Please check out my article on when I met the lovely Matthew 🙂 HERE
What are you currently working on?
Several projects right now. I’m reissuing my religious thriller, THE BROTHERS’ KEEPERS, and working on the sequel to that. I’ve also turned my other novel, CONVERSATIONS AMONG RUINS, into a play, and I’ve been submitting that. My favorite project, however, is an epistolary military romance I’m writing with you. I’m learning a tremendous amount as we go along, and I couldn’t be more excited to be working with you.
If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take three items from your possessions, what would they be?
That’s really difficult. I assume there’s no electricity on the island, unless I could pull a Professor and conduct it from coconuts. I would take pictures of my loved ones, lots of paper, and pencils.
When can we expect your next book release? What is it?
My next book release will be the reissuing of THE BROTHERS’ KEEPERS from Melange Press in June-July of 2016.
Would you like a blurb?
I was hoping you’d say that 😉
Most of us are familiar with Jesus’ parents, Mary and Joseph, and Jesus’ purported spouse, Mary Magdalene. But what about Jesus’ siblings? What role did they play in early Christianity?
Contemporary Jesuit and renowned religious historian Nicholas Branson is about to find out…and the answer will shake the foundations of the Judeo-Christian world.
It all starts with the murder of a United States Senator in a confessional, and the discovery of a strange religious document among his possessions. At the urging of his FBI friend, Branson joins the investigation. His effort to uncover the truth behind the murder draws him into the search for an eight-hundred-year-old treasure and into a web of ecclesiastical and political intrigue.
Accompanied by a beautiful, sharp-tongued research librarian, Jessica Jones, Branson follows a trail of clues, from the peaks of the awe inspiring French Pyrenees to the caves of war-torn Afghanistan. Along the way, shadowy powerful forces trail the pair, determined to keep safe a secret buried for centuries.
Who are your influences?
I’ve been influenced by several writers. I’d love to write with the philosophical and psychological depth of Dostoevsky, the spirituality of Hesse, the soul of James Baldwin, the clarity of Hemingway, the plotting of Richard Wright, and the lyricism of William Styron.
What’s your favourite food?
I have three, actually. I know, I’m cheating and I need to get myself sorted. Pizza, chicken marsala, and chicken vindaloo.
Conversations Among Ruins is semi-autobiographical. How difficult was it to write so much of yourself into a book, and how much of it was true?
I’m glad you ask such easy questions 😉 The main character in CAR, Daniel Stavros, is dual diagnosed, meaning he suffers from a mood disorder and chemical dependency. I am dual diagnosed, with depression and anxiety as well as alcohol use disorder. Stavros is a professor, as was I. The similarities end toward the last part of the book, when Stavros has a set of surreal experiences while staying at a friend’s “cabin” in the mountains.
What is your pet peeve when it comes to reading books? What’s the thing that would make you put it down and not finish?
Tons of typos and grammatical mistakes are my pet peeves. Also if a book is poorly plotted and/or there are factual errors, I can’t finish it. Unfortunately, several books published today suffer from these defects. I’m to the point in my life where I don’t finish a good deal of the books I start. Life is short, and there are only a finite number of books one can read.
Tell us something not a lot of people know about you?
I’m a high school dropout with a Ph.D.
What inspires you to write?
Beauty inspires me to write, whether in the shape of music, words, art, nature, or a person.
Describe your ideal woman. How much of her have you laced into the female characters in your books.
My ideal woman is beautiful, smart, funny, and loving. She is someone I can be totally open and honest with and not fear being judged. My ideal woman would return all the love I shower upon her, for I am one who loves passionately and deeply. I’ve laced some of these qualities into Jessica Jones, the female protagonist in THE BROTHERS’ KEEPERS.
What’s your favourite thing to do other than write?
My favorite things to do other than write are read, listen to music, and connect with loved ones.
You can see into the future. Where do you see yours?
I hope to become a bestselling author and a substance abuse counselor. Above all, I see myself spending the future with the woman I love.
What piece of advice would you offer to new writers?
Here are some things I really wish people had told me early on:
Read, read, read. Read the classics and as much good literature as you can get your hands on. Read widely, too, from poetry and plays to science and politics. If you don’t read well, you can’t write well.
Don’t be a perfectionist. Perfectionism kills. Realize that unlike other professions, say neurosurgery, writers don’t have to get it right the first time. We have the luxury of being able to revise our product as much as we wish. Realize that, and let it free you up in the writing process.
The first draft stinks; write it anyway. Anne Lamott talks a lot about the shitty first draft. Indeed. But that’s okay. Give yourself permission to write lousy first (second and third) drafts. They’ll improve in revisions.
It’s okay not to be in love with writing every second of every day. It’s natural to resent it at times. Don’t stuff these feelings, and don’t be afraid to vent them. Writing is not all sunsets and rainbows. Any writer who is really working will understand your frustration.
Join a writing group. Make sure someone other than your parents or significant other gives you feedback. But also be wary of taking too much constructive criticism from too many people, especially early in the story writing process—too many writers can spoil the plot (among other things).
Don’t be overly eager to submit to an agent, or a publisher. Before you submit your work, make sure it’s free from typos, and grammatical and factual errors. If you can afford it, have a content editor and a copy editor go through your manuscript and polish it until it shines. Don’t submit anything for publication until it represents your absolute, best effort. I think you’ll be surprised how much that will distinguish you from the rest of the slush pile.
Always strive to improve. Constantly hone your craft by taking courses, going to workshops/conferences, and by reading books on writing. Too many times, I’ve seen writers who think they know it all stop learning. These are often the same writers who refuse to get feedback on their work. Don’t fall into this trap. Hemingway said, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
THE GREAT GATSBY (with Mia Farrow)
“True Companion” by Marc Cohn
Dual diagnosed* from an early age, Matthew Peters dropped out of high school at sixteen. He went on to obtain an A.A., a B.A. from Vassar College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University. He has taught various courses in a variety of disciplines throughout North Carolina. He is committed to increasing the awareness and understanding of the dual diagnosed. Conversations Among Ruins (All Things That Matter Press, 2014) is his first novel. His second novel, The Brothers’ Keepers (MuseItUp Publishing, 2014), is a political-religious thriller that capitalizes on his love for history and research. Currently, he is working on a sequel to The Brothers’ Keepers.
*The term dual diagnosed refers to someone suffering from a mood disorder (e.g., depression) and chemical dependency.
CONVERSATIONS AMONG RUINS:
Amazon Paperback: http://amzn.to/1phAi7v
Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/1oASGcG
Barnes & Noble Nook: http://bit.ly/1t6Q31L
All Things That Matter Press Paperback: http://bit.ly/1rBiB1e