Matt Micheli is a writer out of Austin, TX, Wild Card Winner of the 2012 Halloween Book Festival. He has several fiction and non-fiction pieces featured in various literary magazines and is a multi-contributor to ManArchy Magazine, Revolt Daily, and Paragraph Line. He is a loving husband and father by night and takes on one of many corporate-America faces by day. You will find him either behind his computer writing words or at the nearest bar, either way with a stiff cocktail close by.
Recently DarkMedia contributor, Laramore Black had a conversation with him.
Laramore Black: You recently became a father, how’s that changed life?
Matt Micheli: Picture this: Every morning is like x-mas morning—there’s this excitement to wake up and just get to her as soon as possible. And you cherish that rushed hour you have with her before you have to drop her off at daycare and fight through traffic to get to a job that pays the bills, but barely, and is physically intensive and not long-term and all that, looking at pictures of her on your phone throughout the day and smiling uncontrollably. Ten-to-twelve hours later you realize you aren’t going to get off in time to kiss her adorable little face goodnight and this infuriates you almost to a point of madness. In other words, she has consumed my life but in a good way as any true love does. I’ve fallen in love all over again (my first true love being my wife).
LB: I’ve always had a fear for the poop. How do you stand up to such a function, so fearlessly?
MM: I guess you just figure it out and get it done. I remember the first time I got the black tar-like substance splattered across my white t-shirt. From there, there were a few instances of being shat upon. My wife recently encountered a poop-in-the-bath incident. That was exciting. But really though, when you adore someone as much as I do my daughter, poop isn’t one of your fears; it’s only an inconvenient truth—a change of a diaper and the use of half a package of wipes.
LB: In the last year you had a non-fiction piece go up at The Goodmen Project called GTL, what kinds of response have you seen from the public in regards to it?
MM: It was originally published at ManArchy Magazine under the title GTL and Other Ways to Ruin Your Life. The Good Men Project later republished it under the title Bigger, Buffer, Bronzer. The original release got a huge response from readers–people that could relate and/or people that just appreciated how bluntly honest I was regarding my deeply personal matters. Honestly, I think that was the one piece of writing that got me recognized as a credible writer by the writing community. The pieces I’ve published after received more recognition because of that particular piece. So I’m happy I had the balls to release it. Plus, I’d like to think that it might have helped some young saps choose an alternate path.
LB: You have a new novel coming out. Could you tell us about it?
MM: Yes. Smut launched this past Sunday. I’ve received some cool blurbs and feedback from some folks in the writing world I deeply respect, which is really cool, so it’s off to a good start.
The story revolves around Sam who is an early twenty-something who’s got money and good looks. On the outside, he seems like he has it all and he oftentimes tries to convince himself as well as others that he does. But on the inside, there is a monster in the form of embarrassing (he won’t even tell his therapist) and scary psychotic visions as well as severe social anxiety stemming from a troubled upbringing. He spends his time partying—taking drugs, drinking booze, and having sex with young girls—in hopes of keeping his mind off of his crazy issues. Throughout the partying and the confusion and the haze and the stream of uninhibited sex, there are mutilated bodies showing up around town and no one seems to care. There’s an unnerving level of detachment; the bodies are just background noise. No one even as much looks up from their martini to listen to the horrific news.
All in all, it’s a book of fiction, but there are a lot of things the narrator faces that we’ve all experienced at some point growing up. Behind all of the embellishment, there is a relatable person.
LB: What are some of these blurb trophies you mention? Share ‘em up.
MM: The two most notable are from Brandon Tietz and Richard Thomas, who are both taking the writing world by storm at this very moment. Here they are:
“Micheli is reminiscent of a vintage Bret Easton Ellis here, although I dare say even darker in the way his characters passively self-medicate and indulge in the delights of teenage flesh without protection or concern of consequence. Smut is a novel that definitely delivers on its namesake.”—Brandon Tietz, author of Good Sex, Great Prayers
“With a title like Smut, you get everything that is promised—dark and deviant sexual encounters, violence with little regret, and an uneasy tension as you fall down the rabbit hole chasing one ghost after another. Not for the faint of heart, this glance into the inner workings of one man, who is hell bent on destruction, should come with plastic gloves, a condom, and a shot of penicillin.”—Richard Thomas, author of Staring Into the Abyss
Pretty awesome, huh?
