Matthew Olney lives in Bristol with his wife, Chloe. By day he works as a copywriter for a healthcare company, but at night he writes novels. Matt graduated from University College Falmouth with a degree in journalism, and has had news stories published in several regional newspapers.
1.Why storytelling? What made you yearn to tell a good story, and how long was this story within you before it came out?
Ever since I was a little kid I’ve always made up stories. At primary school, I used to create comic books which I then sold to my classmates for 2p a pop. As I got older my interests turned to magazine creation and then journalism. At university, I studied to become a journalist and achieved my NCTJ qualification which basically means I am qualified. Naively I had hoped to tell stories that were the truth and help people but I quickly realized that working in the newspaper industry wasn’t for me. Too much emphasis on sexing up stories and generally being biased a lot of the time. It also didn’t help that I graduated at the height of the Great Recession when newspapers were laying off reporters left, right and center. Instead I took the copy writer route and I’ve not looked back since.
2.Without giving any spoilers, what is your favorite thing about this book?
The villains. I had a lot of fun writing those.
3.What character from your book fills you with hope?
I’d have to say Luxon. Even with the weight of the world on his shoulders and a destiny he doesn’t want he still tries. Never let the bastards grind you down as my dad always says. Luxon epitomizes that mindset. Whatever the struggle he tries.
4.What character from your work frightens you, makes you feel dirty to write?
Cliria. She was a very strange character to write. So insidious, so manipulative and scarily like some people I’ve encountered in the real world. Sweet on the surface but pure evil underneath.
5.What is the most fascinating thing about your main character?
His powers. He comes across as just an ordinary but smart teenager but discovers that he is so much more. The answer as to why he is the way he is will not be answered until later in the Sundered Crown Saga, but let’s just say there is a pretty big surprise coming up.
6.When you are writing, tell me about the emotions that are running through you and what it takes to work alongside them.
It all depends on the scene. When writing a battle scene, I can get a little excited and into it. I use music to keep my mind focused and I’ve created a few playlists tailored to certain scenes.
7.How did you find the time to write this book with your busy life? What ideas do you have on how others can make time in their lives?
I forced myself to find the time. Whenever I had a free moment I would either be taking notes or tapping away at the laptop. If you work, write on your lunchtimes or breaks. Don’t let it consume you however, always try to make time for friends and family.
8.Everyone has at least one specific challenge that holds them back. What is that challenge in your work and how do you overcome it?
Staying motivated can be tough, especially when you put in several years’ worth of effort into a book and it doesn’t sell. You have to stay positive and keep thinking that it will all be worth it one day.
9.You’re going to go back and visit yourself when you first started writing, at whatever age it was, and you can give yourself one piece of advice. What would it be?
A great question! I’d probably tell my younger self to not waster the years I did waste trying to land a permanent journalist job and instead go straight into copywriting or take a Creative Writing course at university.
10.Describe your muse.
An annoyingly persistent voice that constantly comes up with great ideas but seems to enjoy buggering off at times when I really need it. It’s a love/hate relationship.
11.What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?
Without a doubt, the comet Hale-Bopp when I was a boy. I remember watching it from my back garden and being totally amazed by it. It was stunningly beautiful and made me realise for the first time just how incredible space is.
12.You have a chance to hang out with any literary character for one day. Who would it be and what would you do?
Tyrion Lannister, prior to when the shit hits the fan. He seems like an interesting guy to talk with, not to mention he’s loaded so the drinks will keep on coming.
13.If you could choose any other writer, living or dead, to be your mentor, whom would you choose and why?
So many but a combination of Bernard Cornwell, Branden Sanderson and James Herbert would be my dream team. Cornwell so he can teach me how he does his research and how to write such awesome books in what seems like very little time. Branden Sanderson to teach me the intricate ways of the fantasy genre and any tips and tricks he’s picked up along the way. And the horror master James Herbert to teach me how to bring genuine fear to a reader.
Find more from Matthew Olney:
Facebook – Unconqueredseries
Twitter – @MSOLNEY
Google+ – +MatthewOlney
Wattpad – www.wattpad.com/home
Website – msolneyauthor.com