Today we are sitting down with W.H. Matlack, Solstice Publishing Author of Waiting to Run. He agreed to be interviewed for Friday’s Fabulous Fiction Author. He only has a short bit of time because Mowry has a routine and he will be expecting Mr. Matlack to take care of the feline duties at the office.
ME: Mr. M. would you be so kind to tell us about your latest book?
W.H. Matlack: Waiting to Run is a suspense thriller that brings in elements from the JFK assassination conspiracy theories. It features a young lady who becomes a very powerful, although reluctant, witch who must fight the deadly ghost of Lee Harvey Oswald. Her power is based on manipulating Quantum states and Dark Energy in a Holographic Universe. She is aided by the ghost of Dorothy Kilgallen, who was the last person to interview Jack Ruby before his death. The very fate of the universe itself lies in her hands. Thank God it’s only fiction.
ME: Wow, you can say that again. Although, so many books and theories have been written about the JFK conspiracy it’s hard to know what is real and what is not, if you know what I mean. So what can we expect from you in the future?
W.H. Matlack: More suspense thrillers based on real scientific theories. I might try a ghost story at some point. I like the idea of scaring people before they turn out the lights.
ME: I don’t know about anyone else, but those are my favorite books to read. So how do we find out about you and your books?
W.H. Matlack: I’m published by Solstice Publishing, and my books are available on their site as well as on Amazon. Go to http://amzn.to/1jwSMgq for Noir Town, my mystery, and http://is.gd/tJoW1Y for Waiting to Run, my suspense thriller.
ME: How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
W.H. Matlack: Like most authors, little bits of my real life show up, but they are almost always heavily covered in fiction – to avoid law suits, mainly.
ME: Ha ha, that’s funny. No writer wants a law suit do they? When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first book?
W.H. Matlack: I’ve always written short stories, and I even published a line of comic books, but it was fellow author, Andy MacRae who encouraged me to turn to novels. I really didn’t think I could do it, but I’ve put out two of them, so…
ME: So keep the momentum going right? I hear ya. Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?
W.H. Matlack: Depending on how much effort I have to put into the plot, it can range from six months to a full year.
ME: That makes sense. Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?
W.H. Matlack: I maintain actual business hours. I don’t write at night or early in the morning because that takes time away from my family (terrific wife and two cats who need almost constant attention).
ME: That is probably good practice for any writer. I know about two cats that need constant attention. What is your writing routine once you start a book?
W.H. Matlack: I just face the “void” and start writing. My favorite quote is from Lewis Carroll who said, “I sent Alice down a rabbit hole with no idea of what she would find there.”
ME: I like that…kind of like getting on the horse and not knowing where he’s taking you. What about your family, do they know not to bother you when you are writing – or are there constant interruptions?
W.H. Matlack: Having a family means you’re going to get interrupted. My training in Journalism helps me concentrate amid the noise.
ME: What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?
W.H. Matlack: I’ll put on a Netflix movie or television series. It’s just as important to know when not to write as it is when to write.
ME: That is a good point. What truly motivates you in general? In your writing?
W.H. Matlack: It’s more fun creating worlds than just about anything else.
ME: I hear that a lot with authors. “If you don’t like the world you’re in, wait a minute, I create a new one.” Where do your ideas come from?
W.H. Matlack: They just spring up unbidden. I have no idea where they come from, except I have a theory that there is a place called “Idea Town.” If I knew where it was, I would move there.
ME: Ha ha, that sounds like a cool place. If you find it, let me know. Do you feel humor is important in mysteries and why?
W.H. Matlack: Humor is vital. I write more humor than anything else. It keeps mysteries from bogging down and taking themselves too seriously. My example is Noir Town. It features a cynical private dick (that’s short for detective) who is pretty funny most of the time.
ME: Private dick, now that is funny. What about love scenes in romance novels, do you find them difficult to write?
W.H. Matlack: By “love scenes” can I assume you mean “sex scenes?” Yes, they are difficult, but I think it’s wrong to over-write them. The challenge is to have them advance the plot or develop character.
ME: You are probably right there, however a lot of people don’t do that. What kind of research do you do?
W.H. Matlack: I don’t spend a lot of time researching my books. I just include enough reality to make them feasible. I start with the Internet. Google Maps is invaluable for looking at places I’ll never actually visit, which is almost everywhere.
ME: Where would we be without Google Maps? Would you like to write a different genre than you do now, or sub-genre?
W.H. Matlack: My hero is Michael Crichton. You never knew what would interest him next. I like to think of myself as that kind of writer. I know I would be better off sticking to one genre, but I just can’t seem to be able to do that.
ME: What does your wife think of your writing?
W.H. Matlack: My wonderful wife gives me nothing but encouragement even if she doesn’t really like the book’s subject.
ME: Awwe, that’s so sweet. Do you ever ask her for advice?
W.H. Matlack: I do ask her for advice, but I don’t really reach out to anyone when I’m writing. I don’t like Beta readers or critique groups. I want what I produce to be MY work, not OUR work.
ME: I get what you are saying there. My husband tells me that all the time…make it your work! So why not tell me about your family and what you all like to do.
W.H. Matlack: I’m married and we have two cats. I’m a musician (drummer) and writer. I have a degree in Journalism from San Jose State. I like talking to people (maybe a little too much). I love sharing ideas about things – all kinds of things. I especially love learning about the Cosmos. Call me a nerd if you like. I don’t mind.
ME: You do sound kind of geeky.
W.H. Matlack: What? You were the mascot for the football team in high school, so you weren’t a nerd? Do you still mascot for the football team? I thought not. Guess what? I still write.
ME: Touché. Just a few more things Mr. M., and I’ll let you get back to Mowry and his brush. Could you tell us some of your favorite things?
W.H. Matlack: – Dessert: cherry pie.
City: Any small town. Not impressed with New York, although I do like LA.
Type of hero: seriously flawed.
Type of heroine: powerful, self- assured.
Favorite book: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Favorite authors to read? Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Nelson DeMille
ME: What are some of your favorite things to do?
W.H. Matlack: My wife and I like walking to our little downtown.
ME: What do you think of critique groups in general?
W.H. Matlack: So that’s how you would write my novel? Well, here’s how I’m going to write it.”
ME: I love that answer. This next question I hate to ask because I always hated it when I was asked it in job interviews. But the powers that be dictate the questions so where do you see yourself in five years?
W.H. Matlack: Right here.
ME: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
W.H. Matlack: I’ve always been a writer. All my life.
ME: How many books have you written, how many have been published?
W.H. Matlack: I’ve published two novels, nine comic book titles, and written countless short stories (most of them not published)
ME: After you’ve written your book and it’s been published, do you ever buy it and/or read it?
W.H. Matlack: I always purchase a box or two for signings. I don’t really like reading them. I always think, “Who the hell does this guy think he is? Oh. Yea.”
ME: Among your own books, have you a favorite book? Favorite hero or heroine?
W.H. Matlack: I do love Jhona, the central character in Waiting to Run because she is a very strong woman. Even as she gains strength as a witch, she doesn’t lose her femininity. Lee Harvey Oswald is pretty cool, too. He’s just pure evil…and a total idiot.
ME: Oh I think he probably always was a total idiot. I’m really looking forward to reading it…in fact I’ve already started it. What book for you has been the easiest to write? The hardest? The most fun?
W.H. Matlack: I whipped out Noir Town pretty quickly although I had to completely re-write it after discovering other books with the same plot. The hardest is the one I’m working on now. I had a lot of fun with Waiting to Run.
ME: What the heck is that sound? Do you hear that? Let me get the door. Oh, I didn’t know you brought the cats with you. Aren’t they adorable and look at that tiger, he’s got his brush in his teeth! Okay I better this interview wrapped up. Are they going to be okay in here? Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting?
~ Both cats jump up on the desk and make themselves at home. The yellow tabby start cleaning his paws.
W.H. Matlack: This is Mowry with the brush and this is Alex with all the hair. He doesn’t like getting brushed, and he doesn’t hesitate telling me so. On the other hand, Mowry, the Orange one, likes getting brushed so much that he comes into my office and demands that I take a few minutes out of writing, or whatever I’m doing, and give him a good brushing. My cats are fine with being interviewed, but bear in mind, they still don’t understand this whole writing bit where I stare at a computer screen and only occasionally tap at the keyboard. Hey! I could be petting them! See look, they want to be petted!
I think about the story angle first. Characters next, and then I need to figure out where they are, so that’s setting I guess.
ME: I guess we’ll finish up this interview with company. What are the elements of a great romance for you?
W.H. Matlack: Maureen O’Hara, the greatest of all Pirate girlfriends. She was so awesome, and girlfriend to so many pirates. Does that make her an element? I think it does.
ME: What is the hardest part of writing/the easiest for you?
W.H. Matlack: Hardest: getting my edits back and realizing that I don’t have even the most rudimentary grasp of English grammar. Easiest: There’s really nothing easy about it. It’s mostly pure torture mixed in with a few chuckles and a lot of nail trimming.
ME: Have you experienced writer’s block?
W.H. Matlack: Every time I finish something I become convinced that I will never have another original idea again. NEVER!
ME: How do you work through it?
W.H. Matlack: I work through it by sitting down, facing the void and writing whatever comes. It’s scary at best.
ME: What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
W.H. Matlack: Knowing that I can totally get revenge on anyone I choose just by putting them in one of my books. I confess. I’ve done that more than once.
ME: If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?
W.H. Matlack: The same thing I do when I have writer’s block: clipping my nails
ME: Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
W.H. Matlack: It only takes one agent or publisher to like what you do. Just one. You just have to find them.
ME: That’s the hard part, finding the one, right. Okay, Mr. M. I’ve enjoyed having and the little fur-balls here. I suppose is time for you to get back to your office. Can you give us your links of how to find you again?