Matthew S. Cox
Romelia: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Matthew S. Cox: I think I subconsciously wanted to be a writer for most of my life but only consciously realized it around 2012.
Romelia: how long does it take you to write a book?
Matthew S. Cox: It varies depending on how into the story I am and how long the outline is. The longest it’s ever taken me to finish a book is three months. The fastest, eight days.
Romelia: where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Matthew S. Cox: Since 1996 or so, I’ve been developing world settings for a number of roleplaying games I’ve made. I have three (two fantasy, one sci-fi) world sourcebooks I can draw from for those series. For anything set contemporary, I use Google Maps a lot as well as doing general internet research.
Romelia: what literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
Matthew S. Cox: None. That costs money I don’t have, lol.
Romelia: what is the first book that made you cry?
Matthew S. Cox: My algebra textbook in high school.
Romelia: what is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
Matthew S. Cox: Amazon insisting on exclusivity for Kindle Unlimited.
Romelia: does writing energize or exhaust you?
Matthew S. Cox: Energize.
Romelia: what are common traps for aspiring writers?
Matthew S. Cox: Vanity publishers. The first time I sent a manuscript to the US Copyright Office, I started getting bombarded with emails from Dorrance (and others) trying to lure me into a paid-for publishing contract. Money is supposed to flow TO the author (even if it’s a trickle). Avoid any place that wants a writer to pay them.
Romelia: does a big ego help or hurt writers?
Matthew S. Cox: Hurt. I can’t stand arrogant people. I think it’s a huge turn off when people act like they’re better than others.
Romelia: what is your writing Kryptonite?
Matthew S. Cox: Distractions. I can’t listen to music or anything while writing. Need silence.
Romelia: have you ever gotten reader’s block?
Matthew S. Cox: I’ve never heard the term reader’s block. Not sure if I’ve gotten it since I’m not sure what it means.
Romelia: did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Matthew S. Cox: Briefly. It felt a bit deceitful not to mention too much work to maintain. Since I write in a whole bunch of different genres and age categories, a pseudonym might have been wise but, bleh. I’d rather be honest with the readers.
Romelia: do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Matthew S. Cox: I write the stories that come to me. Never much cared for chasing trends.
Romelia: do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
Matthew S. Cox: Sure, if they’re writing technical manuals.
Romelia: what other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Matthew S. Cox: I’m friends (online) with a bunch of writers who used to be affiliated with the first small press (now defunct) that published me. We’re all no-name indie authors but we help each other out with ideas, beta-reading, proof-reading, and sometimes editing and book formatting.
Romelia: do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to buld a body of work with connections between each book?
Matthew S. Cox: I’m not particularly trying or not trying to do this. Some of my books have connections, some don’t.
Romelia: if you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Matthew S. Cox: Get started on writing earlier.
Romelia: how did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Matthew S. Cox: The first one was the hardest to finish. Once it was published, it showed me the process is possible and an end goal is attainable. I think it made it easier to write a second book, and the second made it easier to write a third and so on.
Romelia: what was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Matthew S. Cox: Getting Vellum to format my own ebooks and print books.
Romelia: what authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
Matthew S. Cox: I can’t think of anyone who fits this category.
Romelia: what did you do with your first advance?
Matthew S. Cox: I’ll get back to you if/when I ever get an advance.
Romelia: what was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
Matthew S. Cox: Studying weasel words when people in positions of power try to disavow personal responsibility.
Romelia: what are the most important magazines for writers to subscribe to?
Matthew S. Cox: No idea. I don’t have any magazine subs.
Romelia: from where you get inspired with your first book?
Matthew S. Cox: I’ll answer this question in regard to my first published book (which is not the first book I wrote). The first one I wrote had multiple characters and a shifting POV. It ended up being on the long side and I kept getting feedback from people who thought a new author had no chance in hell of being published with a first manuscript of 211,000 words. So, I decided to write Division Zero, with one main character and a more simple storyline. The inspiration came from my Divergent Fates universe, the sourcebook I wrote for my science fiction roleplaying game.
Romelia: describe yourself in a few sentences. Tell us something we do not know about you and something you hate about the world.
Matthew S. Cox: I’m a generally quiet keep-to-himself sort of person. My life is fairly boring to be honest. I have two cats and like to drink orange herbal tea while writing. What I hate about the world is all the hate. Why do so many people have to be upset at the mere existence of other people who aren’t like them?