Author Interview: Michael Thomas-Knight
After a brief period of death…mostly caused by the Flu. I’ve resurrected myself to interview the very cool Michael Thomas-Knight
Thanks for the interview.
What have you written?
I’ve written many horror short stories. They are my current love, my catharsis, my reason for taking pen to paper or fingers to keys. I have about 30 – 40 currently in print anthologies, ezines or on websites. Anthologies I’ve been in recently include:* Journals of Horror*, Terror Train, Shadow Masters, and O Little Town of Deathlehem *(Christmas Horror stories). I also write articles about horror and sci-fi on my blog, *Parlor of Horror, and for websites such as Halloweenforevermore.com and Vic’s Movie Den.
What are you working on at the moment?
I contributed to and I’m helping to promote the just released
anthology, Journals of Horror: Found Fiction. It’s a collection of horror stories based on the mechanics of the found footage horror film – horrific encounters committed to paper, item or device and discovered later. The stories in it are fantastic and I’m a glad to be surrounded by all the outstanding writers in the collection. It’s a themed Anthology edited by Terry M. West, who is one of my favorite modern authors. It was by invitation only, so I am very proud to be in this project.
How have your personal experiences affected your writing?
I’ve always been in a position that allowed me to see the dark underbelly of life, things that the average person would not have experienced on a normal day. I’ve seen bad people, I’ve seen good people and I’ve seen mixed up people, and those experiences effect the characters in your stories. I’ve been close to death twice in my life and survived. It gives you a different outlook on life and hopefully some of that comes out in my writing.
What genre of books do you like to read?
Horror and weird tales mostly. Some sci-fi. Some thrillers, I like MichaelConnolly.
Have you ever experienced anything spooky?
Yes, absolutely, I grew up in a rumored haunted house. A family member has had bad experiences with a Ouija Board. And I was also part of a Paranormal Investigation team for 10 years. People get the idea that paranormal happenings are like they see in the movies. They are not. They are more subtle and they happen over a long period of time, maybe only a few detectable incidents each year. If you’re in a paranormal investigation group, you have to be lucky enough to be at a place on the night that something happens. You can read about one of my real life experiences at The Fox True Ghost Stories Project.
Were you always good at writing?
I’m not sure I’m even good now, lol. I think I’m good at telling a story, I’m good at relaying a visual image, mood and atmosphere. I’m not a literary style writer, I’m more like a regular Joe telling a creepy story at a backyard barbeque on a hot summer night.
How do you get started with writing a story (how do you start developing
the story, how do you get inspired for it?)
I’ll start with a small idea, and I’ll keep it in a little thought bubble in my head for months, adding things to it, ideas, visuals, etc. I call this the incubation period. At a certain point it gets big enough and I will think, you got a story here. Then I’ll begin to write. I always have 5 or 6 stories in my head incubating at any one time. I also collect pics and photos from the internet that relate to a story and put them in a file folder. I’ll look at the pics when I’m writing for inspiration, atmosphere and mood. Another element of my writing is I don’t necessarily write a story in sequence. I’ll often pick the one scene I had visualized in my head or the part that had really urged me to write the story. I’ll write that most important scene first. Then I’ll bounce around, adding and filling in the other aspects to the story.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Start with writing short stories and flash fiction. Write a bunch of stories. Pick out the best half of them – say you wrote 10 stories – pick the top 5. Try to get those 5 published on websites or in anthologies. For self publishing, make sure you hire a proofreader! It’s nearly impossible to effectively proofread your own material. Your mind automatically sees what you want it to say, rather than the misspelled word or type-o. Don’t be in a rush to release your book. Make sure you’ve corrected all the mistakes and type-o’s. You have only one chance to make a first impression, and first impressions usually stick.
How do you conceive your plot ideas?
Like I said, I’ll take a news item and I’ll think, why did this happen, what’s the story behind the story, what happened before or after the incident. How does it relate to things I’ve gone through in my life. Once you establish a good guy and a bad guy (or good and bad energy), the story usually has a clear conflict and a natural outcome.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
No I haven’t. I’ve been writing short stories primarily. I do have a full-length novel about a Carnival of Side-Show Freaks that needs to be completed, but I haven’t pursued anything with it yet.
If you had a cat….what hat would you put on said cat?
I’d put a round top derby on that furbie, and have it talk to me in an English accent.
If you could work with any author who would it be?
It would be one of the writer’s from the past. I like horror-fiction from the pre -1920’s era. *Ambrose Bierce, Author Machen, Edgar Allan Poe,
Algernon Blackwood,* and Lovecraft. I would probably like to have worked with Bierce. He seems to have lived an interesting life and I would have liked to have been a part of the chaos and conflict that surrounded his
life and that period of American History. He was quite controversial. If I had to pick someone from today, it would probably be Thomas Ligotti, because he writes like those older style authors. He completely ignores
everything teachers will tell you about modern writing, he breaks all the rules, or perhaps, for him there are no rules. And I would have loved to
work with Richard Matheson because his tales seem timeless.
Where do you see publishing going in the future?
I think it’s there already. A few books per year released by big publishing houses and the rest indie or self released. I don’t see it changing much.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Stay in school, learn more, and learn how to quit (?). When something is not working you have to quit and move on. I spent too many years pursuing a
career in music that never happened. I should have moved on earlier in my life.
Which famous person (living or dead) would you like to meet and why?
Jack the Ripper. I’d like to know why he did what he did? I’d like to have the knowledge of that mystery; to know what it was all for, his motives, his intentions and his psychosis.
What are some upcoming projects you are working on?
I have a story in the upcoming anthology by April Moon Books, Stomping Grounds. It’s a collection of giant monster stories. I’m a huge fan of
1950’s sci-fi and giant monsters and I’ve always wanted to write a story in that genre. I’m glad I finally had the opportunity to do so. In my story, The Devil’s Avatar, there are nods to Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, 20 Million Miles to Earth, King Kong, War of the Colossal Beast, Jason and the Argonauts and others. It was a fun story to write. It should be out in the next few months. I’m looking for an indie publisher to release a collection of my short stories in 2015, a mix of previously published works and some newer unpublished stories. I have a few different themes in mind and have to decide on which I’d like to pursue.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
They can follow my blog at: http://parlorofhorror.wordpress.com/
They can check my Amazon Authors Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/michaelthomasknight
Or join me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michael.thomasknight.9
Thanks for the interview Jim. I’ve been reading all the wonderful interviews you have here with these outstanding authors. Keep up the good work!