Spotlight: Author Interview: G.R. Matthews back again!

Spotlight: Author Interview

Back again for more? Awesome. Ladies, gentlemen, boys, and girls, get in your scuba gears. We are about to dive into an underwater city of sci-fi goodness and take part in a very very fishy adventure with none other than CORIN HAYES!

 

G.R. Matthews: Silent City

 

Let’s talk about my beloved Corin now.

GRM: Oh, if we have to. <mischievous grin on his face>

 

[blushes furiously]

 

How did Corin happen? Who did you hate? Why do you make the poor man suffer so much? *wink wink

GRM: Corin. I like Corin, but I don’t think I’d like to meet him and spend time with him. I mean, I suppose he is, to some degree, a little bit of me – generally the sarcastic thought processes. He is, in his soul, a man damaged by life but still, despite his better judgment and protestations, trying to do his best.

Where he came from is a mystery to me. I wrote, over the course of a weekend, an eight thousand word short story, the beginning of Silent City, the scene in the bar. And that was it. Corin was formed, but he was going nowhere at that time. He lurked in the corner of my mind, whispering ideas and thoughts.

So, eventually, I gave in and wrote some more. Then I couldn’t stop.

I don’t make him suffer. He chooses his path. Remember, I don’t plan too much, I let the characters, and the setting decided what is going to happen. Everything he does, he goes through, he chooses. I like to think he does it for the best of reasons, but I sometimes wonder whether he wants to keep on living.

[Well, it all depends on you, you ***** creator.]

G.R. Matthews: Nothing is ever Simple

 

The fish suit. Have you tried it on? This is not a threat but if something too terrible happens to Corin in the new book, remember, you have told us how to sabotage a fish suit. evil slow smile

GRM: I wouldn’t be able to do it. All that Oxyquid pouring down my throat, forcing its way up my nostrils, and into my lungs. I write those scenes from my terror of drowning.

Things always happen to Corin, The books and stories wouldn’t be the same if they didn’t. On a bright note, through Corin’s eyes and experiences, we get to investigate a future where we live under the ocean.

The whole idea of Oxyquid and the suit isn’t new. A quick google (or Bing if you must) search will reveal youtube clip of a mouse breathing liquid. It is being investigated and it may be coming… for conspiracy theorists, it may already be here.

 

Poor Corin loves the ladies. Why do they treat him like that? You are playing with the emotions of some real life ladies…

GRM: I’m not sure the ladies treat him badly or even if he expects to get somewhere with them. Corin has been married, he has known love and affection, but that’s gone. In the books, his history has made him the man he is, and he is slowly learning to change back to the person he was. It is not an easy transition for him.

Clearly, he likes Derva, whom I always imagine with a soft Irish accent even though there is no Ireland anymore. That may be a personal thing.

I am surprised that ladies like Corin, in real life that is. I am not sure he is that much fun to be around or be with. Maybe you can explain the attraction?

[We ladies like tragic heroes. Particularly those who manage to find trouble in the oddest of places and let us have some bookish fun. Corin’s problems are usually scary and humorous.]

 

The blend of suspense, amateur detective, drama, sci-fi/thriller: Was it the idea Goddess who resides inside your head or some other trigger?

GRM: I liked the idea of a noir detective, but I didn’t want to set it in a real place. Especially one I didn’t know. Add to that I wasn’t sure how to write a detective novel. However, I do love Jack Reacher books – I have read all the stories.

My aim was to write a science fiction book that drew on the idea of a Jack Reacher book. Interconnected by history and a thread, but independent of one another. I figured that I could explore the world under the sea this way – I wasn’t tied to a trilogy. I had more creative freedom to play around and see where Corin leads me.

Fantasy books set in Asia. Scifi under the sea. I do nothing the easy way, but it is fun and challenging. I couldn’t do it any other way.

 

Who should read the Corin Hayes series and why?

GRM: Everyone… hold on, did I say that earlier?

I’d say the books are good for those who want a pacey read, a new world, a possible future, a flawed hero, and like Jack Reacher books. Corin is definitely not as skilled or thoughtful as Reacher, but there is a commonality in the approach to books. I really tried, all the way through, to never leave a chapter without some action, some cliff hanger, some revelation.

[Ooh yeah!]

 

Some inside scoop on the new book, please?

GRM: Hrm… let’s see. Well, it is called Three Times The Trouble and Corin, as ever, finds himself on a job where things are not all they appear to be. All he can rely upon is his Fish-Suit and his particular brand of morals… Oh and a spoon.

[Wonderful. Wait, a spoon!]

