Today on the blog author Matthew Tallman joins us for an interview. Matthew is the author of today’s book blast The Shade. We would like to thank Matthew for stopping by and sharing with us.
I am currently a part time writer and full time government employee. Reading and writing books is one of my favorite hobbies as I enjoy every part of the story telling process. I have been working on three full-length novels for the last three years. I grew up all around the world because my father was in the United States Air Force, the past ten years I have lived just outside of Dayton, Ohio, which is where I now reside with my wife and stepson.
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
Being truthful I'd have to say no, I've always been an artist and writing was an expansion on that. When I was really young I wanted to go into paleontology, but what I went to school for was history—because i wanted to teach.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
After publishing my book, seeing it for the first time and handing it off to someone else. It's very fulfilling when you can show people what you've done and say you wrote something, after my book was published, that's when I first considered myself a writer.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
Because I self-published, it took as long as I dragged it out for. I looked for more 'traditional publishing' early on with my book and nothing ever stuck, but the one thing I didn't do was let it discourage me. After not getting picked up by a literary agent I made it my goal to get the book published on my own, it took a bit longer, but in the end it made me proud to know I'd accomplished what I'd set out to do.
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
I do have another job outside of writing. Currently I work for the United States Air Force as a Department of Defense (DoD) civilian employee. I work on Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio doing security work at one of the facilities there.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
The name of my latest book is The Shade, to summarize in 20 words will be a challenge but I'll give it a try: James Langley is trapped in The Shade, a world between life and death survival is not guaranteed.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
As I stated above I tried traditional publishing, but ended up self-publishing.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
The first book took me almost three years; this was because of the time I could commit to it. After the first book, I wrote the two sequels that go along with it, and while those are not one hundred percent complete, it only took about three months to get them to where they are now.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
Like I said in the question above I've written two other books to continue The Shade series. The two books are still being edited and currently do not have titles. They will be the same genre as The Shade, paranormal/urban fantasy. After finishing those books, I'd like to move on to mystery or detective type genre. I've always been fascinated with human nature and those types of books give me a lot of freedom to explore that.
What genre would you place your books into?
The Shade is a paranormal/urban fantasy book with some mystery.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I've always liked paranormal things, most of the books I read are science fiction and at a young age I acquired an unhealthy obsession with zombies. Most of my favorite movies are supernatural in nature (Shaun of the dead, Underworld, Resident Evil) I've always liked the genre, mainly for the same reasons writers like Sci-fi, you can invent something entirely new.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
I really enjoy writing many of the characters from my book; each one is sort of an extension of me so I like them all. If I had to pick a favorite however, I would go with Virgil. The first book began as ode to Dante Alighieri's The Inferno because I've always liked the idea presented in that book. Virgil was meant to be a guide for James but he is one of the most dynamic characters in the story. I don't want to give away anything but he is beyond important to the story as James grows throughout the three books.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I've been writing for about four or five years now. Nothing ever inspired me to write, but rather, I had a story that I wanted to share and the book took shape after that.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I do, most of the time when I write I'm in my living room. I can't write without listening to music, it lets me focus on what I'm doing and acts as a white noise for me.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I went through about four titles before settling on The Shade. I wrote the first and then as time wore on it was clear I needed a title for it. It went through a lot of different stages but I'm happy with the one I chose.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
It's sort of an odd thing, by that I mean, to manifest names out of thin air. I'm not exactly sure how I came up with James Langley and the other characters in my book, Virgil however, I had his name from the start. Virgil is Dante's guide through hell in The Inferno, I wanted to parallel that in the book so the name was fitting. The book is set in Eugene, Oregon. While I've never been to Eugene I've done extensive research on the city and what the climate, size, and layout are like.
Are character names and place names decided after their creation? Or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
The names are chosen before; it helps me to visualize the person better if I can put a name to a face. As far as places, Eugene is a real city; I also live close to a city around the same size. While not all cities are identical, it helped to use characteristics of one city to help visualize the other.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
Those things are decided before; mostly I give character traits to help tell the story. Most of the time the characters will have traits to propel the story along. That being said, each one of my characters has morphed form the first manuscript I wrote, adding and subtracting different things to balance the characters within the story.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
There are messages in my book, I don't want to beat the read over the head with them, as in, there's no agenda to this book other than to make you think. The message also aren't hidden, the story is about redemption, and the overarching theme of the trilogy is redemption. We've all done things that we regret and sometimes it takes outsiders to help us quell or fix those things we've done.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
I can't get away from a good old fashion paperback.
What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
My favorite book, that's a tough question. I'd say it's a tie if graphic novels count, I've always liked Orson Scoot Cards Enders Game, The exploration of human nature and the sci-fi elements makes me come back to it from time to time. The other is the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series, the stories in that series resonate with my life and things I've done so from time to time I will reread the series.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
Yes and no. Can it be done, yes. Has it been done, partially. The best movie adaptation of a book has to be form the graphic novel Watchmen. The movie is three and a half hours long and nails everything in the book. The writers for the movie used the comic as a storyboard and used all of the same dialogue. The problem with movies becoming books is that no one is going to sit in a theater for six hours to watch a movie. That and the fact that movie producers will want to change things because they believe they need to be original to keep people who have read the books interested, which sometimes is not the case.
Your favorite food is?
Pizza, I can't go wrong with a pizza while I'm writing.
Your favorite singer/group is?
I really enjoy the music of Thrice, but I also like, the silversun pickups and a perfect circle.
Your favorite color is?
Your favorite Author is?
I'd say Orson Scott Card, despite his reputation/beliefs, I believe he is a fantastic author.
If you would like to find out more about this amazing author, check out the book blast below.