereabouts or what happened to her until people started complaining guests at the at the say on Main slashes hotel start complaining about low water pressure and like the water tasted weird and it was like brownish, and they check the water tower and sure enough, there's this semi decomposed corpse it turns out to be her. short short like the fast forward to like what they realized what happened is, so she had a history of things like some kind of mental disorder, and she also was really bad about taking her medication and she wasn't taking her medication while she was there. And she might have had a psychotic break, and like climbed up there and like, maybe imagined that she was being chased or something like that and climb somehow managed to climb up that watertower wishes like a fucking feet anyway, for even anyone who's a cognizant of their actions and jumped in or something like that. And apparently, like she took off her clothes while in there, probably just trying to like, you know, like, remove the weight, because if you wear clothes and water, as you know, it's you take on extra weight. So she maybe she was trying to struggle to get back out and she had a moment of lucidity or something. But yeah, it's one of those true crime stories that kind of got a huge, devoted response. And the thing I'm working on now is like, loosely inspired based off that and specifically in the essence of how people commodified the story for their own gain.

Michael David Wilson 46:05

And for tragedy,

Michael J. Seidlinger 46:08

it's wild, it's one of the most wild. Yeah, it's so unfortunate and sad. Um, yeah, it's one of the few ones where the ending is sad, right? Like, most of the time, it's like, okay, they went missing, they got found or, you know, who's not to say, being killed by someone is not sad. I'm just saying like, that's almost like, it's, it's like they have that's what people expect. But in the case of Alyssa Lam, it was it was wasn't any of that it kind of pushed back at people that saying no, she simply, not even simply, she, she had probably a mental psychotic break, she had to it was all her own doing. And it was one of the rare instances where the solution was actually not the logical one. The logical one is that she was chased by someone or like, hunted and killed, right. Like, that's what people probably wanted. knows the sad one was the one that was illogical, which is that she was out of she was having a psychotic break and somehow managed to get herself in the water. Cool, like water tower thing.

Michael David Wilson 47:12

Yeah. And I think Kelsey was telling us about this. I think that there is a Netflix documentary or a documentary on Netflix. Yes, it, you know, it was sounding vaguely familiar to me.

Michael J. Seidlinger 47:26

I mean, there's been a lot, there's like new, endless amounts of YouTube videos that are documenting it. There's that limited series, like maybe six episodes just like that on Netflix. It's been commodified. For sure. It's people have made a lot of money of the tragedy of Alissa, lamb.

Michael David Wilson 47:46

We can end on that note, even though it would be really, given how bleak anybody home is, it would almost be funny to end nearly three hour podcast on such a morbid note. But I'm going to attempt to take it back and take a break. I mean, something I know is to have anybody home is just how many blurbs you had for this book, you've got so many blurbs and from some of the best writers in the business. So I wanted to talk about this as kind of an important marketing strategy. And yeah, did you have a minimum blood count that you were kind of looking to get for this one?

Michael J. Seidlinger 48:35

Well, let's look anyone else you have like a list of holy grail blurbs or like authors that you really respect and you really want to get blurbs from what happened with this one is I reached out to like, I want to say like eight people on that list. And it was a trickle at first like Dr. Yeager was the first say yes. And like he like read it pretty quickly and offered his awesome blurb but then that was like a trickle. I didn't hear from a lot of people for a bit and then all of a sudden I started here like all of a sudden those eight of the usually of the eight you get like two if you're lucky. But I got eight you know and then and then like, I just kept going like some some people read it like I met Todd Kiesling finally in person at scares that care author calm. Yeah, he was, I mean, great guy, great author all around just like awesome. And you know, we had we had galleys there and I remember giving him like the last card. I think it was the last coffee and like, and he was like he was he was like, he was so awesome about it and like just go he got he offered me the player but I didn't even ask for it. So to answer your question about marketing strategy, I don't think it was any much of any more of a marketing strategy than blurb hunting is right like the volume of blurbs was accidental because it was yet again, going back to that lesson like I aimed for three because I feel like that's a good amount, but my list was eight and then all of them said yes and all of them gave blurbs and then some people read it as well. Brian azmin read it. You got like a blur. You got a galley at La book fest or some like that from Christoph and just offered a blurb afterwards and it was just fucking awesome and was just like, every step of the way. Just, she's people. These amazing writers. Just like just like picking up the book and being like a rotten, rotten Malfi did that like on? Remember? We were yesterday we're driving into New York City. from Troy slightly hungover from the night and drinking with Lisa. And Chris stops driving looks down his phone. He's like, Oh, cool, like pointed at me. And I'm like, Oh, shit. Yeah, like because they he sees friendly with are their friends. Because they're both musicians too. First off, and Ron Ronald. I guess he had gotten a galley. And he was reading it. And he was like, oh, sorry, I'm late on this. But here, here's here's a blurb for the book. And that's been kind of the thing with this one. Like, that's been shocking. For me, it wasn't a marketing strategy in the sense that I wanted that volume, it just became that volume. So it kind of like a struck a chord in ways. And I'm just, I'm sitting here talking to you guys, staring at a screen and just being like, you know, I'm just like I said, like I say, said many, many times before, I'm just just happy. I'm just happy as hell to be here. Like, it's just cool to see a book that could have easily never become anything. Be like so embraced by a lot of writers that I admire. And and many of them just did it because they liked the book and seems a golfer a blur.

