Nine Questions with… Matthew C. Wood

Today, I’m joined by Matthew C. Wood, talent author and all around nice guy. Well, Matt introduce yourself to the captive audience that you now have before you.

Hi! I’m Matthew Wood, Science-Fiction writer and all around fun crazy guy from the small but mighty island of Britain. As one of those guys who had that clichéd passion for writing since an early age, I’ve always dreamed of breaking into the ranks of the published authors and rubbing shoulders of with likes of Stephen King one day. In the meantime, while I’m not writing or working in various Children’s Programs, I enjoy the company of my beautiful wife and two children – as well as life in British Columbia, Canada.

So now that you’re more acquainted with Matt, let’s ask him some questions. First up, what is your writing process?

Walking, driving places and sitting around to start with. My best ideas percolate when I’m doing something other than deliberately trying to have ideas, then I quickly scribble them down in one of my many notebooks or take a voice note on my phone, come home and meticulously plot and plan the story out. Once that is all done, I’ll start writing using those plans as the framework to really flesh out those ideas.

Ahh so you’re like me, notebooks everywhere, all with indecipherable snippets in them… Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

I would love to write a real nail-biting suspense novel one day.

I love suspense stories and I like them even better when I get to the end without a clue as to what’s really going on! Tell us Matt, what are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?

Clear and Present Danger by Tom Clancy, Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, Sharpe’s Trafalgar and Sharpe’s Waterloo both by Bernard Cornwell. I appreciate character, I also appreciate good technical detail in my works – especially when introducing a new technology or political event. My five all struck me in some way, made me really think hard about how I should present my stories and their protagonists. These books have really influenced me to search for that extra dimension, not just in my characters or dialogue, but in the way I describe the things they use and inhabit as well.

For an author that appreciates character – if you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?

I gave this a lot of thought for my first project, The Fallen. One of the main characters, Carrie-Anne Hunter, is this intelligent, resourceful, strong and determined young woman who clearly has an agenda she’s not too willing to talk about. If I could cast anyone to play this powerful redhead it would have to be Karen Gillan of Doctor Who fame. I look at her and just see the character coming to life on the screen.

Well we all know the best way to get our works transformed into movies is to have it appear on a bestsellers list…What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?

Hand over whatever device I saw that on and ask my wife to tell me I’m not hallucinating. Once it had sunk in? I’d call up all of my friends and arrange a gathering to celebrate.

Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?

Coca-Cola – something I like to call ‘Go Go Juice’  because that artificial energy is something I feel I need at times.

Finally! Another author that doesn’t drink coffee while writing!! Yeah! Heck, I’m hyper enough without all of the extra caffeine. Well Matt, when you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

Well, I tend to keep myself very busy by leading kid’s groups at my local church Living Way, coaching Soccer in the spring times, spending time with my own family and just enjoying life.

Thank you Matt, for answering all of my questions. If you’d like, please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.

It’d be my pleasure! This is the opening few lines from my current Work in Progress, The Day the Sun Stopped Shining.

The animal kingdom has a way of knowing when trouble is afoot. Birds fall silent in the presence of danger and insects fail to make noise. In city areas this would be less noticeable to the human passer-by, but in the woodlands that filled the great uninhabited voids between settlements in rural Montana – the silence was deafening. What would normally be a sunny summer afternoon had turned to night. The sky was clear, filled with tiny flickering pinpricks of light burning from distant corners of the cosmos. What caused such widespread alarm was not the change in light cycle but what was missing.

There was no moon in the night sky. Animals have a way of knowing this is not the way it should be. So in silence all the Earth’s creatures waited for a dawn that would never come

      In a clearing carved out of the shadowy woodland surrounding Highway 200 stood a mobile home, mounted on pillars of bricks as a testament to how long it had been since it last had seen the open road. Two long strands of copper wiring had been illegally thrown over the power lines above, providing electricity to a plethora of cheap strip lights and lamps which helped stave off the night with their dull glow. As their power was stolen, not one member of the occupying Johnson family was inclined to shut off those lights when it was time to sleep – a fact for which a lone, frightened man was deeply grateful as he carefully sneaked out of the trailer’s mesh front door. The pressure was immense. He had no doubt they would kill him if he were caught.

      Mouth open wide, Cory Wilson licked dry, cracked lips whilst struggling to control his ragged breathing. His wrists were sore and bruised from the rope the Johnsons had used to tie him to their fridge, a discomfort he now tried to ignore as he squinted into the gloom in search of a vehicle he could use to affect an escape.

      His choices were limited. Apart from a small electric dirt bike, the Johnsons owned nothing but a dirty, beaten old pickup truck which had obviously seen better days. Moving slowly at a crouch, Wilson crept up to the truck and looked in through the driver’s window. Tossed upon the dashboard was the small, plastic ‘smart key’ that was needed to start the truck’s powerful engine.

      A noise from the trailer made Wilson glance nervously over his shoulder. He cursed under his breath as he realized he’d forgotten to close one eye before staring back at the light – an oversight which would cost him his night vision for several precious minutes. 

      It took Wilson a moment of fumbling to find the door latch, which he was thankful to find, had been left unlocked. The Johnsons were as slovenly as they were twisted, Wilson decided as he quickly climbed inside.  Starting the truck was as simple as plugging the smart key into its slot on the dashboard and hitting the red ‘engine start’ button nearby. An idiot proof system, designed for idiots like those inside the trailer. 

      Everything was going as he’d hoped. The truck’s electric engine whirred into life, a check of the rear view mirror revealed nothing was in his way and there were still no signs of life from the trailer. Freedom was little more than a safe reversal down the dirt track that led back onto the Highway. The thought felt good, making him forget his fears for a moment to silently gloat at the people who thought they could use him as some kind of end-times slave labor. He would have left them a note – if he had thought they could read.

      He glanced down at the power readout, assuring himself that there were enough batteries to get him to the town of Stanford. It could not have been more than a dozen miles away by his estimate. Those thoughts faded as a feeling of unease swept over him, urging him to look up from the dashboard toward the trailer.

      His fears were justified, for standing in the open doorway was a great hulk of a man. In his right hand was a pistol, which was aimed at Wilson’s head.

Okay so slightly more than nine lines but we can certainly forgive him! Thank you very much to Matthew C. Wood for giving us a little insight into his world of writing. As a dedicated reader of ‘The Day the Sun Stopped Shining‘, I cannot wait for ‘Swansong: The Fallen’ to hit shelves. Please make sure to keep us updated!

Join me next Wednesday for my interview with K. Trap Jones!


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