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  • Nikky Lee

10 Questions with Matt Norman

Matt P. Norman is a speculative fiction writer, and a family man all other times. His debut novel is the wonderful, apocalyptic, zombie-filled Road Trip Z. (Book 2 in the epic zombie series that will take you on a ride through the apocalypse, will be out this year). In his spare time, Matt is currently writing other novels: a dark urban YA and a futuristic vampire tale.

If you’re after happy, fuzzy tales with unicorns and teddy bears then you’ve come to the wrong place. His novels come in all shades of grey, and, err... red and are populated with characters of questionable morals and a liking for witty banter.

Tell us a bit about yourself! Where do you call home, and what do you write?

My name’s Matt, and I’m originally from Suffolk, UK, best known for the musical genius of the Darkness. After traveling for a few years, I eventually settled in Christchurch, NZ, in 2010 with my family and two stupid cats. I am a spec-fic writer who also dabbles in horror, and YA.

What drew you to the genre?

I never associated myself with the term ‘speculative fiction writer’ until recently. However, when I think about it, I was brought up on a staple diet of the stuff since childhood. Being an 80s baby, I grew up with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin films while binging Josh Whedon’s Buffyverse and Firefly universe in my teenage years. Both sure helped shape my imagination. Of course, enjoying reading Rowling’s Harry Potter and Martin’s Game of Thrones series grew my fascination within the genre. After all, ‘speculative fiction writer’ is a term that fits me perfectly.

What’s your best-known work?

My debut novel came out last year with Severed Press, Tasmania. Road Trip Z is a horror, apocalyptic story revolving around a group of friends road-tripping across Utah to a safe zone in Portland.

When the apocalyptic downfall of the world came, it was a terrifynig tsunami of tooth and claw.

Two years on and the plague of all plagues has given the United States a new majority. Democrats and Republicans are no more and humanity is on the endangered list now the dead walk the Earth.

After hearing a radio transmission--promising salvation--five friends and an ex-Marine set out on a road trip across the deserts of Utah to a safe zone in Porttland. Battling their way across thte Zombie-infested American wasteland can be treacherous and devastating to the bonds of friendship, and soon, each realises how easy it is to screw-up at every gruesome corner.

To survive the apocalypse, they must pull together a family. If not, they will be just another meal for the ravenous dead.

Currently, I am working on a near-future novel about organ harvesting and vampires. And recently, I was privileged to be the inaugural winner of the first Chloe-Wright Residency Award for my unfinished YA novel, Dark Days.

What inspired you to write it?

Just my love for anything that takes me back to my childhood, I guess, and that can capture the formative nature of teenage years. Really, I haven’t grown up. What I loved in my childhood is what I bring to my writing now. From zombies to magic, I write the things that I am interested in.

Tell us about your writing process.

My writing process. Erm… I don’t really have a writing process, to be honest. I have large scrapbooks filled with bites of writing that outline certain scenes and dialogue between characters in my books. Scraps of paper that fill the pages up. If I am out and about, and some ideas for the book come to mind, I will snatch any scrap of paper up and jot down my thoughts.

What’s the strangest or most interesting thing you’ve researched for your writing?

How to empty a petrol tank using a garden hose. And how to cauterize a gunshot wound for my zombie novel. I want it to be authentic, so research is vital in my storytelling.

What’s the most personal story/scene you’ve written, and why?

Oh, definitely my first love scene. It doesn’t exactly get X-Rated per se. But the chemistry between the characters… have to be spot on for the audience to buy into that moment of passion.

Who are your literary influences? In what way?

Neil Gaiman and Cassandra Khaw are fabulous writers. Ernie Cline, too. Oh man, when his book came out, Ready Player One, it was like I was reliving my childhood. All these writers find a way to pull you into their worlds. It’s just so easy to fall and let yourself fall into their words.

What books are on your bedside table right now?

I am a big fan of paperbacks, but recently I have a Kindle (Christmas present). So at the moment, I am reading a bundle of new stuff from all sorts of exciting writers. I have the fantastic Chuck Wendig’s Wanderers. Matt James, Cradle of Death and Engines of Empathy by Paul Mannering. And also, Grotesque Monster Stories by Lee Murray.

Last and most important, where can we find your books/stories?

My debut novel is available at MP Norman | SeveredPress or on Amazon, and other online markets. Otherwise, you can find me on my website reviewing movies, TV shows, and writing geeky fandom news, and on my author's site

Follow Matt on these platforms!


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