Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Hello! And thank you for having me!
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
I’m Matt Gilbert, and I’m 52. I like fun. And explosions. And righteous boots being applied to evil asses.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Lots of places. Originally, I was from Georgia. (I was born and raised in Woodbury, for all you Walking Dead Fans). I did a tour in the Navy, and had several stations. I did a long gig in Silicon Valley for about 14 years. Most recently I live in Florida, hopefully from now on.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I am without letters. I possess only skills, acquired on my own through love and determination, with no imprimatur of any official learning institution. In my day job, I work as a game programmer. I have 5 kids that make life challenging. I am very fond of zombie fiction, especially zombie apocalypse style end of the world scenarios.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I just released book 1 of the “Sins of the Fathers” trilogy, “Dead God’s Due.”The remaining two (“Mad God’s Muse” and “War God’s Will”) will be out in July and August. They are available in print, e-book, and audio.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Oh, way back when I was a teenager, dabbling with shorts. I just never really focused on it enough to produce much until I was older.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’m not sure I do now, really. I think we all have a little of the old ‘imposter syndrome’ going on. Certainly I always imagined myself as a writer, but I think to actually be a writer, you have to have written rather than plan on writing someday. It might suck, but it needs to be finished. So once I finished my first novel, I considered myself ‘a writer’.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Believe it or not, a very long and fun D&D campaign I ran. These novels are the history and backstory that I was working out on the fly while trying to keep my players engaged. (It’s basically the history of the land in which they were playing.) It doesn’t (and shouldn’t) read like a gaming session. Gaming doesn’t translate directly to the written word, but my players would certainly recognize it.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The Dead God, Elgar, will have his due, which is a world of ash.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
No specific style that I know of. My life is pretty busy, so I write when I can scrounge time, basically when I have a moment not consumed by my day job or family matters. Those are surprisingly few. That’s my major challenge.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The general disposition and coarseness of the military types is drawn directly form real life interactions. I acquired a fine lexicon of curse words in the Navy, and I use them liberally, but appropriately.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Nope. All travel is headspace only.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Dusan Markovic, and I think he did an amazing job.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Just that cultural conflict is easy, and cooperation is hard. Everybody, even the bad guy, imagines he is the good guy.
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?
For new writers, I have several I have enjoyed lately. Robb Hayes, who won SPFBO 3 with “Where Loyalties Lie”, is prolific and entertaining. Charles Phipps’s Weredeer books are hilarious. M.L.Spencer’sDarkmage books were really great. I just finished reading A.M. Justice’s “A Wizard’s Forge” and really liked it.
As for my favorite, I probably have to reach way back to Glenn Cook. I think I probably formed most of my views about what makes things grimdark and epic reading his Black Company books.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Paul Steed (yes, that Steed, the guy formerly from Id Software) was instrumental in convincing me to actually write these books. I was shocked and saddened to hear of his passing back in 2012. I had just IM’d with him like a month before, and never saw it coming.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
A partial one, perhaps. Software dev is also a big part of my life, and the opportunities to create things are at least as great as in writing fiction, so I doubt I would ever completely abandon it in favour of writing. But the two can coexist, depending on how little sleep I require.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I can’t imagine what. I had a long time to get it right, and plenty of opportunity to change it. (See below)
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned how to write a novel, I suppose. I don’t mean that as flippant, just simple truth: that was my biggest lesson. It took me something like ten years to write the first book. I had a lot to learn. The second and third were much quicker, because I had worked out a process, and now I can actually produce things in a realistic timeframe.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
There are lots of ‘lead’ characters, but I always envisioned Ahmed as looking a bit like Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Keep doing it. Finish something, and then write something else. That’s what makes you a writer, not the success or the quality. It’s the actual writing.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Pluto damned well IS a planet.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I just picked up Ulff Lehmann’s “Shattered Dreams”, and Dyrk Ashton’s “Paternus.”
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
(blinks, thinks a moment) No, I don’t, and you would think something that significant would stand out, wouldn’t you? I honestly don’t have a clue. The first one I remember is “The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet.” It feels like there may have been others, but that might be the first. “A Wrinkle in Time” wasn’t long after.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Life and people’s experiences, specifically their relationships, and the successes and failures and doubletakes thereof.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Jesus would perhaps be too easy an answer, yes? I’ll pick Cincinnatus as a backup. Jesus is a pretty obvious why. Cincinnatus, well, the guy kind of epitomized stoic duty coupled with awareness of the corrupting nature of power. So one pick actually is God, and the other had the sense to understand he wasn’t God, even though he could have fallen into the trap of thinking he was.Memento mori.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Probably more than I should. I do a lot of video gaming, though less so lately because of time pressure. I play WoW still, Minecraft, and the occasional FPS. I was a huge SWTOR fan until they gave up on the individual class stories and kind of ripped the heart out of group conversations. The Imperial Agent storyline is one of the most compelling video game storylines I ever encountered.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I used to be fond of “Game of Thrones” until season 6+. I very much lost my taste for it after that. Kind of the same for “Walking Dead”, the show really went downhill the last few seasons, and I stopped watching it. “The Expanse” is wonderful, and so is “Altered Carbon”. I also really loved the Netflix Marvel Shows, with the exception of the last season of Iron Fist, which was terrible. I’m a big Star Wars geek. I actually got married at a convention in full Sith dress by The Emperor and Darth Vader.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Definitely a metal fan. Colors are red and black. Empire > Republic, Horde > Alliance!
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Keep programming and be very annoyed, I suspect. 😀
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
With my family. Not really any question there.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
“He made us happier than we would have been otherwise.”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I am most active on Facebook, so it’s a good place to start:
I also post announcements and reviews of books I liked on Twitter and my website.
Armen Pogharian said:
I will also admit that at least the setting, if not the stories, for one of my series came from a D&D world I created as a teen. To be fair I did make changes, but those who played in the campaigns may notice the similarities. Best of luck to you.