Sunday, October 28, 2012

Someone Else Who Isn't Me: Interview With Matthew Fish!

Hello Splinkervillains! 

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…?
                                                      Sign up for Karl Rove's "Ten Ways
                                                      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!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ama-DOME: Arena I

Listen all! This is the truth of it.

Writing leads to ego, and ego leads to spamming.
And that was damn near the death of us all. Look at us now! Busted up, and everyone yelling about too many freebies and disappearing reviews.

But we've learned, by the dust of them all... Ama-Dome learned. Now, when writer's get to writing, it happens here! And it finishes here!

Two writers enter; one writer leaves.

                Welcome to AMAZONDOME 2012! ARENA I

Our first match features two posters who pack plenty of snark:


Two writers with itchy pens and nothing to promote!

Unheard of!!!

The genre that the gladiators will be fighting with.... COMEDY/HUMOR!

Word count: Between 500 and 1,000.

Due Date: October 30!

Stay tuned for the big match. Once both stories are posted, everyone who's anyone will get to vote.

Until then, feel free to place bets, discuss odds, talk smack and read
"I've Been Deader," a near perfect blend of horror and comedy. (Someone's gotta promote something here. Ama-Dome doesn't pay for itself).

Put away your remotes, microwave some popcorn, and enjoy the spectacle.  Click here!! It might be the only time it doesn't take you to my book.

Two writers enter. One writer leaves.

There can be only ONE!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Someone else who Isn't me: Interview with Andrea Baker

 Hello Splinkervillains!
NOT SO FAST!  We'll get to you in a minute!  Jeez.

Halloween is almost here!  So I'm sure you are all wondering, 'why the hell is Splinker writing about anything other than "I've Been Deader," a near perfect blend of horror and comedy?  I have no good answer. (Do they celebrate Halloween across the pond?)


Anyway, today I learned that not every problem is due to zombies or marriage -- at least according to Worlds Apart - Leah, the story of, I'm guessing, a girl named Leah.  

Using the power of Kabalah and the internet, I was able to track down Andrea Baker, author and, I assume, consummate baker.  

Hello Ms. Baker.  It's a real pleasure to have you here today.   You're writing a wonderful series of books, blogging, baking 24/7.  You obviously live an amazing life.  So tell me, have you read "I've Been Deader," and how much did you love it?

(Interviewer's Note:  I actually forgot to include this question in the interview packet.  I think we can all assume that Ms. Baker loved it.)

When did you first decide to put aside your love of baking and start your writing career?

I’ve always made up stories, my family says since before I could even write them down.  In those days I suppose it was more a case of imaginative play, but where many grow out of that, I continued to do it.  If I’d read a novel, I would make up follow on stories for the same characters, and live inside those stories for ages.  When I graduated though I stopped allowing myself to indulge like that, as I thought it was childish and an adult shouldn’t do it.  Although I stopped writing them down, I couldn’t stop the ideas in my head, and eventually, about three years ago, I started writing again.

So, if I am understanding you, you basically lie all the time.  I suppose all those kind words about my book were just another story?  If so, I LOVED IT!

Tell us about a favorite character from a book.

It has to be Anne Shirley, from the Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery.  It has been a lifelong favorite of mine, and I still enjoy reading it now.  She is feisty, intelligent and funny, and despite them being from a different era now, I think there are a lot of life lessons within that still apply.  My eight year old daughter has just discovered the films, and loves them, so I am looking forward to hearing her thoughts when she gets to the books.

Does travel play in the writing of your books?

Time travel plays in the books, but at this stage, not travel as such, although it may appear in future books of the series.

Couldn't you just time travel in future and then come back here and tell is if travel will play a big part in the upcoming books?  Go ahead, we'll wait.


I see.  Don't want to give too much away.  Fine. Tell us about your current release.

My first book, Worlds Apart – Leah, was published by Taylor Street Books on October 11th 2012.

Leah knows that her mother died in a car accident when Leah was small and that her father, who used to be the gentlest dad in the world, has become increasingly controlling and occasionally violent.

She also knows that her recurring dreams are telling her something more about how and why her mother died, and why her dad turned nasty, but they are becoming progressively more disturbing and confusing.

When Leah meets Ben, she is excited to have a friend she can confide in and have fun with, but is he what he seems?

The voice of Leah’s mother repeatedly tells her to rely on her instincts, but when Leah is run over in a freak accident and Ben’s family take over her welfare, are they protecting her or using her?

And why would anyone, good or evil, bother with an ordinary girl just about to go to university?

[SPOILER ALERT!]  So, no zombies at all then?  

What's next?

Book Two in the series is still being written, so we don’t have a scheduled release date, just yet.

Besides being distracted by thoughts of me, what is the hardest part of writing your books?

"Line forms here, ladies."

I would have to say time.  I try to be very disciplined, and only write when it doesn’t interfere with family life and work, but often by then I am mentally if not physically exhausted, and my mind just goes blank.  I have lots of little techniques that I use, such as play lists, films, and books that inspire me, but I can often go weeks without writing anything sensible.

Most of my ideas come from turning off the lights and screaming at loved ones.  What about you?  How do you research your books?

