Michaelbrent Collings is an internationally-bestselling novelist, multiple Bram Stoker Award nominee, produced screenwriter, and one of the top indie horror writers in the United States. He is one of the most successful indie horror writers in the United States, as well as a produced screenwriter and member of the WGA, HWA, and several other writing groups with cool-sounding letters. He’s also a martial artist, and cooks awesome waffles (’cause he’s macho like that).
Find him here: http://michaelbrentcollings.com/
Talking with Michaelbrent Collings
S&S: I have to say, The Longest Con is the first book I’ve ever read where the premise revolved around ‘Cons, specifically. What got the idea for it percolating in your brain?
Mb C: Honestly, I just thought that writing a book with me as the “hero” would add some verisimilitude and another layer of suspension of disbelief that my audience might enjoy. And since a) I do a lot of cons, and b) my audience has a high “nerd ratio,” I thought this would be a fun way to do it. The really smart part was adding other authors in as characters, both to pay homage to friends and peers, and to mooch off their audience base. Ha!
S&S:What was the hardest part of writing this book for you?
Mb C: Trying to pretend that “Michaelbrent Collings” is a badass. Who ever knows what he’s doing.
S&S:How much of you is in the you that’s the main character of this book?
Mb C: Well, obviously the monster bits aren’t real (probably!), but nearly everything strictly about me and/or my family is real. I really do have back problems, I really do know a lot of martial arts, I really do adore my family. The stuff that reads like autobiography – sans monsters – probably is autobiography.
S&S:If you only had 2 sentences (run-ons don’t count!) to get someone excited to read The Longest Con, what would you say?
Mb C:. You know that thousands of people go to comic cons dressed up as monsters… but did you know that thousands of monsters go dressed up as people? My name is Michaelbrent Collings, and it’s my job to stop the monsters from killing you.
S&S:Favorite Supervillain or Monster?
Mb C: Gah! I love the monster I wrote in The Loon – just a fun, oogy monster with loads of nastiness. Supervillain… a toss-up between Lex Luthor (NOT the coked-up ferret version Jesse Eisenberg did – the bald uber-smart baddie… because BALD, right?), and a guy I wrote in This Darkness Light. He’s named Melville and is the world’s most dangerous psychopathic hitman. He will murder and torture you while singing songs from Disney animated movies.
S&S:What’s been the high point in your career as a horror writer?
Mb C: Actually HAVING a career as a horror writer! Seriously, there’s no one “perfect moment,” but the closest might be when my dad was voted the World Horror Convention Grand Master. Why was that a big deal in my career? Well, because I do okay as a horror guy I got to be on stage with him and got some really good pictures.
S&S: What genre do you think it would be a challenge for you to write in? Why?
Mb C: Two genres I refuse to write in: romance and porn. I won’t write porn because I think pornography is a terrible blight on the world that leads to women and children being harmed and trafficked. I won’t write romance because, to be perfectly frank, I have a perfect romance. Not an “easy” one, but my wife is my best friend, my best love. I can’t think of a book I could write that would top my reality, so I don’t even want to try.
S&S:Who is the most under-rated Superhero in your opinion?
Mb C: SUPERMAN. Wait. Lemme ‘splain.
Superman has been lost in a lot of “updating.” But what made him great was that he was so old-fashioned. He stood for good, pure, noble things. For virtue in personal and “professional” life. He was often conflicted – but only in that he had to figure out what the right thing was. And then he did it. Even though sometimes he didn’t know if he’d made the right choice, he did the best he could, and he did it with unwavering faith and a sense of pride that’s been utterly lost in recent years. In fact, I’ve started saying that the recent Captain America movies have the best portrayal of Superman in 30 years… he’s just pretending to be Captain America.
S&S:Have you already started work on your next novel?
Mb C: Right now I’m working on a screen version of my book Mr. Gray. It’s SO challenging because of the story in that book – probably the most complex thing I’ve ever written in some ways – but I’m having fun! Actually that’s a lie. It sucks and it’s a grind. But it’s good work and hopefully it’ll feed my family, so onward!
S&S: What horror book would you like to see brought to the big screen next? (and Stephen King’s works don’t count!)
Mb C: I would like to see a really good Dean Koontz adaptation done. Maybe Intensity, since that would lend itself well to film. DK has never had a really good horror/thriller adaptation – they’ve all been stinkers. The Odd Thomas book starring Anton Yelchin (rest in peace!) was good, but it was a supernatural comedy, so it doesn’t count.
S&S: Do you intend to write a sequel to The Longest Con?
Mb C: It always depends on how the audience responds. Meaning: if it makes money. I am the sole breadwinner in my family, which means that if my books don’t make enough money, my wife and kids suffer. So the choices about which books get sequels, what genres I will continue to write in, and what my publishing schedule is are determined by answering this one question: “How can I best support my family?”
All this to say: I love writing, and I wish that I could write book after book of your favorite characters. But if you do have a book or a character you want more of, then buy the book, get others to buy it, and then review that book and encourage others to do the same.
Bonus Question: How do you remain so virile, happy, rich and attractive, even though you are well over a hundred years old?
Answer: It’s a secret.
Obviously, this is more a question I HOPE I can answer someday. Hope springs eternal. Though, with my back problems (see The Longest Con – on sale today!), it’s probably going to be “Can you roll over so we can change your bedpan?”
We take what we can get.
The Longest Con Synopsis
Larry Correia. Kevin J. Anderson. D.J. Butler. Orson Scott Card. Mercedes Yardley.
Would you like to know – I mean, REALLY know – what they’re doing when they go to those fancy comic-cons? Because it ain’t just writing.
See, every year, thousands of people attend comic-cons dressed as monsters.
Of course, you probably already knew that.
But did you ALSO know that…
every year, thousands of MONSTERS attend comic-cons dressed as PEOPLE.
Sure. Nothing could POSSIBLY go wrong there.
Luckily, the con organizers have placed Wardens throughout the conventions. These undercover supernatural troubleshooters are tasked with stopping mayhem before it starts . . . or solving the murders after they happen.
I’M MICHAELBRENT COLLINGS: author of this book, and one of the Wardens. My job is to go to the cons, where I sell books, make fans, and kill the occasional monster.
It’s not just me, either. Those authors I told you about, and even more . . . you’d never guess what many of your favorite authors are REALLY up to at the conventions.
Luckily, though, you don’t have to guess.
JUST READ THIS BOOK.
And get ready to have . . . your . . . mind . . . BLOWN.*
* Disclaimer: your mind may or may not be blown.