I Want to Burn an Image in the Reader’s Mind So They Will Remember it a Hundred Years From Now by Author/Screenwriter Mylo Carbia of ‘The Raping Of Ava DeSantis’
Film Courage: Why Do You Write?
Mylo Carbia: I think Franz Kafka said it best “A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.”
Film Courage: What Hours Are You Most Productive When It Comes Writing?
Mylo: My most creative ideas come to me very early in the morning, that special time between being asleep and being awake, around 5:00 am.
Film Courage: What Writing Tools Do You Use?
Mylo: I use a regular notebook (or index cards) to outline my stories by hand, and a MacBook Air (connected to a huge Apple monitor) loaded with Microsoft Word and Final Draft to write.
Film Courage: What books are currently by your bed?
Mylo: I’m currently doing research for my third novel “Yoruba” — a historical horror story set in 1745 about a group of British slave traders who inadvertently capture a possessed slave and bring him on their ship. So right now I have “The Slave Trade” by Hugh Thomas and “African Voices of the Atlantic Slave Trade” by Anne C. Bailey on my nightstand. Riveting stuff.
Film Courage: What are you scared of?
Mylo: My biggest fear is crossing the line between this world and the next while I’m still alive. I can go months without seeing spirits, then all of a sudden see dozens of dead people walking down the street in New York City. Five minutes later, everything goes back to normal again. Needless to say, I prefer staying on this side of normal as much as possible.
Film Courage: Does your writing location or preferred method change when writing a novel versus a screenplay?
Mylo: No, I write in the same spots (dedicated writing rooms in New York and South Florida) and use the same process for either endeavor. Story is story, no mater how you tell it.
Film Courage: How would you earn a living if you had to give up writing?
Mylo: I would probably be a QVC show host. I can talk for hours about absolutely anything.
Film Courage: Who are your literary influences? Who are your screenwriting influences?
Mylo: My favorite authors are Agatha Christie, Stephen King, Dan Brown and J.K. Rowling — all amazing writers, even though my writing style is distinctly different than theirs. As far as screenwriting influences go, I would have to say Alan Ball, Quentin Tarantino and M. Night Shyamalan. Oddly enough, my novel writing style is closer to Tarantino and Shyamalan than any existing author.
Film Courage: How do you relax?
Mylo: By attending a Broadway musical or a watching a Disney Princess movie. Nothing puts me in a better mood that watching a ‘happy go lucky’ musical. Ironic, I know.
Film Courage: If you were to finish the sentence ” I believe….”
Mylo: “… That anyone can do, be or have anything they want in life through understanding and applying the Law of Attraction.”
Film Courage: Do you have to always have a passion for writing for a purpose to do it every day? What (if anything) gets in your way from writing everyday?
Mylo: I struggle like everyone else to balance work and personal life. When I get into a groove, I have to force myself to leave the computer which can put a strain on everyday activities and family obligations.
Film Courage: What can you share about your upcoming work “Violets Are Red?” Why did you write it? What excites you about the characters, topic, etc.? When/where will it be available to purchase?
Mylo: “Violets Are Red” is about an aging Manhattan housewife who captures her husband’s young mistress and quietly keeps her prisoner in the basement of their Upper East Side townhome. It’s like a modern day version of “Misery” with a lot more action and a major twist ending. It will be released later this summer in thousands of bookstores worldwide, and I can barely wait! I just love my two main characters Violet (the wife) and Allegra (the mistress) — they literally jump off the page. I think any woman who has ever been cheated on, or has ever been involved with a married man, will really love this novel in particular.
Film Courage: We enjoyed seeing the video of your writing room, where you showed your desktop computer and how the desk becomes a stand-up work station. What are the benefits to standing? Is this the only way that you write?
Mylo: Writing is a sedentary sport. It’s imperative we stand up, walk around and move at least once every two hours. I gained weight writing my first novel, so I bought the stand up desk as soon as I started writing the second one. I stand up for at least half of my writing session. Best investment I’ve ever made.
Film Courage: You’ve said you’re a believer in Feng Shui and a clutter-free environment. How does having less paperwork help with writer’s block?