Three times the trouble

 

How will it be different from the previous books in the series?

GRM: For the first time, Corin is not just trying to save himself from trouble. He finds himself unable to communicate and responsible for the safety of others. Responsibility is not something he has had to face up to since Tyler died. It presents its own set of challenges for him.

And… The little clues in book two are built upon in book 3. If you’re careful and you look, you might find out something very surprising. I don’t want to ruin the surprise for readers… So read it!

[Oh, I am dying for the surprise!]

 

 

Thanks, GR. I think this is going to hold me for two more weeks. Let’s talk about the writer you.

 

How is your writing process? How do you handle the fearsome first draft?

GRM: That’s easy. I just write it. I slog through the mire of imagination, pulling things out of the hat as I go, keeping a whiteboard (above the computer) to make notes on, and a journal. I scribble down ideas I’ve had (usually in the shower, so the paper is sodden and unreadable) in spider diagrams, mind maps, trial paragraphs and promptly ignore them – though I am sure they return in some form or another.

I just get it done and worry about it afterward. If a book isn’t working for me after the first ten thousand words, I forget it and try something else. To be honest, that usually happens before the first three thousand words are down.

I love writing, but I don’t always enjoy it. It is just something I have to do.

 

You are about to have two complete series in your name. How do you keep your hair? Sorry, kidding. Let me rephrase. How do you handle the pressure of maintaining the quality in a trilogy?

GRM: Well, Corin isn’t a trilogy. It can be as many books as people are willing to put up with. The Forbidden List books were hard. I realized as I wrote and noted down ideas that there was no way I could please everyone. So I wrote the books I wanted to read.

Things that seemed “cool” to me went in the books, but if it was out of context, character or just plain silly, it didn’t. You need to maintain some sense of your story and how you want it to be.

Being self-published there is no outside pressure. It is all self-imposed, and that can be just as bad. It really is about writing the book you want, handing it over to some trusted readers and taking their criticism on the chin.

In the Red Plains there are two whole chapters that went in because a great fellow called Brian read it and pointed out something that would make the book and especially the ending so much better. And he was right. Having people you can trust to offer criticism is vital.

Oh, and a really friendly and skilled wig maker. Every author should have one.

[:D ]

 

Which was the hardest scene you have ever written?

GRM: The ending to The Red Plains. It wasn’t hard regarding writing it, more about concluding the book and trying to be fair to the characters that I’d just spent three years life with. They deserved the right ending. Letting go was hard.

Bear in mind; I don’t know the ending before I get there. I might plan an end, but by the time I am getting close, I might have fifteen endings in my journal, head, fevered dreams. And I’ll ignore them all and write the one that feels right.

Here, as I wrote the final chapter, I had tears in my eyes. I hadn’t planned what happened a chapter or two before, but the ending was right. I was happy and sad. There was bitterness, sadness and joy, an end and a beginning.

It was that moment, how to explain it, that was just “right.” It was a Zen moment. A moment where my conscious unconscious took over… A reaction between breaths, without thought. It wasn’t hard to write, it wasn’t “me” writing, but it was hard to read each word as I typed and it was hard to realize the books were done and those character’s stories were done…

… Or are they? Well, they were then. Now, I am not so sure.

[brrrrh!]

 

What was the toughest thing you had faced while writing your latest book?

GRM: The latest book, eh? Do you mean the latest Corin Hayes, Three Times The Trouble, or the one I am working on now?

The latest Corin is set in a different corporation where the language spoken is not Corin’s. Portraying that and having Corin, who is our only Point of View, interact with people was an interesting challenge. All I can hope is that I did it right.

On the new book, well it is all challenge. Creating a brand new world, a new set of monsters, science, and magic and placing my characters within it is a constant challenge. I think I hope, I’ve dropped enough foreshadowing in the first fifty thousand words to lead on to the next fifty thousand and the books beyond.

Other than that, the toughest part is giving it to others to read. What will they think?

How did you choose the artist and cover? Would you like to share the process with your aspiring self-publishing friends?

GRM: Choose? I looked around a lot of websites and, in the end, decided one who would make some bespoke covers. I am not tied to a particular designer or artist. Freedom means I can experiment. Anyway, I found a website I liked the look of and got in contact with the artist. We had a few chats, picked some images that conveyed the theme and idea I wanted… And he produced them. I loved them at first glance!

What’s your views on social media for marketing?

GRM: Social media is a megaphone to shout about your book. But beware, everyone else is shouting about theirs too so you can easily get lost in the cacophony. Best advice doesn’t talk about your books – I mean, mention them every once in awhile, but get engaged with community and people out. Have fun and be professional – join groups and find the ones that suit you.

