I’m extremely proud to announce that I’ve partnered up with Inspired Quill Press to present a number of debut authors here on The Dabbler. Each author will share some of their journey to publication and advice for those of us still working towards our first book contract.
Matthew Munson is the first Inspired Quill author to join us, here to discuss his debut fantasy novel Fall From Grace.
Please give Matthew a warm welcome.
1. Can you tell us a bit about your novel, Fall From Grace?
Absolutely. Fall From Grace is all about a trio of friends – Paul, Joseph and Lauren – who are caught up in the middle of a two-thousand-year old heavenly war. Paul is an ex-priest who is struggling to find his purpose in life, Joseph is a complete sceptic about anything otherworldly, and Lauren is the most spiritual out of the three, who wants to believe but also needs to know. During their exploration of what’s happening to them, they discover the secret truth about a very old rebellion.
2. When did you know you wanted to pursue writing as more than a hobby?
When I knew that I was allowed to! As a child and teenager, I always thought you had to have special qualifications in order to qualify as a writer. Well, that’s true, in a way, but the qualification you need is creativity, and you can’t necessarily study for that; you develop your creativity by reading, practicing your art through writing and discussion about books and words that you care about.
I discovered that this passion I had – that had always existed as a flame in the pit of my stomach – could be turned into a career by tenacity, hard work and creativity. I was in heaven!
3. If you could attribute your writing success to one turning point in your life, what would it be and why?
I was 10 years old, and I was in my final year of primary school. I hated geography, and I suspect that my displeasure was fairly obvious – so my sainted teacher, Mrs Cooper, allowed me to write a short story instead. It was about a cowboy who flew into space on the back of a dinosaur. When I’d finished writing it (and illustrating it too), no-one laughed at me or called me stupid; in fact, they encouraged me to continue and improve my writing.
Even before that, however, any moment that I was encouraged to read, voraciously, was a good time in my life; it showed me what I wanted to read, what styles I admired and what good writing looked like.
4. Can you give us a brief rundown of your writing process?
You know, I really admire people who completely plan out their story before writing the thing. I can’t do that – and believe me, I’ve tried. No, I’m far more of a “pantser” – I write and develop the characters and plot as I go. It feels more natural and creative that way.
Being literal for a moment, I like to write at the “extremes” of the day; usually between 7am and 8am and then again between 7pm and 10pm. I can usually pound out 2 or 3,000 words in that time, and I spend the time in between on other things – usually making notes, emails and everything else that pays the bills!
5. Your novel centers around the concept of a war in heaven. Did you do much research into mythology before writing it?
Oh, very much. I went to a Catholic high school, so can honestly say that I’ve read the Bible from cover to cover and understand it from a textual point of view. I’ve also moved from a Christian to an spiritualist to an atheist, so I’ve been very much able to experience different points of view all within my own head.
I’m friends with people who are religious, spiritual and atheist, and they’ve all given me a lot of things to think about. I consider myself fairly open-minded and willing to accept other points of view, so it’s given me a lot of contextual information for the book and its sequel.
6. What’s the hardest part of the writing process for you and how do you make it easier for yourself?
The ending, as I hate to see the back of characters I’ve grown to love and care about. Paul, Joseph and Lauren were all expressions of different parts of my own life and journey, so it was hard when I wasn’t writing about them anymore. I initially coped with that by writing a sequel, but now that’s over to, I’m having to write something completely different so I can try and move on with the end of my baby!
7. What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
The blank page. Seriously, I love it. There are so many possibilities ahead of me there, and it excites me beyond measure.
8. If you could give an aspiring author just one piece of advice, what would it be?
Read everything. Don’t limit yourself to a particular genre just because it’s your favourite; I’m a sci-fi / fantasy geek, but I read thrillers, crime and adventure books as well; they help expand my mind and my writing ability. It’s how you learn.
9. What are you reading right now?
I’ve just started reading 11.22.63 by the sublime Stephen King; what a great writer that man is.
10. Are you working on anything readers can look forward to?
I hope so! I’m currently working on three books; a non-fiction book on dyspraxia, a condition I have, which is a collaboration with a friend of mine; a thriller provisionally entitled Darkness Falls and a sci-fi book – the first draft of which I’ve just had back from an editor I work with, Lin White. Life is very busy right now, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Matthew Munson is a book hoarder and inveterate writer. There have been times when he’s realised that he hasn’t been listening to anything another person has been saying because he’s been planning a chapter in his head. He lives in south-east England by himself, which is probably for the best, as he spends a lot of time muttering to himself to see if dialogue works …
Purchase your copy of Fall From Grace today!
Don’t forget to leave any extra questions or comments you have for Matthew in the comments section below!