Mylo: In a nutshell, our energy extends to everything we own. So if your environment is filled with clutter, your mind and body will slow down as well. I can’t stress the importance of this enough; getting and staying super-organized is a total game changer. I highly recommend the book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo if you suffer from writers’ block. The book is short and explains the spiritual need to be organized better than any other I’ve read.
Film Courage: In your office tour you mention keeping visual reminders of your success. What are those items? Why is this necessary?
Mylo: I believe all creative people suffer from occasional bouts of fear of failure — especially in this day and age where anyone can post a bad review riddled with inaccuracies under a pen name and spread it across the Internet in two seconds flat. For this reason, I only keep items around me that spark joy. In my writing room, my favorite “success items” are a Darth Vader figurine and a stuffed Golden Dragon that were given to me by my youngest son when I hit the #1 Bestseller spot on Amazon and in Barnes & Noble this past October.
Film Courage: How do you set boundaries with family, friends, pets, etc. for your writing room?
Mylo: My family is everything to me, but sometimes, I have to get tough. It’s hard for family members to realize that writing fiction is like dreaming with your eyes open, so they simply can’t come into your writing space every other minute. You don’t interrupt a surgeon while performing open-heart surgery, so I try to instill the same level of respect in my household as well.
Film Courage: Writer Leslie Gordon Barnard Says “Don’t Expect the Puppets of Your Mind to Become the People of Your Story”— how do you also approach this situation?
Mylo: Every single character I create is a piece of me: the hero, the villain, the lover, the monster, the weirdo, the mean girl, the smart ass, the wallflower, the nun, the rapist — all of them. Out of the entire writing process, creating a unique, multi-dimensional character is by far my favorite part, and I think it shows in the complexity and realness of every person I create.
Film Courage: When it comes to writing graphic/explicit scenes of a sexual or violent nature, do you dance around a topic or word versus going all out at the risk of shocking someone?
Mylo: I tend to go all out when describing a graphic or explicit scene. I go way too far and I know it. I don’t just want to shock someone, I want to burn an image in the reader’s mind so they will remember it a hundred years from now. That’s my signature, and I’m keeping it.
Film Courage: Your quote “If your mind is your money maker, make sure you take care of your mind.” How can one do this if they have so many responsibilities?
Mylo: Writers need to treat their minds like supermodels treat their bodies. No matter what your responsibilities are, you have to prioritize life, not let life prioritize you. If you’re working too many hours, aren’t getting enough sleep, or spreading yourself too thin, you have to give something up. There’s no other way around it. Just take an objective look at what you do on a weekly basis and cut out anything that does not nourish personal relationships, put a roof over your head or help you move towards your writing goals. For example, most people spend at least 2 hours a day reading Facebook posts and watching television. Sleeping or writing those two extra hours a day can make all the difference in whether you make it or not.
Film Courage: Can you tell us what you’ll be presenting at the 2016 BookCon in Chicago?
Mylo: BookExpo America’s BookCon event features the industry’s biggest authors and draws thousands of readers from all over the world. This year it will be held on Saturday, May 14, 2016 in Chicago. I will be there the entire day from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm meeting and greeting fans, signing copies of “The Raping of Ava DeSantis” and discussing my upcoming novel “Violets Are Red.” It’s just a wonderful opportunity to meet fans that reach out to me all the time. If you’re going, be sure to come visit me at Booth #1873 and say hello!
Film Courage: You’ve had tremendous success with novel writing. Aside from amazing talent, what has also contributed to this success?
Mylo: I think my success in the literary world is due to the fact that I didn’t have a producer, director or studio executive change my story. I wrote directly for the audience and they loved it. I have definitely found my calling writing novels.
Film Courage: Do you journal? If so, how often and are they pretty journals or basic plain notebooks//legal pads? If no, why not? How did having a journal impact your writing?
Mylo: No, I don’t journal. I try to save all of my writing juice for something I can sell (smile).
Film Courage: Can you share thoughts on cognitive dissonance around your writing life and any other roles or opposing beliefs that contradict your time, story ideas, etc.?
Mylo: Luckily, I no longer write for other people so I don’t write anything that contradicts my internal belief system. It’s a luxury, for sure.
Film Courage: Have you ever considered writing anonymously or under a nom de plume as a way to present controversial stories without stigma? Or do you always write honestly and daringly no matter what the imitations? Should most writers care if their work is too controversial?
Mylo: I have no idea where my writing career will go, but I can tell you I will spend the rest of my life writing under my real name — even if it means subjecting myself to harsh criticism or harassment. I already paid my dues as a ghostwriter in Hollywood. Now I am ready for prime time, bitches. Bring it on.
Film Courage: Writer Judy Blume said when she first began writing she hoped to show sexuality with responsibility. She wanted girls to have a good time. How far do you feel women’s sexual experiences in writing have evolved over the decades? Are there still some aspects that are taboo or begin to label a writer as “adult/erotic fiction?”
Mylo: I think writers spend too much time worrying about labels or how their writing will be perceived. The only time I ever took this into consideration was when I wrote the rape scene in “The Raping of Ava DeSantis.” As a woman, I knew I didn’t want to exploit a horrible event that could happen to anyone, so instead I focused exclusively on what happened the morning after. I received a great deal of praise for not describing the rape in detail. Best writing decision I ever made.
Film Courage: What’s the biggest misconception about finding freelance writing work?
Mylo: That you’ll find freelance work on the Internet and that it pays well. Truth is, you have to get out and network. It really is about who you know in this business.
Film Courage: What is the difference between being a professional screenwriter and a novelist? Which do you prefer?
Mylo: I love the art of screenwriting but prefer life as a novelist. As a screenwriter, you have to live in L.A. (or in rare cases, New York) and your work is changed a hundred times before it ever hits the screen. Also, you can sell a script for big bucks that no one ever sees, which has happened to me several times and is beyond heartbreaking. As a novelist, I can live anywhere I want, no one touches my words except for a well-educated editor, and if I piss off every single publisher in America I can always self-publish. Now that’s what I call creative freedom.
Film Courage: What are the differences between the film community and the literary world?
Mylo: Film people are the cool kids who sat in the back of the school bus; Literary people are the bookworms who sat up front. By some miracle, I get along with both.
Film Courage: How is your writing process different?
Mylo: My writing process is exactly the same for both screenplays and novels: Scribble down a general outline by hand, knock out a horrible first draft, then re-write the fucker until it bleeds.
Film Courage: Do you have any regrets about leaving Hollywood?
Mylo: The only thing I miss about Hollywood is hanging out with celebrities and getting free stuff. Not going to lie, that was a lot of fun.
Film Courage: Will you ever return to screenwriting? What about Ghostwriting?
Mylo: I will definitely return to screenwriting, particularly writing scripts for my own novels. I will not return to ghostwriting, ever. It’s simply not in my DNA to live in another person’s shadow ever again.
Film Courage: What advice can you give aspiring screenwriters?
Mylo: I know people are not going to like hearing this, but at some point in your career, you’re going to have to make the move to Los Angeles. So stop trying to beat the odds and make a three-year plan to get out there. If you can’t ever see yourself living in Hollywood, then perhaps you should consider writing novels instead.
Film Courage: How did you feel when you found out your debut novel hit #1 bestseller?
Mylo: It was probably one of the top three moments of my life. It felt like all the years I spent writing and struggling to get to the top in Hollywood finally paid off. I knew I had a following; I just finally found the right vehicle for my stories.
Film Courage: What’s next for you?
Mylo: I plan to write 7 more novels over the next 7 years and release movie versions of my bestsellers. So stay tuned, Hollywood. I’ll be back!
Mylo Carbia is a former Hollywood screenwriter turned #1 Bestselling Author widely known for her work in the horror-thriller genre.
Born and raised in Jackson, New Jersey, Carbia famously spent her childhood years writing to escape the horrors of growing up in a severely haunted house. By the age of 17, she was already well established as a prolific young playwright. At the age of 30, her very first screenplay was optioned only 28 days after completion, earning Carbia a “three picture deal” and the cover of Hollywood Scriptwriter in 2003.
After that time, Carbia quietly penned numerous television and film projects under her production company Zohar Films — earning the nickname “The Queen of Horror” and the reputation of being Hollywood’s No. 1 horror film ghostwriter.
