MICHAELBRENT COLLINGS INTERVIEW
January 11, 2012
LSF: Welcome to Limitless Sky Films, Michael and thanks for joining me. You truly give new meaning to the word, "prolific," with all your thrillers, sci fi and even children's books. When do you find time to breathe, and what goes through that head of yours before your start on one of your best selling, mind teasing books?
MC: Well, mostly what goes through my mind is that I'm itchy. I say it jokingly, but there's a bit of truth in it. I've heard it said that you know you're "really" a writer if the only thing worse than writing is not writing. And in my case, that's certainly accurate. If I go too long without putting pen to paper, or finger to keyboard, as it were, I literally start to get antsy and cranky. My wife, who is a dear lady and the only person on earth who can scare me, actually tells me to write more sometimes, simply because I'm easier to deal with when I'm in the throes of creative energy. So my prolificity - yes, I made the word up - I'm allowed to, I'm a writer, is as much an effect of keeping myself sane as anything else.
LSF: I really enjoyed your book, RUN. It was scary and riveting. Is "Run" your favorite?
MC: Jeepers! I'm not sure which book of mine is my favorite. They all represent me at different times and in the grips of different interests. Certainly RUN has some of my favorite concepts, and some of my favorite white-knuckle scenes. That being said, I love some of the tension in my book THE MERIDIANS, and I love the ending from RISING FEARS, while my YA book, BILLY: MESSENGER OF POWERS is some of the most purely "fun" writing I've ever done. I guess that's a good thing: there's something there for everyone!
LSF: What about CELESTIA, your sci fi book? It was almost as if you've done some space travel yourself. What inspired you to write that one?
MC: CELESTIA was actually motivated by some sci-fi books I'd read that were based on real events. That is to say, they were books where real events from history were "re-imagined" as sci-fi. In this case, CELESTIA is, very loosely, based on the life of Joseph Smith, the first "Mormon" prophet. I thought his story was fascinating in a lot of ways, and so I transformed into a sci-fi setting. And took some very big liberties with the ending. <grin>
LSF: You tend to frighten, entertain, and also inspire in your writings. And you also do that in your children's books. What kind of feedback do you get from parents?
MC: So far, the people who have taken the time to give feedback, which is always appreciated, have been uniformly appreciative. In fact, the question I'm most often asked as a writer is "When is the next BILLY book coming out?" I have had moms tell me they read my children's work to their kids as an incentive to do their chores. And as a father, I can tell you that if something I wrote can successfully be used as a bribe to get a kid to do some work around the house, that's some GOOOOOOD writing!
LSF: LOL. You got that right! Now, you were practically a kid yourself when you began writing. You were 15 when you first got paid to write. How did it all start for you?
MC: My father was a creative writing and English professor at Pepperdine University. He was also, I kid you not, the world's foremost expert on Stephen King for a number of years. So every night I went to bed with the sound of fingers tapping on a computer keyboard, or with the sound of screams from whatever scary movie he was watching in the next room. I was not only genetically predisposed to writing, I was more or less doomed to it from the beginning.
LSF: Well, I wouldn't mind being "doomed" like that. You've inherited a marvelous talent. So, which do you like writing best? Screenplays or books?
MC: I like them both equally, but in different ways. I liken them to different languages. That's why it's fairly rare to find someone who can write both novels and scripts. They're both communicative media, but using vastly different rules and techniques. So doing them both is a creative challenge, but immensely rewarding. That being said, I guess as a husband and father, I have to say that the one I like to write best is the one that pays the most that month. Ha!
LSF: LOL. Makes sense to me. So, what advice can you give to aspiring writers?
MC: WRITE! There is no excuse for not writing. I believe that just about everyone has good stories in them, and the thing that differentiates between writers and "wannabes" is that the writers are constantly working to improve their art and themselves. Writing is a discipline, and no matter how much - or how little - natural talent a person has, he or she can, and must, improve by practice, practice, practice!
LSF: Boy, you're really emphatic about that! Okie dokie. I understand you are a lawyer and a martial artist. What level belt are you, and what type of law did you practice? And when did your love of writing lead you away from the practice of law?
MC: I am a black belt in the art of Hapkido, under the tutelage of Master Fariborz Azhakh. I've always loved martial arts, and have studied a lot of different kinds, though I do have a particular fondness for hapkido. A real butt-kicking form.
As for law, I used to practice construction contract litigation, which is a fancy way of saying that I represented contractors on big projects who were suing other contractors when said project went down the toilet for one reason or another. It was a very rewarding career in a lot of ways, and I'm glad I had the chance to do it!
LSF: What would you like your fans to know about the real you?
MC: That I'm insanely handsome. Unfortunately, that would not be true. So sad. So I'll settle for letting them know how much I appreciate their support - and money! It sounds crass, but the fact is, if my fans weren't willing to plunk down a buck or two from time to time, I wouldn't be able to enjoy this great time as a writer!
LSF: I love your honesty. But, you're wrong about one thing. You've got people thinking I'm here talking to a Behemoth, when you are a ruggedly handsome man, Michael. <grin> Now, what are your plans for the future?
MC: Plans? Eek! My immediate plans are to make sure I wake up sometime tomorrow. Beyond that, who knows? Every time I make plans, they just turn out wrong anyway. So I'm going to go with the flow for a while. Maybe that will turn out better!
LSF: Believe it or not, I feel the same way. Thanks so much, Michael. It's been my pleasure.
MC: Thank YOU, Kalika. The pleasure was all mine!