Michael David Wilson 51:50

Yeah, yeah. Well, it seems to be working out very well. And a lot of people are talking about it. And I mean, normally, if I put out a book, I'll again, aim for free. But no, I like what you've done. Maybe outline for a next time. Maybe that's the new the new number. Just fucking keep going. I mean, I,

Michael J. Seidlinger 52:12

I 100% Recommend generating like a list of like, a mixture of like, yeah, there's no way that's happening to like, yeah, we're friendly. You know, like, and I respect this person, I would love to see what they think. And yeah, just hit him up. Because like, you're in a lot of silence like i i First I did, right. Like, I didn't hear back from a lot of people until I started to. And it was just like us. It was it was great. Like, it never happened to me before. For sure. Yeah, don't just don't just hit up three, if you are aiming for three hit up, like six or eight. Because most of them won't respond because I'm on my end, like, I suck at giving blurbs. And just because I always forget to like to, like read it in time. So I understand why a lot of people would just be silent, you know, like, because it's hard to sometimes give blurbs because it's literally taking it's it's free labor from that writer. And, you know, they still have to read usually something off of the screen, which for me, at least is harder. I like having the book the pages. I don't know my eyes suck anyway. So it's sort of like, any less time on the screens better. It's for the better. But I realized that too. So like there's a lot of odds against you when you're blurb hunting. That has nothing to do with whether or not they even want to read your thing. It's just like, it's it's a fucking hard thing to do. So definitely aim for like a 12 or something and go for it.

Michael David Wilson 53:51

Yeah, yeah. What should you be kind to yourself about?

Michael J. Seidlinger 53:57

Kinder? Probably doing less, probably like sleeping more. I should probably do that. I should probably I mean, do less meaning like, I'm always like, I always feel like I have like a fuck ton of deadlines for work or, you know, for self imposed deadlines. I think one thing I should probably work on, as I'm getting older. You know, I'm not yet 40 But I'm getting there. And I can already feel some of the age you know, like, you can't just be like, I'm gonna stay up until 3:30am every fucking day doing all a million things. I can't log into that shame is to prioritize time. And what I want to do with that time Yeah, I need to work on that. That's definitely something

Michael David Wilson 54:42

Yeah, yeah. I hear you there and yeah, it's frustrating when you have these little reminders of your mortality and it's like oh, fuck, that all nighter right good wants to do I just I just can't, just for seemingly no reason other than the passage of time or feel like we've got like a finite amount of all nighters, and it's like, yeah, you've used all your lives.

Michael J. Seidlinger 55:06

Remember, when you when you were like, maybe a teenager or even younger were like, it was like such a awesome privilege or, like, so much fun to be like, yeah, we're staying up all night. Yeah. Now I'm like, fuck that. You know how much that will hurt? It's like, you want to stay up all night? Will you fucking die? I'm gonna go to sleep. That's like, that's my that's like, that's what aging is. Yeah. Yeah. Like, I like, I'm still gonna go play that PlayStation after we're done with this, like, I want to unwind my playing that PlayStation. But I remember I bring that up just because just because like, when I was like preteen, like, when we were taught to bring it circle back to the very beginning of the conversation playstyle until the day of I stay up all night playing that motherfucker. You know, like I I easily did. I was young, right? And hyped. And it was, it was fun and exciting to be like to want to sit there in a room and like, eventually the sun starts coming up. And you're like, I did that. Yeah, I was able to play this all night. Now. It's like, I am going to hate myself tomorrow is what's going to happen because I didn't get any fucking sleep and my bones will hurt. And I'll be delirious. And tomorrow's a wash. That's like what happens when you're in your 30s or older? When you try to stay up on it?

Michael David Wilson 56:27

Yeah, yeah, writing, sometimes, you know, you need to unwind playing the PlayStation or whatever. Because if you just go to bed, when you're hyped up, or your brain is kind of alive, you just can't sleep anyway. So I don't know, we know we need these rituals to almost prime us to get into sleep mode.

