Michaelbrent: The Stranger Inside is a really fun little thriller about a family who wakes up one morning to discover that they’ve literally been entombed in their own home: all the doors and windows are nailed shut, all windows are covered in sheet metal so it’s impossible to leave. They have to figure out a) why this has happened, and b) how to get out. Oh, and did I mention that the guy who did it to them is inside, too? And that he’s a very disturbed individual? So in that sense it’s kind of a cheerful story. Like something you’d hear during Christmas, if you were listening to that one aunt of yours who is a bit “disturbed.” Ha!
Jerome: Who are your readers?
Michaelbrent: My mommy and daddy say I’m very good. Seriously, though, that’s a good question. One of the toughest parts of being a writer is slaving away day after day and then waiting weeks or months or even years to find an audience. And then it’s hard to say what kind of an audience you’ve found. I write thrillers with a “Dean Koontz”-ish feel (yes, I just made up the word “Dean Koontz”-ish…I’m allowed to…I’m a writer). Meaning that I try to have them scary as all get go, but with an ending that uplifts – or at least doesn’t make you want to take a pair of bolt cutters to your own wrists in an effort to escape the horror of it all.
Jerome: What was your journey as a writer?
Michaelbrent: My journey as a writer began as I entered the fallopian tubes of my mother…Oh, wait. I think you meant something different there. My bad. My journey as a writer began before I was born. My father was an English professor, and he was constantly rubbing elbows with writers. It wasn’t unusual for him to be corresponding with or going to the houses of such luminaries as Stephen King, Dean Koontz (of “Dean Koontz”-ish fame), Orson Scott Card, and many others. So between my father’s genetic predisposition toward writing and the fact that very cool author types were always around, I was pretty much doomed from the start. And now look at me! Or don’t. I’m not easy on the eyes, I know.
Jerome: Do you follow a specific writing process?
Michaelbrent: Yes. I specifically write. That’s the big secret, you know. It’s not enough to say “I wanna be a writer someday.” You have to actually roll up your sleeves, put ink to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as the case may be), and get to work. So my process mostly involves writing as much as possible. And the laws of averages says that if you do that enough, at least some things you write should be palatable.
Jerome: Where do you find inspiration?
Michaelbrent: Everywhere. Right now I’m making up a story in my mind about a writer who volunteers to do an interview for a blog, only it turns out that the blog owner is a secret government assassin trained by psychokinetic whales to rid the earth of all seaweed. Of course, that’s just the first draft idea. A lot of the mess will be cleaned up in the second draft.
Jerome: Who are your favourite authors?
Michaelbrent: Dean Koontz, Orson Scott Card (both friends of mine, I’m proud to say, and both truly wonderful guys), Brandon Mull (another pal I was lucky enough to grow up with), Stephen King, Stephen Hunter, and anyone else who can write a good ol’ edge-of-your-seat nail biter.
Jerome: Is there a book you wish you had written? Which one?
Michaelbrent: The Da Vinci Code. ‘Cause really, who wouldn’t want to have written something that outsold the phone book?
Jerome: Do you have any tips for budding writers?
Michaelbrent: WRITE. If you want to be a writer, then don’t wait for the right time or the right story. No such thing. There is just you and a blank page (meaning you’re not a writer), or you and the words that you commit to paper (meaning you are one). Writing is about writing, plain and simple. So write often, and you’ll find that writing well comes with it.
Michaelbrent: I just finished up a book called The Meridians, which is a very cool thriller about a cop whose family is killed. Then about a decade later, the killer returns to finish the job. Only the twist is that the killer has undergone some changes, and now comes equipped with some very…disturbing…powers. And the killer is also targeting a woman and her autistic son (who also turns out to have more than a normal range of talents), so the cop, the woman, and her son have to go on the run long enough to figure out how to defeat their nemesis, and, of course, long enough to find out the secret behind The Meridians.