* you can find the original interviews and much more on my 'everything writing' blog (http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com), including author spotlights, guest posts, book reviews, flash fiction or poetry - new items posted 6am UK time Monday to Saturday and writing exercises at 6pm very weekday.
Monday, 4 June 2012
Author interview no.86: Matt Hilton (revisited)
Welcome to the eighty-sixth of my blog interviews with novelists, short story authors, poets, bloggers, scriptwriters, autobiographers and more. Today's is with crime / action thriller novelist (who dips into horror) Matt Hilton. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate the author further. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here.
Morgen: Hi Matt. Thank you for joining me. Can you please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.
Matt: Like many other authors I started young. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have a book, a pen or pencils in hand, and as early as eight years old I was drawing comic strips, and movie storyboards with a view for when I set up my own movie making business. Sadly that idea didn’t come to pass, but I’d got the writing bug and continued jotting down stories, attempting my first “novel” at around ten or eleven years old. Back then I was a huge fan of Willard Price, whose globe-trotting brothers Hal and Roger Hunt would bring animals back alive – for conservation purposes only. When Price died and I realised there’d be no more books in the series, I took it on myself to write the next one. I called it ‘Antarctic Adventure’ and was very proud of it. It was dreadful: I had polar bears and penguins sharing the ice-flows, but to a ten year old it didn’t really matter. I progressed to writing a teenage coming-of-age novel at about thirteen years old, called “Aggro”, and still have the original hand-written novel to this day. When I look back at it now I realise it was actually the ‘ideal world’ seen through the eyes of my thirteen-year-old self and not the most realistic of tales. Still, I look back on it with affection, as it was my first attempt at a serious book. From then on I switched to writing heroic fantasy and horror tales, before finding my bailiwick in crime / action thrillers. Six complete, but unpublished novels sat on my computer before I managed to hook a publishing deal. My first published novel was Dead Men’s Dust – the first in my Joe Hunter thriller series, and since then I’ve completed another seven in the series. The sixth book, called Dead Men’s Harvest is due for publication in mid-August 2011.
Morgen: “I took it upon myself” – I love that. :) And you were so young (I was late 30s when I returned to writing properly but guess I have a wiser brain now). :) What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Matt: I’m contracted to write crime / action thrillers but I really can’t deny my roots and often dip into horror and weird stories for my own entertainment. Recently I’ve had a gritty crime short as well as a zombie short story published in different anthologies. I also enjoy writing humorous crime shorts, spooky stories, ironic tales and slice of life stories. I have an idea, then I have to get it down on paper (or the computer screen as it happens). Between the Joe Hunter books, I like to clear my head, and often work on other novels in progress. I’ve a YA horror book, an adult horror / adventure novel set against the Fall of France, and an apocalyptical horror / thriller all on the boil at the same time. When I go back to writing my latest contracted book, it is with a fresh outlook and a new enthusiasm.
Morgen: What have you had published to-date? If applicable, can you remember where you saw your first books on the shelves?
Matt: I’ve a number of short stories – usually under pen names – dotted around the various sites on the internet, and a few articles in magazines, but discounting them I have five books in my Joe Hunter series on the shelves to date, with more due for release. I’ve a short called ‘The Skin We’re In’ in Even More Tonto Short Stories (Tonto Books) - which will also appear in next year’s Mammoth Book of Best British Crime -, a short called ‘Apocalypse Noo’ in Holiday of the Dead (Wild Wolf Publishing), and also a short called ‘Splitting Heirs’ in ‘S- Magazine’. I’m incredibly lucky to have two huge publishing houses handling my Joe Hunter series. Hodder and Stoughton publish the British editions, while Harper Collins publish them in the US.
Morgen: Yep, they’re huge.
Matt: Some of the books have been translated into German, Italian, Romanian and Bulgarian, so there are various editions of the books out there in the world. The first time I saw a copy on the bookshelves was in my home town branch of Waterstone’s. They supported me massively and I launched the book there. It was a very surreal and humbling moment and I still get a thrill any time I see the latest book on the shelves.
Morgen: How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Matt: Marketing is a very important aspect of the modern author’s working day. Unless you’re already a massive bestselling star, it is incredibly difficult to win ‘shelf space’ in any of the major retail outlets, even with huge publishing houses behind you. So it’s an uphill struggle to establish your brand, and have your name recognised by the book purchasing public. Both my major publishers put a lot of work into getting my books into the shops, but it’s equally important that I do all the marketing I possibly can do to spread the word. I do all the usual stuff; blogging, tweeting, Facebooking, guest blogging etc, as well as attending various crime fiction festivals like Thrillerfest, Bouchercon, Crimefest and Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival at Harrogate. Then there are library events, book shop events, radio and TV interviews – and answering loads of personal emails from fans. I feel it’s incredibly important to engage with my readers, and in my opinion, there’s no publicity as good as word of mouth. I probably spend as much time on the marketing as I do the writing of the books.
Morgen: I'm spending more at the moment... note to self: spend more time writing. :) Have you won or been shortlisted in any competitions and do you think they help with a writer’s success?
Matt: Before I was published, I entered a ‘Have your novel published’ competition through Writers’ Forum magazine, and was placed in the shortlist, though I didn’t win. Then I was shortlisted in another novel writing competition through the Eden Arts Project (a local authority scheme to help promote artists and writers in the north west of England), though I didn’t win. My first published novel – Dead Men’s Dust – was shortlisted for the ITW Best New Novel 2009 Award, though I didn’t win. There’s a bit of a pattern there if you look closely!
Morgen: Inspiration to those starting out, although you did begin early so had a head start. :)
Matt: I think awards are important, and can help an author’s career – but they’re not imperative. There are many amazing books and writers out there who will never win awards, but they do win legions of readers. In my case, the entering and being shortlisted was as much a boost to my career. It told me I was doing something right, but also something wrong. I’ve tried to take this on board as a philosophy of my writing, in order to take something positive away from losing three times on the trot.
Morgen: Or coming a close second (or so)? :) Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Matt: I was fortunate to grab the interest of Luigi Bonomi of Luigi Bonomi Associates, who did sign me up. I’m indebted to Luigi, who secured deals for me that were beyond my wildest dreams. So yes, I believe agents are vital to an author’s success. Without his input I’d probably still be unpublished. Sadly, these days, publishing houses do not accept unsolicited submissions, and do not have in-house readers any more to go through submissions and rely on agents to send them only the best (read as most commercial). Agents act as clearing houses, so without an agent’s representation you’re highly unlikely to get a publishing deal following the traditional publishing formats. However, you don’t need to be agented to succeed in other ways. Some authors are forgoing the agent / author partnership these days to do it alone through print on demand or e-books. If pushed for an answer, I’d say try to get an agent first.
Morgen: Are your books available as eBooks? If so what was your experience of that process? And do you read eBooks?
Matt: First off, I’m a Luddite in some respects. I still have CDs instead of MP3s and Ipods, DVDs instead of Blu-ray, and loathe the idea of e-book readers. However, I’m also astute enough to recognise that it’s the way of the future and to be left behind by advances in technology would be very unwise. Thankfully my books are published in e-books and are available through the usual avenues. I’ve even thought about placing some of my short stories and previously unpublished novels out as Kindle downloads, but as yet haven’t taken the plunge. I’m a traditionalist in more ways than one, and prefer paper books over plastic books any time. But if this new technology gets more people reading, which I believe it has, then I’m all for it.
Morgen: I agree although I have an eReader that I hardly use (because I travel little) which I suspected would be the case so bought the cheapest one going. Hopefully this’ll change but with so many pBooks (as paperbacks are now being called) to read at home already it may be a while. What was your first acceptance and is being accepted still a thrill?
Matt: My first ‘real’ acceptance was with my first Joe Hunter thriller. Personally I still feel a thrill when I think back on it. At the time I was still working as a policeman in Cumbria, and unbeknown to me, my agent had put the book to auction and a bidding deal was under way between five publishing houses. I got home after a hard shift to many missed phone calls from my agent, desperate for an answer. I won’t go into details, but it was for big money and five books. It was unreal, unbelievable, but also the most exciting time of my life. I more or less decided to give up my career as a police officer on the spot. Acceptance is still a thrill. But it’s also frightening. When I complete a novel and send it to the publishers, it’s still a nerve-racking wait to find out if they’re happy with the latest book. There are never any guarantees. Each book must stand on its own merits, and it’s like submitting for the first time all over again. Since completing the five-book contract, I’ve been back to the same situation again – twice – but have been fortunate to snag deals up to book nine in the series. But it goes on. When book nine’s written, I’m back to wondering, hoping and praying for another deal – like everyone else. It’s scary, and the fear doesn’t lessen.
Morgen: Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Matt: Dozens! Prior to getting a deal I completed seven crime / thriller novels, all of which remain unpublished. I have been turned down on more occasions than I can truly recall. But I just forged on. I looked at rejections as being one person’s opinion only. Being shortlisted in those competitions I mentioned earlier helped push me. I also took on board any comments or criticisms I received back from the agents and publishers I approached, and tried to put their concerns right in my next book. Rejection is part of the business, and you can’t get hung up on it or take things personally. You just have to keep on keeping on.
Morgen: Absolutely and you’re a great example. What are you working on at the moment / next?
Matt: I have a strange writing routine. Because two different houses, with different publication schedules, publish me it’s not unusual for me to be working on various books at the same time. For instance, as I write this, I’m also working on a re-write of Joe Hunter eight (See: even published authors get rejected. My editor wants a major re-write of the book after disliking my first and second efforts), thinking about Joe Hunter nine, while editing and proofing book seven for the British market, and editing and proofing book four for the US market. It can get a little confusing. Add to that the fact I’m also writing the aforementioned horror / thriller Apocalypse novel, as well as having two Joe Hunter short stories to pen for an upcoming e-book collection and you can imagine I’m kind of busy at the present. But I love it. Even if / when I’m not contracted I can’t foresee a day when I won’t be writing (God willing).
Morgen: Hopefully all serious writers are like that, published or otherwise. Do you manage to write every day? What’s the most you’ve written in a day?
Matt: I try to write something every day. It’s not always possible due to the marketing we talked about earlier, but I guess you’d call me compulsive. I have to write, or I feel I haven’t lived. When I am working, I try to get to the computer in the early morning and work to about mid-day, before taking a couple hours off to spend with my wife and family. But in the late afternoon I come back to the computer again and it’s not unusual for me to be still there late in the evening. I write furiously, and aim to write at least one to two chapters at each sitting. I’m in the fortunate position that I do not have to hold down a full-time job, and my children are now grown and independent, so I do have more time to commit to my writing than many other authors.
Morgen: I'm luckier than many that I only work part-time and 99% of the rest is spent writing-related but not as much time as I should to the actual writing (see earlier note to self) although I seem to manage it when I have a deadline or things like NaNoWriMo or StoryADayMay roll around. :) What is your opinion of writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it? If so, how do you ‘cure’ it?
Matt: There are times when I struggle for ideas or for the right words, but what I do in those instances is step away from my current project and go and write one of the others. I am usually able to bash on, and then subliminally work on the problem with the first project. When I return to it, my ‘block’ has disappeared and off I go again. The worst thing any author can do is sit looking at a blank screen or book. Even if what you write is a load of old rubbish, just get it down. It will keep you moving and your mind working, and re-enthuse you.
Morgen: Because you can’t edit a blank screen / page. :) Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Matt: You’ve probably guessed by now that I’m pretty much a “write by the seat of the pants” type of guy. I’m quite visual and play scenes through my mind’s eye and go with the direction my imagination takes me. I often have a germ of an idea, a phrase, a scene, and run with it. I find plotting and structuring to be far too stifling for my imagination and prepare to go with it. I think of my writing style as being “organic” and it’s like a wild shoot that grows finding its own way to the sunlight (or the end of the book). I’ve tried planning in the past but find that the spontaneity has been lost and find that I’m then writing by numbers. I prefer to begin at the beginning and write to the end, then I go back (a number of times) to flesh out the story, cull the rubbish and tie up any hanging plot threads. There’s no right or wrong way to write; it’s more a case of what suits you as an individual. The downside of my style of writing is that sometimes you can find you’ve written yourself into a blind alley, and you have no idea where to go from there. Then it’s about backtracking a few pages to a place where a new angle will take you.
Morgen: Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
Matt: I don’t have a method per se: the characters just come to me usually. Sometimes it’s from a name or an image…or I steal names from the telephone directory. I did once see a photo of a vagrant with pale skin and lank hair and floppy hat. From that one glance I had a demented contract killer who suffered from the skin complaint vitiligo, who fancied himself a fallen angel – or Duke of hell – called Dantalion. In the action-oriented style of book I write I do rely a bit on suspension of disbelief, and the characters can be seen as a little exaggerated (the way they are in action thriller movies), but I do try to ground my hero and his close associates in the real world. I think that a larger than life villain is necessary, without falling into parody, so I do tend to big up their ‘bad traits’.
Morgen: Normality would be dull. :) Who is your first reader – who do you first show your work to?
Matt: My wife doesn’t necessarily read my books first, but hers is the ear that my writing falls on constantly as I’m writing a book. She helps me with ideas and critiques when she thinks I’ve got something totally wrong. So I guess, without having read the books, she knows all there is to know about them and can probably recite them from memory. Next though, my agent and his wife (also an in-house reader at LBA for the record) are the next people to see my rough drafts. Their advice is invaluable and I will always follow their hints to get the book to a more than acceptable standard before sending it on to my publisher. When I receive the books back in a proof copy form, my father is always the first to grab the book and read it. He’s become a big Joe Hunter fan.
Morgen: LBA? Ah yes, your agency. I have a boss who is a voracious reader and has given me some feedback on one of my books (the big chick lit despite preferring historical thrillers!). Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Matt: I edit a lot. The book goes through various stages of editing at my end, then my agent’s reader does a line edit, and after that it goes to my editor at the publishing house. Another line edit then happens (sometimes with suggestions for a re-write here and there), then it goes to the copy editor, before final proofs are made – which again has to be edited and checked for printing errors and final typos. With the best will in the world, some glitches do creep in. By the time I’ve read the book around twenty times, I think I’ve hit a stage where I see what I expect to see rather than what is actually there. Extra or fresh sets of eyes can help here. But, to backtrack a little: Yes, I’ve learned a lot now that I’m writing the eighth book in the series and have come to recognise what my publisher requires, as well as better understanding the house style etc., so there are less problems these days when I deliver a manuscript.
Morgen: Twenty? Wow. I’d had enough (of mine, I hasten to add) by full edit number four. You’re bound to be more practiced now. What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
Matt: Three mugs of coffee, two or three cigarettes. A quick check for urgent emails, and then off I go.
Morgen: I’m more of a tea person and not such a quick check (I’m rubbish at turning it off). Do you write on paper or do you prefer a computer?
Matt: These days I write directly on to computer. I tried laptops, but they were awkward when holding a mug of coffee in one hand and a ciggie in the other, so I’ve gone back to a desk with a Mac computer.
Morgen: Yay! I’m a Mac owner too and would never go back to a PC. I love Apple's adverts and could watch (actually have done) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QseVo71qYKY over and over (and over) again. :)
Matt: Once over though it was always pen and paper.
Morgen: Me too. And I can’t use a pencil. The only time I do is when I draw something (and it’s been too long since I’ve done any of that) – could be something to do with thinking that it’ll rub out too easily and I’ll lose my precious ideas.
Matt: I still have reams of short stories lying around the house in various jotters and A4 pads and ring binders. These days I believe it’s necessary to write on a computer though, as it certainly helps with the process of sending alterations to manuscripts to my publishers etc. I now do all my line edits for my US publisher via email. I very rarely even print a doc these days. A sign of the times? Certainly better for the rain forests.
Morgen: Ah, I make up for it (loads of ring binders). What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
Matt: I apparently have an odd writing style. I use first person past tense to narrate from Joe Hunter’s point of view, but use third person past tense to show the villain’s. I love first person in that it can be used to encourage pace and urgency, but it does also have its downside in that it sometimes comes across a little “me, myself and I”. Also, first person has the inherent problem of only being able to show what the narrator sees, hears’ or does.
Morgen: I’ve heard a few times (from podcasts, chatting with agents and other authors at the recent Winchester Writers’ Festival) that first person has been popular but is becoming overused (certainly present tense).
Matt: I think the mix of first and third person POV works well for me, and it has become somewhat of a trademark of my style. I did try writing one Hunter book completely in third person, but it just didn’t ring true to me. The voice was off. So, basically, I rewrote the Hunter chapters in first and it was much better.
Morgen: I think it’s a great formula (it’s working in your ‘Cut and run’ that I’m reading at the moment and am really enjoying - I'm even reading it while walking the dog / to & from work :)). One of my former tutor’s novels (Judith Allnatt’s A Mile of River - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mile-River-Judith-Allnatt/dp/0385613067) is alternate first and third person and it works really well. Third person gives you an overview then first person gets inside one of the character’s head and you see what’s really going on.
Matt: For my other books, that is the horror books I am working on, these are both third person past tense, but I’m OK with them as they are different voices than Hunter’s, and with larger casts of characters. Second person, and present tense are both styles I struggle with. Funnily, I struggle to read them as well.
Morgen: I’m not really surprised. I love the second person but it’s really a short piece point of view. Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Matt: Oh, yes! Hundreds. Many of my jottings are vignettes, or anecdotal comments and would never see publication. I’ve also a couple of novels that I now know are sub par, but I do have some that might require only a quick tidy up and modernisation to bring them up to speed. I’ve two crime novels, a supernatural thriller, and a horror thriller set against WWII that I hope to one day see on the shelves or – Damnit! – published as e-books. Dozens of short stories too.
Morgen: What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life?
Matt: My favourite is the creative aspects, that feeling you get when you’re in full flow and the words are charging from your fingertips with such pace that you can hardly keep up. I also love meeting and engaging with my readers, though I am modest and shy when doing so. But it’s a great sensation when you’ve touched someone enough for them to take time out to come and tell you they enjoyed reading your work. The part I hate most is when you are held to ransom by the major chains and supermarkets, and not given the best chance of succeeding, when they’d rather stock the latest z-celebrity autobiography (now there’s a misnomer if ever I heard one) over work that authors have truly grafted over. One major retailer – who will remain nameless – said “We won’t support Matt Hilton until we see how he does”. Where is the logic in that? Sadly it is an aspect of ‘the writing game’ and something I’ve just to grin and bear with. Oh, and nasty, for the sake of it, reviewers who try their hardest to be personal about an author’s writing: what purpose do they serve? We all need constructive criticism, it’s how we grow and get better. But when people ‘trash talk’ it does not help the author, the reader or anyone else. It simply swells their little empire of hate that growing in their own heads. I don’t like them. I’m all for supporting authors. Even if I positively did not like their books, I’d only ever try to give positive, constructive feedback to help them grow.
Morgen: Absolutely. It’s how much writing group works. If anything, what has been your biggest surprise about writing?
Matt: The friendship, camaraderie and support I’ve received from fellow authors. I admit that I thought it would be a world of guarded secrets and backstabbing, but it’s quite the opposite. I’ve made many firm friends; who’d have thought that crime writers would turn out to be about the nicest, most open and friendly people you’re likely to meet? (Possibly ever genre writer says the same thing about theirs).
Morgen: That surprised me too (not sure why). I recently interviewed crime novelist Adrian Magson and he said that in his wealth of experience, business industries would never be like that. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Matt: Never give up. It took me the best part of thirty years to crack the rejection cycle.
Morgen: I’ve got c. 25 years to go then. :)
Matt: But if your writing is good, sooner or later someone will notice. I would also like to tell people that I am not educated beyond secondary school level, have no formal writing qualifications, did not know anyone in publishing, and live in one of the most remote areas of England, about as far away from London as you can get: so please use me as an inspiration. If I can do it, then anyone can.
Morgen: What do you like to read?
Matt: I read all sorts. I’ve even been known to read the ingredients on a tube of toothpaste when nothing else has been to hand.
Morgen: Two other interviewees and I have mentioned cereal boxes. :)
Matt: But I guess you’re referring to genres. I read mainly American style crime thrillers, suspense and mystery. But at the moment I’m also reading quite a lot of horror. Being a published author, I receive books from publishers for quote or review, so I tend to read a lot of debut novels. But I like that. I discover new authors to follow all the time. Plus, there’s a sense of supporting your colleagues, so I also read lots of books by my contemporaries.
Morgen: Are there any writing-related books that you find useful and would recommend?
Matt: Stephen Kings’ On Writing is one of the finest books penned on the writing game.
Morgen: This book has been the most mentioned guide in these interviews. I’ve owned it for months and have never done more than dipping. The last person to mention it was Shaun Allan and that got it from the bookcase to my bedside – hopefully this nudge will get me to start reading it. :) And writing-related websites?