In 2015, Carbia left Hollywood to release a series of horror-thriller novels all featuring strong female protagonists. Her debut novel The Raping of Ava DeSantis hit #1 Bestseller in New Releases, #1 Bestseller in American Horror and #1 Bestseller in Horror only two days after its official release, and continues to receive critical acclaim from both avid readers and critics worldwide.
Today, Carbia lives with her husband and youngest son in New York City and South Florida. She continues to write exclusively for the literary world and plans to release seven more horror-thriller novels over the next seven years. Her highly anticipated follow-up “Violets Are Red” (a Manhattan housewife captures her husband’s young mistress and quietly keeps her prisoner in the basement) is due out late 2016.
“The Queen of Horror”
#1 Bestselling Author & Screenwriter
305 Broadway, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10007
“THE RAPING OF AVA DESANTIS”
A poor college girl brutally attacked by three wealthy fraternity brothers seeks revenge against their families decades later.
“VIOLETS ARE RED” COMING LATE SUMMER 2016
A Manhattan housewife captures her husband’s young mistress and quietly keeps her prisoner in the basement. Check out more at Violets-Are-Red.com.
REVIEWS FOR “THE RAPING OF AVA DESANTIS“
4.4 rating on Goodreads (236 Reviews)
4.3 rating on Amazon (50 reviews)
4.7 rating on Barnes & Noble (10 reviews)
“The Raping of Ava DeSantis dethrones Fifty Shades of Grey as the most controversial novel in America… If you haven’t heard of it yet, you certainly will soon.”
— Reuters News
“The must-read book of the moment.”
— Yahoo News
“One can see how this niche novel is turning into a worldwide phenomena.”
“A new powerhouse author is here to stay.”
— Boston Globe
“In addition to Carbia’s unique, powerful writing style, she has somehow managed to make a controversial subject appealing to the masses.”
— Atlanta Business Chronicle
“[Carbia] makes Fifty Shades of Grey read like a boring training manual, all while weaving a sophisticated, suspenseful thriller worthy of the industry’s best writing accolades.”
— Washington Business Journal
“A disturbingly perfect horror story. One of the best I’ve read all year!”
— Scream Magazine
” A crazy, wild ride from page one. Action packed, full of suspense and horror. Great read!”
— Boundless Book Reviews
“The Raping of Ava DeSantis is a riveting read that is undeniably impossible to put down and really gives the reader a solid bit of entertainment along with an unexpected twist. Ladies, get ready to pump your fists in the air and cheer for a feminine phantom!”
— Portsmouth Book Review
“A breathtaking story, fast-paced, insanely vivid, just brilliant!”
— Roberts Book Reviews
“Horror’s next New York Times bestseller.”
— All Indie Magazine
“It’s the way Carbia weaves this horror tale that makes this book truly shine.”
— Gotham News
“She’s the next Stephen King.”
— Horror Society
“The Raping Of Ava DeSantis is an especially well-crafted, compelling, and complex novel.”
— Midwest Book Review
“Sorry, Hollywood. Looks like ‘The Queen of Horror’ is blowing up the literary world and you won’t be able to woo her back.”
— Latino LA Hollywood
“Most authors wouldn’t touch this subject with a ten foot keyboard, but Mylo Carbia not only accepts the challenge, she excels at it. She’s not called ‘The Queen of Horror’ for nothing.”
— Horror Cabin
“An instant horror classic!”
— News Atlanta
“She’s a modern day storyteller of our tribe.”
“A dazzling, sophisticated horror tale that breaks the rules of every genre.”
— Latino LA
“Hollywood’s top ghostwriter grew up in a haunted house and she wants to pay it forward.”
— Daily Offbeat
“Not since Quentin Tarantino or Diablo Cody have we seen anyone break the ‘writer nerd’ stereotype in such a big way.”
“The author has a crisp writing style with multi-dimensional characters and a firm grip on plot structure. We will certainly be on the lookout for other books by Ms. Carbia.”
— Ginger Nuts of Horror
“It’s like nothing else out there.”
— News United
“Screenwriting wunderkind Mylo Carbia makes a triumphant return.”
— Broadway World
“Mylo Carbia is truly ‘The Queen of Horror!’”
Originally Published in Film Courage Magazine, February 25, 2015