Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Hi there everybody, my name is Matt Doyle, and if I’m being honest, I don’t have a clue where to begin with this…the best I can do is promise to try not to be too verbose.
So, like most people, I was born. Unlike most people, the place of my birth was in the Medway Towns in the South East of England. Like even fewer people, I have reached adulthood and remain living there (although I appear to be slowly moving closer to the edge).
Never having been a fan of being told that I can’t do something, I’ve spent most of my life chasing dreams, regardless of how unsuited I may seem to achieving to them. Most notably, this resulted in me spending nearly ten years as a professional wrestling, primarily for NWA-UK Hammerlock and Riot Act Wrestling. In doing so, I was fortunate enough to meet one of my all-time favourites from the ring Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts and wrestle some of the best known guys in the UK.
Since retiring, I set my sights on achieving another of my childhood dreams: that of becoming an author. I’ve always loved books, from the days of sending my parents out to buy Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels when I was off school and terribly ill, through my teen years with my first forays into Stephen King, right up to my more recent and oddly diverse reading lists. Basically, I devour books of most genres at the same rate that my youngest dog devours my oldest dog’s food when she’s not looking.
Which writers inspire you?
So many, and in so many different ways. I’ve always loved Pratchett, I think he was my first real influence in writing (him and the various Point Horror books that I nabbed from the local library). As time has gone on, I’ve found inspiration in a lot of other authors: Neil Gaiman, HP Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe and Alice Borchardt have been there for a while now. Most recently, Patricia Briggs, Cherie Priest, Derek Landy, Mark Z Danielewski, Hugh Howey and Scott Siggler have added themselves to mix. SD Perry’s work in the Aliens vs Predator universe always leaves me wanting to write, and the various novels from the Dragonlance universe have been doing the same of late. Aside from that though, I take a lot of inspiration from manga too. Masamune Shirow had a fair amount of influence on my current novel, ‘WICK’, and both Rei Hiroe and Shirow Miwa always grab my attention. If I want some humour in my diet, then Tomoya Haruno’s ‘D-Frag!’ is great to dive into.
I could also write about the music that inspires me…but that would be a terribly long list too.
Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?
Not as yet. As it is, I really wouldn’t have a clue how. On top of that, I’m really not sure how if writing with me would be a worthwhile experience for anyone. I can be a bit of a pain, or so I’m told.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed storytelling. Creative writing was pretty much the only thing that I remained consistently good at through my entire school life, and the idea of having a book out that people actually bought and read was something that really appealed to me from a young age. Since leaving school, I’ve been badgering away at it from various angles (including short stories, failed novels and a webcomic called ‘Tales of the Winterborn’) and just refused to back down on the idea that I can do this.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
Part time. I have a partner, kids, pets and a mortgage, so having a day job is important. Will I ever be at a point where writing is my full time job? Who knows? I’m not about to give up on the possibility any time soon though.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I always have an idea where a story starts and where it ends, but what happens in the middle can vary. I recently released ‘WICK’, the first book in my series ‘The Spark Form Chronicles’, and that took me on an odd journey. I actually started writing a different book entirely, but realized pretty quickly that the idea wasn’t fully formed enough to become a full novel. Since that was my goal, I started looking at the story differently. I’d initially just been writing what came to my head (a rip off of one episode of Bodacious Space Pirates as it happens) but that really wasn’t working. So instead, I took the ideas I liked, fleshed them out on paper and started adding to them. The book went quickly from a single person POV space novel to a SciFi story set closer to home and told by five different POV characters (two of which were from the original novel but with altered personalities and slightly modified backstories). From there, I worked with a mix of techniques. Large portions were written by just riding the ideas wherever they wanted to take me, but equally so, other sections had a lot of planning put into them. I’m not sure I have a preference for one technique or the other, I prefer to just work however feels best at the time.
Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?
Pester everyone relentlessly. I’ve struggled a bit to get reviews for WICK, everyone seems to have massive queues at the minute, but for the most part I’ve taken the ‘e-mail everyone and ask nicely’ approach.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
Writing is an art form and art is subjective. That being the case, I think that if you go into a project without expecting a couple of bad reviews along the way then you’re either naïve or over-confident. The fact is, I don’t expect everyone in the world to like everything I do, so bad reviews don’t bother me. If they’re written in a constructive way, then there’s every chance I’ll learn something from them too…or, writing being subjective, the dislike will be purely down to a difference of opinion. Either way, bad reviews don’t have to be negative experiences.
Good reviews though, they’re great. That being said, I’d rather have a good review that says exactly what the reviewer liked about my work. That way, I can try to see trends in what people are enjoying or (if I’m lucky) find out that something I wasn’t so sure on was actually a good idea after all. I think that a simple ‘this was great, everything is fantastic’ is less helpful though. In the same way that ‘this is awful, I hated all of it’ doesn’t give you any specifics to improve upon, the non-specific praise doesn’t really help you see what you’re doing right.
So yeah, good or bad, it’s all fine with me as long as they’re helpful. Non-helpful reviews I can accept just fine, but find them to be a missed opportunity.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
I have a website, http://mattdoylemedia.com . It’s a bit bare bones at the moment, but I’m hoping to grow it to include a ton of stuff based around my various projects. At the moment, it has details about ‘WICK’, some information about my cosplay / crossplay exploits, and links to my social media accounts. I want to add reviews, articles, historical wrestling stuff and maybe some other stuff that I haven’t thought of yet. If you don’t want to go to the main site for the links, then you can also find me on:
Any Comments for the Blog readers?
Thank you for taking the time to read though my inane gibberish. Believe it or not, this whole thing classifies as me succeeding in not being overly verbose! Whether you've found me to be interesting or somewhat on the dull side, please do check out ‘WICK’ though. It’s a bit of a genre bender which, while primarily a Slice of Life / SciFi hybrid, also touches on a bunch of other genres including: New Adult, Young Adult, Dystopia and LGBT. It even has a touch of Furry in it. If that sounds interesting, intriguing or so bad that you would totally check it out just to see if it’s awful, then there are purchase links on my website. At the moment, it’s exclusively on Kindle, and is available to borrow through Kindle Unlimited.
Any feedback for me or the blog?
Absolutely. Thank you for being open to helping Indie authors try to getting their feet on the ladder. Without sites like this, a lot of people would be struggling a lot more than they are, and I think it’s important to try to nurture growth like that. Can you imagine the stories we'd have missed out on if people like Hugh Howey had been unable to make their work available?