Author Interviews: B. C. Matthews

Bethany Mathews

Bethany Mathews

I’ve been thinking over the last few months that it would be nice if I could introduce you to more authors. Of course, since you follow my blog, I assume you like science fiction, fantasy, a little contemporary, maybe even a western. I have eclectic reading tastes so what better way to tide you over on my writing that to introduce you to other authors. You may find that their stories are a treasure. I know I do. So let’s kick off my very first author interview.

Today I’m introducing you to B. C. Matthews.

B.C. Matthews grew up thinking that Clifford the Big Red Dog could use more evil demon-things-from-the-dark. By day, she battles mad scientists at an Environmental Laboratory and finds sleep deprived moments to tend to her reptile herd, strum her banjo-ukulele, and spot the invading alien body snatchers in the supermarket. You can find her work in Triangulation: Lost Voices, and the upcoming Spark: A Creative Anthology, STRAEON, and Eldritch Embraces: Putting the Love Back in Lovecraft.

1. Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favorite hobby?

Out of all of my oddball hobbies, which include spray paint art (not graffiti) and reptile keeping (say hi to my turtles and skinks, everyone!), the one that gives me the feels is the playing the ukulele. While I’ve played drums and percussion on and off for almost ten years, in general they’re not easily transportable, unless you’re that one dude or dudette with bongos hanging out in a park with the others playing hackie-sack.

I find it impossible not to smile whenever I see my cheap red Makala Dolphin uke perched in its miniature stand on my wall. Just touching its tiny nylon strings brings forth such a pleasant glissando that I inevitably giggle every time.Without fail. Jake Shimabukuro, ukulele player extraordinaire, says that there would be World Peace if only everyone played the ukulele.
And I believe it.

2. If you had the opportunity—who would you like to spend an afternoon with and why?

Alive? Dead? Or undead?

Most recently I’ve been reading The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, most famously known as one-half of the punk cabaret duo, The Dresden Dolls, and also known for her TED Talk on asking. I think she would be a fantastic person just to sit with somewhere and have a drink. Her outlook on life seems so beautifully hopeful despite all of the pain of the lyrics in her work, and I’d love to soak it in. That and she’s had such an artistic life that I’d love to ask her all of the ways she lives within the act of creation.
Also, she plays the ukulele…

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

For a long time I’ve had a love/hate relationship with a doctor…Dr. Pepper. I whisper endearing nothings to the doctor, gleefully consuming the sweet 23 flavors of ambrosia. Then because I’m prone to migraines, the caffeine content does a number on me, and suddenly the doctor must go. “You’re bad for me, and you give me headaches, Dr. Pepper!” And then my willpower crumbles and there it is—that sweet, sweet beverage.
Oddly enough, I won’t drink any other cola-type soda. I can’t stand the smell of coffee, much less the taste, and I only drink tea when I’m sick.

4. What are you working on right now?

Right now I’m madly scrambling to finish edits on my dark steampunk novel, Blood and Brass, in time for open submissions for Angry Robot Books.

And because I’m gonna’ toot my own horn like a’ runaway semi-truck, here’s what it’s about:William was designed for one purpose: to study a human-like mind as it slides into madness.

William was designed for one purpose: to study a human-like mind as it slides into madness.

In an era of clockwork wonders, psychologist Dr. Horatio Frost, a man with a replacement machine mind but human body, was raised with an unusual brother—a human-like automaton created by his genius father. Brought to life with a brilliantly creative mind, William Automaton Type W is human to a fault—artistic, charming, and emotive.

Treated as psychological experiment by his obsessed creator, William encouraged to learn all the things that make a true man—family, acceptance, and love. But as the experiment continues, Horatio refuses to watch as painful malfunctions are thrust upon his brother to test the strength of his mind.

As they to vie for the love of the same woman, they join the Royal Aeronautics Corps aeroships that prowl the skies for Half-Men—marauders who steal away the sick and dying for transfiguration into half-human half-machines.

But when the continent is terrorized by a madman calling himself the Master of the Half-Men, Horatio must delve into their shared past in order to uncover whether or not his extraordinary brother has finally slipped into madness—and is secretly the Master. For if he fails, the Half-Men will remake the world in their image. And not all may survive.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

I think it might be hard to describe my writing style, though I believe that I have a unique voice. My style changes based on what I’m writing. With Blood and Brass I’m enjoying the Victorian manner of voice and description. But what most of my readers tell me is: I write dark. My style seems to automatically skew in that direction. Digging down deep into the beauty of the shadowy parts is where I derive the most joy in writing, and my style reflects that.

6. Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?

I try not to give out writing advice because so much writing advice I read at the beginning of my writing venture involved absolutes: Do this. Not that. Never do this! Always DO THIS or you will be a writing hack FOR-EV-ER.

All of those lists were overwhelming and at times disheartening. So really I only have one suggestion for someone just starting out: Write. Write more. Keep on keepin’ on my beautiful newbs. The only way you’ll learn is by doing. And making mistakes. Some of those mistakes are on those professional writing advice lists, but many are not. Or you might find that those “never dos” work for you after all.

7. Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to youthrough your normal, day-to-day life?

Both. Absolutely.

Normal life has a way of slapping you in the face. I drink in those small moments, the quiet ones. The tiny revelations. Sometimes it’s the annoying traffic-ridden drive home where ideas strike hardest. Or the songs that pop up on my iPod at random.

However, I love traveling. Traveling recharges my idea-batteries. The idea for one of my most recent pieces accepted for publication came about because I was almost mugged at knifepoint in Morocco. I’ve written about strange horrors happening aboard the London Tube, about wonderfully talented buskers huddled in subways with nothing but a guitar and an empty case, about getting lost and walking on the side of the road on a stretch of cold, misty highway in New Zealand, and getting lost on a back trail in Yellowstone so far from any sign of people that the natural stillness is almost terrifying, yet somehow invigorating.Add magic, mayhem, or mad science to it all. Or all of the above. Voila! Speculative fiction ideas born of the real world and now rendered stronger because of it.

Add magic, mayhem, or mad science to it all. Or all of the above. Voila! Speculative fiction ideas born of the real world and now rendered stronger because of it.

So, yes. Both.

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

You can find me, my writing, and sporadic art at: www.bcmatthews.blogspot.com

Thank you, Bethany for introducing yourself.

If you’d like to know more about B. C. Matthews, check out her blog at www.bcmatthews.blogspot.com

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