My guest this week is author Michael J. Elliott, a horror author with a penchant for the macabre.
Michael J Elliott was writing stories since his early schooldays and was described by his school principal as "A Second Alfred Hitchcock". Michael continued his love of writing in high school where he wrote and acted in films for his Media Studies class. He went on to study Media briefly at College, writing film scripts and radio ads. As a member of a community social theater club, Michael wrote many of the sketches and routines that were performed for the benefit of senior citizens clubs. His most notable writing success was having one of his previously written comedy sketches chosen for a television comedy special.
Michael lives in a bay side suburb in the State of Victoria, Australia. When he isn't writing tales to terrify readers, he's often uploading new content to his You Tube Channel,The Dark Realm Diaries. It's a channel for lovers of horror/thriller fans. It features book and movie reviews, trivia and myths and legends from around the world.
Here are two of Michael's horror collections of his short stories and terrifying tales. The first is, Portraits of Dread, and the other is Choice Cuts. Both offer up tasty tidbits of screams and chills. Just click on the covers to see the books on Amazon.
I sat down with Michael and asked him a few questions for the readers to ponder. Here's how it went.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Oh I'd have to say it energizes me, Tom. I get very excited when a new story idea comes along. I can't wait to write that first sentence in my new notebook.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Probably failing to plan. Writing and getting the book out there is only part of the equation. You MUST build your author profile and market the heck out of your book.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Well, a lot of readers have told me how much they enjoy the twists at the end of my stories. That's not something I consciously plan, it's just something that naturally happens in my stories. I couldn't plan a twist just to satisfy readers. To me that would be like copping out. It would have to amuse or frighten me for it to pass the litmus test. I can understand authors who have written a successful series wanting to give their readers more of the same, it's like spending time with an old friend (I'm like that as a reader), but I also understand how authors need to remain fresh and original. It's a delicate tightrope, Tom.
How have other authors helped you become a better writer?
I have learned that other authors go through the same insecurities and doubts that I do. In a funny way, that's very reassuring. I've also been blessed to have a lot of encouragement and feedback from indie authors, especially the writing group on Facebook, #Awethors.
How has your writing progressed or changed as you write more books?
I have definitely built up a lot more confidence. When I published my first short story, Dinner For Two, I had no idea whether I could write, but the reviews were wonderful. Then with my second short, Mr. Westacott's Christmas, I was literally overwhelmed with all the positive reviews. After that I knew I could write, but I hasten to add, as a writer you never stop learning.
What is your favorite childhood book?
Can I cheat here, Tom, and mention two? The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and The Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper.
I want to thank Michael for speaking with me and telling us about his writing and books. Please check out for about this author and his frightening stories using the links below. Thanks and enjoy!