Before this interview, I first wanna thank Michael Vaughn for reaching out to us via Twitter. Allowing us to review his first book entitled “The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema”. And now Michael has agreed to do a write up Interview with us. I hope you enjoy learning more of how Michael’s book saw the light of day.
Would you kindly introduce yourself and share how you got into writing?
My name is Michael Vaughn I first got into writing, well I guess as far back as I could remember I enjoyed writing stories for my own amusement. Its only in the last 10 years that I decided I wanted to make a go of it as a full time career. I started to build a resume with published works in both print and online. Then I started my own blog which promoted me to get in touch with various show business people, which was great and also gave me a crash course in not only showbiz but how to interview somebody, all great skills a film journalist should have.
What inspired you to write “The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema”?
My love of reference books which is becoming a lost art with only a handful of other writers still doing it. In my introduction I talk a lot about what inspired the book including trips to my local mom and pop rental store as a youth. I tried to pay back all my early inspirations like fanzines and film guides that I enjoyed as a young teen.
Did you add those films you mention in your book from viewing them, or by memory of watching them?
95% was watching/re watching films the other 5% I could do from memory because I had seen them so many times. Even movies I had seen before I mostly had to go back and re-watch. Every movie I would review I had a note book which I took notes, which sounds weird but you really have to if you are doing this kind of review.
You are a big fan of physical copies, how do you feel about everything being digital nowadays?
I love physical collections because I am a collector myself. I do like streaming movies as well but you cannot beat having the actual copy of a film. As far as physical books I prefer them over kindles any day. Plus authors make more money off hard copies so if you truly want to support a author buy the physical book.
Any plans to do some book signings?
I might be doing some signings this fall.
What kind of experiences did you go through when writing “The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema”?
For the most time it was a blast -but also a lot of hard work. I would watch/take notes and write 3 reviews a day, as well as track down interviews. Some times I would watch 5 or 6 movies in a day to find which would fit for the book. Also It was a lot of research and after that sometimes it was tracking some of these movies down which was a feat in and of itself. Looking back I don’t know if I would have made a film guide my first book but I am glad it came out and pretty good if I say so myself.
The summer I was writing the book I had two close family members pass away and that put the book on hold for about 3 months, which is way its not as long as I would have liked it but overall I am happy with what I pulled off, especially for my first book.
Did you self publish? If not, explain how your publisher contacted you.
I found a wonderful publisher in Schiffer. Its great to find a publisher because unlike self publishing you get to work with a editor which is key to a good book in my opinion.
How did you feel when your book was finally published?
Its a pretty amazing feeling, both being finished and actually getting to see and hold the finished product. Lately I am getting a thrill out of fans taking pictures with the book and posting it on Twitter. I still find it very surreal to see/hear fans that are connecting with it.
What are your Top 5 films, you’d recommend from your book to watch.
It’s really hard to pick just 5 but here are some you should see asap. Phantom of the Paradise, Parents, Goddard’s ‘Weekend, Desperate Living and Meet the Feebles.
How did the Horror Community react to your book?
So far really well. I had some notable genre folks who seem to enjoy it including Chris Alexander former Editor in Chief of Fangoria and one of my favorite directors Brian Yuzna. Most fans seem to be connecting with it and loving the fact that its a reference guide and it takes them back to a time of fanzines and the thrill of discovering new movies.
Has anyone that you mentioned in “The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema” read your book?
I talked to Jeff Lieberman about it as I had a special copy sent to him. He enjoyed it and told me that him and his friend John Waters always seem to get mentioned in the same book. My hope is that John at least is aware of it if not read some of it. My filmmaker friends I put in the book also mentioned the book on social media which was really awesome of them. I am sure others have as well but Jeff is the only big filmmaker I am aware of so far. Kevin Smith at least knows of the book -I mention his movie Tusk which I really enjoyed.
Could we see a Strange Cinema Book Vol 2?
It’s possible or at least a second edition of this one. But that might be a while until that happens. I would love to get to do a second edition in another 5+ years. I could get the movies I wished I could have gotten in plus newer ones. I would also like to expand the interviews which is hands down my favorite feature in the book.
Thanks for your time Mike, any words or advice to give to the readers?
For writers: Keep writing, keep plugging away at blogging, website writing- do whatever you can to keep people aware of your work. Sometimes it may seem like its an impossible dream but its not, you just have to work hard. Also networking is key- network as much as you can.
For readers/fans: Keep loving what you do and don’t give a damn what anybody else thinks. I just hope they enjoy my book and tell friends about it. Also if you love somebody’s work support them by telling them. I know from first hand that it makes my day when I find out somebody enjoys my hard work.
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