Which social network worked best for you?

GRM: Hrm… I like twitter for the rapid fire conversation and notes, but it is easy for things to get lost on the way. Facebook is great for the groups… Mark Lawrence recommended Reddit/r/fantasy to me, and I dip my toe in occasionally but there are a lot of sharks in that pool, and I’m a hardly a  lite-bite, let alone a hearty meal.

Any tips on what to do and what not to do?

GRM: Never complain about a bad review – revel in it (unless every review is bad… in which case just claim you’ve been watching a very, very sad movie).

Never start an argument you aren’t prepared to lose.

Get advice but take it with a healthy dose of common sense.

Enjoy and have fun with it… Be engaging, not an asshole.

Be kind on the way; you never know who you’ll meet on the way down.

 

Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?

GRM: I did a Goodreads Giveaway for The Stone Road, which was quite good. For the second Corin book, I went to BristolCon and gave away some copies. I need to get the hang of marketing.

Did you get interviewed by local press/radio for your book launch?

GRM: Sadly, no. I am available if you could just let them know. I am sure my dulcet, slight West Country accent is made for Radio, just like my face is.

Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?

GRM: I did a Goodreads Giveaway, an Amazon Giveaway, but the best result was going to BristolCon. There I met and talked to people in real life (a scary thought!). Enough good folks used Social Media to tweetbook, and the sales went up.

If there is a magical marketing tree, I can’t reach the fruit yet. I am experimenting with Amazon Ads at present, seeing which ones work and which don’t. Trial and error.

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?

GRM: I get told off by the Treehouse because I don’t shout about my books – I backward at coming forward. I do need to come out of my shell a little more and push things. One day!


When I was starting out, I had a look at Goodreads and put in what I thought was a placeholder cover, just to test it out… Now the bloody thing is stuck there, and I can’t get rid of it!

 

Why do you think that other well-written books just don’t sell?

GRM: They get lost in the sea of other books. That’s it. Getting enough people to give your book a try is difficult. Sometimes hard work pays off, sometimes luck. All you can do is produce the best book you can and keep working hard.

 

What do you think of “trailers” for books? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s? (* please provide a link to trailer if you have one)

GRM: I created a few readings of Corin Hayes books. Just little snippets set to music and images on Youtube. Do I think they work? Do I think they are good? Probably. Anything that gets one more reader to pick up the book is worthwhile and useful. I’ve seen some good ones out there, and I’ve seen some bad ones. I like the good ones.

My two goes are here:

 

[:O ]

Do you think that giving books away free works and why?

GRM: Again, a free giveaway is a great way to get readers to engage with the books which is, ultimately, what you want – readers to read the books, and enjoy them. I’ve done a few giveaways and free promotions. Right now I’ve got a short story out there on Kindle and Epub that’s that set in the world of the Forbidden List which I hope will be a gateway for folks into the books. Trying to get Amazon to set it as perma-free is a struggle, hence why I made it free on Smashwords, Barnes, and Noble and through my website (www.grmatthews.com) in any format you want it.

 

Did you format your books?

GRM: Yes, of course. You mean there is another way?

[:) He likes to do his work.]

 

In what formats is your book available?

GRM: That’s an interesting question. At present, The Forbidden List books are all available on Kindle and Paperback. Corin Hayes is Kindle only, though I am looking into producing a paperback, or hardback, omnibus at some point this year – the first three books.

[Cool!]

 

Can you give us a general idea (I am sure we don’t mind the details if you wish to share) of your latest series? What can the reader look for, from the latest in the series? What’s the expected timeline of publishing the entire series?

GRM: Excellent question. I’m going to keep writing Corin books for as long as he will let me share his world. There is a lot more to explore still and writing Corin is always fun. In the third book, Corin gets himself into a little trouble, which comes as no surprise to anyone, and has to hide out doing a small job for another corporation. However, with Corin, one bit of trouble is never enough, so he finds two more. Some of the hints dropped in book one come back, and there are some other “easter eggs” in there that were hinted at in book 2.

[Easter eggs easter eggs!]

 

Awesomesauce. Let’s get the linkies from GR and let him breathe for a day so he can be back with some more personal and professional scoop.

 

Author links

GR also writes for the Fantasy Faction website

Website

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Amazon Author Page

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Book links

Goodreads

Amazon – will take you to the books wherever you are.

Smashwords for Outlaw Mountain (Free)

Barnes and Noble for Outlaw Mountain (Free)

 

 

So what say you?