Matt Micheli - Chilling Multi-Layered Thrillers
Matt Micheli is a horror and dark-fiction writer out of New Braunfels, TX, author of The White by D&T Publishing. 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. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about his book, The White.
Please give us a short introduction to what The White is about.
The White is a claustrophobic little story about an ice and snowstorm trapping a family inside with an unwanted guest who appears to have evil intentions. Things become heated and tense inside, but outside there's something in the snow. I'd describe it as tense and violent.
What inspired you to write about a family that is trapped inside amidst a snowstorm?
Here in Texas, we had what we called the "snowpocalypse" a couple of years back which kind of set the stage for the story. But my family (my wife) also had received some life-changing medical news that felt like a freak snowstorm or unwanted, uninvited guests showing up, changing our worlds forever. Although I didn't realize the correlation between the two during the writing of The White, examining the story now, it's hard to believe the diagnosis didn't impact the creation of the story, an unwanted guest, an unwanted storm, or an unwanted phone call changing lives forever.
Tell us more about Dan. What makes him tick?
Dan is a good, compassionate man who always tries to do the right thing. He has his flaws and isn't the most reliable guy when push comes to shove, his decision-making (or lack thereof) sometimes getting him in trouble (to put it lightly). He had a rough growing up and does the best he can.
Why dark fiction? What drew you to the genre?
I've always liked some "edge" in my entertainment. Possibly stemming from both of my parents being creature feature fans. Honestly, horror and dark fiction give me a break from my otherwise normal yet fulfilling life. I'm a genuinely happy, positive guy. I tend to believe the nicest people create the darkest worlds.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I'm a moderately good blues/rock guitarist and okay singer, usually only hitting the mic for karaoke parties nowadays and singing my heart out to depressing 80s and 90s alternative (the crowd loves that--ha!). I'm an okay artist, never taking the time to improve in drawing, stopping when I was a kid. Most of my family can draw, my older sister being the best since she continued to draw and improve. I'm pretty good at most sports if I try and have strong leadership qualities, spending most of my past life in leadership, training, or management roles, most recently coaching my little girl's U9 soccer team from the absolute worst to one of the best. I was proud to say the least, actually getting teary-eyed during my little speech after our last game. I was proud of those little turds. Yeah, yeah, I'm a big sap.
Interesting cover. Please tell us more about how it came about.
Don Noble is the mastermind behind the cover. I gave him a rundown of the story and any relevant details and let him run with it. He's great at what he does. He nailed it.
Readers say the story had them at the edge of their seats. How did you pull this off?
Hopefully, the edge of the seat is comfortable for them:) I love dialogue and felt I was able to tell enough about the characters in very few words, each conversation and backhanded comment getting more and more angered and spiteful. Margo is popular amongst reviewers. Nice lady:)
What was your greatest challenge when writing The White?
My greatest challenge is always finding the time to write. Being a dad, a husband, and a small business owner, not to mention being so damned popular with tons of friends (ha!), finding those 2-3 hour time slots to get in the mode and create isn't easy. I can edit in smaller increments, but to actually write and add to a story, I need time to get into the right mindset, at least a couple of hours.
Did you plot out the entire story before you started writing, or did some of it just "happen" along the way?
The story started with Dan and Margo, a snowstorm, knowing there would be something in the snow (no spoilers), and the line "Hell has finally frozen over." I came up with the remaining cast of characters pretty quickly but really had no idea where the story was going or how it would end. That's my favorite part about writing: when you're more of a vessel for the story, having the excitement of reading it as you write it. It doesn't always work that way, but this one did.
Family dynamics are a big theme in The White. Why did you find it important to write about?
I love psychology, and the dynamics of family and overall human interaction come naturally, which it should if the characters are to come off believable and relatable. In this particular story, the tense family dynamic is what drove the story, leading up to the brutal climax.
When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?
I take a lot of notes on my phone. Every book starts with ideas, and those ideas typically come at the worst times: in the middle of the night, while driving, or while working. Without mobile note-taking, I would never get anywhere.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I wouldn't necessarily call it interesting... I write in my office with the door shut and pandora playing; my two stations of choice are "This Will Destroy You Radio" and "Timecop 1983 Radio" -- both instrumental and both offering completely different moods, depending on what scene I'm writing for and what emotion I'm going for.
What are you working on right now?
I just wrapped the manuscript for SCRATCHED which is a creature feature about socialite Hollywood types destroying a small town and getting destroyed by a chupacabra. I'm playing with a couple of taglines: "Glitz. Gossip. Gore" ... "Sex. Silicone. Slaughter."
SCRATCHED is a definite change of pace from The White, less tense with more sex and more fun. It's basically The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills meeting the chupacabra. I just sent it off to the editor, and Don Noble (who designed The White) is working on both exterior and interior art to really bring this thing to life. It's a little scary and a lot naughty. It's going to be a fun one!
From there, I'm working on any last-minute revisions of Two Minutes with the Devil (to prep it for the editor) which is scheduled for release in June by D&T Publishing. This one is a throwback to the summer of 86, about kids disappearing while playing a kids' game in the vein of Bloody Mary called Two Minutes with the Devil. I'm really excited about all of them, but I feel this one will appeal to a broader audience and tug at those heartstrings, being it's about kids we all grew up with or knew. It's actually loosely based on my environment and friends growing up in south Texas.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
on Instagram: @micheliworld
on Facebook: www.facebook.com/mattmicheliworld
I'd love to connect or answer any questions! Thanks to all the folks who support indie horror by reading, reviewing, and sharing! Without you, indie horror doesn't exist!