Matt: I tend not to go to websites these days, but there are some great ones available. There are many genre related sites in the web and blogosphere that publish / post aspiring authors’ work, and these are a massive leap towards publication these days. Many anthologies cull the sites for gems, and I know that some literary agents are now taking note, reading the sites, and contacting authors they’ve read there. There are so many it would be unfair of me to mention just a few. I even co-edit a blog-zine called Thrillers, Killers ‘n’ Chillers, and if anyone would like to take a nosey it can be found at http://thrillskillsnchills.blogspot.com were there are also links to many other writing and fiction related sites.
Morgen: In which country are you based and do you find this a help or hindrance with letting people know about your work?
Matt: As I mentioned, I’m based in the north of England. Because I’m fortunate to be published internationally, I am well represented most places. However, when I look at the traffic coming to my website and various on-line presences, it does mainly come from the UK, USA and Australia. It’s a big, big world, out there and still a lot of it to be conquered, I guess.
Morgen: Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how invaluable do you find them?
Matt: I blog, Wordpress, Facebook, Tweet, and have a website. But I’m also a member of other forums on the net as well. It can sometimes be time consuming to update all the networking sites all the time, but it is very helpful in engaging with readers and fellow authors and such. I’ve made many ‘digital’ friends over the last few years, and their support has been unprecedented.
Morgen: Where can we find out about you and your work?
Matt: http://www.matthiltonbooks.com is my website, while I blog at http://matthiltonbooks.blogspot.com , and can be found on Facebook here http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1418086006 and here http://www.facebook.com/pages/Joe-Hunter-Crime-Thrillers/153735557978125 and Joe Hunter has his blog here http://joehunterbooks.wordpress.com while my Twitter account can be found under @MHiltonauthor
I even have a site for my horror alter ego here http://vallonjacksonbooks.wordpress.com.
Morgen: What do you think the future holds for a writer?
Matt: For writers it’s the same as ever. We’ll keep on writing. But for published authors, I believe we’re on the cusp of a revolution. E-books, love them or hate them, will shape the way forward, as will other new forms of technology. There is now a generation of readers who have grown up reading from hand-held devices, so its apparent that they are going to be most comfortable with this medium. If anything, texting, tweeting etc. has probably done more to lower illiteracy than anything else in history (education notwithstanding), where people who would never before have picked up a pen and paper to willingly write about their lives, dreams, desires, do so on their mobile devices. OK, the spelling’s shocking for the most part, but at least they’re learning to read and write.
Morgen: Yes, a mixed bag alright. Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Matt: I’d like to thank you for your kindness and interest, and for the opportunity to speak to and engage with your readers. And thanks for those readers who stuck with my rambling. Hope I helped answer a couple of things that you’ve been wondering about.
Morgen: Thank you, I know how busy you must be so am so grateful for you taking part.
Matt then returned on 10th August for part 2:
Matt Hilton quit his career as a police officer with Cumbria Constabulary in order to pursue his love of writing tight, cinematic American-style crime thrillers. He is the author of the Joe Hunter thriller series. His first novel – Dead Men’s Dust – was released in May 2009 by Hodder & Stoughton in the UK and by William Morrow & Company (Harper Collins) in the USA. Dead Men’s Dust has been translated into four foreign languages, and shortlisted for the ITW debut thriller ward of 2009. Judgement and Wrath, Slash and Burn, Cut and Run and Blood and Ashes are all now published, with Dead Men’s Harvest due for publication in mid-August 2011. Married and living in Cumbria, Matt is a high-ranking martial artist and has been a detective and private security specialist, all of which lend an authenticity to the action scenes in his books.
I mentioned earlier that I'm currently reading Matt's book 'Cut and run' and devised more questions to put to him which I posted on Wednesday 10th August - you can read those here. Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day I can't normally review books (I spotted 'Cut and run' when shopping the other day) but I'd gladly accept a (2,000-word max) short story to either mention aspects of in our interview or critique in a dedicated 'red pen' podcast episode - see below.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the questions. You complete them, I tweak them where appropriate (if necessary to reflect the blog ‘clean and light’ rating) and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know.
You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore, Kobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum and you can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me. I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.
Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) :) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.