"My Childhood Home Was Haunted As Far Back As I Can Remember” Horror, Thriller and Science-Fiction Writer Mylo Carbia
Film Courage: Where did you grow up? What was life like at home?
Mylo Carbia: I spent the first thirteen years of my life in Jackson, New Jersey. To the outside world, my home life looked rather normal. My father was a well-known Latin musician working nights and my mother was an ex-showroom model who stayed at home once I was born. Truth is, my childhood was hell. I was visited and taunted by a number of spirits in my family home and it robbed me of my childhood.
Film Courage: Which one of your parents do you resemble most and why?
Mylo: Although I resemble my mother physically, I am 100% Eddie Carbia’s daughter. Not only do we look alike, our handwriting and sense of humor are identical. My father was a very creative spirit like all of the other members of the Carbia family. Most of my family expresses their creativity through music, however a few of us gravitated towards film and acting.
"My childhood home was haunted as far back as I can remember. Specifically, my first memory was around the age of three when I was sitting on my mother’s lap during a Christmas party and watched a seven foot swirling, shadow man walk down the hallway. Everyone continued to laugh and drink while this tornado man strolled across the room. I knew right then that I could hear and see things others could not."
Film Courage: Did your parents lend support toward creativity or encourage another type of career/focus?
Mylo: My parents were dead set on having me become a doctor or lawyer. The last thing they wanted for me was to go out into the world and become a struggling artist. So I always joked that I found the perfect career: I set out to become a trial lawyer – an actor that always got paid. And I did make it to law school, the same one as Nancy Grace, but as soon as I arrived, I thought I was going to implode. I left after my first year and nabbed a role in a travelling play called Mondo Condo instead.
Film Courage: What did you learn about fame/being a public figure by observing your parents/family members?
Mylo: I learned that fame is transitory and does not always equal wealth. My father provided very well for our family during my childhood but when disco wiped salsa music off the map, we had to adjust our standard of living. And boy was that a wild ride down to reality. He went from headlining the top hotels of the world to playing New Year’s Eve at local VFW’s. But my father never complained about it. He was dedicated to his music, playing all the way up to his death at the age of 77.
Screenwriter Turned Author Mylo Carbia at Age Five
Film Courage: Were you extra-perceptive / “sensitive” as a child?
Mylo: Yes, I have always been extra-perceptive, especially as a little girl. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that my Sun, Moon and Rising Sign are all in Scorpio? I have no idea. A friend of mine who is a professional astrologer calls me a “triple threat” (laughs) and told me that I have the exact same natal birth chart as Bram Stoker. So I guess kindergarten teacher was probably out for me the minute I was born.
Mylo: Yes, I am what most people would consider a psychic medium but by no means is that my hobby or profession, it’s just who I am. My ability to communicate with the other side is no different than a person’s ability to play the piano, or paint. It’s just a gift, a talent. A trait. Nothing more.
Film Courage: How did you become aware of your gift?
Mylo: When I was younger, I was able to see living and transitioned beings so clearly that I could not tell the difference between them. The only thing that would clue me in was that no one else was acknowledging the strange person’s presence in the room. Around the age of ten, my ability to see spirits diminished a bit but I am still fully able to hear them loud and clear. To this day though I cannot tell the difference between homeless people that are alive or dead because they both vibrate at the exact same frequency. I can also hear various radio frequencies that others cannot. I also see certain light rays dance, especially UV lights. As I understand it, most people do not see UV light move the way I do.
Film Courage: First story you wrote as a young girl?
Mylo: I was obsessed with Greek and Roman Mythology as a child, as well as Edgar Allen Poe. So the first short story I wrote was at the age of eight called “Night of the Silver Rose.” It was about a family trapped in a haunted cabin overnight during a horrible rainstorm. It won a number of silly creative writing awards which is why my mother still has it in her attic I believe. The opening line was something like “The rain smashing against the rusted tin roof above us sounded like a baseball bat beating a whimpering puppy.” You know, the kind of stuff eight-year-old girls with bobby socks and pigtails usually write.
Film Courage: What were your plans after high school? Did you follow these plans/deviate from them?
Mylo: My plans after high school were to go to college and become a trial attorney for an environmental group like Greenpeace or PETA and save the world. Instead, I spent all of my college years in theatre, and then left law school for a non-profit organization that worked with disadvantaged kids. Only a couple of years after that I went into writing professionally.
Film Courage: What is your advice to young people starting out their careers in Hollywood?
Mylo: You are young. Go for it! Don’t let anyone talk you out of acting, directing, writing or producing because they are afraid you will never feed yourself. If you give up your dream and become an accountant instead, I promise you, you will be miserable. In fact, if I could do it all over again, I would have skipped college and law school and went to bartending or beauty school instead. Why? Because a part-time bartending or service career gives you money to eat and the flexibility you need to make it in Hollywood. Being an overworked accountant in Omaha and writing screenplays at night makes breaking into Hollywood a million times harder.
Film Courage: How did growing up in a haunted house influence your writing?
Mylo: I think it had every influence on me. 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 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 kept it to themselves, as did I, except to a few of my closest friends and immediate family.
Film Courage: When did you first suspect your family home was haunted?
Mylo: My childhood home was haunted as far back as I can remember. Specifically, my first memory was around the age of three when I was sitting on my mother’s lap during a Christmas party and watched a seven foot swirling, shadow man walk down the hallway. Everyone continued to laugh and drink while this tornado man strolled across the room. I knew right then that I could hear and see things others could not.
Film Courage: How was your haunted house different from others we’ve heard about?
Mylo: Some people consider their house haunted if a little grandma spirit shows up occasionally when they bake cookies. However, my home was infested with both human and non-human entities and was totally different than that. Although months could go by without incident, there was always activity going on in one way or another. Mysterious kitchen fires, horrible family fights, disappearing items – you name it.
There was a time frame though of about two years where three “pilgrim” men would come into my room at night and verbally tormented me as a child. They would come from outside, where there was an adjacent cornfield, through my bedroom wall and accuse me of being a witch because I could see and talk to them. They would quote Bible passages to me all night long and try to convert me, but I was way to young to understand any of it. In fact, I couldn’t have been older than five or six at the time. It came to a point that I could no longer sleep alone, and I begged and pleaded to sleep on the floor of my parents’ room night after night. They had no idea what was going on. I was afraid they would lock me up in a loony bin like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest if I told them. They never understood why I would keep multiple Bibles in my room until one day I told my mother that one of the pilgrims said that the King James Bible in my room was a false version. Only then did she figure out someone was talking to me.
Film Courage: What was the worst part of that experience?
Mylo: I think the worst part was when the pilgrims would take me back in time and show me what they did to witches in the cornfield. I saw a fire, a lot of yelling and women locked up in those wooden headlock devices. It literally scared the hell out of me. Then one day, out of nowhere, they just stopped visiting. And that was it. There were plenty of other strange entities around so maybe someone else kicked them out.
Film Courage: How do you feel about them now?
Mylo: To this day I still have a problem with Pilgrim-themed items at Thanksgiving. I fucking hate Pilgrims. I much prefer Indians instead.
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Film Courage: Did anyone do a clearing to remove this supernatural force?
Mylo: No. My father was a solid, no-nonsense Mad Men sort of fellow that did not want to acknowledge anything was wrong with his house. Plus he was gone most nights playing music and never shared that he saw or felt anything. My mother on the other hand tried to help me the best she could. Her grandmother was one of the top psychics in the Caribbean so she believed me. My mother would douse me with holy water every day, put more Bibles in my room, seek advice from psychics, spiritualists, etc. but all of them were in Puerto Rico. And I was living far way in New Jersey.
Mylo: It took my father two years to sell the house, but once we did, we packed up and moved to South Florida. I’ve never been back since.
Film Courage: Where is that house now?
Mylo: One of my childhood friends on Facebook is a real estate agent there now and said that my house burned down shortly after we moved out and was never rebuilt. Also, my old address has been magically erased. Can you imagine that? A large, numberless, empty lot in the middle of crowded New Jersey for 30 years. Crazy.
Film Courage: Most intensive experience with a Supernatural force thus far in your life?
