interview · Pay It Forward · Writing

Get to Know: Matt Doyle

SurReality

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Q: Tell us a little bit about your book…

SurReality is a budget-priced, horror novelette. It follows the hosts of a paranormal reality TV show that, while investigating a local urban legend, find themselves thrown into a three year cycle of tragedy. What makes it a little different is that it’s not told through standard prose, but through a series of blog posts written by fans of the show. In that way, it takes the epistolary form of horror that was fully embraced by Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and shifts it to a modern style. In not seeing things through the eyes of the protagonists, it’s like watching things unfold in front of you in the way it would if it were a real event.

Q: Who are the main characters?

Due to the way the book is written, to a degree, the main characters are viewers of the fictional show. Their focus though is on Benny Marks and Tony Cork. They are the on-screen hosts of the paranormal investigative show, SurReality, and also a pre-established couple. They have a shared love of all things spooky and put a lot of time into getting their show to grow from its humble beginnings into something more polished, and their loyalty to their fans and each other is strong, even in the face of what they encounter here.

Q: Is this a solo book or part of a series? If so, where does this sit in the series?

This is a standalone story.

Q: What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

Honestly, anything and everything! Leave reviews, post about the book on social media, share word of mouth, gift copies to people. Just getting it out there with a bit of praise is hugely important!

Q: Is this your first novel, or have you got a back catalogue you can tell us about?

I have quite a nice back catalogue now. The main thing that readers tend to know me for is my Rainbow Award winning series, The Cassie Tam Files. This is a five-book lesfic sci-fi mystery series published by NineStar Press. It’s a little bit cyberpunk, a little crime noir, and incorporates dashes of other stuff in as the story requires. Prior to this, I had a self-published series, The Spark Form Chronicles. That’s a mix of pro-wrestling, YuGiOh! style card gaming, and sci-fi with a diverse cast. My most recent full length release was Ailuros. That one is published by Fractured Mirror Publishing and is easily the most ambitious thing I’ve written. It’s a sci-fi horror with a unique layout inspired by House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. Basically, if you buy the paperback or hardback, the right-hand pages tell a far future queer homage to Alien through prose and audio transcripts. The left-hand pages are notes on the story that tell a present-day tale of Government manipulation and a relationship in its dying days. Then, there are several hidden sections that alter the stories slightly. Outside this, I’m in a bunch of different anthologies, ranging from horror to sci-fi.

Q: What’s the most amusing thing that’s happened to you while you were writing this story?

So, the most amusing thing about this for me is that the story is actually a rewrite of the first story I wrote in High School. Back then, when we were reading the stories out to the class, I was the only one to write a horror story, and the only one to not write a self-insert story. It absolutely terrified my new classmates, and got m e a bit of a short-term reputation as the school weirdo.

Q: Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Thankfully, this one is all imagination in terms of the paranormal stuff. It is set in my local area though, and the idea that there is a large homeless population that the local authorities don’t do enough for is, sadly, very true.

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Q: Can you remember one of the first things you wrote? What makes it memorable?

Yes. The first thing I wrote was a short story in school when I was about ten or eleven. That was a horror story too about a circus comprised entirely or horrific, robot clowns. I’m actually working on a rewrite of that too, because I really love the concept.

Q: Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

Part time. It means that I have to set time aside to write, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As it stands, my day job pays the bills, and I do a lot of different things on the side. Writing, voice acting, running a pop culture site…it all takes time, and doing it this way means I have to be selective with what I work on. That allows me to focus a bit better than just if I was just churning stuff out constantly. Quick fire releases like that work really well for some authors, but I prefer to take things slower.

Q: Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

Werewolves. I love werewolves, and have wanted to do a proper werewolf novel for a long time. I have one done that I’m currently querying, so I’m hoping I’ll achieve that goal soon.

Q: If your book were made into a movie, who do you picture playing each characters part?

With SurReality, adapting a series of blog posts into film wouldn’t work so well. What I’d love to do with it is turn it into an adjacent story that covers the same events, but sue well-known YouTubers to talk about it. Like, if I could get a budget together and hire people like Markiplier to talk about the story, that would be great!

Q: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book/s?

In general terms, if you love genre fiction and want to see LGBTQIA+ character in lead roles but without their orientation being the focus, you should get on well with my work. Stories that talk about queer experiences are important, absolutely, but growing up, I really just wanted to see people like me as the heroes and villains, the same as everyone else. In that respect, my work is mostly escapists but with the representation intact. They are, first and foremost, genre tales though. These are horror, sci-fi, and mystery stories that just happen to feature well-rounded queer characters.

Q: How do you get past writers block or distractions like the internet?

I take a stepped approach. Try to force through, and if that doesn’t work, take a break. If a day can’t resolve it, I take a longer break and work on something else until I feel ready to get back in there. I keep busy anyway, so I do think that’s my brain telling me it needs to work on something else for a bit sometimes.

Q: What is your writing environment like? Do you write with a pen and paper, or on a computer? Do you need quiet, or music in the background? Do you have a pet who gets in on the act?

I sit at my computer in my bedroom. Usually, I’ll pull the curtains, light a candle or an incense stick, and put some music on in the background .The music is most important, because it serves as a mild distraction. I’m very easily distracted, so having a distraction that my mind can jump to easily prevents it form getting distracted by other things.

Q: How long on average does it take you to write a book?

That’s variable. The shortest one was about three months, the longest was a little over a year. It just depends o the project.

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Q: What do you like to read in your free time?

Oh, crikey, my mood is so variable with that! Of late, I’ve been revisiting Terry Pratchett and Clive Barker, with some brief jumps into Kelly Armstrong and Patricia Briggs. I’ll likely reread House of Leaves by Mark Z Daniewlewski and The Raw Shark Texts by Steve Hall soon too.

Q: What’s been your best book of this/last year, so far?

So, this isn’t a new release, but High Moor by Graeme Reynolds. I grabbed the ebook while it was on discount and then pre-ordered the hardback box set of the trilogy with a load of bonus material. It was, honestly, exactly what I was looking for at the time: a werewolf story that was more horror than anything else. It’s brutal, monstrous, and the lore is wonderfully put together.

Q: Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

Growing up, books were a big solace to me. If I was feeling ill, or lonely, they were among the constants I could always rely on. Without Pratchett’s Discworld series, my teens would have been a lot harder to deal with.

Q: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Keep at this! You’re going to have years of rejections for your short stories before something comes together. It’s important though, because what you’re doing right now is helping you find your style. And when you find that one story that you think is going to be the first success and it gets rejected, hold on to it. It’s going to find a home later on with only a small rewrite. Have faith; you’re going to touch people with some of this stuff.

ENDING

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Best of luck with the new novel and we can wait to hear from you again.

AUTHOR BIO

Author Bio

Matt Doyle is a non-binary pansexual speculative author, voice actor, and pop culture blogger residing in the UK. Matt specialises in hybrid genre fiction with diverse characters.

Social Media Links

BUY LINKS FOR BOOK

NineStar Press

Amazon

Goodreads

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