HorrorNovelReviews.com where he spreads "Honesty in the Terror" and devotes much of his time towards promoting the genre. He recently came out with a double-shot story collection. We caught up with Matt for a quick chat.
DM: Tell us more about your book Say No to Drugs.
Say No to Drugs is really a passion piece for me. It's a small book, inspired - very loosely - by actual events and challenges in my life. I tapped into some past corners that I prefer to leave unexplored these days, while attempted to pay homage to some of the old EC Comics as well as some of horror's more familiar tropes. It also has a little bit of a cautionary feel to it. You know, if you break the drug rule, some bad shit is going to happen to you! That kind of thing. But ultimately I hope it works as an interesting character study as much as a good sci-fi/horror piece, because these two stories (this is a double-shot) are loaded with compelling individuals that are intentionally unlikable. I though it could be an interesting spin to put readers in the middle of a situation where you know and understand the characters, but don't like them... although you're able to step back as a human being and say 'holy shit, these guys died for a drug, and nobody deserves to meet that fate.'
Ultimately I think this is really the start of something bigger. There's a bigger story - at least for the characters in "The Pot" - waiting to be tapped into. I've done some exploration and worked with some ideas, and I think those characters really deserve more room to breathe. They deserve something far more grand. As for the dumb asses in "Blue"... they probably deserved what they got. Certainly not productive members of society.
Recognition is always nice. To be honest, right now all I'm looking to do is to get my name out there as much as possible. I'd like to slow down on a few of my other jobs and dedicate some more time to telling stories. After spending years writing somewhere between 800-1000 short stories, the mechanics are finally beginning to truly click for me, and I'm learning that I can bend the rules to do something atypical but fun.. It's a shame it has taken so long, but it is what it is. I'm learning about the things that frighten us as human beings, and learning how to translate those into a narrative that can appeal to a large crowd. All I can hope for is positive reception from horror and sci-fi readers. I hope they understand what I'm trying to do. If they can, Say No to Drugs will sell more copies than anticipated, and Amazon - God bless 'em, they're a great and reliable company, not to mention a tremendous tool for writers - will continue to show me love. Which, back to the question at hand, is very humbling.
DM: What's it like running HorrorNovelReviews.com? How has it affected your writing career?
Running HNR is a simultaneous blast and nightmare. When I started the site I really just did it so that I could be doing something for myself, killing a little time when I ran into it. I write entertainment articles by trade, so it becomes a little stressful at times. You need something that's yours. I needed liberation of some sort and I found it. And then I realized that there weren't many highly active sites similar to HNR and I understood it was going to become bigger than the simple hobby I'd been looking for.
Realistically I think we've done well. We've published four ebooks, three of which are tapped for paperback transfer (Say No to Drugs arrives August 5th, One Hellacious Halloween and When Red Snow Melts both tapped for late September/early October paperback releases) while two more books are prepped and waiting in the wings. We've had the chance to work with authors like Jonathan Maberry, Jack Ketchum, Alison Littlewood, Tim Lebbon, Joe Lansdale and more. Those feel like great accomplishments, and I'm proud of those things. But getting those things done requires a lot of work. I invest an absurd amount of time on the site but I'm learning more than I ever could have learned without it. There are so many highly talented yet unheralded writers out there. Those writers affect my writing just as much as the authors who aren't quite prepared to start marching forward with publication attempts. Every book I read, I learn a little something new. The most valuable lesson I've learned about writing is that rules are meant to be broken. A story doesn't need to be technically flawless in every way possible, it just needs to truly entertain. Make a blast of a book and people are eventually going to notice.
DM: What advice do you have for writers just starting out?
Spend as much time reading as you do writing. If you write every single day of your life, you're on the proper track. If you read every single day of the week as well, you're going to reach her desired destination with a shit-eatin' grin on your face.