Today, we are talking with Matthew Fish who, believe it or not wrote a book! In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that I never met the man, have no idea who he is, and this interview will be the first time we have ever spoken with each other.
I'm not sure I'd buy the time of day from this guy!
But rumor has it that he's an excellent story teller and all around nice guy, so let's give him a shot.
Matt, welcome to da blog. At least one of our readers (me) are dying to know, have you read "I've Been Deader," and how much did you love it?
Yes, I have read “I’ve Been Deader,” and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Without giving anything away, any novel that can make you feel sympathetic towards what is generally considered a monster, and introduce a healthy amount of humor, is a winner for me.
Not you, Mitt! Go away!
Enough about me, for now. How did you start your writing career?
That’s a tough one. Growing up, I read all the time, so I had an idea that I wanted to write since I was very young. However, I thought it was not something that I would ever be able to do. It didn’t really hit and become anything important until I was in high school. When I was about sixteen, I dated this girl that was way to pretty and smart for me—however, she appreciated me for the rather random, stupid person I was (still am to some extent) and told me that I should try and be an author because at the time, it was the only thing I wanted to do or took seriously in life. She said that too many people just give up on their dreams and settle into a life that they’re not happy with, which in hindsight was very insightful for a seventeen year old. Anyway, about two months into our relationship, I remember going to school, it was a Monday, and everyone was looking at me strange. Whenever I approached people it would grow eerily quiet. It was the most surreal moment in my life, when I found out that she had died in a car accident the night before and I had arrived to school completely oblivious. I left the school that day, just had a breakdown of sorts. So, basically, I started taking writing seriously because I felt it would be a great disservice to her if I had not followed what I wanted to do. Starting off, I wrote this terrible 160,000 word novel that was just depressing and bad, and then when I turned 18, I started on “A Window in the Earth.” Which, to be fair, was also terrible and bad, but with time and a lot of editing, has since become my bestselling book. It is celebrating its ten year anniversary this year. Very long answer to a short question, moving on….
I would love to travel the world, but this damn ankle bracelet doesn't come off for three more months. Does travel play in the writing of your books?
Very heavily, when I’m not dealing with anxiety or my agoraphobia, which comes and goes, I’m frequently seeing new places—that and I frequently drive between Illinois and California, and every time I make the trip I see something new, or have some new experience that eventually ends up incorporated into my story.
Tell us about your current release and, please, keep it clean. I am referring to your book.
It’s called “Buried in Sunshine.” It is about a girl who deals with a lot of mental issues and develops a rather unhealthy relationship with the sun. She begins to have these odd nightmares that the sun is actually coming for her, that when it comes it will destroy the earth. When she awakens one morning she starts seeing different versions of herself that lead her through her troubled past to find the answers as to why she is the way she is now…that and hopefully find a way to not destroy the earth with her sun obsession.
Tell us about your next release.
My next release is actually a re-release through Musa Publishing of “Charlotte’s Feathers.” It is about a young man named Benjamin Strong who has lost everything in a very short amount of time, his parents, and his girlfriend. He has dropped out of college and is on the verge of committing suicide when he is approached by a winged version of his dead girlfriend Charlotte. She gives him a warning that he will die in seven days, but that he has been given the power to take all of humanity with him and leave the world empty for nature to reclaim. It is kind of a study on how we treat each other, and how our actions have consequences that we do not often see.
Despite my earlier disclosure, I have read some of your work. You have some real chops as a writer. Besides me, has someone been instrumental in inspiring you?
My co-author, and recently Fiancé, Ella Isabelline, who I’ve known as a friend for about eight years now, she has continually pushed me, despite us both having anxiety and post traumatic stress disorders, to continue writing and be the best author/person that I can be.
Hear that Ella? He credits the love of his life for his success. Matt's no dummy.
Has someone helped or mentored you in your writing career?
No, unfortunately, although that position is available…any takers…?
To Sell Your Soul Above Book Value."
When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?
I usually write at night, starting anywhere from 9pm and if I’m really into what I’m working on I can be a little obsessive and end up working until noon the next day. This actually is a pretty common occurrence when I do write. Which accounts for how many books I have, the ones I have up are really only about 1/3rd of the ones I have finished (I’m just very picky, and probably overly harsh about my own work, so actually releasing something means I have to be completely happy with it.) So sometimes, I can get away with a 6 hour day, but I’ve done fifteen-sixteen hour days on more occasions then I would like to admit.
Who is your favorite author?
Mark Z. Danielewski. I’m a huge “House of Leaves” and “Only Revolutions” Fan.
Hmm. I think you misspelled my name. Plotter or Pantser? Why?
Pantser, I love surprises. Sometimes I think if you plot things out too much, or at all, it doesn’t allow for the story to just take you into those odd places that it wants to go to.
I love to sing on the subway and imagine I have inspired many writers, or at least letters, over the years. Do you listen to music while writing? If so what? What songs are most played on your Ipod?
I’ll just combine these. For me, I cannot write a paragraph without my headphones on and the music turned up. Most played, would have to be anything by Bon Iver, Rachael Yamagata—“Sunday Afternoon” especially, James Vincent McMorrow, The Civil Wars, Lights, Israel "IZ" Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole , and about hundreds of others that I cannot list off of the top of my head.
If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be?
The girl that inspired me to write, for not attending your funeral, I’ve always felt bad about that. I was not a strong enough person.
What books have most influenced your life? (psst)
Although a lot of books stick with me personally, I have to give one specific book credit for a majority of the influence it has brought into my life—John Krakauer’s “Into the Wild.” I think the idea of giving up everything you own, donating all of your money to charity, and simply immersing yourself in nature would be the ultimate form of escapism from society. I would never be so brave, nor could I live without my laptop or Ipod, but I do find Christopher McCanndless’s views on life and his beliefs ultimately very fascinating. It inspires me to live a more minimal existence and try and enjoy being out in nature as much as possible.
What is it that you like to do when you’re not reading/writing?
Art mainly, in any form—I enjoy painting, digital art, photography, sculpting, and creating music.
What would we find under your bed?
One of my three rescued cats, they love playing under the bed for some reason.
Other than this interview, what makes you happy?
The fact that I have found someone that understands me and supports me in every way. I suppose they were technically already there, but…that we found that kind of support within each other. That really puts things into perspective for me and makes everything else seem so much less important.
Elle, I hope you're reading this.
How do you react to a bad review of your book?
I take it as someone’s valid opinion and move on from there. Sometimes a bad review can be helpful as it points out flaws that you can work on to change your work to make it better. Unless it’s a review that just says “You suck…” then I go and steal toys from children and burn them and laugh as they cry. (Not so much.)
What was the scariest moment of your life?
A skin cancer diagnoses at 26, but luckily it was nothing major. I know that it could have been a lot worse and for that, I am grateful.
26? You look like you're not old enough to drive. If we were both women, I'd hate you.
Do you have a favorite quote, quip, or saying? What is it?
“Happiness only real when shared.”
Describe what it’s like to be an author in three words.
I ate what?
What one word best describes you?
And on that note, we're done! Unless you happen to have a link or author website or blog or something. But really, what are the odds that a writer would have any of those?
I have neither. I have an Amazon Author Page… READ ME!
I should figure out how to make a blog though. That’s probably good advice.
Try fiber! Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?
If it is something you feel you will enjoy, then I will be grateful that you have given it a chance. I just wanted to add, thanks to anyone who has read any of my books.
Matt, you seem like a normal guy with a twisted imagination. I'm sure it will take you far. We wish you much success and congrats on your engagement.
I encourage all Splinkervillains to buy Matt's books (when you're done with mine, of course).
That's it! Go home!