(Michael Laimo is an Italian horror author who writes for two hours a
day, 5-6 days a week. Michael resides in Melville, New York where he lives
with his family. Michael's first short story was published in 1994. To this
day he's completed more than six novels and still continues to entertain
HF: First Michael, can you tell me a little about yourself, where you are from, and
what interests you have. How did you discover writing?
ML: Well, I am from Long Island New York, born and raised there. I am 40, going on
25. I graduated from Geneseo State University in New York with a communications
degree (in other words, I had no guidance and no idea what I'd wanted to do with my
life). I got a job after college at a swimwear company in Manhattan and have been
working there ever since. I got into writing out of a love for a horror and a need for a
new creative outlet, as I'd just quit playing in my band. I'd been a guitarist with a rock
cover band and was unable to keep up with the hours of late night gigs and going to
work all day afterwards. So, I'd sold my guitar for a laptop, and started dabbling with
horror stories. It took a while for me to learn how to write well, but I loved what I
was doing, so kept at it, and eventually started publishing some short stories in the
small presses. Now, my interests include writing, reading, horror movies, and
progressive rock music.
HF: I have read that you have been interested in monsters since you could draw
Godzilla comics as a kid, and your monsters became more scary as you got older,
going from Godzilla to Dracula and Frankenstein. Can you tell me a about finding Clive
Barker and King, and others, tell me how did they influence you in your writing?
MF: I was reading horror long before I started writing. I found Clive Barker's Books of
Blood, and read everything by him and King and Koontz and McCammon that I could.
It was these writers, coupled with my love for the visceral horror movie, that made
me want to be a part of the genre and subculture that went with it. I soon discovered
the small press, and realized that there were thousands of young aspiring writers that
I could read, and learn from. Many of my stories are supernatural in nature, and direct
influence of all those monster movies I'd watched as a kid. I love the monster story,
and have written many myself. One day I would like to write a rampaging giant
monster story someday. Create a 'new' Godzilla. Might be fun. But I do pride myself
on trying to be original, and although it's hard to come up with something entirely new
and different, it is exciting to take that old worn-out plot and finding something new to
add to it.
HF: Ah yes, the monster stories! Yes we love them so much! May I ask which is your
favorite monster today?
ML: Favorite monsters? Hard to choose just one, but I am partial to the zombie. A
close second would be Godzilla, or any giant monster of that ilk. Remember War of
the Gargantuas? I loved that one. You don't get too many good giant monster flicks
these days. The new Godzilla sucked, and King Kong was so darn cheesy. What we
need is a SERIOUS giant monster film. The closest thing we've had in recent times
that was done well was Spielberg's War Of The Worlds.
HF: If there is anything you can suggest to your new readers about your books what
would it be?
ML: Well, really, I just want readers to give me a chance. If they like the books, tell
others about them, as word of mouth is a new writer's best friend. If you don't like
them, then write me and tell me...I'm always looking for ways to improve my craft. I
try to push the limits. They are for the true horror fan. They are in your face, and do
not hold back in an attempt to be 'quiet' about what's going on. I tell it all, and hope
to have a great story to lead the way.
HF: Is there a certain book to start with? Do you have a personal favorite?
ML: Well, my personal fave is my forthcoming book, DEAD SOULS, which I believe is
my best and most scariest book to date. I tried to incorporate the visceral aspects of
THE DEMONOLOGIST with the creepy brooding claustrophobic aspects of DEEP IN THE
DARKNESS. I spent a lot of time with DEAD SOULS, and I hope it shows. But, since
that won't be out until FEB 07, then try any one of my other three, as they are all in
print and readily available.
HF: Is there one book that you have more of a personal connection with? If so, Could
you tell us about it?
ML: There's a lot of Michael Laimo in the character Michael Cayle in DEEP IN THE
DARKNESS. The book is written in the first person, and I tried to contemplate all of
Michael's action as if it were really happening to me. It's a "What would I do in this
situation" scenario. So, that said, I do feel a bit of a kinship with this book. I may write
a sequel to DITD, and if I do, it will be told in the same 'voice'.
HF: You have to date 6 novels and are currently working on a film project. Lets talk
ML: Triptych will be a production by Sacramento, California's Burning Grounds Motion
Entertainment. The anthology film will consist of three short stories adapted to film.
The Alley Man, Till Death Do They Part, and Room 412.
HF: Am I correct that next you are bringing us a horror anthology called Triptych? Can
you tell us more about where the idea came from: influences for the 3 stories, and
bringing your stories to film? Was this your idea, have you been planning this out? Do
you feel that bringing your ideas to film is the next step to broaden your work?
ML: Well, Triptych will be an experimental piece. Burning Grounds have purchased the
option to film my novel DEEP IN THE DARKNESS, which they plan to film next year, in
2007. DITD will cost around 1 million to film, so the crew there thought it a good idea
to film some of my short stories as a way to lure investors over to DEEP. The cost for
Triptych will be minimal, but it will still display my writing abilities along with the talents
of the Burning Grounds filmmakers, who have just completed their second film,
LADYBUGS. As it turns out now, Burning Grounds have delayed Triptych in favor of
filming a feature length film based on one of my short stories, ANXIETY. ANXIETY was
one of the stories considered for Triptych, but the script Stechman wrote for it grew
and grew, putting the movie at about 80 minutes in length. We tossed about some
ideas on how to include ANXIETY as a part of TRIPTYCH, but ultimately decided to film
it as a standalone feature film to follow up LADYBUGS.
HF: I'm sure it must be a rush to watch your writing be made in to film. Now, you are
very detail oriented in your writings, are you going to over see the production to
make sure the details follow through?
