JOSH MATTHEWS Author of The Hell Gate Saga
The Burning Willow Press authors wish to help you celebrate the best month of the year, October. How you may ask? By giving you a different author from the ranks each day with in depth answers to questions that our staff have decided to ask them. Many will be generic, others not so much. Let’s get to know the authors of BWP! Oh, and did we forget to mention… the staff there are all authors too so they have decided to chime in with some answers of their own.
I know many writers who jump in all different genres, so what is your favorite to write?
I love writing horror, which in my case includes post-apocalyptic. It gives me the freedom to write what I want without being bound by conventional norms of other genres. Having said that, I’ve written unpublished novels/stories in the thriller, techno-thriller, and erotica genres.
Currently, there are over a million books that I want to read… and some I have in the past I wish I had written myself. Do you have any that you read that you thought about and said, I wish I had written that book?
World War Z by Max Brooks. I loved the way he wrote the book as if were an oral history of the zombie war. Brilliant.
When the muse is off doing their own thing instead of pushing you to write, albeit by gunpoint at times, what is your favorite time-waster?
First-person shooter games. I’m hooked on the Fallout. Metro, and Wolfenstein series. I’ll play them for hours on end until I reach a boss fight I can’t beat, then it’s back to writing.
What is the one thing that you must do to get into a writing mood. For me, it is listening to 80’s hair metal.
It varies. Sometimes I turn on the TV as background noise, other times I listen to 80’s rock. If I’m writing action scenes, I run a playlist on my iTunes titled “Music To Hunt Monsters By” which is a medley of rap, heavy metal, rock, and Meatloaf.
Is editing your story just part of the job or does it literally kill a part of you to “kill your children” as it has been said? What about making revisions?
Editing and revising is just part of the job. What kills me is when I write a great scene and then have to heavily revise or delete it because I failed to notice a major plot flaw.
When you read a book by another author do you ever look at it and criticize it or edit it in your head as the way you would have done it yourself?
No, I don’t mentally edit it and, unless it’s poorly written, I don’t criticize it. Unfortunately, I tend to proof read it and pick out the minor errors that slipped by the editors.
What would you like to be chiseled into your headstone?
Here lies best selling writer Josh Matthews.
What was your favorite candy to get at Halloween as a kid?
M&Ms and Three Musketeers. They’re still my favorites.
What is your favorite Halloween ritual? And if you do not do that… what is your favorite Halloween movie?
My favorite ritual is celebrating my anniversary. Yes, my wife (who is also a horror writer) and I chose Halloween as our wedding date. Our favorite Halloween movie is Hocus Pocus.
Beach, Mountains, Country, City? And follow up… favorite season… just a hint here… you should say Autumn.
Beach, but not the crowded summer type; I prefer a private one where I can sit on a back deck and look out over the ocean. My favorite season is autumn, not just because of the cool weather but also due to Halloween.
I know my “To Be Read” list is never ending and grows daily… how is yours? And do you prefer paperbacks or e-books? Notice I did not ask about audio?
I have two book shelves in my study, and half my Kindle library, filled with “to read” books. I figured it out once – if I read one book a week, it would take me almost two years to clean out my “to read” list. And I’m old school; I love the feel of a book in my hands.
If you could not be an author then what would you be?
Well, since I was already a CIA agent, I would fall back on my third love – a World War II historian.
What was your childhood ideal job to be as an adult?
I wanted to be a horror movie actor, like Boris Karloff. As I got older, I realized I wouldn’t need make-up to be in monster films, so I changed career goals.
Cats, dogs, both, other?
Dogs (two Boxers) and cats (two). At one time we also had four rabbits. I felt bad for my little tan rabbit, Willow – my dog Bella thought Willow was her puppy and groomed her constantly, and my cat Archer enjoyed teasing Willow by hiding on her house and patting her on the head when she looked out.
Most newbie authors are told to write emotional state in what they already know… so how did you break away from that newbie status of writing what you know in the beginning?
I was fortunate in that, by the time I began writing seriously, I had enough life experiences to include in my novels. When first starting out, I asked Brian Keene how you write what you know if you’re writing about monsters? He told me his novel The Rising, about the fears of a man who drives across country during a zombie apocalypse to rescue his son, was based on meeting his son after several years apart, and then he added the living dead. It was a valuable lesson.
Advice in one sentence to a new author who is not published yet?
Write every day and never give up.
Do your siblings or other family members support your choice to write horror? Fantasy? Erotica… if you do? SCIFI? Other genres?
Yes, my family is fully supportive of my career as a writer, although none of them (except for my wife) have read my books.
Do you ever use writing as an excuse to get out of doing things with the family… especially the in-laws?
Never. Family always comes first. There has been many a night in which, after spending time with the family, I stay up to two or three in the morning to get my writing done.
Beta Readers, Proofers, Editors… all are important to produce a better work of literature. So, who would you say is the most important in your team? Or do you not have those in place and are working on that?
They’re all equally important. My Beta readers catch a lot of inconsistencies and plot errors, as well as provide jacket blurbs. Editors fine tune the book so it’s as perfect as possible. I have several beta readers for my books whose opinions I highly respect and value, and the team at Burning Willow Press are phenomenal.
In your day of writing… do you push through it all day or do you take mental breaks?
Both. Some days I write a few hundred words at several times throughout the day when I get the chance. On good days, I can carve out a few hours and pump out one to two thousand words in a single sitting.
Do you ever get to travel as an author? Do conventions? What have you learned in those endeavors?
I do as many conventions as I can, most within a day’s drive. They are the best way to make fans. As for travel as a writer, I don’t do it often, although many of the locations I’ve visited during my previous job or for pleasure eventually wind up in my novels.
Book signings? Necessary evil even for the introvert?
I don’t find book signings as evil. One of the best parts of being a writer is attending conventions and meeting fans and fellow writers. My advice to introverts is that you’re talking about what you know best – your book – so talk about it likes it’s your kids.
What do you have coming out in the next year and who is producing it?
The fourth book in the Hell Gate saga – Nightmare in Tokyo – will be coming out in 2019. It’s the most action-packed in the series so far and introduces one of my favorite and most evil demons.
What is your go to alcoholic beverage of choice?
Whiskey, preferably Jack Daniels.
In the book, Misery by Stephen King, his main character celebrates the end of the Misery books series by smoking a cigar and drinking a scotch so, how do you celebrate a finished story?
I spend a few days relaxing, reading, and watching TV.
Are there any horror or thriller novelist that you admired when you were younger?
Graham Masterton. I read his first horror novel, The Manitou, when I was ten and have been hooked on modern horror ever since.
While writing, has any of your own stories given you nightmares?
No, but sometimes my nightmares wind up becoming scenes in my novels.
Have you ever seen a movie that was better than the book? If so, what was it and why?
The Postman. The novel was about the travels of the main character through a surreal post-apocalyptic world and his own narcissistic attempts to survive it. The movie cast Kevin Costner as a man who originally sought to make the best of a bad situation but eventually, despite his desire to remain unnoticed, leads the fight against the local warlord and starts rebuilding society.
What is your ideal writing space?
A study filled with books and my monster toys in a house on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Do you ever feel that your characters have a mind of their own and change the course of the planned storyline?
All the time. I’m constantly changing my rough plotting because of how I think the characters would respond. I’ve also grown to like a few of them so much that I haven’t killed them off (yet) or have carried then over from one book to another.
Where can we stalk you at? Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, Twitter, website?
You can find me mostly on:
My website (https://hellgatesaga.blogspot.com/)
Amazon Author’s Page (https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01M5C8E53)
but I spend less time on those last two sites.