I’m hosting an interview today with Matthew Head, the author of horror collection “Prequels”. Thanks for answering my questions, Matthew!
1) Please tell us about yourself.
Where to start! Oh dear isn’t it awful – you get asked about yourself and you can’t think of anything to say! Well I’m 24 years old and I live in a town called Staines which is just a little way outside of London. I went to university and I studied Theology there – the course was rammed full of amazing stories and it was whilst I was at university that I decided I wanted to be an author.
I live in a flat with my partner Andrew, it’s nice and homely although I’d love to move to a house with a garden! I get green-fingers in the summer months (really should see a doctor – bad joke I know) so I’d love to have some outside space to get gardening in! I’ve got four adorable goldfish as pets, they always look pleased to see me although I suspect they just want food.
I’ve always said I haven’t started out as an author with making money being on my mind. What I really want is to reach people; to inspire, excite and move people with my work. If I hear that someone’s read a book of mine and loved it then that’s more of a reward to me than money could ever be.
2) Tell us about your book in five sentences or less.
It’s a thrilling trilogy of short supernatural stories which are set just before the start of my main series of books “The Chronicles of Darkness.” Call it a literary tasting session if you like, it’s an opportunity for you to read through and experience the sort of themes you’ll find in “The Chronicles of Darkness” – there’s horror, there’s fear, there’s drama, terrifying monsters and a healthy dollop of human emotion to go along with it. My protagonist Isaac Jacobs is the common thread through all three stories and it’s an opportunity to get a head start and get to know him before the ‘main event’ begins in “The Chronicles of Darkness: The Box of Infernos” which launches in July.
There, three sentences – that’s not bad! Oops, make that four – and yeah, this one makes five.
3) Where did you get the inspiration from for Prequels?
Each of the three stories had a different source of inspiration. For “The Darkness at Down Street” I was heavily influenced by my time commuting on the London Underground. I always thought there was something quite scary about this network of pitch black tunnels deep beneath the city. I also remember one time my train did stop on a very straight piece of track, and I could see quite far down the train through the adjoining doors. I thought then how terrifying it would be to see the lights going out in the carriages, the darkness coming closer and closer.
With “The Destiny of Melissa Smith” I just had a sudden thought one night that I wanted to break hearts. That’s cruel isn’t it? It’s awful! But that’s what I really felt like doing, I wanted to write something that was powerful and heart-wrenchingly sad. I also love those Venetian carnival masks with the hooked noses as to me they look really frightening – so that inspired me in terms of the monster involved.
And with “Beauty and the Beast” I have always thought it’s eerie at night if you’re travelling past a forest and you can only see a little way in before all the trees just melt into darkness. It makes you wonder if there could be something watching you. I happen to love Jurassic Park so I wanted something that was a bit more of a ‘creature feature’ about this third story – that’s where the inspiration for the monster came from. And I snuck in a little tribute to the film too in a line of dialogue!
4) Which of the stories was the most challenging to write?
I think “Beauty and the Beast” was as it threw up the most problems from a realistic point of view. I had to keep changing the story until I got something that worked. My main problem in the early versions was I couldn’t figure out why the people would just stay on the coach rather than trying to run off and get help. That problem really bugged me. In the end I just made the story a lot more fast-paced and dangerous so that really the people didn’t have time to get off and run because everything was happening so fast.
5) How many hours per week do you spend writing (usually)?
Typically I spend a good few hours a day working on something writing related. I say writing related as it’s not always writing – it might be promotional work. But pure creative writing time probably totals around 12 to 15 hours a week. Add in blogging time and it brings it closer to 20. Ideally I’d love to do more but working my day job takes quite a chunk of time out.
6) Tell us about your current work in progress.
Right now I’m working on two projects. Number one is getting the second book in “The Chronicles of Darkness” series ready for release in October/November. That’s very exciting. Then project number two is a new novella I’m writing called “The Man of Eternal Tears.” It’s not part of “The Chronicles of Darkness” series but it’s set within the same universe – there might be a few sneaky references for the fans to spot! Can’t say much about the plot of that one, but it’s going to be a tearjerker – in more ways than one!
Wow, seems like you’ve got a lot on your plate. Good luck!
Author: Matthew Head
Genre: Supernatural, Horror
Prepare for a supernatural smorgasbord of literature! This trilogy of spooky short stories will thrill you, chill you and break your heart – sometimes all at once! More than that though, they serve as a tantalising prequel series to the epic “The Chronicles of Darkness” series of novels which launches this July!
The Darkness at Down Street: When Isaac gets on the London underground he’s expecting to go from A to B like everybody else. But when the train stops he starts to wonder if something strange might be going on. Surely not, surely it’s all fine. But then the voice begins. Turn out the lights!
The Destiny of Melissa Smith: Everybody hopes they’ll have a great life, and Melissa Smith appears to have and amazing one. Then she visits a village fete. Then she meets an impossible man, a mysterious boy and an unimaginable monster. Then the true meaning of greatness is put to the test.
Beauty and the Beast: Have you ever peered into a dark forest from the safety of a car or a coach and wondered if there might be something nasty in the trees watching you? The coach from London to Monks-Lantern has taken a very unfortunate detour, leaving the passengers at the mercy of the terrifying monster in the woods. There’s screaming, running – and at the end of it all there’s a realisation: Monsters come in all different shapes and sizes.
My name is Matthew Head and I’m a writer from Surrey. Well, I say from Surrey – I was born in Kent, moved to London for a bit and then moved out to Surrey to live with my partner Andrew. I was born in the eighties, raised in the nineties and then I was inspired in the noughties during my time at university where I studied Theology.
Theology is quite possibly the most fascinating subject in the world. Sounds boring I know, sounds like church and everyone knows that church is boring. But it’s not like that at all. It’s packed full of myths and monsters, gods and goddesses – mad, bad, sad ones alive in stories which rival many blockbuster movies in terms of how epic they are. It doesn’t matter whether it’s all real or not – it’s the story that counts. Stories are beautiful because absolutely anything is possible within them. That’s why I love writing because I love the idea of contributing to that and creating stories. Stories that will make you cry, make you laugh, make you scared. Because I think there is some magic in writing – that simple words have the power to make us feel and react so strongly to them.
When I’m not writing or doing my day job then I really enjoy going out and exploring new places. I love going somewhere I’ve never been before, especially if there’s some history linked to the place. Old places are the best – the older the better. You just get this sense that so much has happened there, so many different people have come and gone and yet the place remains.
A few more random facts about me – my favourite pet is the humble goldfish, my favourite dinner is macaroni cheese, I love banana flavoured things but I strongly dislike bananas and the only real phobia I have is a phobia of frogs. Yeuch.