Michael J. Seidlinger 56:50

This is true. Like, there's nothing worse than being in bed and your mind racing. And then like one thing, for me at least is like if I look at the clock, whether it be like the phone, you know, like the clock, The clock on the phone, or like nearby or whatever. If I start monitoring the time that's elapsed, the more I'm still awake, I'll end up wasting most the night in a sense of low key anxiety in my mind, Aces around topics as the hours trickle by, and I'm monitoring it. It's just a it's a fucking vicious circle, like, oh god. So like, what I've been doing that works for me is like, I'll just like watch like, YouTube videos, honestly, until I start to like, zone out and start to nod a little bit in the moment that happens. I'm like, Alright, cool. Put phone down, go to sleep. Yeah. And like, very specifically, I watch speed runs of video games, like retro hunting video game, things like video game stuff, like it's definitely tapping into, like, that's like my sanctuary kind of thing. Like, I just love to, like, tap into this style, or whatever. And like, that turns my brain off watching people like, essentially speed run a game or, or like hunt for like rare video games. I don't even have to think it's just them talking about shit and finding books, finding things, you know, finding like, in the wild and talking about how rare it is. I'm like, Yeah, must be nice. Awesome. Cool, if simple life and then fall asleep.

Michael David Wilson 58:12

Yeah, yeah. You have a specific video game that you think you're gonna play tonight?

Michael J. Seidlinger 58:20

No, I don't know. Um, might might start out with some Tekken three just because for nostalgia purposes, and then might move to like some of the weirder ones that like our Japanese only, like there's this game, there's a sequel to a fighting game. Again, I'm a fighting game fan to total number one came out in the US from Squaresoft which you know, final Final Fantasy guys. But they never put out the sequel total to in the US by came out in Japan. They there's a English patch for it. That's been around for a while I have it on thing. Now. I just haven't really had time to play like not to really dive in and play it. I might do some of that. And I just might just muck around with like, these random games that are on there. Because there's like 800 games on there, man. Like, I'll scroll through and do the analysis paralysis paralysis thing for a little bit too. Like what happens on Netflix ranges? Yeah, yeah. Well, 30 Like, I won't play that and then you don't and you're just like, keep going and you keep scrolling. I might play that too. And then you just keep scrolling. There's gonna be that for a while to like, I'm gonna have to go through that list a number of times, but all right, all right. What do I actually want to play here, man? Because I don't even know. That's the only thing that I think has happened that that's like a deficiency to say like every single retro console now has either a cartridge that functions like an optical disk emulator, like n 64. All and they have these these ever drives where you just have the SD card, a plug into it. Every single one of these retro consoles have this capability now where you essentially have a set top box. It's everything on an SD card there. You don't have to have any disks you don't have any cartridges. But the problem is it has the same thing that happens with streaming, where you end up scrolling through wanting to play or do whatever with all these different things. And you end up doing none of it, you end up just like playing the same two games. Yeah, whatever. Because like, it's just hard to choose when you have this so many options. So like, long winded way of saying, I will probably play those two games, but who the fuck knows gonna scroll through?

Michael David Wilson 1:00:26

All right, well, start the conversation with video games ended with it, why not? Let's meet this secularism as if it was the plan all along. But yeah, I mean, where can our listeners connect with you?

Michael J. Seidlinger 1:00:45

I'm on Twitter, just look up my name, you'll find me and I'm on Instagram, same deal, you'll find me. Those are probably the two ways to find me. I'm not on Facebook anymore. And really, so don't bother with that. But other than that, yeah, I mean, I'm pretty reachable. Um, I'm on those two platforms. Like I, we talked all about social media. And we're in like, you know, like, I'm kind of stepping back a lot. But I do like being able to like, talk about stuff and link up with other writers and readers and all that. So yeah, hit me up.

Michael David Wilson 1:01:17

All right. Do you have any final thoughts to leave our listeners with?

Michael J. Seidlinger 1:01:23

I mean, I have all kinds of thoughts, obviously as as clearly as this conversation has drawn. But no, now this is a great this is great conversation. And if you want to actually do the heat to Episode I dare I double dare you both to read it. And that means I have to also read it. And then we have to somehow make an hour out of a conversation about it. I'll leave you with that. Okay. Yeah, open an open prompts or an open dare? Well, yeah,

Michael David Wilson 1:01:56

I mean, you said when we left there, we'll have to take find an hour to talk about it. You can't be aware of kind of sister podcast story unboxed a horror podcast on the craft of writing where we analyze films and short stories. And it is not uncommon for us to talk for two or three hours so I think I think we could have a conversation about he too for several hours should should we choose to do this frankly.

Michael J. Seidlinger 1:02:34

Yeah, we have to now immediately what we do next after this podcast all three levels is we go hit up the publisher for for you coffee.

