MYLO CARBIA (also known as “The Queen of Horror”) is an American screenwriter turned #1 bestselling author widely known for her work in the horror, thriller and science fiction genres. Born and raised in Jackson, New Jersey, Carbia spent her childhood years writing to escape the horrors of growing up in a haunted house. Her very first screenplay was optioned 28 days after completion, earning Carbia a "three picture deal" and the cover of Hollywood Scriptwriter in 2003. After that time, she quietly penned numerous film projects under her production company Zohar Films, earning the reputation of being Hollywood’s Number One Horror Film Ghostwriter. In September (2015), her debut novel The Raping of Ava DeSantis hit #1 Bestseller in New Releases and #1 Bestseller in American Horror weeks before its official release date, and continues to receive critical acclaim from both avid readers and critics worldwide.
Q: Mylo...what made you become a writer?
A: As a child I grew up in a haunted house and found writing to be my only escape. Writing was my therapy. It was a cry for help. It was the only way I could communicate with others as to what was going on without telling people the truth. In 1979, you could not tell people that your house was severely haunted. Movies like The Exorcist and Amityville Horror had everyone talking about how horrible it would be to know someone like that. So anyone who had paranormal experiences like me did not speak about it, except to a few of my closest friends and immediate family.
Q: What is your typical writing day like?
A: My daily routine changes based on family obligations, but now I mainly write from 5:00 am - 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm. I can write very late at night but I only edit very early in the morning.
Q: Do you outline? If so, how extensive are your outlines?
A: I started out as a screenwriter so I prefer to write a screenplay first and use it as my outline before tackling the novel.
Q: How many revisions will you typically do on a novel?
A: I am a Dean Koontz sort of perfectionist who rewrites the same page a million times before moving on to the next one, which isn't always a good practice. It can slow down the editing process to a snail dance. I am training myself to change this habit in order to meet my deadline of seven more books over the next three years.
Q: What is your best tip for editing a manuscript?
A: Always go with your first instinct. It's always the right choice.
Q: Which writing habits and/or tricks of the trade have made you a better writer?
A: Hollywood demands a certain type of story and I use that mindset when writing novels as well. Something must happen within the first ten pages. The story needs to bend, twist and turn many times before its unexpected conclusion. These are all strategies I used in screenwriting, and now I use them in writing novels as well.
Q: Do you ever suffer through writer’s block? If so, how do you fight it?
A: Writer's block is just your intuition telling you: Hey, you're on the wrong track. Make a change in direction and move forward.
Q: What drew you to write your preferred genre(s)?
A: Growing up in a haunted house definitely made me a horror writer. No doubt about it.
Q: Do you utilize beta readers?
A: No way. I don't want any outsider to influence my story. That's the main reason I left screenwriting — producers, directors, studio executives, actors — everyone changes your story before the audience gets to experience it. People who paint for a living don't ask others if the leaves should be green or purple, they simply make the choice. The only exception to this rule is that my editor and publisher read the early versions of my work and make recommendations. Luckily, they "get me" so we don't have any major issues.
Q: In your most recently published novel, what’s one scene you really enjoyed writing—and why?
A: With The Raping of Ava DeSantis I loved writing the whole damn thing! I just love writing revenge stories, probably because I am a triple Scorpio. But if I had to pick one scene it would definitely be the one where the three fraternity brothers wake up the next morning and realize what they did to Ava the night before. What they do in attempt to clean up the evidence will stay in people's minds forever.
Q: What makes the main character(s) of your most recent novel so special?
A: Ava DeSantis will probably be my favorite character for a long time in that she's my first baby in the literary world. She transforms from a shy, unattractive, nerdy college student to a gorgeous, badass, wealthy serial killer. Doesn't get any better than that.
Q: What is your best advice for author self-promotion?
A: Hire a publicist if you can afford it. They come in all shapes and sizes, so even a hungry marketing major in college will do an amazing job on social media for just a hundred bucks a week.
Q: How do you deal with negative reviews?
A: I'm pretty thick skinned when it comes to reviews. I know my writing is not for everyone, so a person who only loves Disney movies probably won't like my books. I hope the subject matter of my novels make it clear up front that we're in for a wild ride, folks.
Q: What is your current writing project?
A: My next horror novel is called "Violets Are Red" and tells the story of a middle-aged housewife who kidnaps her husband's young mistress and quietly keeps her prisoner in the basement. I am in the process of writing it now and can't wait to release it next summer. It's a shocker, even to me!
Q: What are three of your favorite novels?
A: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows (JK Rowling), The Shining (Stephen King) and Ghost Story (Peter Straub).
Q: If you could have lunch with any novelist, living or dead, who would it be? What would talk to them about?
A: I would have lunch with Stephen King, of course. My writing is often compared to his so I would ask him how the hell he gets so many books out each year. I am fascinated with his super-human ability to produce such a volume of good prose. I want some of that mental mojo to rub off on me over brisket.
Q: What is your best piece of advice for budding authors?
A: First study the "Law of Attraction" to understand how you can achieve any goal in life with the power of positive thinking coupled with hard work. This is a non-negotiable. As a writer, you will face many odds against you and the only people who will make it are those that believe they will without a doubt. My favorite Law of Attraction books are Ask and It Is Given by Esther & Jerry Hicks, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne and Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I have read about thirty books on the subject, but those three are by far the most straightforward and easiest to understand.
Q: Why do they call you "The Queen of Horror"?
A: The nickname came from a paparazzo who yelled it to me while I was on the red carpet of an Academy Awards party a few years back. The Examiner printed it and it stuck. I have always loved the idea of being a princess, so what the hell. Queen is even better.
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