My series is based just a few miles from our home, in an area that I’ve known all my life.  As a result the research is quite easy, because I know the area, and am familiar with some of the local myths that underpin the story.  There are some wonderful resources online that I can dip into to check historical information or the source of the myths too, but nothing quite beats being able to wander around the Castle, soaking up the atmosphere, and letting my imagination play with ideas.

What does your significant other and family think of your writing career?

My family are extremely supportive and proud of my writing, now that they know that I’ve returned to it.  My Mom has always said I should write, and I think was secretly disappointed when I gave up on it years ago.  When I returned to writing, I didn’t tell a single soul until I’d written the bones of this novel, the first thirty thousand words.  My husband just thought I’d finally given up trying to stop him watching football at night!

Does your significant other read your stuff?

No, my husband isn’t a great reader, and the genre I write just doesn’t interest him at all!

Jeez!  I hope he cooks.  Next time he wants you to cook something just say "Sorry.  That chore doesn't interest me at all!"   
Do you have critique partners or beta readers?

I am part of a wonderful online writing community, the Alliance of Worldbuilders, who got together on the Harper Collins Authonomy website.  The advice, support, and critiques I’ve received from them have really improved my work, and I honestly don’t think Leah would have been published without them.
Don't get me started on Authonomy.  Did I ever tell you the story about how my book made it to the editors desk and then... well, never mind.  What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?

That the hardest part isn’t the writing of the book.  Yes, that takes time, and energy, and a bucket load of imagination, but it is also fun.  The hardest thing is drafting query letters, doing submissions, and now that I am published, the self marketing!  I am quite a shy, introverted person, and marketing myself is not something that I find easy.

Me too!  There's no one more shy or introverted than me.  That's one of the things I LOVE most about me!


                                              Who wants to touch my 
                                              shrinking violet?? 

Who are your books published with?

I think you know them actually, it’s Taylor Street Books.

They sound a bit dodgy.  

Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it?

I always used to write under the name Rose Wall, which is a combination of a family nickname and my maiden name.  However, when we were discussing publication, my publisher convinced me to publish under my real name, so I took the plunge.  No hiding from it now, is there?

Excellent.  I see many restraining  orders in your future.  What was the scariest moment of your life?

There are two – the first was when I was in my twenties, and my husband and I (we weren’t married at the time) were driving down a country lane in typical wet and windy British winter weather.  Directly in front of us an old oak tree snapped with the force of the wind and fell across the road.  We both knew there wasn’t enough time to stop the car.  Thankfully we survived without serious injury, but it was really scary.

The second is totally different, but I think most parents would understand – the time we discovered our daughter has a life threatening allergy to nuts.  She was only twenty one months old, and we hadn’t given her any nuts – as all parents know children under seven should not eat them.  However, she started being violently sick, and her face started to change colour and swell.  We called an ambulance and she was rushed to hospital and treated for anaphylactic shock.  We later discovered that she must have eaten something that was contaminated with nuts, and now have to carry adrenaline with us just in case.  Absolutely terrifying.

Are the names of the characters in your novels important?  How and why?

The name of my main character comes from my great grandmother or “Nanny-Nan” as I always called her.  She died when I was only a child, but her eldest child was named after her, and she and her sister, my own Nan, were very close.

Who should play you in a film of your life? 

My life isn’t interesting enough to make a film out of!

Ah.  So maybe Jennifer Lopez, then?

 If I came to visit early in the morning and for some unknown reason you let me in, would you impress me as being more like a chirpy bird or a grumpy bear?

It depends how early in the morning it was!  I am far more of a morning person than my husband, although I think these days he’s converting me, as I find it harder and harder to get up when the alarm clock goes off!

Describe what it’s like to be an author in three words.

Fun. Liberating. Scary.

Your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?

I’d actually like to do a tour, and visit all the ancient castles and forts in the world.  They are a major feature of my work, and I’d like to research and explore them so that I could continue to use them in the series.

I'm sure you would!  Nothing like taking advanatage of the kindness of imaginary publishers.

Do your friends think you are an introvert or an extravert? Why?

Definitely an introvert.  I am quite a shy person at heart, and prefer small groups to large crowds.

Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?

We tell our children that a bad dream is just that, nothing to worry about.  In my book, the opposite is true.

You just won a huge lottery.  You make a mental note to buy me something shiny.  But what is the first thing you'll buy?

My daughter a puppy.  She is desperate for a dog of her own, but as we both work, it wouldn’t be fair for it to be locked up all day.  Winning the lottery would mean I didn’t have to work, and therefore she could have the dog of her dreams.

                                            A better friend than many people I've known.
                                            If he could talk, he'd say "Buy Worlds Apart.
                                            And for God's sake, roll down the window!"

Do you have a favorite quote, quip, or saying? What is it?

It’s actually quite a recent one – “No story lives, unless someone is prepared to listen”, and it something J K Rowling said as she thanked her fans at the last British premiere. 

That's it!  Thank you so much --

Oh yeah.  Do you have a Website or Blog?

My website is, and my blog is The blog can also be found on my website.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I hope you enjoy the books!  I would love to hear off you, and answer any questions you may have about the series – you can find out how to contact me on my website, or through the facebook page

Okay. That's really it!  Thank you for stopping by (whatever that means in this context).  Readers, Click on a link or two and if you like what you see, BUY BUY BUY!