Michael David Wilson 1:02:45

Yeah, we'll be like look, we need a cup of coffee too. We have got a very fucking special podcast planned for this. So yeah, yeah, just a review coffee and Well, let's hope we like it because if not, they gave us a coffee and we fucking hate it. But that's that's the name of the game. You know? When you give someone a review coffee, there is no guarantee for a good review. So let's write remember that? Yep. Thank you so much for listening to Michael J. Side linger on This Is Horror. Join us again next time when we will be chatting with Ronald Kelly. But if you would like to get that ahead of the crowd. If you would like to get every episode ahead of the crowd, then become a patron patreon.com forward slash This Is Horror. Not only do you get early bird access to each and every episode, but you get to submit questions to the interviewee. You get to listen to exclusive podcasts such as story unboxed a horror podcast on the craft of writing, and the patrons only q&a sessions with myself and Bob Pastorella. And as regular listeners know, I am going through some things at the moment I am not having a good time. And three little bit counts really. He's always the UK supermarket slogan I unwittingly used. But yes, the more people who support This Is Horror, no more can say have of being saved from this awful situation that I find myself in. And so I wanted to thank the new patrons and the people who have supported me by buying my books, we've had some orders even directly through This Is Horror for They're Watching by myself and Bob Pastorella. So we really appreciate that and Indeed, thank you to those who have reached out to me about editing, or writing consultations, layer by layer or slowly but surely you're giving me hope. Sometimes in life, yes, hope it's that little light. That's all we need. So I really do appreciate you. And so a thank you to the latest patrons to Cynthia Palacio, who Oh, my goodness is such a fantastic writer. And actually, we'll be getting her back on the show very soon. She's got a wonderful poetry collection coming out next month, I believe. So definitely one to keep an eye out for. And also thank you to James DeMoss, and Alana Gmail. And thank you to to Shelley Arlen, who has recently upgraded her pledge. So tremendous gratitude, and thanks for all your support. And if you too, would like to support us then head over to patreon.com forward slash, This Is Horror. Have a little look at we offer and see if it is a good fit for you. Because I would love you to join us. For those of you that are patrons, but you have not yet joined the writers forum on Discord. Or maybe you've joined but you haven't said anything. Don't be a stranger, do leave a message. Do get involved with this little writing community that we have signing give something special and it's a way that you can interact with me and Bob. It's a way that you can discuss craft and I'm just really enjoy and see and all of your data, so do check it out. Okay, before I wrap up, a little bit of an advert break.

Bob Pastorella 1:06:59

Tinnitus press presents lawyer a novella of otherworldly folklore by Tim MacGregor in a fishing village on an alien shore hang the bones of ancient for second gods. The arrival of a new God brings to send in madness and threatens to tear disturbing community apart against the backdrop of Brian and blood. Lord blurs the line between natural disaster and self destruction. Eric La Rocca calls lawyer a monstrously embedded fable, immersive and utterly compelling. Preorder and Tempus press.com Now lures out July 18 are on Main a new weekend convention for the horror community. exploring all the shadows of horror. Our guests include writers, actors, but also artists, publishers, directors, composers, and more. We've been going to cons for over 20 years, and are changing up the little things to make the big picture amazing. Young guests, contests, movies, panels and podcasters. Our layout and programming are designed to further incorporate the very idea of community. Join us Memorial Day weekend 2023 and Hunt Valley, Maryland, come to the block party and meet your new neighbors horror on main.com.

Michael David Wilson 1:08:05

And as I said at the top of the show, if you'd like to advertise on This Is Horror Podcast, do drop me a line microlab. This is horror.co.uk. At the end of September, the advertising rates are going up. So this is a fantastic time to lock in those rates at the existing rate. Some of you may be thinking, hold up a minute, Michael, didn't you say via email on Twitter that the advertising was going up on September the fourth? To you? I would say yes, you are correct. I did say that. But then I realized I hadn't announced it on the podcast. And of course, this is where a number of advertisers are going to be listening. So I have extended the rates increasing until the end of September. And again, as I said at the start, you can order you can buy as much advertising as you'd like in advance. So if that is something that would be of interest to you, if that would be useful, then drop me a line microlab This is horror.co.uk Let's talk let's see if we can arrange something that's a good fit for you. Okay, as always, to wrap up I would like to end with a quote. And this is from George V. Higgins, who is such a fantastic and underrated crime writer, one of the real classics alongside Elmore Leonard, and he is particularly known for his dialogue really is fantastic. And here is a quote from him. The quotes make the story die dialogue is character and character is plot. I'll see you in the next episode with Ronald Kelly. But until then, take care yourselves. Be good to one another, read horror. Keep on writing and have a great, great day

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