10 March 2011

Author Interview - Michael McCarty

Today, I'm interviewing author of over 20 books including A HELL OF A JOB and MASTERS OF IMAGINATION, Author Michael McCarty.
  • Welcome Michael. Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Michael McCarty and I am a writer. I am the author of 20 published books, with more scheduled to come out. I’ve been a freelance writer for over 25 years. I am a three-time Bram Stoker Finalist and the recipient of the David R. Collins’ Literary Achievement Award from the Midwest Writing Center.  I used to do stand-up comedy and was a coffeehouse musician. I was a former staff writer for Science Fiction Weekly, which was the website of the Sci Fi Channel. I live with my wife Cindy and pet rabbit Latte in the Quad Cities -- which is twice as nice as the Twin Cities.  ;-)
  • What inspired you to write your first book?
My first novel wasn’t actually my first published book – I’ve also written story and poetry collections and nonfiction. My first novel, Monster behind the Wheel, co-written with Mark McLaughlin, was published as a limited edition hard-cover book (which has since sold out) and will be forthcoming from Medallion Press as an ebook.  The inspiration for Monster was this: my late father was a mechanic and I grew up around automobiles all my life, so I wanted to write a book about cars. In college, I read the Stephen King book and saw the John Carpenter (who I interviewed in my new book, Masters of Imagination) movie, Christine, and I thought there was so much more to say about the myth and mystery of the American automobile than that novel and movie conveyed. I wanted to tell a ghost story. I wanted to tell a zombie story. And with the help of my very talented collaborator Mark McLaughlin, we surpassed everything I’d originally wanted to do with that book.
  • How long does it take you to write a book?
All of my books are completely different. The LaGungo books were very quick --  about half a year each: Professor LaGungo’s Delirious Download of Digital Deviltry & Doom and Professor LaGungo’s Classroom of Horrors (both books co-written with Mark McLaughlin). Partners in Slime (my short story collection co-written with Mark McLaughlin) took about a year to write. Rusty the Robot’s Holiday Adventure, co-written with Sherry Decker, took about a year too. Masters of Imagination, Esoteria-Land and A Hell of a Job all took about two years. Monster Behind the Wheel (also co-written with Mark McLaughlin) took five years. And Liquid Diet: A Vampire Satire took 10 years to write and another 10 years to get published.  So, it depends on the book. I write very fast with collaborators: with collaborator Joe McKinney, our novella Lost Girl of the Lake took about a month or so.
  • What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Because my day-job is at a college, I have a college-student-like schedule at work. That means, when the students have their vacation, so do I – Thanksgiving break, Christmas vacation, Spring Break and summer vacation (2 months). I write for about four hours everyday after work and mostly on the weekends.
  • How many books have you written?
I’ve written 30, and 20 have been published so far. The rest will be published in 2011, 2012 and 2013. I’ve always been prolific. I enjoy what I do, and once I start writing the words just fly out of me. :  )
  • What genre are you most comfortable writing?
I’m most comfortable with the horror and science fiction genres. My fiction is a lot like a gumbo stew – I throw in elements of humor, the surreal, erotica and whatever else I have lying around the kitchen  :  )
  • Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it? 
I’ve suffered from panic, exhaustion, confusion and scheduling conflicts between my day-job, publishers, collaborators, fans and promotions. The longest writer’s block I had was while working on Monster behind the Wheel with Mark McLaughlin, because there was a tricky twist in the storyline and when we finally figured that part out, the rest of the book exploded in a fireball of excitement. The book was on the Final Ballot of the Bram Stoker’s for First Novel, and I know, Mark and I will always be proud of that honor.                                                                                                        
  • What are your current projects?
2011 is a busy year. I’m still promoting Masters of Imagination (Bear Manor Media) because the ebook was published in December 2011, but the trade paperback just came out. I have Professor LaGungo’s Classroom of Horrors co-written with Mark McLaughlin (Bucket O’ Guts) which should be out any day now. Also, there’s Lost Girl of the Lake, co-written with Joe McKinney (Bad Moon Books), a novella set in the early 1960s and the nonfiction book Conversations with Kreskin, which should be coming out later this year. I also have the mass-market ebook, Monster behind the Wheel, co-written with Mark McLaughlin (Medallion Press), scheduled for publication later this year, too.                                                                                                            
  • Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Partners in Slime, co-written with Mark McLaughlin and published by Damnation Books, is a collection of 13 twisted tales. There’s plenty of horror, science fiction, and weird humor. Both Mark and I do a solo novella: mine is a sci-fi tale called Giant Cockroaches from Outer Space and Mark’s is an incredible horror tale called The Nightmare Quadrant. Both are tied together with bugs: mine are six-foot cockroaches from outer space and Mark’s involves a praying mantis. If that wasn’t enough, Mark and I also did collaborations with two horror icons: the Zombie Girls: Mark did a story with Kyra Schon, the little girl from Night of the Living Dead, called Arlene Schabowski of the Undead, and mine is with Linnea Quigley from Return of the Living Dead and it is entitled, The Wizard of Ooze. So much critical mass and excitement in one book! I am surprised that Damnation Books was able to cram all that between the covers  :  )      
  • How did you come up with the title for your book?                                                  
Mark has a couple of books with “Slime” in the title: Slime After Slime and Once Upon A Slime. Mark and I were talking about doing a short-story collection in the United States (our other collection, All Things Dark & Hideous, has been sold out in England for a long time). And jokingly, I said we should do a collection called Partners In Slime and Mark said, “I love it! Let’s do it!”
  • Is there a message in your short story collection that you want readers to grasp?
Life is hard, but fiction can be fun. We want the reader to enjoy these creepy and bizarre tales after a hard day of work or around the house. To blow off steam, to laugh and scream.
  • Are there parts of the book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Strange as it might seem, that applies to a story in the book by Mark and I called The Ten Klown-Mandments. Although the storyline is about a clown named Klowny whose life is an eerie parallel to Moses’, but set in the near future, I think subconsciously my years as a stand-up comedian might have crept into the plot. And, Mark’s always been a bit of a clown, so some of his antics also may have worked their way into the storyline. To find out for sure, Mark and I would have to go to a shrink and unfortunately, we just can’t schedule that right now. :)      
  • If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?   
Mark and I both really wanted to add the stories Night of the Living Ed and Return of the Living Ed, but those stories were already part of my book, A Little Help From My Fiends (Sam’s Dot Publishing). But in the end, we were very happy to have 13 stories … 13 is a good number in horror.  : )
  • What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Scheduling. Mark and I are very busy with many projects, so it was sometimes difficult to get together to write these stories. But once we got cooking with them, it was a breeze.
  • Is there anything additional you would like to share with your readers?
Please check out Partners In Slime … you won’t regret it.
  • Where can we find you online?
My websites are:
 Partners in Slime:
A Hell Of A Job:
Masters Of Imagination:
Rusty the Robot:
Also, feel free to check out Mark McLaughlin’s Facebook page, and our YouTube page with its animated book trailers and other weird little movies: http://www.facebook.com/MarkMcLaughlinMedia
http://www.youtube.com/McMonsterBook

About Michael McCarty:

Michael McCarty has been a professional writer since 1983 and is the author of numerous books of fiction and nonfiction, as well as hundreds of articles, short stories, and poems. In 2009 he was named as a finalist, along with collaborator Mark McLaughlin, in two different Bram Stoker Award categories: Best First Novel of 2008 for Monster Behind the Wheel (Corrosion Press/Delirium Books), and Best Poetry Collection of 2008 for Attack of the Two-Headed Poetry Monster (Skullvines Press). He received the 2008 David R. Collins’ Literary Achievement Award from the Midwest Writing Center. In 2005, he was a Bram Stoker Award finalist in the nonfiction category for More Giants of the Genre.
Michael lives in Rock Island, Illinois with his wife Cindy and pet rabbit Latte,
and is a former stand-up comedian, musician and managing editor of a music magazine.