Welcome to our new series of mini-interviews with our published Mannison Minibook authors! We’ve enjoyed working with them so much that we wanted to get to know them a bit better. Today, we are interviewing…
Author of Mannison Minibook
Thanks for joining us, Matthew! Let’s learn a little about YOU! So tell us…
1. How old were you when you decided you were a writer?
Somewhere between sixteen and seventeen, I think. I know it happened sometime when I was in high school, because it was due to the mentoring and encouragement of the best English teacher I’ve ever had, Mr. Kevin Chopson. Thanks to him, I realized two things: that I wasn’t too shabby at this writing business, and that few things brought me as much satisfaction as composing a well-crafted story. That’s not to say I wasn’t interested in writing until high school, though. I’ve been surrounded by books my whole life; I’ve always been fascinated by them. But when I discovered I could tell my own stories, the vantage point changed: a door opened inside me, whereas before I could only look through the keyhole.
2. What was the inspiration for your story Lovebirds?
In the case of Lovebirds, the theme came to me before the content (as often happens with my work). It’s essentially a monkey’s paw story, but one I put my own spin on by placing it against a backdrop of simmering adolescent angst (a time of life which can be frightening in its own right). Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Birds, I remember, was the inspiration for the setting, as well as the reason for choosing something as innocuous as a bird as a vehicle for the horror.
3. What gave you the idea for the character ‘Woodhouse’?
To me, Woodhouse was a natural outgrowth of the story itself. I knew I wanted a character that was amorphous and vaguely sinister, but who never harmed anyone directly (befitting of the careful-what-you-wish-for narrative) and whose presence haunted much of the story (though he only appears in one scene).
4. Did you have any specific music in mind as you wrote this story?
I’m glad you asked, because I’ve found that the right music can really put me in the right headspace for energizing my writing. With Lovebirds, for instance, I remember listening to the old standard “Bye Bye Blackbird.” The melancholy of that song was something I wanted to convey during the story’s tragic culmination. Music’s handy like that: it can help outline the shape of a mood you want to relay.
5. What’s your favorite genre to write in?
Anything that lets me flex my imagination is in my wheelhouse. Fantasy, science fiction, and horror have always been my reliable standbys, but I try not to pigeonhole myself. I’m always willing to try my pen at something new should inspiration strike. Whatever genre I’m writing in, though, the foremost commitment has to be to honestly engaging the hearts and minds of my readers (and by extension, myself), because that’s the implicit contract: if readers are going to give me their time, I need to give them a reason to turn the page. More often than not I choose fiction for this, not as an end in itself (fantasy just for the sake of itself actually does not hold my interest for long), but because, as Camus once noted, “Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.”
6. Got anything new cookin’?
Always. Right now I’m in the thick of writing a dark fantasy novel. It’s still a work in progress, so I can’t divulge too much here (much as I’d like to), but I can give you the title—The Disenchantment of Marnie Macbeth—and a small hook: it’s about witches with real magic living in the modern age, and it’s going to be a dark and disquieting deconstruction of the magical boarding school genre, much like how William Golding’s Lord of the Flies was a grim subversion of The Coral Island.
7. And just for fun… Starburst: pink or yellow?
Definitely yellow; I’ve always liked the sour flavors.
Thank you so much for taking the time to indulge us, Matthew! We hope you enjoyed sharing a bit about yourself and your work with our audience.
Up next: CECILY WINTER on Thursday, July 2nd!
Fiction/Horror (68 pages)
In Ballantine Bay, there are whispers of an enchanter called the Matchmaker who can bring love to the unrequited. So when lovesick young Aggie Lovett learns of this legend, inevitably she is unable to resist is allure. But after an unsettling pact is made, Aggie soon discovers the horrifying cost of love without limits.
Matthew Brady is a young writer currently living in Nashville, Tennessee. He attended Belmont University in 2010, where he studied writing and literature before earning his bachelor’s degree in 2014. He is the author of one self-published novel, Aesop Street, and has had work published in his college journal, as well. In 2018, his short story, Midnight Oil, was published in the second volume of Nosetouch Press’s The Asterisk Anthology, where it won first prize in the Southern Gothic genre. His next Mannison Minibook is due out in the fall of 2020. You can visit his website at lulu.com/spotlight/MatthewBrady or follow his Twitter account @Matt_R_Brady.
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