The Dogs of Depression: A Guide for Happy People

The Dogs of Depression: A Guide for Happy People

Wednesday 4 March 2015


Featuring one of THE best writers out there today, Michaelbrent Collings. This man is a genius when it comes to the written word. I do believe it is genetics, a great library, and an innate ability to use words as friends, not food. Also the bazillion years he has spent honing the craft.

I first found Michaelbrent on my doorstep a long time ago. I think the first book I read was Mr. Gray. I loved it. In fact, I wrote Michaelbrent and asked him if he had an autistic son, because he nailed that character. My son is autistic, so the parts in the book with the boy made me cry. It was so real, the mannerisms, the characteristics, everything.

Nest book I read was Apparition. This still haunts me to this day and I have it on audio books too, although I am to afraid to listen to it. Apparition made it to the very first SOLSTICE LIST: BEST HORROR NOT TO BE MISSED. 

Michaelbrent is a man of faith, a man who adores his wife and a great father. He also happens to write really creepy things. It is a privilege to call him a friend. 

1.     When did you start writing horror?
I started very young. My father was THE world expert on Stephen King (no, I'm not kidding) when I was a kid, so I grew up with the sounds of typing or screaming or both gently lulling me to sleep as my dad read horror, watched horror, and then wrote about both in his home office next to my room. I was doomed. DOOMED.

2.     Have you written in any other genre?
I've written sci-fi, thrillers, fantasy, YA, paranormal romance (eek!). I've also written screenplays in a variety of genres. That said, my reading fans get irked when I stray too far from the scary, and my inbox starts filling with gentle hints: "Write more horror or I will murder you." "Please finish The Colony Saga or I will murder you." "I hate you and I will murder you."

Okay, that last might not be about my CHOICE of writing, per se, but still there's a definite pattern.

3.     What makes you uncomfortable?
When I'm using a public toilet and someone tries to open the door to the stall I'm using. Suddenly there's all this pressure (pun not intended). It's ridiculous, because this guy isn't going to judge me, he's not BETTER than me, who THE HECK DOES HE THINK HE IS, ANYWAY, and BESIDES

Okay, I should stop now. It just got weird.

4.     Does your family read your work?
Yes. My wife is my favorite audience. She is the final quality control before each book or script goes into the cold cruel world, and I love seeing her face when I surprise or delight her or gross her out or creep her out or freak her out. Some things are priceless. Also, since my dad is a horror writer himself, as well as being a senior editor for a horror publisher AND the aforementioned experto numero uno, he reads most of my stuff. My mom, too, because she is my mommy and she loves me and also I occasionally manage to write something that doesn't gross her out too awfully much.

5.     Does your writing make you uneasy?
When it stinks. Or when I think it stinks. Or when I think it might stink. So yes, most of the time it does.

6.     Who would you say you write like?
I get a lot of comparisons to Stephen King and Dean Koontz. That's probably not unusual given the long shadow they both cast over the horror landscape, but I suspect the comparisons are apt given the environment I grew up in. Plus I steal their works in progress from their computers, drug them so they won't remember, then market them as my own. Sorry, guys!

7.     Who are your favourite authors?
King, Koontz, Orson Scott Card, Tim Powers, J.K. Rowling, the guy who writes all the fun jokes on the back of Cheerios boxes, Dave Barry, Robert McCammon, Shane Black, William Goldman, the list goes on.

8.     Who influences you as a writer?
My dad, first and foremost. He was my first teacher, and continues to be my best one. I also enjoyed classes with David Gerrold who was tough but knew his stuff. And all the authors whose pages dance their way under my fingers teach me something (for good or for ill).

9.     Do you remember what your first horror book was that you read?
Bram Stoker's Dracula.

10.  How old were you?
I think I was seven-ish. I started reading early, so by six I was already well into pulp fiction and my father took  me aside soon thereafter and showed me the "classics" shelf in his home library and told me that I had to read one of those books for every trashy book (he didn't call it that, but I think that's kinda the implication) that I chose to read. I picked Dracula because, well because DRACULA, man!

11.  Is there any subject you will not touch as an author?
Probably not. But there are certainly ideas that I choose not to vindicate or validate with my writing. I think some writers view their "art" as being above the world, as somehow being more important than their audience. But to me, that's therapy, that's not art. Art is something you take out into the world, and as such it should make the world a better place. Not that all art has to have a happy ending sometimes it's important to talk about why the bad guys win. But art that seeks to degrade, to carry messages that all is not well and never can be that's the kind of thing I choose to eschew. Not judging those who do that, they have their reasons, but I made a decision a long time ago that since I was taking up space in this world I had a responsibility to leave it better than I found it. Kind of like campers are supposed to do. Only with less trail mix.

12.  What was the best advice you were given as a writer?
One: WRITE. You can't get better as a writer by navel gazing.
Two: (and this one came from my dad): Imagine each word you put on the page costs you a thousand dollars. That one's great because it really focuses you in on what you're doing, creates economy of phrasing, and when you DO choose to get wordy it's for a specific effect, rather than just because you're having typists' diarrhea.

13.  If you had to start all over again, what would you do different?
I'd go to a less expensive law school.

Or maybe not. I have a wife I adore, kids I love. I make a living writing, and if I changed anything, well. Nah, I'll stick with what I did.

14.  How many books do you read a year?
It varies. To be honest it depends on how much my kids leave me alone when I go to the bathroom, or, as I like to call it, "My tiny office with a lock."

15.  Do you write every day?
Just about. Monday through Friday absolutely, unless I'm traveling for a convention appearance or something like that. Saturdays I often do writing-related work, if not actually hammering keys (I'm an indie, so I do cover design, layout, PR, etc.). Sunday I take off for church and family time.

Michaelbrent Collings is an international bestseller, one of the top indie horror writers in the U.S., and has been one of Amazon's top selling horror writers for going on three straight years.

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