M. R. Mathias wrote the first book of the Wardstone Trilogy whilst in a Texas prison cell, and since then has taken the world by storm. The Sword and the Dragon was deemed one of the top releases of 2010 by Fantasy Book Critic and listed in the first ever Publishers Weekly -“Indie Supplement”. This title has been in the Amazon bestselling list for fantasy/mythology for 24 Months and counting.
I am happy to present to you M. R. Mathias:
What genre would you like to write a book in (that you haven’t yet)?
I’d like to write a western, but I am about to start into a thriller that isn’t horror/paranormal, as my novel The Butcher’s Boy was.
Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole construct?
Usually I just start writing with a vague sense of where the story is going. At about two thirds of the way through, I stop, and read up to where I am and then determine how to proceed into the climax.
When you start a new story, do you have a title for it? Does that trigger the story?
Yes and no. some title’s I’ve come up with have dictated the story, while a few stories caused me to change the title.
Do you see the future of fantasy and science fiction as bright? If so, which authors are driving it?
I think that the future of all imaginative fiction is bright. Unlike other genre’s, such as romance, mystery, and thriller where the competition among indie’s and published author’s is so fierce that it’s hard to even get an award-winning novel recognized by the public, in fantasy the better stories rise to the top of the lists more quickly, are longer, and usually in series. Life imitates art, and the future will be determined by the imaginations of authors and film producers today. These genres are as healthy as ever. As to authors who are driving the future, I would have to go with Indie. The problem with published fiction is that book agents only take on what they know will sell. Ironically, most of what they have taken on in the last few years is not what’s selling. In the published arena a handful of hugely popular authors are carrying everyone in New York’s cousin, nephew, uncle, and wife. In fantasy, try D.P. Prior’s Nameless Dwarf series, Brian Rathbone’s Call of the Herald, or one of Tom Bielawski’s fantasy offerings. David Dalglish, Moses Siregar III, or Jeff Hepple. These authors all have solid work available and the people who read them keep coming back for more.
What themes are being overused?
Are movies of books ruining the book?
Some. The Lord of the Rings trilogy was frakking awesome and so was John Carter, but the Hunger Games, which was awesome in book form, was pretty lame as a movie to me.
Do you see ebooks threatening traditional publishing?
That’s the wrong question. Traditional publishers have access to making ebooks as much as anyone else. the question is, are Indie authors to the big six empire? The answer to that is, yes. The current number one New York Times Best Seller, 50 Shades of Gray, was originally written as Twilight Saga fan-fiction. It started as Indie and was turned down by the brain’s in New York who only know how to sell formulated stories. It’s a prime example of how the modern publishing industry has become nothing more than a pulp mill. If you want to read a voice that is new and refreshing, not a cookie cutter stamp of what sells, then search the Independent Authors network, or Authors Den. You will find that the top fifteen or twenty percent of Indie authors are not published because they make more money on their own than publisher’s are willing to pay.
Do you prefer to read established authors or debut authors? How do you choose which ones to read?
I like to read Clive Cussler, and most of the fantasy mainstay’s, but lately ive been reading Indie authors. I read whatever I want to read at the moment, if anything, seeing a publishers tag turns me off.
What is it about fantasy that appeals to you?
This is simple. Reading fantasy takes us away from reality to a place where impossible things are possible and the righteous somehow find a way to win the day.
Can I get an autographed book? (lol)
Absolutely. You have to pick which book.
Do you have a group of people that you show a new story to? How much impact can they have on the whole story?
Not much. Where I usually take input on grammar and sentence structure from others before I publish, my ritual writing process, I feel is sound. I wrote nine novels in prison and no one gave me any input at all as to how the stories came out.
Do you set yourself a word limit for each book?
No, but I know what type of book I am writing, about what price it will sell good at, and try to size it accordingly.
Do you have a target each day?
When I first starting writing, I wrote three thousand words and read three hundred pages every day. That was my goal. I have twenty-four completed titles at this point. Some days my goal is to try and not write anything, but that’s pretty hard for me to do as I am online promoting, tweeting, writing flash and short stories for Wattpad.
Do you write constantly or have breaks between books?
I’m usually writing something constantly. See above. But I try to take a few weeks off and clear my mind before I delve into any new novel.
Do you have characters running around your head? Do they dictate events and their histories to you?
I have an auditorium full of characters, some of them weighing forty tons with the wing span as wide as a football field, I’m lucky if they let me sleep.
After so many books, how do you keep them unique?
The uniqueness of the characters in the books, and the unexpected events, losses, and emotion are what make my writing unique. One reviewer said, “You root from Mathias’ characters.” I think that’s pretty cool.
What is your biggest (self-imposed) time waster?
Do you remember the first time you saw your book in a shop?
Nope. Never seen my book in a shop, but when I’m in the bookstore I have the satisfaction of knowing that I didn’t need that kind of exposure to be in the top of Amazon’s Epic Fantasy Best Seller’s list.
Do you read other people’s writing?
Would you read mine?
M. R. Mathias has the most impressive website here: http://www.mrmathias.com/