Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Matthew Quinn Martin author of the Nightlife series
Hi Mr. Martin, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Where are you from?
- That’s slightly complicated. I moved around a lot a a kid and an adult as well, so I feel like I’m “from” a lot of places…but no physical plot of real estate actually feels like home to me.
Tell us your latest news? Current Projects?
- The NIGHTLIFE series third installment came out this summer…but I’m taking a break from those books right now to work on a crime thriller. Also, a short story of mine will be part of Eric Smith‘s anthology Welcome Home which features work centering around the themes of adopted and fostered children. I’m very excited to be included in this as all the proceeds will go to foster/adoption based charities, which is a subject very close to my heart
When and why did you begin writing?
- I first dabbled in writing as a young teen. I was an avid reader (and nerd) and was stuck at my grandparents’ house one rainy weekend. I was bored. They had an old typewriter, and I thought…“hmmm…maybe I could write a story.” Like so many physical objects from my childhood, those pages are long gone. But it planted a seed…one that wouldn’t actually take root until my late 20’s when I came (a bit late) to the writing game for real
What genre are your books?
- The NIGHTLIFE books are “horror.” I don’t shy away from that label. But I’d like to think that they are more in the “X-Files” vein than your average zombie/slasher/ghost books. Although, as I said, my new WIP is a crime thriller and I’ve worked in various genres in my short work and screenwriting
What draws you to this genre?
- While certain genres have more allure for me, I don’t stick to just one. I simply follow the story and let the labels affix themselves as they will. They guys and gals in marketing are the ones who pick the genre (not just for me…for us all).
Give us an insight into your main character(s)
- I wish I could. But I only know them as well as my readers do. That’s not meant to be flip. Think about it this way. Who knows a person better…their parents? or their lover? I won’t answer (because there is no answer), but people who read and (hopefully) love my characters have just as much insight into them as I ever will…and probably more in only because there are more of them.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
- I am constantly trying to get better at my craft. Again (and I hate to hammer this) only the readers can point to the results, both in direction and in distance.
What do you do to get book reviews?
- I don’t do much besides reach out to existing contacts in the book reviewing community. It helps to have a “Big 5” publisher behind you (no matter how small a fish you are in their river), not just because of what they “do” for you, but it helps to establish the legitimacy of your work (no matter how illusory that might be).
Do you have to travel much concerning your books?
- I hit the convention circuit at a moderate clip––maybe 4-6 per year. I also lecture and/or do readings at the local level. This is (for me anyways) more about connecting with a community of readers and writers than “pushing units.” If I relied on personal connections to float my writing career, I’d be done before I started
What’s your views on social media for marketing?
- I firmly believe that writers should use social media first and foremost as a way to present an authentic avenue of connection for their readers. And second, that they should use whatever platform they have to support the writers in (and out of) their circle that they believe in and want to see succeed. “Give it away” is my motto.
Which social network worked best for you?
- I’m a Twitter guy. This is partially for self-preservation (Facebook eats up too much time and too many words). Partially because I believe is focusing on one platform and not spreading myself too thin. And partially because I’m too lazy to try to figure out the other (newer) ones like Instagram, Tumbler, and so on
When did you first, without hesitation call yourself a writer?
- When I walked onto the set of my first produced feature film (SLINGSHOT). If you are asking me when I think you are “allowed” to call yourself a writer…I agree with the old saw that “you are a writer when a writer calls you a writer.” (even if this comes in the form of essentially being dissed in front of the star of Ready to Rumble).
What is your least favorite part of the writing process?
- Basically everything that comes in between getting the idea and handing it into the editor.
What is the hardest part of the writing process?
In ten words or less, Describe your writing style.
- Not as good as I know it will be someday
What books have influenced your life the most?
- Hoo boy…that’s a tough one, so here’s a sample. From my early days, comic books and comic strips (all kinds…from Sols’ Snake Tales and Calvin and Hobbes and Bloom County and X-Men and Grendel etc). Then later, books Dune (which I still regularly re-read), The Dragon Lance books, everything I could find by Michael Moorcock, and stuff like that. Then as I got older, my tastes broadened to includes favorites like Confederacy of Dunces, The Dark Tower Saga, Everything by Harlan Ellison, Wise Blood, The Talented Mister Ripley, Lancelot. I’m kind of an omnivore in that way, I guess. I read a lot. I watch a lot. And I try to learn from all of it the best I can.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
- Well…and I’m slightly biased on this one…but I can’t recommend Libby Cudmore‘s debut novel The Big Rewind highly enough. John Dixon’s Phoenix Island is a master class in “how to write a compelling thriller.” I’m totally loving Robert Galbraith‘s stuff. Truthfully, though, (and ironically) for me being a writer makes it difficult to read for pleasure…you get so used to staring at type trying to figure out how to make it better that it becomes difficult to get lost in a book like you used to. Is this ironic? Yes. Is it kind of bittersweet? Sure. I guess that’s just part of the process.
Do you have any strange writing habits?
- I draft on a manual typewriter…a giant Olympia desk machine that weighs like 30 pounds…it’s a great hedge against “on-the-fly” editing
If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your books, who would play your characters?
- Coming from a screenwriting background this one is just too painful of a thought experiment to use specific actors…so I will just say “the ones who will do the characters and the story justice.” (However…if Ninja and Yolandi-Visser from Die Antwoord are reading this, please shoot me an email and I will write a script especially for you!).
If you had a super power, what would it be?
- Invisibility…but only if I could make my clothes invisible too (lest this happen). All writers are voyeurs. I’m just being honest about the level that that intrusive quality might go if given free reign. And I’ll let your readers (and other writers) decide how far any of us (me included) might go in that thought experiment
What secret talents do you have?
- I play the bagpipes. I guess that’s not that secret considering how loud they are.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
If that didn’t sink in, then this: QUIT WRITING!
And then if you find that you can’t quit writing…
It that doesn’t work…seek out help. Professional help.
If that still doesn’t work, take a hard look at the realities of a writer’s life (not the “exceptions that prove the rule”…but the reality for most working writers) and QUIT WRITING!!!
And if that still doesn’t scare you into quitting…
…then you are a writer. For good or for ill, that is what you are. You might not be a competent writer (you might…who knows?), but you are a writer. The next step is getting better at your craft…we can always get better, so you’d better start ASAP!
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
by following the links below! And thanks so much for having me!
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview