Saturday, March 26, 2016

Author Spotlight: David Mathew


In this weeks Author Spotlight, I meet up with the very talented author, David Mathew. We discuss his novel, O My Days, a Fantasy/Surreal/Horror
 
What is your book about?
Billy Alfreth is serving five years as an inmate at Dellacotte Young Offenders Institute, in the north of England. Billy has memories of being attacked by three men, but CCTV footage doesn’t bear out his account and he is locked up for stabbing one man. Billy’s world overlaps with that of Ronald Dott, a serial rapist, who claims to know Billy from when he was a child, only that is impossible. And then there is Kate Thistle, ostensibly at Dellacotte to study prison slang, but inordinately interested in both Dott and Billy. As strange events occur and his reality begins to unravel. Billy learns of the Oasis, and a prison ship, and of a desert town called Hospital, where time works in mysterious ways. Dott tells Billy of their terrible entwined histories... whether or not Billy wants to be convinced of what he cannot understand.

“I experienced an acute, often surreal, sense of an offender’s pathology, with all its traps, humour and contradictions. O My Days is a tour de force of powerful writing. It’s demanding, gruelling yet always honest, insightful and finally moving. It explores areas that serious fiction rarely travels to. A quite remarkable novel.”

Alan Price, author of Outfoxing Hyenas

“This is a writer who has been there, viewed with compassion, and reported back. There is a new mythos here, something that feels ancient and sand-blasted and unfathomable, but it is revealed within the most modern of contexts. Highly recommended.”

Paul Meloy, author of Islington Crocodiles

What inspired you to write this book?
I worked as an Education Manager in a maximum security prison. I was aware of a secret language that the prisoners used to keep me (and others) out. I started to learn the language and a whole new world opened up for me. I made notes and after a while the stories began to cling together – until it was pretty much all I thought about when I got home from work every evening. And when something takes up so much of your interest in this way, you know that it’s time to write about it.

Who is your favourite, and least favourite, character in the book?
I have several favourite characters, and they change in my order of preferences from time to time. Right now, they are Billy Alfreth, who tells the story. Ronald Dott is his nemesis – another prisoner but on a different Wing. Dott is arch, frightening… and he claims to know Billy from years earlier, when Billy was a child. But unless Dott is lying, or is ageing at a different rate, the incident that Dott describes is impossible.
For comic effect (to begin with), I liked writing Ostrich. He made me laugh at first, with his enthusiasm for being transferred to an adult prison; but I hope he becomes a sadder character as the book progresses. He was a good way for me to get information to Billy, because there’s always someone in a prison who seems to know everything!

What draws you to this genre? Do you write in any other genre?
I’ve always been attracted to what might live in an existence that is only slightly removed from our own. I’m attracted to liminal spaces and pressure points. I don’t really care either way about blood-and-guts writing – that’s not what I mean when I say I write horror – but I am interested, very much so, in shifts of consciousness, connections and perspectives…

Is this a standalone book, or can we expect more?
Billy returns in something I’ll be working on next year. He’s older but not necessarily wiser. It was time for him to move on from the incidents in the prison, so he’s seven years older and going to university as a mature student. He’s going to find, bless him, that it’s not quite so easy as he thought it would be to let go of the past…

Tell me about you and what drew you to writing? Are there any authors who inspired you to become a writer yourself?
My name is David Mathew and Ventriloquists is my third published novel. O My Days was my first published novel but it has recently been reissued in a different form, so it is technically my fourth, or my first rebooted (as you prefer). I have also published a volume of short stories (Paranoid Landscapes) and 2015 saw the publication of my first academic book, Fragile Learning: The Influence ofAnxiety
I work at a university in a staff development team and I’m active in research into barriers to learning and psychoanalysis. In terms of fiction, I like to write what I hope will be powerful fiction, with a strong voice, strong characters and dollops of dark humour.
2016 will see the publication of a second volume of short stories, Sick Dice, and another novel, The Parry and the Lunge.

Other than your own book, what is your favourite novel?
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. It contains pretty much everything that a novel should, and is actually quite an exhausting experience, but I am mad with envy when I see the tricks that he gets some of his sentences to perform.

Have you written other books we should know about?
I’ve published four books as David Mathew and three as Tom Lockington. I’ve contributed to a dozen more. I have two works of fiction and one academic book scheduled for publication in 2016. They can be found on my Amazon Author Page or on my Smashwords Profile

If you could advise aspiring writers on only one aspect of authordom, what would your advice be?
If at first you don’t succeed… learn to do something else. If that fails to deter you, then perhaps you really do want to be a writer. You will take some bloody noses along the way. But when it is going well – the writing – it is better than just about anything else. 

Where can we find your book?

Where can we find out more about you?


48 comments:

  1. My husband would love this book. I am definitely telling him about it because it's right up his alley!

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  2. This looks like a great suspenseful and intriguing book! The cover makes me want to read it just to see what happens!

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  3. I'm not normally into stuff that it scary, but I was entranced by this storyline as soon as I started reading...that's a good sign right?!

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  4. This sounds really fascinating! I love a good suspenseful book! I am going to have to add this to my good reads!

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  5. Sounds very interesting. If I do read, it has to be a bit dramatic and this definitely sounds like that!

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  6. What a great review! I'm a travel reader and have a few trips coming up. These reviews are so helpful to help me select the perfect travel companion.

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  7. David sure does have a way with telling a story so that we actual believe that we are right there imagining it like it was playing on the big screen.

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  8. This sounds like an interesting book in its own niche, it might be a good read for people who like this genre.

    http://www.siniciliya.com

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  9. At first I didn't think this would be a book I would read. Then, I read secret language. That got my attention.

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  10. Wow the cover art drew me in immediately and I wanted to know more! Thanks for sharing this one!

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  11. I've been looking to get out my normal reading routine and explore other genres, this is a good start. Thank you.

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  12. Thank you for this wonderful post on an author's view of his new book. Although this isn't the type of genre I read, I appreciate the Q&A interview you conducted! Thanks for sharing!

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  13. Great research. I never thought prisoners have their own language, but it makes sense. Kids do the same thing.

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  14. This sounds like a very interesting, mind capturing book. Thank you for the review!

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  15. What an interesting premise for a book! I think that my husband would love this book, it sounds like exactly what he loves to read now. Thanks for the recommendation!

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  16. I know they say never to judge a book by it's cover, but this one I would. The cover looks so intriguing. I would book up this book just by looking at the cover. Although horror and fantasy are not really the types of books I read, this one actually sounds like a great read.

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  17. This books sounds really intriguing! I am interested in this language and what the relationship is between the two prisoners. I love how the author was inspired by his time to learn how they communicate and then was able to write about it.

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  18. I am definitely intrigued by this book though it is not my kind of genre to read.

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  19. This actually sounds like it would be a really good movie not just a book . Thanks for sharing I hadn't heard of this before.

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  20. Wow. I love how he emerged himself in the language of the prisoners, and eventually made a story out of everything. It's amazing how real life can always inspire you to write.

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  21. Not much into the horror genre of books, but this actually sounds interesting!

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  22. Sounds like a good eerie read! Full of suspense. Thanks for sharing x

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  23. I miss reading. I used to read a book a week a few years ago and now all I do is watch Netflex, during that time. It's interesting what this authors day job is. How does he find the time to write?

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  24. This sounds like a book for my husband.... but my favorite part of your interview is his advise to new authors.... that is priceless!

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  25. great summary of the book, I feel like I have a good idea of what the book is about and more! Love the Q&A interview!

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  26. Looks like a great read. Thanks for sharing !

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  27. I usually read a lot of memoirs and biographies but i might have to branch out from my usual and check this out. thanks for the author interview!

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  28. I always loving hearing what authors/books an author recommends reading...because I figure if I like them as an author I'll probably like what they like!

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  29. man this guy is brave as there is NO way I could ever work in a prison. Too many secret dealings going on as I would be so fearful all of the time. But I am sure his stories in the book are great

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  30. Sounds like a real interesting mystery, full of suspense and intrigue...Havent grabbed one of these in a while..Must be losing my touch lolol! Time to read a good mystery!

    Julie Syl~

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  31. This sounds like a good book!! My mom is in a book club and I will let her know about this.

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  32. Nice interview and you have asked some nice questions. I think my mom is going to love this book!

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  33. I have to check the book out :)

    http://vicktoria.malmolife.se

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  34. The way I love horror. The story is interesting and I think I will be looking for it.

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  35. It's so interesting that prisoners create their own language! An unique inspiration for this novel.

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  36. What a fascinating subject to write about... This one caught my ear and I'll go look for a copy to read.

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  37. It looks like a really interesting read, I like how he has turned it into a story. Sounds very insightful, I have never read a book like this before.

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  38. This looks like a great reading! i always have a book right next to my bed before going to sleep.

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  39. I love enjoying new books and discovering authors so I can broaden my horizon and be able to read and explore new things. Honestly books is my best way to unwind.

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  40. I love new books and different authors I always save for later and go check them out. Love this thanks.

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  41. I used to be an avid reader before I had toddlers. I do still like to read on long breaks like Christmas and summer. I love hearing about new authors and titles I haven't read before. This sounds like a book my husband would love to read. I'll recommend it to him.

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  42. Looks like a great read. I'll check this one out for sure. Thanks for sharing.

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  43. That sounds like such an intense, interesting book. I don't read books like that very often but it sounds like a fun read!

    La Belle Sirene 

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  44. This book really sounds interesting, lots of twists and turns. I love books like this that just when you think you know what or who, it takes you for a loop. Thanks for sharing.

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  45. I'm finishing a book right now and I know as soon as I'm done, I'm checking out O My Days. It sounds like something that i would really enjoy!

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  46. Wow! Why a brilliant mind he has. I can't wait to read this one and the sequel. Thx!

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  47. Hello, everyone.
    Thank you so much for your very kind comments. It's been a pleasure to be involved in this project.
    Good luck to you all!
    David

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Be not afraid to speak. The weary worlds and heroic adventurers wait with bated breath to hear your thoughts.