Author Interview: Matthew R. Bell
About 6 weeks ago, I got to review the debut work from Matthew R. Bell. Fear of God got 4 out of 5, an impressive rating for any new author. (The review is here, if you wish to nosey)
Unfortunately, as well as being a talented writer, Matthew turned out to be a nice chap as well (some people have all the luck). So I couldn't help resist claiming his first interview too!
I hope you enjoy the insight into one of our promising new authors. Please note, that no bribes or blackmail was used in obtaining it.
Congratulations on the release of your first book, where did you come up with the idea for Fear of God?
I first came up the idea when I was 15. I am not ashamed to admit it, but back then I was terrified of events like that in books and films. Of a character being thrown into this horrible situation, losing friends and family, and really it was my worst nightmare. So when I was thinking about it, I really wanted to create something like that, but where the main character bests the world and the demons in it and in himself. So really it started as a fantasy in my brain were I beat all these crazy monsters and didn't die.
What do you have planned next for Lucas?
Lucas grew a lot in Fear of God, but when you have to change like that and cope with this terrifying new world it has a negative effect too. The sequel will see Lucas really struggling after the first novel. He doesn't understand the world any more and he really wants to bring things back to the way they used to be, even though in his heart, he knows he can't. He's very head strong and reckless in the next book, and I'm looking forward to being there as he grows.
Do you have a set number of books for the Trials of Strength series?
Yes, I do. I've always envisioned a trilogy for this series, and the titles will really reflect Lucas's mindset and journey throughout the book. Like the first novel, Fear of God, really focuses on Lucas's journey to overcome fear, and become a strong and resilient person. The God part of the book had many of meanings, he's afraid of dying, he's afraid that if he does, what comes next and he's afraid of the force behind the stories events who are playing God over his town. There may also be a novella based on one of the characters I introduce in the next book who I'm having lots of fun with, and if people enjoy her too, I'd really love to show her back story.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Yes. I've always loved books, thanks to my Mum. I've always had crazy ideas for worlds and characters and it's really a joy to be able to that. For even one person to enjoy what I write really makes my day.
What is your favourite book?
It has to be Lord Loss by Darren Shan. I loved his work growing up, and I still love it today. I have such fun and smiley memories reading his books, and the series Lord Loss is a part of is phenomenal. It's also great what the author does, I don't see many books like his that are specifically written for young readers and think with his writing and talent it brings more young people into reading.
What has been your favourite Indie book?
Now I'm being honest, and it's yours, The Shadow Rises. I love witches and the supernatural, but a lot of the ones I pick up are about good witches falling in love and banishing evil. The Shadow Rises was an awesome dark and gritty novel that showed witches as powerful beings of evil. It really put the situation into a dire aspect as humans pale in comparison to witches, there's an immediacy to it that you don't find often. I also love Hunter, a lot.
What piece of advice would you give other authors in the making?
Write what you want, and the way you want. I see a lot of people publish something and be vastly disappointed. They've tried to copy the market and hope to be instant best-selling authors making lots of money, but as a lot of wise people say, it's not like that. Writing should be something you enjoy, take your time at, craft and excel at it. The rest will fall into place when it does, it might be right away, it might not, but writing is a massive patience game, and you take the good with the bad.
Who has been your best critic?
Right now it's you Miss Marsden, you were the first person I asked and the first person to review my novel, so again a massive thank you.
What do your family and friends think of you being a published writer?
They think it's great. They hoped to begin with I hadn't got my hopes up high for it to be instantly successful but I explained to them that I knew it would take time, and writing was all I ever really wanted to do, successful or not. They are really supportive, and I couldn't have done it without them. A big shout out to my Mum, and my best-friend Lauren.
What has been the hardest thing about publishing so far?
All the nooks and crannies and pitfalls and conditions. I used Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing and they've been absolutely brilliant, their platform for new writers where it's harder for us to get stuff out there is fantastic. Then come all the things you have to remember and the self promotion you have to do and keep atop of. In the end it's worth it though, it's a journey I'm glad to be on.
With your blog, Goodreads page and Twitter, you have quite the following. How much of a support is your fan-base?
They're awesome. The only thing I want is to write something they enjoy, to make them smile and laugh and cry. It goes for everyone in the writing industry, your fans are the biggest most important thing you have.
Speaking of blogs, yours is diverse enough to include "World War Z" and "13 Going On 30" (spoiler - Matthew rates the latter higher...), do you have a favourite genre?
I love 13 Going On 30 :D I wouldn't say I have a particular genre. I love films that can really grab you, that have a gripping storyline and really make your emotions run rabid. I'm a fan of most genres like sci-fi, thriller, supernatural, rom-coms, anything and everything.
I'd like to thank Matthew for taking time to answer my questions, if you would like to know more, here are all the links you need to stalk to your heart's content:
And don't forget to check out his book: Fear of God