Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Matthew S. Cox, and I’m 44.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m originally from South Amboy, NJ. I spent a few years living around Allentown, PA but that happened so long ago it feels like I never left NJ.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I was a late arrival, so I never really got to know my brother and sister who both moved out before my memory kicked in. I wound up getting stuck going to catholic schools to twelfth grade, which probably explains my healthy suspicion of religion. I initially went to college as an English major but I also made the mistake of going too young and lacked focus. I dabbled with art school before eventually getting certified for network technology, but it’s been a few years since I worked in the IT field. Presently, my family consists of two cats, Loki and Dorian.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’ve recently embarked on a project to write several series in conjunction with JR Rain. The first book of one of the series – Convergence – Winter Solstice #1 is due to release July 31. I’m not sure when the other series is due, but it’s coming soon. My next two releases are The Dysfunctional Conspiracy, which I co-wrote with Christopher Veltmann. It’s a non-fiction memoir of his experience on the wrong end of the justice system. And on August 1, the Eldritch Heart releases. It’s a YA princess fantasy where the princess falls in love with her servant girl instead of the handsome prince she’s being ordered to marry.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve spent many years dabbling with writing, making characters, worlds, and stories as part of roleplaying games (which bear a startling similarity to novel writing). Around 2012, Chris Eke, my then-supervisor at work commented, “I should be a writer.” At the time, I worked responding to emails, and he thought, based on reading them, that I ought to give writing a book a try. Years before that, I had written a novel (that I still haven’t done anything with). It wound up being a monster that I’m almost afraid to look at again. I think a lot of writers’ first efforts turns into a giant Lovecraftian monster that we try to bury in the dark depths and pretend it never happened.
Anyway, at Chris’ urging, the idea to write a novel came back to me, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I had been pretty addicted to playing World of Warcraft, but it had become boring and tedious after like six years. One day, it reached critical mass, and I decided “screw it, I’m going to write a book.”
And here I am 39 novels later.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When people I didn’t know and had never met before told me they loved my story.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The first book I wrote (not counting my Lovecraftian leviathan) is not the first book I had published. Virtual Immortality is the first novel I wrote when I decided to get serious about being a novelist. It’s origin lies in a tabletop game I ran for some friends. Of course, the book has significant differences from how things happened at the table, but the story is, at its core, the same.
The inspiration for that story is a blend of Neuromancer, with a little Ghost in the Shell, and Blade Runner thrown in.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Titles and me have a strange relationship. Either I’ll get an awesome one right away, or I will stew for weeks and never quite feel like the title I settle on is good enough.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I think a writer is the last person to be able to identify their own style. If I have one, I have no idea what it is. I’d be curious to hear from people who have read my books and if they think I have a ‘voice.’ If so, what that voice is. As far as challenging goes? I am fortunate enough so far that nothing has really felt particularly difficult. Then again, a lot of my books are set in a world I’d been developing since 1996. I did wind up doing a fair bit of research on witchcraft while writing Nine Candles of Deepest Black though.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Here and there tidbits of things that happened in my life creep into my books. In one, a character dies of an aneurysm rupturing. That’s based on my grandfather passing away at the dinner table when I was 17. None of my books are significantly based on things that happened to me, but I work little references in sometimes.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Nope. So far everything has happened at my desk. When I do “travel,” it’s with Google Maps. It would be kinda nice to have the budget and time to roam for real, but thus far, it hasn’t been an opportunity I can take.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Lately, most of my covers are the work of Eugene Teplitsky of Curiosity Quills. The covers for Virtual Immortality, Prophet of the Badlands, and Archon’s Queen are by Dean Samed. Alexandria Thompson did the original Division Zero series covers. And Chris Malidor did the original cover for Emma and the Banderwigh. The cover for the Divergent Fates Anthology is by Sam Hunt.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I have yet to write a novel with a specific “message” or “moral.” Most of the time, I’m hoping I can reach readers on an emotional level and have them connect with my characters.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
I was really fond of Ready Player One, as well as The Martian. If I had to pick a favorite writer, I’d have to go with William Gibson, since he is considered the father of my preferred genre – cyberpunk.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Other than the people at Curiosity Quills, I can’t think of anyone who played a major role in that regard besides Chris Eke suggesting I write.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I’d like to. I’m certainly hoping it reaches that point.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I don’t think there’s a writer out there who’s “really” a writer who can look at one of their past books and not want to change something. Books are never really “done.” They just reach a point where we can force ourselves to stop tinkering.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned a lot about how wrong things can go how fast when working with Chris Veltmann on The Dysfunctional Conspiracy. The legal system you think is there to support you can be bent pretty easy if the wrong people have the power.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I rarely map celebrities to my characters. Sometimes it happens, and not always for the lead. The match ups I’ve had in my head so far are: Alan Rickman for Archon (The Awakened Series). Ron Perlman for Sergeant Gensch (Wayfarer: AV494). A 30-ish Gabriel Byrne for Father Molinari (Chiaroscuro-The Mouse and the Candle). Charlie Hunnam for Kevin (Roadhouse Chronicles Series). And I kept hearing the voice of the cat, Mr. Moody from Convergence as TED from the movie with the teddy bear.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Read Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Brown and Dave King. Also, it’s not a rush to get published. If you decide to go the traditional route and seek an agent – do research. Don’t just shotgun queries, especially if the agent you target has no interest in your genre.
Also, before you even try contacting agents, make sure you’ve had a few people who aren’t relatives read your work and give feedback. Don’t scramble to change everything they point out. If only one person says something, chalk it up to opinion. If two people make the same comment, give it some thought. If three or more people make the same critique, it’s probably worth changing.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I hope you enjoy the story and I was able to offer you a few hours’ escape from the drag of real life. I love being able to make people laugh, I take guilty pleasure in making people cry, and I sincerely hope that they had as much fun reading my stories as I did in writing them.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am so swamped with edits and drafts I haven’t read for fun in a while. The last thing I read for fun was the entire Harry Potter series (Which I read about three months ago – yes, Clare from Curiosity Quills gave me crap for not having read it before).
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I’m not entirely sure, but I do remember getting yelled at for reading Coma when I was in like second or third grade. The teacher thought it was too adult for a kid.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Intelligent humor (think George Carlin) makes me laugh. I tend to get sad at news involving bad things happening to kids.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Probably George Carlin. A lot of his later routines resonate with my opinions. I think he’d be a wonderful person to have a deep conversation with.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Computer games, roleplaying games… I dabbled with drawing for a while but haven’t touched it in years.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I don’t watch much TV lately, but I’m a fan of Ghost Adventures. I liked Sense8 and Stranger Things. I like most science fiction or fantasy movies, but I try to avoid any shows/movies that have kid characters die.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
My favorite color is blue. I tend to prefer rock music but I can listen to almost anything except rap. I can’t really think of a “favorite” food. I like a lot of different things.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would probably be trying to survive in a post-nuclear wasteland if I wasn’t writing. Since, I’d probably only stop writing if no one would ever read what I wrote. (and having to hand write a novel, bleh. I think I might be lazy).
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
“Game Over. Insert coin to continue.”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
My website is:http://www.matthewcoxbooks.com/wordpress/
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MatthewSCoxAuthor
Here’s my Amazon author page – https://www.amazon.com/Matthew-S.-Cox/e/B00IU223WI