Mylo: Despite all of that, my most extreme experience with the Supernatural was actually in college. I received a scholarship to attend Mercer University, a wonderful little Baptist college in Macon, Georgia with a great theatre program. While there, I fell head over heels for this holy-roller and made the huge mistake of joining his Christian rap group to get close to him. I ended up writing songs that inadvertently taunted the Devil and it caused a lot of problems. The night before we went in the studio to record our demo single, two demonic entities came to visit me in my apartment and tortured me all night until the next morning. Let me tell you, it was the single worst night of my life. I had to leave school for two weeks to recover mentally, physically and spiritually. After that, all of my encounters with the paranormal have been a piece of cake.
Film Courage: Are you going to write a book or movie about any of these personal experiences?
Mylo: Probably not. I have been offered money to do so in the past but I do not think I can relive the details without attracting that negative energy back to me. I’ll stick to fiction for now, thank you very much.
Film Courage: First horror film which inspired you to seek writing strong female characters?
Mylo: I am a true eighties horror fan. In fact, The Shining and The Thing are my absolute two favorite horror movies. I always wanted to see Jamie Lee Curtis jump right in the middle of those films and kick some ass. Maybe that’s where I get the idea of always including strong female protagonists.
Film Courage: How have you become known as one of Hollywood\'s number one horror film ghostwriters?
Mylo: Haah! By doing great work and keeping my mouth shut. It’s kind of like the mafia, if you keep your word and honor your NDA’s, people will use you. Actually, there are quite a few well-known screenwriters who ghostwrite on the side. I’m talking big award winning writers who like the rest of us need to bust ass to pay their mortgage. However, I quit ghostwriting about two years ago. The money was great but it’s soul crushing -- like being someone’s mistress on the side. But I honed my craft as a writer and made very powerful friends in Hollywood, so it was a good experience overall. And before I made the decision to write books I told everyone I worked for that I was leaving to write novels under my own name and their response was incredible. Everyone gave me their sincerest blessing, telling me I should have done it years ago. It was awesome.
Film Courage: Why are you temporarily leaving Hollywood to write a series of five horror/thriller novels all featuring strong female protagonists?
Mylo: Did you see Birdman? Well, that’s why. Hollywood is only hiring writers to remake comic book movies and reboot old horror films, in other words, execute their ideas. The spec script is almost dead. And I have way too many fresh, original ideas to sit on a shelf and collect dust.
Film Courage: What is the difference in being a screenwriter and an author?
Mylo: As a screenwriter, I am the surrogate mother. The producer, director, actor – everyone changes my story, my characters, my words – they take my baby and raise it. As an author, I am the birth mother and get to raise it. I have total control of my story before it hits the hands of my readers. And for that reason, I may never go back to Hollywood again. I am having the absolute best time writing novels and the literary world has practically rolled out the red carpet for me.
Film Courage: Who is your target audience for your new book “The Raping of Ava DeSantis”? And how did you get so many die-hard fans?
Mylo: Social Media has been amazing for me. I started using Twitter long ago and built a very consistent following over the years. However, I was shocked to learn from a social media expert that eighty-one percent of my 65,000 Twitter Followers are male, especially since my most vocal fans are female. I also have a large following in the UK and Australia for doing cyber events there in support of their paranormal community.
But most of all, I think I have a solid fan base because my work is very much upmarket horror: In other words, I’m more of a Stephen King or M. Night Shyamalan style of writer than a traditional slash and gore horror scribe. My style of writing will not gross you out. Instead, it will burn gut-wrenching stories and images into your brain, which is why I think people in Hollywood have labeled my work as having massive commercial appeal.
So back to the question, for this novel, my audience is definitely the grown up Twilight crowd and people my age who enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey and Gone Girl. The book deals with young people’s themes but is based in the early nineties, which is why the publisher I’m working with now believes the book will have a widespread audience.
Film Courage: Where do you receive your most creative ideas?
Mylo: My ideas just come to me at any time of the day. The whole story gets downloaded in one shot. Title, beginning, middle and end. Just like that. There will always be more story ideas than time to write them all.
Mylo Carbia Currently Splits Her Time Between New York City,
Film Courage: Where do you go to produce your best writing?
Mylo: I have writing rooms in all of my residences, even my family members’ homes. I write between 5:00 am and 9:00 pm, in dead silence with zero distractions. And if I am under a tight deadline, I write while speaking out loud. Totally embarrassing to watch, but that’s the best way for me.
Film Courage: What props, mood, music and other creative helpers do you use to inspire stories?
Mylo: Mock-up movie posters and draft book covers inspire me the most. I have to see the finished product before the story really gets rolling.
Film Courage: How many drafts of rewrites are sufficient before you show another your work for feedback?
Mylo: I do not show my work to my manager or publicist until it is my final, final, first draft. I’ll go through at least three rewrites before anyone sees it.
Film Courage: Can you recommend books/teachers that are helpful and have shaped your writing?
Mylo: Every aspiring screenwriter needs to read at least five books before even attempting their first screenplay. The two absolute must-reads are “Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting ” by Robert McKee and “The Hollywood Standard: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to Script Format and Style” by Christopher Riley. I require any intern or writing assistant who works for me to read both of these books before day one.
Mylo Carbia Writes Exclusively Horror, Thriller
Film Courage: What tips to new writers of all genres can you share on receiving feedback regarding their work?
Mylo: Stick to paid feedback from real development people with experience. Your Aunt Mae won’t understand screenplay lingo, no matter what she says.
Film Courage: How important it is for a writer to write one genre?
Mylo: Screenwriters, like authors, need to develop a brand and stick to it. You need to be that action guy or that romcom girl or that horror nerd, etc. Because that’s how Hollywood producers refer to us. In any given moment, there’s a producer in Los Angeles saying “Hey, let’s call that action guy to write this, you know the one that did that other movie just like this.”
Film Courage: What is a strong female protagonist versus a more passive one in the horror genre?
Mylo: In my movies and books, my female protagonists have amazing character arcs but rarely show weakness or give up hope. Believe it or not, I think this is a real portrait of the female psyche. Throw us a cheating man, an annoying ghost or some alien shit, and we just get pissed off and become stronger.
Film Courage: How do you protect yourself from dark energy/forces?
Mylo: If you work in the dark, you must live in the Light. In fact, I am a very spiritual “New Age” person and live my life by the rules of the Law of Attraction. I study Abraham-Hicks, Deepak Chopra, Rhonda Byrne – you name it. I meditate every day, use essential oils, connect with my spirit guides – all of that hippie shit. In other words, don’t let the black hair and leather boots fool you, I am very much a person who believes in God and lives in the Light.
Film Courage: Is love for the Supernatural always dark or demonic? Can it also be a positive “light” force?
Mylo: I have no love of the Supernatural actually. I just never had a choice. It was a part of my life from day one. But I will say that the most positive aspect of my connection is being able to have a meaningful relationship with my spirit guides. They are amazing. I love them just like family.
Film Courage: Is spiritual energy on the East Coast different versus the West Coast?
Mylo: I would say the spiritual energy all around us is pretty much the same on both coasts. It’s just more concentrated in cities with higher populations. Cute question!
Considered “The Queen of Horror" by Examiner.com, screenwriter turned author Mylo Carbia quickly made a name for herself as a rising star in the entertainment industry. Born and raised in New Jersey, Mylo spent her childhood years writing to escape the horrors of growing up in a haunted house. As the daughter of "The Prince of Mambo" Eddie Carbia and goddaughter of actor Raul Julia, Mylo was surrounded by the entertainment industry at an early age. By the age of 17, she was already well established in the local theater circuit as a prolific young playwright. While in college, Mylo wrote, produced and directed The Dolly Parton Conspiracy, winner of the Troubadour Theatrical Society\'s Best Play Award in 1992. Her very first screenplay was optioned only 28 days after completion, earning Mylo a "three picture deal" with Global Screen Partners and the cover of Hollywood Scriptwriter in October 2003. After that time, Mylo penned several television and film projects under her production company Zohar Films, and earned the reputation of being Hollywood’s number one horror film ghostwriter. Most recently, Mylo was named number seven on IMDB’s list of the “Top 25 Most Beautiful Women Behind the Camera,” and announced big plans to move into the literary world, writing “The Raping of Ava DeSantis” -- the first of a series of five horror novels with strong female protagonists -- due out later this Fall.
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