LB: What have been your biggest influences for writing?
MM: As transgressive fiction has finally become semi-mainstream, this may sound a little cliché but Chuck Palahniuk inspired me to write and Bret Easton Ellis inspired me to keep writing. There are a few other popular notables in there that I could mention but I won’t because you’ll say, “of course.” One writer that I am a huge fan of is Jay McInerney. He’s basically Bret Easton Ellis with a more literary bent. He isn’t talked about much but should be.
LB: Were there any specific events or something that inspired you to take up writing?
MM: Not anything specific. But there were some great books and films that made me say: I want to do that. I believe I started my first novel Memoirs of a Violent Sleeper (no longer in print and for good reason—it was a train wreck, the epitome of a young writer trying way too hard to find his voice and shock people) after watching Punch Drunk Love for the third or fourth time and reading Choke. I think I was nineteen or twenty years old.
LB: What do you think about all the new issues coming up in the world today?
MM: I’ll touch on a few. Some of these issues have been plaguing us for ages. For example: Religion. Only a belief that there is something bigger and better—an afterlife in paradise—can manufacture so-called “radical” views. There is a group of men who are brutally cutting off the heads of “infidels” AS WE SPEAK. This group is simply a group of men of strong faith who follow their “good book” literally. The scary part is: their book has a lot of similarities to some of the others, although more extreme and dangerous. But not to make a blanket statement on the subject, there are a lot of great people involved with the church that truly believe in one supernatural being or another and the promise of paradise. These great folks not only live decent honest lives, but they do a lot of good for others in the community.
What else is on the news? Oh yes, the media trying to incite either a race war or an attack on the police or both. Yes, there are bad cops—really bad cops—but there are bad apples in every industry. There are also a lot of great people that joined the force to actually serve people. Personally, I think pinning half of society against the police is bad for America—real bad.
Reality TV still reigns supreme as we are now famous for being rich and talentless as the creativity and art in television and music slowly diminishes. And don’t get me started on healthcare…
Other than that, people are working, we’re more educated, we’re healthier and living longer. Call me an optimist, but I’d like to think we have a bright future.
LB: Seems to just be murder everywhere, same as it’s always been. Do you think modern fiction should place commentary on these events?
MM: Yes. No. I mean, it really depends on your narrator and if these events are pertinent to the character and story. If the protagonist doesn’t care or watch the news, then why bring it up. But yeah, REDRUM. REDRUM.
LB: What’s your process for writing a book?
MM: For me, that process is this: Get an idea you’re passionate about. Sit down uninterrupted and start typing. Honestly, my stories and characters grow right before my eyes. While typing, I feel like I am watching a scene from an awesome movie I’ve never seen. It’s exuberating. Throughout the writing process as the story unfolds, I begin to get more organized, doing research on certain subjects, developing somewhat of a timeline of scenes (I view my chapters more as scenes than chapters) so I know where the path leads and what the resolution if any will look like.
LB: Have you read any books lately from fellow writers you’d recommend?
MM: I was actually fortunate enough to get a pre-release read of Good Sex, Great Prayers by Brandon Tietz. That has truly become one of my favorite books. Also, Richard Thomas is doing big things in the literary community, REALLY BIG THINGS. Ben Tanzer’s stuff is always so damn relatable. I love his style. It’s just cool. Those would be my top three folks, right there.
LB: What are your plans for the future?
MM: I’ve got my third manuscript, the first in a series, Masked completed, at least the initial round pre-editing. I wrote it while I was unemployed (and drinking lots of rum) in a total of about three weeks. I was excited while writing Smut. I was beyond excited while writing Masked. Not to give too much away, the story is a about an incredibly sexy girl who happens to have superhuman powers, who may be the city’s only hope against the largest kidnapping sex-trade ring the city has ever experienced. I’d say it falls somewhere between The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Watchmen, but grittier, sexier, and more believable. I’m searching for representation for this project, so if you know anyone…
Thanks for your time and interest in my writing. I tried to keep the answers to these questions as candid as possible without offending and losing any of my twelve remaining fans. Wait… eleven fans.
Keep up the good fight out there. See ya.
LB: Thank you as well and it has been a pleasure, man.
As for everyone else, the book is called SMUT and you can find it on Amazon.