I often have the pleasure of talking with directors, producers, and actors, but unfortunately, it’s not often that I have the opportunity to talk with an horror author. So when a friend introduced me to Mylo Carbia, I just knew I had to get to know her.
Mylo Carbia is a best selling horror author and screenwriter who just recently came out with a new book called Violets are Red. I chatted with her about her writing career, details on her new book, her favorite characters, and more. Enjoy!
How long have you wanted to be a writer?
Mylo Carbia – To be honest, I don’t think I ever wanted to be a writer. I just was a writer. Like many others in the industry, I was compelled to write from a very young age, whether anyone read my work or not. The idea of sitting in solitude with my typewriter, day in and day out, never seemed appealing to me as a young girl. At the time, writing fiction was escapism from the hell I was experiencing growing up in a severely haunted house, but I was not aware it could even be a profession when I was a child. They never mentioned “novelist” or “screenwriter” at career day in elementary school, but if they had, I probably would have figured out my calling very early on.
Instead, I left a successful stint as a playwright in my early twenties, trying to avoid the life of a starving artist by going to law school and landing big CEO jobs, but despite the financial security, I was miserable. I mean, miserable. I missed the theatre. I missed artistic people. I missed creative writing. So, around age 30, I left the corporate world to become a full-time writer, and now I couldn’t imagine doing anything outside of the entertainment industry. Writing just feels so natural to me. I feel like I was born for this sort of work, especially writing horror.
How old were you when you wrote your first story?
Mylo Carbia – I was obsessed with Greek and Roman mythology as a child, so I believe I wrote my first mythological story around age five. It wasn’t until age eight or nine when I wrote my first horror story, Night of the Silver Rose. It was so disturbing – and apparently, so well-written – that it landed me in the principal’s office. I handed it in for a graded assignment, and my teacher accused me of plagiarism because she believed a child could never write that story. My parents were called in, and fortunately, my father brought in other original writings from home which instantly exonerated me. My mother still gets a kick out this story. She thinks I should send that teacher a signed copy of my #1 bestseller so she can feel like an asshole.
What was the title of your first book?
Mylo Carbia – My first novel, The Raping of Ava DeSantis, was released in late 2015 and tells the story of a working-class college student who’s brutally attacked by three wealthy fraternity brothers, then paid to keep quiet about the crime. After she receives her final payment fifteen years later, she seeks revenge against her perpetrator’s families. However, unlike other rape and revenge horror stories where death is immediate, this novel is more of a suspense thriller where Ava takes her time in seeking retribution. She befriends their wives, infiltrates their companies, seduces her rapists – you name it. At the time, people were very troubled by the storyline. Yet despite the controversy, the novel hit #1 bestseller in horror (beating King and Koontz that week), and won the Silver Falchion Award for Outstanding Fiction. However, given today’s #MeToo Movement, I think this novel is more relevant than ever. I’m pretty proud of how it turned out, and I can’t wait for the movie version, Black Acre, to come out late next year.
Have you always loved horror?
Mylo Carbia – Yes, absolutely. I adore the horror genre. I love how we’re able to tell stories about good and evil without being pedantic about it. Plus, horror fans are the most respectful, loving people in the world. I call them my “ghost babies” because I feel a connection to each and every one of them. Right now, I have about a hundred thousand people who follow me across all social media platforms, and I value all that they contribute to us as horror writers.
By the way, I also enjoy writing comedy… As in, I would love to be a special guest writer on Saturday Night Live, but I would totally hyperventilate if I had to write a romantic comedy or a Disney movie about a pack of dancing dogs.
How do you go about writing? Do you have a certain routine?
Mylo Carbia – Yes, I do. My specific routine depends upon how close I am to my deadline, but for the most part, I just maintain standard writing hours which are the same every day. Right now, it’s 3:00 pm to midnight. Sometimes it’s 7:00 am to midnight, with a long break around noon to go to the gym and get my nails done. It would be interesting to note, however, that I only write standing up using a stand-up desk, and I typically wear a Janis Joplin-like writing sweater and reading glasses for hours on end. Sexy, I know. I also rely on Amazon’s Echo device as my writing assistant. I use Alexa to spell check, verify historical facts, and to set alarms to knock me out of my writing trance. I can’t tell you how many times she has bailed me out as I lose track of time while writing. Staying on this side of sanity is probably my biggest challenge in life. Seriously.
Tell us about your newest book, Violets are Red.
Mylo Carbia – 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 townhouse. The mistress is sassy and a carbon copy of the wife, which causes the lead character to slowly descend into madness and take drastic action to find out all the details of the affair. Someone described the novel as Real Housewives of New York City meets Misery with a killer twist ending, and I think that is a perfect description. I wanted to write a suspense-filled, entertaining, horror thriller that would appeal to women, and I think I pulled it off. It’s already hit #1 New Release on Amazon, and has received great reviews from both men and women. I especially can’t wait to see it turned into a movie. Twitter is having a field day casting the two redheaded leads already.
What was your inspiration for this story?
