- Tell us a bit about yourself and what you are currently working on or promoting.
I am a recovering academic, who turned to the world of fiction writing about a decade ago. I have two books out: The Brothers’ Keepers, a religious-political thriller, and a work of literary fiction called Conversations Among Ruins.
- What genre(s) do you write in and why?
I write thrillers and literary fiction. I feel like my creativity is fulfilled by writing both genre and literary fiction.
- What sets you apart from other authors in your genre?
The amount of research that goes into my books, and the quality of book I try to give my readers.
- Do you have an agent and/or publisher, or are you self-published?
I have two publishers. MuseItUp Publishing handles the religious thriller(s) and All Things That Matter Press publishes Conversations Among Ruins.
- What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
My biggest piece of advice would be not to rush into shopping for an agent or a publisher. Don’t give into a case of premature querying or shopping your manuscript around before it is ready to go. Have your manuscript professionally edited before submitting.
- What are your three favorite books?
Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, and Dead Souls
- Who is your favorite author and why?
Dostoevsky because of his psychological and philosophical depth
- What are you currently working on?
I’m working on the next Nicholas Branson novel (i.e., the one that comes after The Brothers’ Keepers).
- If you could have a conversation with one person living or dead whom would it be and why?
The historical Jesus. It would answer so many questions.
- What are you currently reading?
- What makes good writing?
Good writing is a good story well told. Anything less is substandard.
- Is there a theme/message underlying your book(s) that you hope comes across?
Don’t follow others blindly. Form your own opinions and establish your own way of doing things. These are often the most effective means of achieving anything worthwhile.
- With all the demands of an author, how do you keep sane?
Sane. I once came across that word in a novel. I had to look it up.
- If you could be any character in literature, whom would you choose to be?
Any fictional character, whose story is made into a movie, and who plays the love interest of any fictional character acted by Scarlett Johansson.
- Has reading a book ever changed your life? If yes, which one and how?
The philosophical works of Marx & Engels, as well as the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche
- If someone wrote a book about your life, what would it be called?
Don’t Try this at Home
- Have you had to make sacrifices for your writing, and if so, what are they?
No, writing has actually saved my life on more than one occasion.
- What obstacles, if any, have you encountered in being a writer?
Only those I have put it my own way, like the demon of perfectionism.
- What do you like best/least about writing?
I like the research the best. I like the messiness of the process of writing the least.
- Do you remember the first book that had a strong impact on you? If so, what was it, and how did it affect you?
I think the first book that had a strong impact on me was Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The rest of the books in the series affected me as well, especially the portrayal of a strong familial bond. It was something I desperately wanted growing up, but never did find.
- At what age did you develop a love of writing? At what point in your life did you decide to become a professional writer?
I developed a love of writing early on. But I did not decide to become a professional writer until 2010.
- How would you describe your style of writing?
Succinct. It is descriptive, yet economical.
- What are your thoughts on the current climate of today’s publishing experience?
The current climate of today’s publishing experience is a nightmare. The market is saturated with (mostly) self-published books of poor quality that muddy the waters for writers truly devoted to the craft of writing. The self-publishing revolution is therefore not without deleterious consequences. Of course, traditional publishing and smaller press publishing suffer from serious defects as well. Too little money is given to the author in standard contracts, making writing for a living tenuous at best. I think writers need to form a union and demand that conditions change.
- Are excellent writers born to the craft, or can they be taught?
I believe you have to be born with a basic aptitude for writing, and then you can learn how to do it better over time and with much practice.
- Would you rather be discovered and lauded as an icon of literature after your death or be a moderately successful author (among many) in your lifetime?
I’d rather be lauded as a literary icon after my death. I tend to go to extremes; mediocrity never appealed to me.
- Which author would you give credit to for shaping your style of writing?
- Would you consider yourself a prolific reader? How many books would you guess you’ve read in your lifetime?
I would consider myself a prolific reader. I’ve read thousands of books in my lifetime.
- What themes or occurrences from your daily life bleed over into your writing?
That’s a hard question. I think my struggles with alcohol and depression bleed over into my writing.
- How do you approach cover art?
My publishers handled the cover art for my books. I had some input, but the specifics were left to them.
- If you could pick a perfect setting to write in, what would it be? Describe it, please.
A mountain cabin with a lake nearby
Here are Mathew’s social media links and links to purchase his books.
Conversations Among Ruins: The Brothers’ Keepers: