5 MINUTE INTERVIEW: MATTHEW COX

Today I’m talking to Matthew Cox. Best known for Division Zero and the upcoming Virtual Immortality (the 19th of May 2014). I recently collaborated with Matt on the Far From Home spin-off, Operation: Chimera (published by Curiosity Quills). That will be out soon. The whole process of working with Matt has been a joy, and I can’t wait to work on other material with him in the near-future.

Hello Matt. Thanks for agreeing to this short interview. Firstly, congratulations on the release of Division Zero. To someone who doesn’t know your work, how would you best describe it?

Matt: Division Zero combines elements of Cyberpunk with the Paranormal in a story that has elements of mystery and crime fiction. Born with the ability to see (and harm) the dead, Kirsten gets off to a bad start in life with a mother who thinks she is a tool of the Devil. Now a police officer in the psionic division, she gets to handle all the weird nastiness that no one else dares go near.

Kirsten’s emotional journey is as much a part of the story as the detective/crime elements, as she deals with her past and finds her way toward solid footing in the future.

You’re best known for The Division Zero series. What’s on the horizon for you? A continuation of your recent work, or something new?

Matt: I’m currently in the middle of another series, The Awakened, which follows other psionic individuals in the same setting who have more potent gifts, but are also extremely rare. There are three more books left to write in that series, and I may do a fourth for Division Zero if the muse visits. I’m thinking about some fantasy projects as well, and there is a chance I may do something ‘contemporary paranormal.’

If you were to talk to your readership in person, and you only had one shot at it, what would you say?

Matt: I hope I was able to help you escape the doldrums of the real world, if only for a short while.

There’s a lot of discussion, both online and in the press, about the ‘state of publishing,’ and the ‘rise of amateur writers.’ What do you think? Has the advent of independent publishing really just handed a loaded weapon into the hands of amateur hobbyists, or is it all about empowering authors more than ever? What are your thoughts?

Matt: I saw a quote a few weeks ago, something along the lines of a professional writer is just an amateur that didn’t give up. I can’t say I remember who said it, but I think there’s a fair amount of decent stuff that never saw the light of day because of the opinions of a small group.

Yes, there is bad writing, but readers are a savvy lot and independent publishing really puts power into the hands of readers. The people who enjoy fiction are the ones making the decision what “sells.”

Both ways have their strengths and flaws, and I don’t feel as though I’m in any position to opine on which one is “better”, but the truth has got to be somewhere between the two.

Getting away from books for a moment, what else are you up to at the moment?

Matt: I also have a habit of eating and sleeping on occasion, and there’s that whole day job thing as well. I am still a tabletop gamer, we play once a week when people can show up.

For the other writers reading this, what advice do you have to offer them? What works for you when it comes to setting pen to paper?

Matt: Years ago when I first got it in my head to try and write something, I just had an idea, sat down, and started whacking at keys. I didn’t get very far, got lost, distracted, and gave up. Sometime later, when I went back to it I had more determination and I decided to write up a brief outline of each chapter. With that sort of roadmap to go by, I didn’t get lost and I finished one.

I know there are “pantsers” and there are “outliners” and many writers can just sit down and go. It’s a personal choice and something that I had to do in order to get through it. The one exception was Caller 107; however, its origin was from a dream and the initial write up was a transcription thereof. In a way, I suppose that was an outline as well, but I never wrote one out for it.

Lastly, I used to do something like this a few years ago in my interviews. I’ve adapted it for this latest batch.

I have five questions for you. Ready? Here we go. Give me your honest answers.

1. If there were to be a film of your life, who would play you in the lead role?

Matt: Probably Chevy Chase.

2. Following the same line of thought, if there were to be a film made of any of your work, who would you cast in the roles of the main characters?

Matt: I’m not honestly sure. I don’t watch a lot of tv as of late so I’m not really sure who’d make a good Kirsten. I pictured Dorian as a “late thirties” Tony Shalhoub while writing it.

3. What are you reading at the moment?

Matt: The most recent book I read was Silicon Man by William Massa.

4. What are you listening to at the moment?

Matt: Queensryche.

5. This is stolen directly from James Lipton, but what the heck. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Matt: So, do you believe I exist now? No worries – all is forgiven.

Lastly, where do you see yourself in twelve months time? What will you be doing? Where will you be in life? Where do you hope to be?

Matt: It would be amazing if writing took off and I could make a living at it, but I know that only happens for a few lucky authors. I expect I’ll still be where I am now, writing and working. Though, I do hope that in a year’s time, I’ll have a large number of people who have found a modicum of entertainment in my writing.

Well, that’s the end of our little interview. Thanks for participating. I’m sure everyone will love [Division Zero].

MAtt: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview

Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.

Hobbies and Interests: Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<– deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it. He is also fond of cats.

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