And welcome to my stop on the “Nothing But Trouble Tour”, where you can meet Matt, read an excerpt of his new book and have the chance to WIN 2 x copies in the GIVEAWAY (Now closed)!!
Before you read on, I would like to first say, that this is probably one of my favourite interviews this year. Not taking away from any other authors I have interviewed in the past but I have never felt so much humility and gratitude coming through in an interview before and what Matt is sharing today really tugs at my heart.
Even if you don’t get to read “Nothing But Trouble”, getting to know Matt a little more will be worth your while. Enjoy!! 🙂
- If it wasn’t for your experience in the TV industry, do you think you would have become a writer?
Yes, the truth is I always wanted to be a writer. But when I was younger I didn’t really have the confidence to write or the understanding of how to get a publishing deal. I think deep down I also knew that I had to build up some life experience before I’d have something to write about – I needed to find something to say.
So I just got on with life and I’d always been creative so I loved doing school shows and did a lot of theatre at university. When I finally graduated I decided to go for any kind of job I could find in a creative industry. I remember sending off 211 letters of application to theatre, film, TV and record companies and I only got one reply, from Granada in my home city of Manchester. So that’s how I ended up working in TV – it’s the only industry that would have me! And then I moved to London and worked my way up the ladder till I was making documentaries that profiled writers and artists and film stars and pop stars. And then I was the arts correspondent on Channel 4 News for years. So that’s how I found out how all these different creative industries worked. And that’s why I now set my novels in these worlds!
- How do you feel about this writing experience compared to your first novel? Was it easier or harder?
Well, funnily enough I wrote my first novel “Shot Through the Heart” when I was still working full-time at Channel 4. So it was really hard as I was snatching bits of free time around my job, often when I was really tired. And just when I’d get into it I’d have to leave it for a few days and it always took me ages to get back into the fictional world I’d created.
When I wrote “Nothing But Trouble” on the other hand I was on my own at home writing full-time and it was an absolute joy. Everything flowed and I never lost momentum. But having said that I never managed to view what I was writing with any kind of distance so when I finished the first draft and sent it to my editor he asked me to do quite a few rewrites. I was so lost in my fictional world this time I couldn’t see a few elements of the first draft that didn’t work. But thankfully my time in telly had taught me not to be too precious about making changes so I fixed the problems quite quickly!
- Can you share with us one of your best moments?
Well, I really enjoyed writing my first sex scenes in this book. When I wrote Shot Through the Heart I didn’t do any; it was partly because the book is set in Hollywood in the world of romantic comedies so I wanted to play around with the idea of romantic fairytales and didn’t want to get too sexy. But to be honest I also wasn’t really brave enough and was too frightened of getting it wrong and winning the Bad Sex in Fiction prize!
But when I started Nothing But Trouble I knew if I was setting it in the much grittier music industry I’d have to get over myself and write some sex scenes. I remember being nervous before I did the first one and not sleeping properly the night before because I knew I had to do it in the morning. But I absolutely loved it and had a real laugh. And that’s when I think something clicked and I knew this book was going to be great fun to write.
- Looking back on your life now and if you had the opportunity, what would you say to your younger self?
Never take anything personally, believe in yourself and never never never give up!
Before I signed by book deal with Pan Macmillan I went through a lot of rejection that nearly broke me. Somehow I got through it and am really proud that I did. But god it was tough!
Oh and I’d tell myself not to punish myself by falling for men who were only going to treat me like crap – because I deserve better! It took me a while to believe that and to start fancying the nice guys – I wish I’d cracked it earlier as I’d have saved myself a lot of heartache.
- What is your favourite Madonna track of all time?
Oh that’s a difficult one! I’d have to do a top five as I’ve listened to Madonna all my life and she’s been right there with me for every up and every down… In no particular order I’d say Open Your Heart, because it was the first song I saw her perform live in 1987 on the Who’s that Girl tour and that day really changed my life forever; Express Yourself, because it’s a brilliant anthem to self-belief and empowerment, which has carried me through many a career disappointment; You’ll See, which has got me through many a break-up; Oh Father, in memory of my teenage angst and all the times I’ve wanted to wallow and feel sad; and then Hung Up, which always lifts me up and makes me feel great. What do you think of that list? I feel bad now that I haven’t mentioned Don’t Tell Me, Vogue or Into the Groove! And Borderline! Oh maybe I need to do a top ten…
- Can you share with us 3 fun facts about you?
1) The first record I bought was It’s Raining Men by the Weather Girls (although I now secretly prefer the Geri Halliwell version, which I always perform on karaoke).
2) I have a Russian Blue cat called Nelly who I love and who often sits next to me when I write and sleeps on the pillow next to mine in bed.
3) I’m naming a character in my novels after all the children in my family and so far have done Mia after my niece (the lead in Shot Through the Heart) and Freddy and Harvey after my nephews (the heroes in Nothing But Trouble). There are just three nephews to go now but I think I’ve got a few of them covered in book three!
Matt, thank you so much for sharing!
You can discover a short extract of “Nothing but Trouble” below and don’t forget to click on the tweet for the Giveaway!
And The Giveaway Tweet (NOW CLOSED)…