I’ve not mastered the art of the cell phone “selfie” but I’m pretty good at interviewing myself. Here’s my “Q & A Selfie.” This is one piece from the media kit I send out when I’m publicizing a new book. If your “Q”s don’t get “A”d in this blog, send your Q via Facebook or the Contact link at my website and I will happily A. https://www.susandmatley.com/contact/
Author Q & A: S. D. Matley
How long have you been writing?
Since I was three years old. My sister, then five, came home from kindergarten and taught me how to spell “dog” and “cat.” That gave me quite a bit of material to start with.
What got you interested in writing fantasy?
Ray Bradbury, mostly. His stories never fail to stir me. There’s also a Narnia Chronicles component, though for me it has a lot more to do with the world C. S. Lewis built than the religious overtones. Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone is an influence, too. The program presented a world we can recognize as our own, yet different in a significant, subtle way.
What prompted you to write a fantasy series?
First off, I didn’t know it would be a series, especially a series centered on Greek immortals. Small-g City (set in Seattle, WA) evolved from a short story idea. When I’d finished the book, I realized my characters had more to do. Big-G City takes place in 2015, five years after Small-g City, in the behind-the-scenes City of Mount Olympus. But wait! I’m writing about immortals so there’s still more to do. Fast forward to the year 2025 for Beyond Big-G City. I submitted the manuscript to my publisher earlier this week and hope to see it published in the next 12 to 18 months. Next on the horizon: Beneath Big-G City!
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Christopher Moore, Neil Gaiman, Susannah Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Ursula K. LeGuin, Terry Pratchett, Cat Winters, Shirley Jackson and many others.
What do you write besides novels?
I started with short stories and I still write those from time to time. A few years ago I wrote some short plays and a few songs. I’ve written a couple dozen cowboy poems and enjoy the mental exercise of working with a strong rhyme and meter. Once a week I write a blog for my website. It’s a fun way to keep my writing in front of people.
What do you do besides write?
I read. A lot. I also put in a vegetable garden every year. We live on a 2-acre farm that always needs work, and there are five rescue animals in our household who need attention- -or else!
What is an average work day for you?
Pets come first, coffee second, workout third, outdoor work as needed. I get to the desk by 9 or 10 AM and work on one or more aspect of writing/promotion for 3-5 hours. Often I’ll pick up an instrument (accordion or guitar) and practice to take a break. Some part of my mind is always working on a story, especially in the wee hours of the night.
Do you have a literary agent?
Not at this point. I’ve sent out some queries but haven’t found a good match yet.
What other kind of jobs have you held?
Most recently I was half of the western music duo Nevada Slim & Cimarron Sue. My husband was the other half- -both on vocals, him on guitar, me on bass. Before that I worked in accounting, everything from auditing financial statements to balancing bank statements. The dream job of my youth was acting. I pursued this path in college but got derailed by a personal decision.
What’s your educational background?
I graduated from Port Townsend High School and attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA as a theatre major for two years. I took a 3-year break and resumed college at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. My bachelor’s degree is in business administration with a concentration in accounting. I recently applied to several MFA Creative Writing programs. No acceptances this time around, but I may apply again this fall.
What’s your advice to beginning writers?
Write a lot, read a lot and figure out what you like to write. If you’re aiming for publication, research the market(s) that interest you. If you write genre fiction (romance, western, sci-fi, fantasy, middle-grade, young adult, etc.) familiarize yourself with current titles in that genre and develop an understanding of what publishers are looking for in terms of plot, pace, protagonists, word count and all the rest of it. If you can master the magic of writing what you care about within these constraints, your chances of getting published increase. Find other writers to read and critique your work and consider their suggestions carefully. There’s always more to learn.
What’s next for you?
The editor in me is all tuned up after working on the final of Beyond Big-G City so I’m revising some (as yet unpublished) short stories. Most of these are speculative fiction (fantasy, horror, sci-fi) and one or two are western historical. Then I’ll start drafting Beneath Big-G City.
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