Welcome to Matt J Pike
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m an Aussie, father of three, who loves to write. I have an unhealthy obsession with sci-fi, video games, fantasy football and good comedy. In my other life I’m a multimedia designer working for a media company.
Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc.
I love writing Young Adult stories that can be enjoyed by teens and adults alike. There’s something about the how much a person changes during that period of their life and how much it shapes their future that I find appealing. I also need to weave humour (humor) through my work – my writing just doesn’t feel ‘right’ without it.
Kings of the World recently won the Gold Medal for Teenage Literature Fiction at the 2013 Global Ebook Awards
You say your book is partly to support a charity – can you tell us more about that?
That’s right. My youngest daughter, Abby, has Rett Syndrome. For those not familiar, it’s a neurological condition that affects mostly girls. Typically, they develop ‘normally’ for 12-24 months before regressing and losing the ability to walk, talk and use their hands in a meaningful way. They require constant care for the most basic of tasks and raising a child with Rett Syndrome is a team effort.
Abby is a great girl, with an engaging smile and devilish laugh – honestly, she will laugh when the adults are making a sneaky little in-joke the other kids miss. I wish she could talk so I could find out what goes on in that mind of hers because it seems like a pretty interesting place J
In recent years scientists have reversed Rett Syndrome symptoms in mice and there have been some exciting developments on a number of fronts in terms of treating Rett Syndrome in humans.
Raising funds to find a cure is a big personal goal with this book and all future books I write. I have made a commitment to donate to Rett Syndrome Australia but will also be looking to contribute to other Rett Syndrome programs around the globe.
Who or what are your inspirations/influences?
From a writing perspective my influences are Douglas Adams, Grant Naylor and Ben Elton. I also like to draw influence from other areas like stand-up comedy, video games, TV, music and movies. I’m a bit of a pop-culture geek. I love to reference the things that have meaning to me within my writing and like nothing better than a pop-culture reference to dip my lid at something that has inspired me in some way.
Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources?
World building is such an important ingredient in creating a well-rounded story. It’s the difference between everything feeling a paper-thin as a Hollywood movie set or as deep as the reader can reach. The story topic, in many ways, dictates the research. For example, Kings of the World, was very much my own playground and the majority of the world-building revolves around the alien cultures in the story. Consistency (and a massive spreadsheet) were my biggest friends here. The book I’m currently writing, a post-comet strike apocalyptic novel, has required some serious research to be authentic as possible – from research papers, documentaries, web articles etc.
I’m also a bit of a geek for all sorts of books, articles and TV documentaries that deal with all manner of interesting topics from asteroid strikes, UFOs, the history of the planet, the solar system – I call all of that watching ‘book research’ to get the OK from my long-suffering partner J
In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these? (If applicable)
At this stage E-book is the only available format for Kings of the World. I’m currently looking at print options for both KotW and my future novels and would love to put together audio books down the track.
Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited?
I enjoying editing, I love the challenge of hacking and slashing copy to make my novels as tight as possible. I usually complete 3-4 edits myself – but will always have my work professionally edited before it goes to market – I think every book should be.
What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews?
Like anything in life, I don’t think there are hard and fast rules. It’s not something I’ve done to date, but wouldn’t rule it out either. If it’s done in the name of reaching out to readers/fans in a positive way, then it can be a good thing.
Do you listen to music or watch TV whilst you write?
Either… or both. I like to write in a busy space. I’m not sure why that’s the case, maybe it’s the modern, multi-tasking mind at work. Editing is the same, although I’m far more likely just have music on in the background as the process requires more focus.
What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot?
As a gamer, movie-goer and a reader I value all entertainment mediums. All three are vastly different in terms of how you engage with the material but all provide a portal to another world – joyous escapism. Books allow for greater imagination and interpretation – a good book should be painting broad brush strokes that allow the readers fill in the detail. The experience of a book is not solely what the author writes but the relationship between the words and the reader’s interpretation. I love that.
What advice would you give new writers?
Work out what works best for you. Especially early on in your writing, you need to find the right environment, time of day etc that is gives you the best inspiration to write. Once you have that you’ve got to get yourself ‘match-fit’ to write – and you can only do that by putting words on page every day. Get yourself obsessed – read books about writing (Stephen King’s On Writing was good for me). I also used a writing app that made sure I wrote x amount of words every day.
What are your best marketing/networking tips?
You’ve got to put in the time to get the results. You are in charge of your writing ‘brand’ and no one is going to magically discover you if you don’t get the word out there.
Most authors also like to read, what books do you enjoy?
I enjoy a variety. My favourite books are sci-fi and humour based but I like to mix things up as much as I can. You often get inspiration from unlikely places. Currently reading and enjoying Game of Thrones.
Can you give us a silly fact about yourself?
In my first job I have to dress up in a kangaroo costume and perform song and dance routines for kids at an Adelaide amusement park. I miss King Kang J
Book links, website/blog and author links:
Kings of the World is available in all digital formats on: