AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Matt Scott

Today, I would like to welcome author Matt Scott to the blog. He is another one of the talented authors from Burnt Fur, an anthology released earlier this month by Blood Bound Books, edited by Ken MacGregor.

Meghan: Hi, Matt. Welcome to Meghan’s House of Books. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Matt Scott: I am 45 years old and live outside of a little town just northwest of Indianapolis. My wife and I live out in the country with our barnyard friends: chickens (too many), ducks (mean), pigs (potbellied), and our cats and dogs. As well as writing, my wife, Heather, and I run a small pet care business. Big animal lovers. We also recently just kicked off a new venture in publishing by starting our own company- Scover Publications LLC. We are really excited to get started. When I’m not writing or taking care of animals, my wife and I love to go Geocaching, hiking, and exploring. I watch just about anything and everything and my reading habits are similar with a slight preference for horror, bizarro, and crime.

Meghan: What are five things most people don’t know about you?

Matt Scott: I’m deathly afraid of clowns (in person), there is no reason for a grown ass person to be dressed that way. I hate spiders. I collect knives and can throw them pretty well (getting them to stick is a whole other story). I get pretty emotional while watching movies- I get that from my dad. And last but not least, I am slowly giving up meat (my wife is a vegetarian).

Meghan: What is the first book you remember reading?

Matt Scott: Top of my head- maybe those D+D Choose your own adventure books?

Meghan: What are you reading now?

Matt Scott: I just finished Sour by Tony Evans, Day Care by Tim Miller, and Room 23 by Pete Nunweiler and just started reading Bloodchild by Octavia E. Butler.

Meghan: What’s a book you really enjoyed that others wouldn’t expect you to have liked?

Matt Scott: Foolish Expectations by Alison Bliss

Meghan: What made you decide you want to write? When did you begin writing?

Matt Scott: I used to write stories in fourth grade and sell them at recess. I also wrote the lyrics down from songs on the radio and sold copies at school. I’ve always wanted to write. My mom was a big reader and she taught me the value of a good story.

Meghan: Do you have a special place you like to write?

Matt Scott: My office, at my desk. I carry notebooks around with me during the day, and I come home and put my notes or ideas on the laptop, adding to or revising whatever project I may be working on at the time.

Meghan: Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Matt Scott: I don’t outline, but I work a lot from my notes. I also print out all my research so I can have hard copies with me while I ‘m writing.

Meghan: Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Matt Scott: Honestly – making something special – to stand out – to live on – to make something that means, matters, something important.

Meghan: What’s the most satisfying thing you’ve written so far?

Matt Scott: That’s not a very easy question. I’ve become attached to many projects over the years, not all of them great, but they have meant something to me. A poem I wrote after my mom died called – Night, Night, Beautiful – was inspired by my parents relationship and what my dad said at her bedside when she died. Another couple stories are Still Under and Asylum.

Meghan: What books have most inspired you? Who are some authors that have inspired your writing style?

Matt Scott: I really love Kerouac and Bukowski. I love their voice and style. And Poe. I’m a sucker for dark gothic horror.

Meghan: What do you think makes a good story?

Matt Scott: While I write mostly genre fiction, I think believable, relatable, fleshed out characters make for a better story.

Meghan: What does it take for you to love a character? How do you utilize that when creating your characters?

Matt Scott: A lovable character is a real one- one who is not perfect, who faces real trials, has real concerns and is true to their nature.

Meghan: Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Matt Scott: I have a character in a story called So Tired that I modeled loosely after myself. It has an emotional payoff at the end, so I really like his reaction.

Meghan: Are you turned off by a bad cover? To what degree were you involved in creating your book covers?

Matt Scott: I am, yes. A bad cover will make me skip right past it most times, unless I recognize the author. I have worked with Becky Narron from Terror Tract on both my book covers – I give her a general idea and she brings it home. She’s quite talented, love her designs.

Meghan: What have you learned throughout the process of creating your books?

Matt Scott: That I have much left to learn. I guess the biggest being, after you finish a draft, put it in a drawer for a while. Let yourself detach from it somewhat as it simmers, then go back to it with fresh eyes before sending it out into the world.

Meghan: What has been the hardest scene for you to write so far?

Matt Scott: I think every scene has its own difficulties, their own eccentricities. Hemingway was right, “writing is easy, you just sit down at your desk and bleed.”

Meghan: What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Matt Scott: My horror has been so far, for the most part, centered on human monsters; the evil shit that people do to one another, inexplicable, and with no remorse.

Meghan: How important is the book title, how hard is it to choose the best one, and how did you choose yours?

Matt Scott: Titles for me, whether they are for a short story, collection, or larger stand-alone work, prove troublesome. Ii think a great title is important, I just tend be a little disappointed in some of mine. They could be better.

Meghan: What makes you feel more fulfilled: Writing a novel or writing a short story?

Matt Scott: I enjoy finishing what I start, it really gives me a sense of accomplishment, so short stories are completed more frequently. Having said that, I am on the cusp of completing my first novel, so I’ll let you know then. I have put together a collection of shorts, which was satisfying and a poetry collection, which I’m proud of.

Meghan: Tell us a little bit about your books, your target audience, and what you would like readers to take away from your stories.

Matt Scott: What I have sent out into the world at this point is geared toward a pretty big slice of readers- males, 18-45. My first collection of short stories, called Darkness Calling contains a sort of shock and awe TOC. The stories consist of malicious intent, betrayal, debauchery, deviancy, and good old fashion murder. Splatterpunk, to a small extent. Mine are a little tame compared to some, and that’s ok.

Meghan: I am always excited to get my hands on anthologies, especially ones from publishers that I have grown to trust. Tell us about Burnt Fur and your story in it.

Matt Scott: My story in Burnt Fur snuck up on me. It started out, believe or not, as a part of a longer stand-alone work aimed at a much younger audience – Think Babe, or Charlotte’s Web (yeah, I know). I morphed the story to fit the call actually. I had a solid character and a good protagonist, so I gave him anthropomorphic qualities and sent him to town. The result was bizarre, unexpected, funny, and horrifying – I was really quite happy with it.

Meghan: Can you tell us about some of the deleted scenes/stuff that got left out of your work?

Matt Scott: As I said, really everything outside the immediate scenario was cut out and the rating went from PG to… well, I don’t know what you would rate Oh Piggy, My Piggy.

Meghan: What is in your “trunk”?

Matt Scott: Right now I’m working on another collection of short stories (not quite as gory and graphic), three novels, another poetry book, and as mentioned earlier, my wife and I just started our own publishing company – Scover Publications LLC. I am really excited about all that’s going on right now, if not sometimes a little overwhelmed, but I’ll take that over the alternative.

Meghan: What can we expect from you in the future?

Matt Scott: Hopefully a few substantial novel length works, more literary than horror, as well as a new collection of shorts and some more poetry. Also looking forward to putting out titles by other authors.

Meghan: Where can we find you?

Matt Scott: Facebook ** Twitter **
Email (author) = mattscott1971@yahoo.com
Email (publishing) = scoverpublications@yahoo.com

Meghan: Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you’d like to say that we didn’t get to cover in this interview?

Matt Scott: I would just like to say thank you, Meghan, for the chance to reach out and answer some very hard and intriguing questions. I appreciate the opportunity. I had a lot of fun and hope readers enjoy this and the upcoming Burnt Fur anthology from Blood Bound Books.

About the Book:
Sit. Roll over. Who’s a Good Boy?

There are no good boys in in this anthology, only twisted, deviant, and burnt encounters with pets, people in costume, animals who behave like humans, and creatures who blur the line between the three. Violent pigs, killer ducks, horny bees, a naughty rabbit, and many more fill these pages with tale after tail of hair-raising horror.

Don your Fursuit, slip into your Fursona, and ride the dark wave of horror that is Burnt Fur. You may never go back to wearing your normal skin again.

The Moon in Her Eyes by Sarah Hans
Mallard’s Maze by Joseph Sale
Salivation by Theodore Deadrat
The Hamford Pigs by N. Rose
The Willingness of Prey by Paul Allih
6 Dicks by Rachel Lee Weist
The Others by C.M. Saunders
Randall Rabbit by Elliot Arthur Cross
A Concubine for the Hive by Rue K. Poe
Five Nights with Teddy by Thurston Howl
Oh Piggy, My Piggy by Matt Scott
Ware the Deep by Stephanie Park
The Molt of a Diminishing Light by Michelle F. Goddard
The Victims by James L. Steele

About the Author: Matt Scott is the author of over two dozen published stories and two collections of short horror and poetry. His work has appeared in anthologies from Terror Tract, Deadman’s Tome, Infernal Ink Magazine, and Burnt Fur by Blood Bound Books. He recently began his foray into the world of publishing by launching his own press, Scover Publications LLC, something he is excited to learn from and grow. Matt lives in Central Indiana with his wife, Heather, and their ever growing gaggle of farmyard friends.

Halloween Extravaganza: INTERVIEW: Thomas S. Gunther

Meghan: Hi, Thomas. Welcome back to Halloween Extravaganza, and welcome to the new blog. It’s been awhile since we sat down together. What’s been going on since we last spoke?

Thomas S. Gunther: The big news is that I’ve taken a position as a columnist for Becky Narron’s brand new horror ezine, Terror Tract. Our first came out in October!

Meghan: Who are you outside of writing?

Thomas S. Gunther: Outside of writing, I live a fairly normal life. I’m married. I have kids, grandkids, a dog, etc. I have a regular job, though it is seasonal, working on a tree farm–it’s great working outside. I pay bills, have responsibilities. Pretty boring stuff like that. Writing, much like reading, is a form of escapism.

Meghan: How do you feel about friends and close relatives reading your work?

Thomas S. Gunther: Funny you should ask. A cousin told me awhile back she was purchasing a copy of Monsters vs. Nazis, an anthology from Deadman’s Tome, which includes a werewolf story I wrote. I never heard back from her, so decided to message her and ask. Nothing. Crickets. I’m sure she’s busy with everyday life, but it’s disconcerting. They say family are the worst critics. One learns to take it all with a grain of salt.

Meghan: Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

Thomas S. Gunther: There are days when I truly hate writing, and being the proverbial writer. Regardless of how much I love the craft, it’s still a lot of work. I am rarely happy with the results. I get picky, and often waste a lot of time like that, worrying about the perfect word or some iota of prose. It can be exhausting, often more taxing than the extremely physical work I do for a living.

Meghan: How has your environment and upbringing colored your writing?

Thomas S. Gunther: I think it’s impossible to write anything without some faction of my personal life finding its way in. I’ve never submitted it, but I have written a story based on some of the weirder childhood tales my mother has told me. Many of my stories, expressed or not, take place in Michigan, though I often take liberties with geography.

Meghan: What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research for your books?

Thomas S. Gunther: Not sure if I could give you a straight answer. Often, when I am doing research, I find myself going off on tangents. Some discoveries help to shape a story, and add color or take it in new directions. Some find me wasting time and smoking cigarettes.

Meghan: Which do you find the hardest to write: the beginning, the middle, or the end?

Thomas S. Gunther: Oh, definitely the beginning. It’s part of getting started. In fact, my first article for Terror Tract touches on this.

Meghan: Do you outline? Do you start with characters or plot? Do you just sit down and start writing? What works best for you?

Thomas S. Gunther: Sometimes I outline. I’ll actually sit down, and scratch out bubble charts and the sort of stuff one learns in school. But most of the time–quite frequently–I just sit on a story, and mull it round in my head forever before I actually start typing.

Meghan: What do you do when characters don’t follow the outline/plan?

Thomas S. Gunther: (Snorts). That’s what makes writing fun!

Meghan: What do you do to motivate yourself to sit down and write?

Thomas S. Gunther: I go through a slew of thoughts, emotions, etc. Some writers can hold full-time jobs and write full-time while doing so, and many of them are far more prolific than I. Like my job, writing can be seasonal for me. I work in the warm months, and write in the cold. Spring and fall are transitional, or have been, for the last few years. I’m weird, I know.

Meghan: Are you an avid reader?

Thomas S. Gunther: Not as avid as I used to be. I have less time as I did when I was younger, when I devoured books. And while I read very well, I’m a slow reader. I guess, though, it’s because I want to savor every word, every paragraph. I can’t imagine life without reading, but I’ll never be able to read everything I hope to read. There are so many stories, so many books, and I just keep collecting!

Meghan: What kind of books do you absolutely love to read?

Thomas S. Gunther: Surprisingly, it wasn’t always horror. I have read a lot of science fiction and fantasy. A lot. But, most of the fiction I read now is from my writing peers, “horror” and related. There are some great writers in the market, and I think the ones I love the best are the ones who write the sort of stories I wished I had thought of.

Meghan: How do you feel about movies based on books?

Thomas S. Gunther: Meh. Depends on the book, the movie, etc.

Meghan: Have you ever killed a main character?

Thomas S. Gunther: If by main character you mean the protagonist, then “no,” I don’t think so. I love the element of hope.

Meghan: Do you enjoy making your characters suffer?

Thomas S. Gunther: Of course. There’s really no story worth reading or writing if the characters aren’t suffering from something.

Meghan: What’s the weirdest character concept that you’ve ever come up with?

Thomas S. Gunther: Some of my sillier stories involve characters with odd quirks or fetishes. I think most characters should be multi-faceted, to be more interesting and believable. One combination I tried was a werewolf who was not only a drunk, but he had a fear of heights. Not sure how well that actually worked out.

Meghan: What’s the best piece of feedback you’ve ever received? What’s the worst?

Thomas S. Gunther: I certainly love praise. Flattery will get you everywhere. But truly, the best feedback I’ve ever gotten has come from Clark Roberts. Not only because he’s, on more than one occasion, taken the time to say why he liked my work, but because I like his work. Getting feedback from another writer, particularly from one I admire, is a compliment. And, it’s encouraging. I love that I’ve come to be friends with several other writers in my field. There is a certain camaraderie. As far as the worst feedback is concerned, well, let’s just say crickets are the worst critics.

Thomas S. Gunther enjoys reading and writing fiction of all kinds, though he is partial to horror. Like the original American horror writer, Edger Allen Poe, he favors the short story over longer works, though he is currently working on a novel (or two), as well. Besides writing fiction, he is also a columnist for the new ezine, Terror Tract. During the summer months, he is employed as an aquatic transfer engineer on a tree farm, but also works as a writer/editor for occasional private clients. While his parents had hoped he would pursue his artistic talents, he chose to draw with words instead, having been inspired by various writers, including but not limited to, Jack London, Harlan Ellison, John Lindqvist, and Clive Barker. In turn, his work may be described as being a mix of brutality, dark humor, and the macabre. Several of his short stories have made it into print within the pages of various anthologies with indie publishers. When not working or writing, Thomas S. Gunther spends his days helping his beautiful wife around their home in Kalamazoo, MI, making sure the dog doesn’t eat the youngest grandson, eat the flowers, or dig up the cats buried in the backyard.

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