The time for the Monsterland Blog tour has arrived! Today I’m joined by Michael Phillip Cash, author of Monsterland and a host of other books. Be sure to check out the giveaway at the end of the post for your chance to win a free prize pack, including a book, mug and more!
But first, let’s learn about the book itself:
Welcome to Monsterland – the scariest place on Earth. All guests can interact with real vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by an actual werewolf on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville. Wyatt Baldwin, a high school student and life-long movie buff is staring bleakly at a future of flipping burgers. Due to a fortuitous circumstance, Wyatt and his friends are invited to the star-studded opening of Monsterland. In a theme park full of real vampires, werewolves and zombies, what could possibly go wrong?
“Monsterland contains solid ingredients for a horror feast: stupid teens, smart teens, a little challenged romance, family dynamics, action, blood and gore. Will civilization ever be normal again? You’ll have to read it to find out. We dare you!”—The Children’s Book Review
And now for the author interview!
What inspired you to write Monsterland? Was it a movie, books, concept or current social movement?
I was searching for a new idea on the classic monster-in-the-house story. My son and I were watching Jurassic Park and I wondered why there hasn’t been a movie or book about werewolves, vampires and zombies in a theme park. I started writing that night. A couple months later, Monsterland is a best seller on Amazon.
When writing, are you a pantster or outliner, or a mixture of both? You’re a prolific author, between books and screenplays. Tell us about your writing process and your secret to being so productive!
I am a crazy outliner. I always write a screenplay first for several reasons. One, screenplays allow me to beat out my story and set up a tight structure. I have to hit certain beats by certain pages, so it creates a nice even flow when writing. Once I have my blueprint—which is really what a screenplay is—I can then add the meat and spices to my novel. From 9am to 4pm, my day consists of research and development. I dive into the world of my subject and read anything I can get my hands on so I can familiarize myself with that world. Google and Amazon … love ‘em. Then I take a break and cook my family dinner. Give the kids the baths, spend time with my wife, and when everyone goes to sleep (between 8pm and 8:30pm) I begin to write. I write until my eyes go, which is around midnight.
What was the most interesting or exciting part of the book for you?
I loved the first time the teens go on the werewolf river run. I felt like a Disney imagineer! I was able to write the ride and attraction any way I wanted. Reading it over again, makes me want to be chased on the Werewolf River Run!
Which character do you identify with most, and why? (In this book or any other of your books or screenplays.)
That’s a great question. I identified most with Wyatt, Melvin and Howard Drucker. In a sense, they are a part of me. I wanted to reflect how I felt growing up, lost and insecure in high school. Wyatt wants to date the unattainable Jade. I, just like many movie geeks in high school, could never imagine dating a cheerleader—who was dating the football quarterback nonetheless. Melvin was an outcast, interested in the things that are not “cool” by today’s standards. Again, I felt the same way. What interested me in high school was not the norm. I played this up with Melvin and really made him into a freaky kid, with his love of werewolves and 50s horror movies. Howard Drucker is simply uncomfortable in his own skin. He has this wonderful girl named Keisha who is clearly attracted to him, but he can’t see the cues. I’ve been there, dozens of times.
Was there anything in this book that was based on your own life experiences?
One movie I tried emulating over and over again as a kid was The Goonies. I wanted to direct that movie. I once invited a group of kids over to my house and made a home video of Mikey and the Goonies. Writing Monsterland was my outtake on that movie. It was my fantasy to go on an adventure, with my friends, and end up being the hero and saving the day (and the world).
What is the toughest criticism and best compliment you’ve received as a writer?
There was one really nasty critic on Goodreads who completely slaughtered one of my books. I was elated they hated it so much because it gave me another direction to take with my writing. Best compliment I ever received was from the head of a major studio production company. She said I am the new Stephen King, and my writing will be the next big thing. That was really cool to hear.
Can you tell us your favorite book or series that is not your own? What’s in your TBR pile?
My favorite book is not from the fiction aisle, but from the nonfiction section. “Save the Cat,” by Blake Snyder, was the one book that changed the way I tell stories. Every writer should pick it up. I actually just went to the bookstore on Saturday with my wife and kids. I picked up “Joss Whedon – the Autobiography”, “How to Tame a Wild Elephant”, “The Shawshank Redemption: The Final Shooting Script” and a Star Wars book that my son and I are going to read together.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
The best moments in writing are the ones you can barely remember. It’s like they happened in a dream. But the only way to earn them is to write every single day.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
My wife and kids are at the center of my life—as well as my niece and nephew. I play with them all the time. My son and I have a special love for video games and we’re currently in the middle of playing the original Legend of Zelda on Nintendo. I also love to cook.
What is your favorite writing or inspirational quote?
“The Coen brothers, Charlie Kaufman, Quentin Tarantino never tried to guess what Hollywood would make. They wrote their obsessions and so should you.” – Brian Koppelman
That was an awesome interview! Thanks Michael! We really appreciate it. Now, be sure to enter below for your chance to win this exciting prize pack!
a Rafflecopter giveaway