Mylo Carbia – First, let me preface my answer by saying that I am currently engaged to the most amazing man in the world, and everything I went through to find him was totally worth it! But the inspiration for Violets Are Red came from my own personal experience with a surprise divorce and doppelganger replacement.
About three years ago, after a Sunday morning filled with laughter and intimacy, my husband at the time kissed me on the cheek on his way to get a haircut, and never came back home. Several days later, my son saw his picture on Facebook eating dinner with a six-month pregnant woman who looked exactly like me, but was about twenty years younger. Next to the photo was the sonogram picture of a baby boy, and the celebratory announcement of his impending arrival.
When I saw this post, I literally fell to the ground in my kitchen. Boom. My knees gave out, just like that. I was breathless and had no idea what was happening to me, and it took several hours to process everything and figure it out. The next day, I was served with divorce papers, my bank accounts and credit cards were shut down, and I was evicted from my own home within a few months. Needless to say, I was devastated beyond words. I was very happy with my marriage and never saw it coming. And if I didn’t have an eleven-year-old child at the time from a previous relationship, I would be giving this interview from a jail cell wearing an orange jumpsuit. No doubt about it. I’m a hot-headed Latina, triple Scorpio, horror writer from New Jersey. Seriously. What the hell were they thinking?
Luckily, I did not act on my impulses at the time. I did, however, sue the woman for causing severe emotional and financial distress, but she threw the papers in the face of the sheriff when she was served, and never showed up to court. The nice judge didn’t want to put a heavily pregnant woman in jail for a civil matter, so I finally came to my senses, dropped the lawsuit, got divorced, and moved on with my life… Best decision ever, of course.
Luckily, my incredible support network of family and friends got me through divorce hell, and I am now happily engaged to the most amazing man a woman could ever marry. On top of that, my new husband and I were divorced on the same day, in the same courthouse, in the same city, only two hours apart. Talk about fate! I couldn’t be more thrilled with how things turned out and harbor zero resentment because I am the one who truly came out ahead. I’m not just saying that, I really did. Ironically, they aren’t even together anymore. Plus, I walked away with an awesome book as a result of the experience. Doesn’t get any better than that, does it?
What’s the main character in Violets Are Red like?
Mylo Carbia – The main character, Violet Ramspeck, is like any other wealthy Manhattan woman quickly approaching her first wife expiration date. She is obsessed with her looks and reputation among her socialite friends. She loves her husband unconditionally and was naïve in thinking he had been faithful for the twenty-four years of their happy marriage. Violet experienced quite a few personal tragedies as a child, which led to her developing an eating disorder, which plays a big part in the novel. More importantly, Violet is obsessed with Grimm’s fairy tales, which plays an even bigger role in the novel. It’s practically the third main character, and I absolutely love it. Just read the first few chapters and you’ll see why.
How does this one different from your other books?
Mylo Carbia – I think Violets Are Red is different than my other books and movies in that it is my most mainstream work to date. There is very little torture and gore, so it’s suitable for audiences of all ages. I will say it is even more twisted than my other movies and novels, so it is just as entertaining, if not more so, but with much less blood and guts. I wanted to show that true horror is psychological, and that extreme violence is not necessary to creep people the fuck out. Now that I have demonstrated this, I will go back to traditional horror with my next novel.
You spent nearly a decade writing horror movies for other people in Hollywood. Would you ever go back to ghostwriting films?
Mylo Carbia – Hell, no. It’s soul-sucking. Everything I’ve written since 2015 has been under my own name and I’m happy as hell living my life as a writer out in the open. I’ve paid my dues behind the scenes, so if I experience any overnight success, it will not feel vacant.
You are known for your surprise twist endings. Does this create pressure on you to top your previous work every time you write?
Mylo Carbia – Yes, it does, which is why I typically write the ending first, and work backwards. Now that my fans expect a surprise ending every time, I just might write something without a twist, which would be the big surprise itself.
Who is your favorite character you’ve written about so far?
Mylo Carbia – My favorite character is definitely Ava DeSantis. Who wouldn’t love a serial killer who invested her hush money wisely, wears four inch stilettos, and drives a yellow Lamborghini?
Also, tell us about your upcoming novel, Z.O.O. Are you excited to write your first sci-fi horror book?
Mylo Carbia – Oh boy, I can’t wait until Z.O.O. is released into the world next summer. It’s about a young woman with albinism who is captured by extraterrestrials who are making a zoo from people from Earth. After that initial incident, the novel goes much further into another world… Almost a Game of Thrones meets Planet of the Apes sort of storyline, but the key reveal is that aliens are factory farming humans for medicine and food. Yes, factory farming, just like we do here to animals. And I must warn fans that this story is going to be really rough. Meaning, I am going all the way with the horror scenes. I am not holding back a thing, and will be mirroring what we do to animals on this planet, so be prepared to read the story that just might turn half of America into vegetarians (laughs).
And finally, are you more goth or rock n’ roll? Your style seems to be a mixture of the two.
Mylo Carbia – I’m definitely more rock n’ roll, with a touch of goth. I mean, a little platform combat boot action never hurt anyone. Or has it?