Published   March 2, 2023 Droves of the rich and beautiful have invaded the small town of Brawlton, forcing out the many generations of good...

Author Spotlight || Matt Micheli, Author of Scratched

Published  March 2, 2023

Droves of the rich and beautiful have invaded the small town of Brawlton, forcing out the many generations of good-natured, wholesome townspeople. On the outside, these new inhabitants seem to have it all, but they soon learn that there is more to life than Botox, silicone, and spreading rumors while sipping on over-priced martinis.
There is something lurking in the woods, and it is hungry for blood.

"With an intriguing, nihilistic depiction of the upper class that few authors outside of Bret Easton Ellis are capable of, Matt Micheli weaves a haunting tale of extravagance, betrayal, and bloodshed." - Patrick C. Harrison III, author of Grandpappy and 100% Match

Read now

What attracted you to the genre(s) you write in?

That's a tough question. I've always liked movies and books with edge, some dark or supernatural element. Maybe because I'm a fairly happy person in real life.

What part of writing do you consider a chore?

I enjoy all aspects of writing, creating, editing, polishing. My least favorite part of the whole process is waiting for potential acceptances/rejections. Writing: good. Waiting: bad.

Where were you when you first thought "I need to write this story?"

The idea for The White (my new novella) came about while taking time off to care for my wife who had just received a life-changing diagnosis. The diagnosis came by phone, after hours, since the doctor did not want to wait till the next day to deliver the news; there was no time to wait. The diagnosis came out of nowhere which I believe was the catalyst for the idea of the book which involves a freak, unexpected snowstorm, that alters the lives of everyone in this particular family. I'm happy to say that my wife is cancer-free and on the tail end of her treatments which is more than anyone could've asked for. Unfortunately for the characters in the book, there are no treatments for what they are about to encounter.

Did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

My first book was an absolute trainwreck, published by a now-bankrupt publisher. I tried way too hard to sound like authors I liked and was arrogant and resistant to feedback or editing suggestions. The book still haunts me today. My processes haven't changed much, other than I now write with more humility and knowledge of the craft. 

What's your favorite "bad review" that you've gotten?  

I once received a review where the reviewer said they had never hated a character more in their life, and that the protagonist was the worst POS character to ever grace the pages of a book (I don't recall all the words, but they went on for a while). I could sense their utter anger and hatred while writing the review, I'm sure pounding on the keys as they typed... Not every character in fiction or real life is likeable. I'm just happy the book evoked such an emotional response. I prefer angry reviews over the "just-okay" reviews.

What comes first for you - the plot or the characters?

It depends. Sometimes I start with an opening line. Sometimes I start with a situation. Sometimes I start with a character and go in blindly. All depends on the story at hand.

Do you have any writing superstitions?

No. But now I'm wondering if I should...?

Is there a word you find yourself using too often when writing?

I find I use the word "looked" quite a bit, because I use a lot of action within dialogue. Nothing the editing process can't handle:)

A lot of authors have a soundtrack while writing. Are there any songs you had on repeat? 

My 2 go-to soundtracks on Pandora are: "This Will Destroy You" Radio & "Timecop 1983" Radio. These 2 stations seem to provide what I need for different moods/scenes. All instrumental, dark, non-distracting.

Do you have a favorite line that you've written? What is it and why do you like it?

Right now, it's got to be: "Hell has finally frozen over." This is the first line of The White, and what spawned the idea for the entire novelette.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Kill the ego. You aren't a great writer right now, but you are capable of being a great writer if you allow yourself to improve.

What advice would you like to pass on to aspiring writers that is unconventional but true?

Same as above. Kill the ego. You aren't great right now, but you are capable of becoming great if you allow yourself to improve.

Do you have a WIP? If so, can you tell us anything about it?

I'm wrapping up my 2nd novella (titled SCRATCHED) as we speak, shooting for a March release. I don't want to give too much away, but it is basically "The Real Housewives of OC" getting brutalized by a goat-blood sucking cryptid. The story is full of vanity, Botox, silicone, scandal, sex, gentrification, blood, and gore.

Which of your characters was your favorite to write and why?

I love all of them. Writing Margo's character (The White) was fun because she is so vile yet relatable, but also redeemable. Another character that really got to the emotions, is Michael (who you'll meet this Summer in Two Minutes with the Devil) who was loosely based on a childhood friend of mine. A little rough around the edges but a kid you can't help but pull for.

Would you and your main character get along?

Some, yes. Others, hell no.

Killing off characters your readers love - Risky or necessary?

I never think of it like that. I just do what is right by the story. I am a believer that some kind of emotional triggering is necessary for a story/book/movie to be worthwhile, but that usually comes naturally.

Did any of your characters surprise you while you were writing?

Yes. Margo--despite knowing her personality--just kept raising the bar.

Which animal (real or fictional) would you say is your spirit animal and why?

I don't know if I have a spirit animal, but I would say I admire Husky dogs. We rescued one and he is the most stress and carefree, sweetest animal I've ever known. His name is Togo. We could all be a little more like Togo (besides the counter-surfing and gnawing and overall destructive behavior when left alone too long).

Would you rather live in a haunted mansion or a cottage surrounded by fairytale creatures?

A cottage. Give me pine trees and fairies. You can have the bloody walls and ghosts.

What would you say is your weirdest writing quirk?

Don't think I have one. I'm way too cool to be quirky:)

You wake up in the middle of the night from a nightmare. What was it?

Beaming beamed up through my ceiling by aliens. This has been a recurring nightmare that hits every couple of years. 

What cliched tattoo would your main character have?

Strangely enough, I have a lot of tattoos but haven't written any tatted characters.

What movie completely scarred you as a child?

Gremlins still gets me. The pool scene. F that.

What's the strangest thing a fan (or other author)  has said to you?

I can't think of anything in particular, probably because besides my Mom, I don't have many fans. Kidding. I'm glabally adored.

If animals could talk, which one would be the rudest?

Probably that damned possum that walks across my fence each night, stirring up my dogs.

Your main character is at the hardware store. What do they buy?

You wouldn't find Dan (protagonist of The White) at a hardware store which is part of the problem. 

What are your SM links? Can we follow you and pretend we're besties? 

Hell yes. Please do.

Matt Micheli is a horror and dark-fiction writer out of New Braunfels, TX, author of The White (D&T Publishing). He has several fiction and non-fiction pieces featured in various magazines and anthologies. A loving husband and father to a daughter and Husky dogs, he spends his days dabbling in domestication and his nights in Tequila, always searching for the next great story. The White will be followed by his second novella Scratched to be released in March of 2023 and his third titled Two Minutes with the Devil which is scheduled for release in June of 2023 by D&T Publishing.
Look for his interview series NEW BLOOD: The Rebirth of Indie Horror at The Horror Tree where he has candid conversations with folks making a splash in the indie horror writing world. Nothing is off limits.