Friday, July 6, 2012

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR, MATT MICHELI

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR OF "MEMOIRS OF A VIOLENT SLEEPER (A BEDTIME STORY), MATT MICHELI

 

Hello Matt, thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview. It is a pleasure to have the chance to get to know more about you and your writing. First tell us about your newest novel and why you decided to write it.

MEMOIRS OF A VIOLENT SLEEPER: A BEDTIME STORY is a story about Steven Birkman. He's struggled with an embarrassing sleep disorder since he was a kid. His actions cause his older siblings to heckle him, poking fun at him every chance they get. His parents won't look directly at him and do their best to avoid him. Growing up in this detached environment and fearing what he may do while asleep (symptoms include, but aren't limited to: punching, kicking, viciously thrashing about, running into walls, windows, and furniture headfirst, urinating and defecating on oneself and/or others), he has an obvious fear of sleeping next to anyone which leads to an even bigger fear of commitment, overall. This leads to paying for sex and dabbling in pornography. It also leads to anxiety, which leads to drugs and alcohol, which leads to his view of himself as a total loser. He seeks therapy from a female therapist with great legs: Dr. Ashlea (with an A) Harrington. When presented with any tough questions, his mind wanders into sexual fantasies, his own way of avoiding reliving his unsatisfactory life. He works at a book store and falls for the punky barista girl working the coffee counter, Gina. But she's got her own problems to deal with, leading him to finally start to grasp the fact that we all have skeletons and things from our past we aren't proud of. We all have some form of baggage.

Overall, besides the quirky characters, all the sex, drugs, booze, and vulgarity (just a little), the book is really about love and how love can make even the hardest cases see the world in a different, better light. Hopefully, something we can all relate to.

The idea came about from my interest in sleep disorders. The idea that people act out uncontrollably while asleep--hurting themselves and/or others, destroying property and so on--is fascinating to me. You are Dr. Jeckyl during the day and Mr. Hyde at night. Once asleep, you have no control over what you or your body does. I took the book a step beyond the actual disorder thinking, I wonder what their lives would be like. What would they think about? What habits would they develop? What would their fears be? Their love life, if any? Their sex life?

And that's pretty much it. I sat down with an initial idea and let the words come to me. I had no roadmap of where the book would end up. But over time, the characters developed as well as the story line. For me, I feel this stream of consciousness writing style keeps the characters real and the book raw. It works for me.

Tell us about some of your hobbies, things you like to do in your spare time.

For starters, I love to write. If I didn't, I wouldn't do it. Sitting down at my computer with a drink (today: Rum Collins) and whichever Pandora station fits my mood (today: This Will Destroy You), that's where you'll find me most of the time. I also love drinking by the pool or sitting at the bar of my local Tex-Mex restaurants. Besides that, I love great movies and great books, anything to make me think and inspire some sort of emotion; creativity. Other things I like to do: My wife. Well, you know what I mean.

What is the one most rewarding thing in your life
right now?


I'd have to say my marriage to the most beautiful, amazing, PATIENT woman I've ever met. It takes a special person to be a writer and an even more special person to marry one. Beyond that, seeing a little success from my writing, or at least what I consider success: good reviews, respect from my peers, small fan base, etc.

When reading for pleasure do you tend to stick to the same genre you write or do you like to read other genres as well?

I primarily stick to the transgressive genre--Bret Easton Ellis, Chuck Palahniuk--but I'll read anything that can keep me reading. A couple authors I've met along the way that I really enjoy reading are Ben Tanzer and Ryan W. Bradley. I see a little bit of what I'm doing within their writing. And they both have great taste in music. I enjoy a horror novel from time to time. I like some Bourdain and Hunter S. Thompson. I'm also a fan of very strong female characters (Lizbeth Salander, and so on). I read quite a bit on psychology and sometimes, even simple physics. Learning is never a bad thing. And sometimes, a little vampire story never hurt anyone.

When was it that you realized writing was what you wanted to do with your life?

About 2 years ago. I was the front man in a band which entailed writing all the songs, etc. After a while, I realized (as well as everyone else) that I was a much better writer than performer. I also realized, writing allowed me to do something on my own. It was mine. There wasn't three or four other stubborn guys trying to take reign of my creation. Honestly, I don't think there is a more honest form of expression. So, I got the idea, sat down and started writing, and the rest is history.

When can we expect your next book out and can you give us a sneak peek?

Hopefully soon. I have a personal reader's club reading through it. Once I get feedback, I can make any final revisions. From there, we'll see where it goes. Sneak peek of sorts: The tentative title is SMUT. It's a story that most men that have made it through their twenties can relate to, dealing with love and the reciprocation of love, loss, rejection, and that everlasting search for substance as we come into young adulthood. Of course, that's not all. Throw in a trust fund, a few other young adults in the party scene, a soundtrack by The National, lots of sex and drugs (because you gotta have that) and oh yea . . . a serial killer.

Back in your high school career, who was the one teacher you would say made a profound difference in your life, if any?

Highschool, unfortunately for me, was a blur. I had been recruited by the bad older kids. So, let's see . . . I do remember a Junior High teacher named Mr. Jackson. He was our History teacher. I hated History. He would physically enact the events we were discussing. The amount of work and energy he put in to make us learn things we really didn't want to, to make it fun, was very respectable. He cared. And because of that, the students cared to learn. He was more of a broadway performer than a teacher, that being said in a good way. But don't get me wrong, he was a very masculine guy.

What dreams do you have for future generations that you'd like to share with others?

For future generations??? Is this one of those world peace Miss Universe questions? Ha. Without getting into politics (because I refuse to allow myself to), I can honestly say I am baffled that we are in 2012, are more educated than we've ever been, and our world is still at war. My first dream is that people as a whole will evolve away from committing primitive acts in hopes that someday, war will be History. Secondly, I am excited for generations to come, as I think that there will be some huge breakthroughs in science over the next hundred years as we move closer and closer to breaking the speed of light. At that point, we'll be able to explore far beyond what we see now. It's amazing, the possibilities.

One off the board question I like to ask, is what are your views as far as 2012, and do you believe in the Mayan Calendar?

No, I do not. I've got to go with the scientists on this one. The world will end but not for another billion years or so, when the sun absorbs the Earth. I know. I know. Not nearly as romantic or exciting.

Finally, do you have any advice you'd like to give to other aspiring authors, also please leave us your links where we can find out more about you. 

Learn the craft. When you think you are good, get better. When you think you are the best, start over. We writers sometimes get a little full of ourselves which keeps us from improving. Believe me, I know. Research, learn the craft, read the writers you love, and hold onto any creative ideas you have. The ideas you second guess can sometimes be the ones that lead to something great. Other than that, you have to love it. If you love it and enjoy writing for free, stick with it. Build your resume. Get better. Good things will happen.

Website:www.violentsleeper.com (read about the book, about the author, published shorts, purchase the book)
Email: movsleeper@gmail.com (email me regarding anything, or if you just want to berate me for fun)
Twitter: @micheliworld (for all the latest in pop culture, but not really)

Kitty, thank you for giving a voice to us up-and-coming authors out there. With the minimal marketing dollars of small Presses, it is you and great people like you that we rely on. Keep up the good fight. See ya.

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