AUTHOR INTERVIEW 92 – Matthew S. Cox

Matthew S. Cox

United States

Age 47

Originally from South Amboy NJ, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. It took a while, but he eventually decided to take writing seriously. His first published novel, Division Zero, released in 2014.
His books span adult, young-adult, and middle-grade fiction in multiple genres, predominantly science fiction, cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic, and fantasy.
Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, developer of various homebrew tabletop RPG systems, and a fan of anime, British humour, and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of humanity, reality, life, and what might happen after it.
He is also fond of cats, presently living with two: Loki and Dorian.
Works:

See Books Page for complete list
Awards:
Prophet of the Badlands (excerpt) – Honorable Mention – Writers of the Future
Evergreen – 2019 Reader’s Choice awards honorable mention (YA Action)
The Cursed Crown – 2019 Reader’s Choice awards honorable mention (LGBT)
My Dad is a Mad Scientist – Reader’s Favorite Gold Medal (Children’s lit 2020)
The Girl Who Found the Sun – Reader’s Favorite Silver Medal (Dystopian 2020)
Media:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/mscox
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MatthewSCoxAuthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7712730.Matthew_S_Cox
Twitter: @mscox_fiction
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/matthewcox10420/
Email: mcox2112 (at) gmail.com
Sarah Wright woke up a few times after parties in strange places―but the morgue’s a first.
At eighteen, she’s eager for a taste of independence, moving out of state to attend college. A change of scenery is extra-needed due to a bad breakup with her boyfriend, Scott. However, soon after escaping the body cooler, she makes two startling realizations: vampires are real, and she is one.

There’s nothing quite like an untimely death to ruin plans. California’s sunny beaches aren’t the best place for vampires to chill, and worse, not only does she wind up stuck in Seattle, she’s still living (figuratively) with her parents.
They take the news surprisingly well―after all, it’s better than burying her―even helping move her bedroom to the basement. A disinterested sire, distraught friends, nosy Men in Black, and awestruck younger siblings complicate her adjustment to the new normal of being an immortal still subject to her parents’ rules.

Undeath has its perks, but it also brings enemies. Without a copy of ‘Fangs for Dummies,’ Sarah’s left scrambling for answers when one such new enemy attacks her siblings and friends. If she can’t figure out how to vampire, her attempt to spare her family the grief of losing her may wind up killing them.

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?

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