ML: Producer Greg Stechman has been very supportive of my interests, and keeps
me in the loop on almost every step he takes to ensure I go along with it. I couldn't
be happier being a part of the independent movie scene.
HF: How did you come up with the producers/directors for the film?
ML: Burning Grounds Motion Entertainment is owned and operated by
Writer/Director/Producer Greg Stechman, Producer/Artist Jon Rodgers, and
Producer/Makeup artist Lacie Oakley. They handle all personnel assignments.
HF: You had mentioned before that you love zombies, which style of zombie do you
prefer: slow moving, or fast? Why?
ML: Definitely the slow one. So much more realistic and scary. The fast zombies
ruined the concept for me. Someday I’d like to write a back-to-basics zombie novel—
actually, my book DEAD SOULS has some zombies in it, and they are slow moving.
HF: I would love to hear more about your book DEAD SOULS, being the zombie lover
that I am can you please tell me more about it?
ML: Well, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say right now: this is my scariest, and
best, novel to date. I worked real hard on this-a lot of sweat and research went into
it, and I believe it shows. This is a true horror novel, and yet I feel it touches upon a
lot of other dramatic elements. But do not be fooled, this book is not for the faint of
heart. Despite borrowing upon the brooding, claustrophobic feel of DEEP IN THE
DARKNESS, it also slashes quite hard into the jugular. Yes, it is a zombie novel-but my
zombies are resurrected by a truly original means-and I won't tell you what it is! You
have to buy the book to find out. There's black magic, suicide, mass murder, rape,
and lots of depravity. It's a dark one.
HF: It looks like you have a really strong fan base, and your open to their opinions,
thats great to be down to earth and on the same level as your followers. Do you ever
receive any suggestions about what you should write about? I bet you probably get
some pretty crazy ideas from fans.
ML: It’s amazing how my fan base has grown over the last year…I do owe a lot of
that to myspace, and the networking advantages it offers over e-mail and my
website. I’ve always been open to feedback from readers, both negative and positive.
In the past, prior to my hooking up with myspace, I would get about 1-3 e-mails a
day from readers. Now I get about 25 a day. I try to answer all of them too if I can.
Plus, I’ve gained some new friendships as well. It’s been great. Bit, yes, I do like to
hear suggestions from readers, after all they’re the ones shelling out 7 bucks for my
book, so I need to be attentive toward all of them. Recently, when the cover for
DEAD SOULS was released, I asked my myspace friends for their comments. I wanted
to see if there was any obvious problems with it—it seemed that those that did not
like it, did so for different reasons, leading me to believe there was not any inherent
problem with it. As for fans writing with ideas, I get a lot of people telling me I should
write about their ex-spouses!
HF: You mentioned Burning Grounds, and Greg, we are currently hoping we can have
the opportunity at Horror Fanatics to review Ladybugs, then we could follow up on
with you again with Anxiety. How did you first get involved with Greg Stechman? Have
you known him for a while? He seems like a great man to work with? Have you done
any other projects with him?
ML: Greg contacted me on myspace. We chatted back and forth a bit, then asked
about the film rights to DEEP IN THE DARKNESS. We worked out an option, and have
been working back and forth on pre-production for it. It’s all very exciting. Greg wrote
a killer script, which should translate well to his style of film making, which is very dark
and realistic. Greg is a no-nonsense kind of guy. He wants the job done, and done
correctly, and I am grateful for that. He’s on the launching pad of his career right now,
and believe me, he’ll get there. He’s very talented and tenacious in his work ethic. We’
ve worked together on Triptych, and I’ve been fortunate enough to learn the ropes of
the movie business by speaking with him in detail about his other movies, THIS
HOLLOW SACRAMENT, and LADYBUGS. Now, with Anxiety, we will be working
feverishly so filming can commence in September/October.
HF: When is Triptych supposed to be released? Can you tell me more about the follow
up to Ladybugs, ANXIETY?
ML: Triptych, now on a bit of a delay due to the choice to film Anxiety first, should be
filmed by the end of the year. Anxiety is my foray into the psychological torture tale—
it’s about a doctor who uses ones fears to help them combat the anxiety of them. It’s
very clinical in nature. Greg, having filmed both THIS HOLLOW SACRAMENT and
LADYBUGS recently, felt ANXIETY to be a great and natural follow-up leading into DEEP
IN THE DARKNESS. It can also be shot cheaply as well, despite the fact that Greg has
solicited some very experienced actors for the roles.
HF: If everything goes well with these two films are we going to see more of your
writing come to life on the big screen? If so, are you already preparing to write or
have you written ideas for future projects?
ML: Well, I sure hope so. I've been solicited by other independent filmmakers, so I am
considering every opportunity that comes my way. It's really a matter of what
filmmakers think of my fiction. I write the fiction, and they decide as to whether or not
it would be something to tackle. One thing is for certain-I will continue to write horror
fiction as long as folks continue to read and enjoy what I have to offer.
HF: We spoke of our favorite zombies, and I was curious, would we maybe see a
zombie film in your future? I'm a huge fan of zombies, I think it would be wonderful to
see what you would bring to the screen.
ML: Well, my short story Last Resort, about zombies in an apocalyptic Las Vegas, has
been optioned by 'S pictures', a new venture helmed by Sean Cunningham. Not sure
what will become of this. My novel, DEAD SOULS, is a zombie novel, so I'm hoping
that someone decides it a good project for film.
HF: Well Michael, before we wrap things up is there anything else you would like to tell
ML: Thank you very much for all your support over the years. I truly appreciate the
time everyone has taken to read my work. I promise to return the favor by writing
great horror novels in the years to come.
Interview done by: