My guest in this week’s Reading Room, my good friend and GFWW buddy Matthew Bryant, has a very special distinction. Not only do our debut novels share a birthday (must read Towers – it’s fricking awesome!), but my dad reviewed Towers on Amazon before he reviewed my novel. (Editor’s Note: Yes, I realize it’s cheating, just have to give my dad a hard time)
So sit back, let Matthew entertain you as he so often does in our writers group meetings. And, then buy his book.
What role has books and reading played in your life?
Books have always been a vice, playing well into my escapist personality. Action, adventure, drama, even romance have always been a flip of the pages away. I got put on academic probation after my first year of college because I kept skipping classes to hang in the library and read. Ironically it was my later years of partying that pulled my grades up to As.
(Editor’s Note: Yeah, those libraries get us all into trouble)
What are some of your favorite authors through your life? Any new favorites added to that list?
As a child, I was a huge fan of Roald Dahl. Now that I’m a parent, he’s come back pretty hardcore. I read a LOT of epic fantasy through middle school and high school, finally settling on the macabre and beautiful works of Clive Barker and Neil Gaiman. This up-and-coming writer, Kim Packsithard or something like that, has got my attention lately.
(Editor’s Note: Yeah, we’ve heard of her)
Was there a moment when you decided to become an author? If so, was there someone or something that sparked that?
Several big moments. The first came from finishing the Death Gate series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. I HATED it. Seven books and I hated the ending. I wanted to rewrite it. I’d given so much love to books and was sick of being disappointed by them. So I wanted to be the one who wrote them.
Through the wonderful power of the internet, I was able to send emails to two of my favorite authors at the time: Eve Forward and William H. Keith Jr. One wrote science fiction war novels. The BEST science fiction war novels (he still holds this rank in my heart) The other one parodied fantasy cliches, but in a subtle way that you could enjoy a wonderful story while laughing at the ridiculous trends. To my shock, both responded and were very encouraging.
Do you read when you write? If so, does your writing influence the books you pick up?
NO! Don’t get me wrong, I read a lot, even with my busy schedule. But I never pick up a book while I’m writing. First of all, I don’t want to get distracted and accidentally write from somebody else’s voice in my head. Second of all, my writing involves a total submersion into the world I created. If I get pulled out of that, it takes me hours to get back into that world.
The publishing industry has experienced much change in the past few years, how do you think these changes impact the readers?
The publishing industry has evolved. While the big five might be sweating a bit, the indie scene has blown up exactly how it should. Thousands of voices now find the opportunity to be heard. Time will sort out those with talent from those with time. In the meantime, it is now easier than ever for the readers to pick up and go with fresh works and ideas from all genres. In a sense, it’s a really exciting time to be a reader. Books that would previously be snubbed by corporate America can find their way into our hearts in a ten second download.
Does a good book impact your work?
It’s a lot more inspiring than a bad book. The past three books I’ve had recommended had me wondering how this crap got published. Or how it made it past an editor. I’m starting to think of major publishing labels as Gringotts from the Harry Potter series. Just a bunch of goblins looking cranky. And sexy.
(Editor’s Note: You scare me sometimes.)
As an author, do you think you read differently now? If so, how?
I’m more critical to a point. I’ve always been a sucker for a good story. But now I can pick out rookie mistakes in a heart-beat and I don’t envision authors as these amazing people who live the dream. Now they’re just schmucks like the rest of us. Some with more talent than others.
You have a table for four reservation and can invite three of your favorite authors (living or dead). Who would you invite and why?
Kimberly Packard, Jeff Bacot, and Susie Sheehey. I’d love to say Clive Barker, Mark Twain and, of course Charles Dickens (oh my heart goes mushy for this man) But I wouldn’t really want to meet any of them. These people are as magical and mystical to me as the stories they tell. These are who I consider to be the three masters of the trade and I am forever humbled beneath their words. So with these three (Chrissy Szarek if I can have four) I can sit back and enjoy a delightful conversation with some of my favorite people over some cold beers and plenty of laughs.
(Editor’s Note: You bring the beer, I’ll get the pizza! And we always have room for Chrissy!)
In a Word:
Typically better, book or movie?
E-reader or paperback?
Favorite beach genre?
There are genres of beaches? I like fat beaches… skinny beaches… white, black, yellow, and brown.
If you had time to read one more book in your life, which would you pick?
“Imajica” by Clive Barker. Just once more through the In Ivo….
A long night of getting shot at, the boss gets the girl, and sleeping off the drugs at a seedy
crash house is just another day on the job for Heath.
Fancying himself as a wooden nickel fallen between the cracks of a corporate society, he prefers a life without the complications of routine jobs, needy girlfriends, and certainly not a price on his head. But when you’re a punk from the streets with an addiction to adrenaline and designer drugs, things rarely go your way.
Waking up from a drug-induced coma, Heath finds himself running from dark, mythical creatures that have somehow implanted themselves into the already corrupt hierarchy of districts run by mega-conglomerates.
A career of ruining the lives of others leaves him with few places to turn for help within society – pushing him outside the boundaries of civilization and into the dark world of back-alley surgeons, vicious killers, and sadistic pleasure palaces.
With one foot already in a shallow grave, Heath has nowhere to go but down as he attempts to dig himself out of the trap he’s set for himself and those set by others in a hopeless effort to survive and discover the truth of what goes on within the towers of high society.
Towers is a fast-paced cyberpunk thriller that leaves readers laughing, cringing, and anxiously flipping to see what happens next.
About Matthew Bryant
I have been writing for over 10 years now. Finished a few novels, burned all but one and roasted vienna sausages over the flames… then fed the sausages to starving neighborhood cats (who were the only animals who’d eat the damn things) The cats created a cult of sorts around my persona and erected a giant monolith in my honor.
That is until city ordinances forced it to be torn down for its phallic representation… I guess I shouldn’t have put a pair of shaggy hedges around it. But before it could be removed, it was seen from space. Aliens don’t really exist, but a pair of angels came down in a starship, chopped off my hands and replaced them with feet. Now I type all toes, but it’s helped me to decipher forgotten fairy tales. Apparently there were 1007 Nights.
Inspired by the dark forces that brought a creeping madness in those old tomes, I write science-fiction thrillers, horror, urban fairy tales, and utter nonsense (See above)