Author Interview: Matthew Munson
Hi, Matt. Welcome to my blog. Thank you for allowing me to interview you. It’s a pleasure to have you here with us.
It’s a pleasure to be here – thank you for having me!
Would you take a moment and introduce yourself to us?
My full name is Matthew Nigel Walter Jarvist Munson (just call me Matthew!), author of Fall From Grace, a contemporary fantasy novel – and I’m incredibly excited about it!
How long have you been writing?
Well, I think there were a couple of years after I was born where I busy learning the alphabet and remembering how to walk …
Sorry, I have a warped sense of humour.
I’ve been fascinated by language for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first story when I was about nine or ten, and it was about a time-travelling cowboy who travelled into space and fought some dinosaurs. It was eight pages long and had illustrations to fill up the gaps.
Would you mind telling my readers a little more about your book?
Fall From Grace is a contemporary fantasy novel – and I was about to give you the blurb I give people when I’m asked this question, but I want to share with you instead a friend’s thoughts, which she emailed me the other day. “It’s easy to read on the eye like ice cream in the mouth; girl angels, death, time travel (well, kind of), policemen, ex priests and politics in heaven.” I love that synopsis better than any I could have written!
I see that Fall From Grace is your debut novel. How did you come up with the idea for the book?
I have a very fertile imagination! I’ve always had an interest in religion, myths and the heaven / hell concepts – and Fall From Grace started to formulate from that interest.
What type of research, if any, did you do for the novel?
Well, it’s related to the above; I’m now an atheist, but I was born into a Protestant / Catholic family, baptized a Protestant and went to a Catholic secondary school – and religion was also a fascination for me so, even after I lost my faith, so I read a lot of texts and books about the history of myths. Then I also read authors like Dan Brown, Terry Pratchett, China Mieville, who all inspired me to develop my own style of writing.
You’ve quite an intriguing subject for this book. When did you first come up with the idea for it?
Haven’t the foggiest as to exactly when – all I know is that it’s bouncing round my head for years. I wrote a couple of other manuscripts to first draft level, with this still banging around my head, until I had the confidence to start writing Fall From Grace.
Is this the only genre that you’ve written of? Or have you experimented with others?
I’ve got a first draft of an MI5 spy thriller languishing in development hell on my laptop, as well as 2/3 of a sci-fi story. I intend to go back and work on them after I’ve finished my current work.
Do you have any upcoming projects? If so, are you able to tell us a little more about it/them?
Happily! I’m honoured to regularly contribute to R B Wood’s Word Count Podcast (http://www.rbwood.com), and have just submitted my latest entry (oh, and by the way, R B’s debut novel launched on 31st October 2011 – I was lucky enough to Beta read it and it is awesome, so go buy it).
I write a monthly column for the Hearing Times newspaper, a monthly newspaper in the UK for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people as well – and must do my next column before the deadline this month!
Aside from that, I’ve started work on a sequel to Fall From Grace, provisionally entitled “Articles of Faith”, about … well, you’ll have to wait and see! I’m 30,000 words into the first draft, so a few more months and we’ll see that it looks like.
How do you find the inspiration when writing your stories?
It could be from anywhere; one short story was inspired by something I saw in the shop window of my local Woolworth’s, of all places.
With writing, I think it’s about being open to new opportunities and ideas – and so getting out there and seeing things for yourself is vital. That creates so much more realism in the story you’re telling – perhaps even a fantasy book like mine, although I defer to people reading it to see if they agree!
What’s influenced you the most?
On my writing style or for this book? Either way, that’s a difficult question – and not one I can easily answer. Writers I admire hugely are Terry Pratchett, Joe Abercrombe, David Moody, China Mieville … the list could go on!
For this book, so many events have influenced my writing of it; I’m fascinated with religion and myth – and my own take on the world, through my atheism, has of course informed my writing in the book.
What do you in your spare time? Do you spend it reading or doing research for future works?
Both! I love reading – I’ve mentioned some authors who have been huge formative influences in my life – and whatever’s going on in my life always helps guide me down new paths and thoughts. I’m passionate about autism and deaf studies (and awareness), and I’m constantly meeting people and doing things within that sphere that sends my brain off in new directions!
When thinking about writing new material, do you take the time to outline your story or do you just go with the flow and see where it takes you?
Hmm, a bit of both. I’ve tried both ways of writing, and I’ve found I veer more towards the “seat of your pants” style of writing. I’ve got more comfortable with doing some in-depth initial plotting, but I still love that feeling of discovering ideas and concepts at the same time as the characters. It’s more exciting that way, I think!
Do you have any recommendations for books that you think the blog’s readers may enjoy?
Steven Jones, R B Wood, Eden Baylee and Mark Stone are very exciting new authors that I hope get HUGE in the future. They’re all such inventive writers and I love following their writing through their Facebook sites. Find them there and follow them – you won’t be sorry!
Do you have any tips, or thoughts, that you would like to offer to the blog’s readers?
If you’re unpublished; never give up. I live by Danielle Steel’s maxim; “It’s taken me 16 years to become an overnight success.” I love that, because it could well take that long of me – because I am determined to make a success of my writing. Never give up.
If you’re published; never forget that feeling you got when you got that first letter or email or phone call saying, “We want to publish you.” If you ever feel upset or jaded or angry, remember that feeling. I’m a newbie to the world of publication, but I will never forget the feeling.
Thank you so much for the interview, Matt. I hope everyone has enjoyed it as much as I have and that they’ve learned more about you. I appreciate the opportunity that you’ve given me to feature you here on my blog. I look forward to more of your books in the future and wish you the best of success with all of your endeavors.
Matt: Thank you for having me – it’s been a lot of fun talking with you today!
About The Author:
I’ve just entered my 30?s – which wasn’t as scary or as painful as I thought it would be – and I live in Kent, in the south-east of England. I grew up in a seaside town, then moved precisely four miles down the road … and stopped.
So now I continue to live by the sea, with my desk facing out onto a busy high street; this tests my concentration and willpower, as I have a daily target of 1,000 words minimum. I usually succeed … and feel guilty when I don’t.
My non-writing interests centre around dyspraxia and autism studies and Deaf awareness – I’m currently learning British Sign Language level two. I write about these subjects over at my blog and always welcome feedback.
For more updates on his writing, follow his blog: http://vikingbay.blogspot.com/
Book Blurb: The debut novel by Matthew Munson, ‘Fall From Grace’ follows the lives of three friends who find themselves somehow caught in middle of the wars in Heaven which started over two thousand years ago. Paul, an ex-priest, feels his life is passing him by since he left his calling, and the increasing frequency of his dreams doesn’t help. He can’t even shake the feeling after talks with Joseph, his best friend and sceptic extraordinaire. Joseph’s sister Lauren is happy with her new post as a Psychologist at the local university, but just wishes her long-suffered mental absences would stop. As their true identities are revealed, Paul, Joseph and Lauren must venture to the Ruling Chamber itself to come face to face not only the Almighty himself, but with those who started the rebellion over two millennia ago.