Interview with Matt Owens Rees

Why do you write?
It's a bug. I imagine it's the same with most writers.

A writer's goal is to strive to get the writing better all the time. I always put myself in the readers' shoes and provide what he or she wants to read. I like interaction with my readers. Messages in my email inbox allow me to tailor my writing to the content and style my readers want.

The short answer is: I write to give readers what they want.
What are the greatest difficulties and frustrations you face as a writer?
Two really, but I hope I've found solutions.

1. Thankfully, the old days of agents and publishers ignoring new authors is over. Organisations such as Smashwords are actively helping getting authors' books out to the readers that want them quickly and at a better price than at the bookstores. There is still however a mafia-like presence in the market place which concentrates on the bottom line rather than what is best for authors and readers. Fake reviews and manipulation of ratings is rife with some of the near-monopolistic companies. That's not good for readers. The industry can sometimes be a dog eat dog world reminiscent of the law of an amazonian jungle. Working with Smashwords is not like that.

2. .I write about Thais and Thailand and I strive to present a balanced and honest view of the country and its people. It can be a paradise for both the tourist and the expat. It can also be a nightmarish frustrating experience if readers don't know the ropes and don't accept that you need to adapt to their life style and cultural rules. One difficulty is to be candid and frank while avoiding coming across as being critical of the Thai. They are a proud and patriotic people and resent comments they see as critical of Thailand. I believe I've got the balance right.
What inspired you to write about Thailand?
Carol Hollinger's book "Mae Bhen Rai means Never Mind." Written in the sixties but still very relevant to an understanding of today's Thailand. It's a best seller but sadly Carol died before she could see her book published. I dedicated my first book to her as Thailand Take Two delves deeply, though in a different style, into the fascinating cultural observations that she so colourfully described.
What do your fans mean to you, Matt?
I think of them as friends rather than fans. I like, as I said earlier, the inter-exchange with readers through my email inbox and my blog. Getting readers of ebooks to communicate with authors, and vice versa, is a sure fire method of giving readers exactly what they want. I pay a lot of attention to their ideas and comments. I write for them not for me. Not all ebook aggregators encourage author interviews. This is unfortunate as it is a fantastic way to bridge the gap between writer and reader. And, in my view, that can enhance a reader's pleasure as well as making sure the author provides what customers want.
That answer prompts me to ask why you use Smashwords.
I'm not going to say it's because the owner is handsome and charismatic!

I like Smashwords because it provides an efficient and easy platform for authors, particularly new authors, to get published. And it looks after the readers interests too. Smashwords does not make it difficult for readers to download books, whatever device they have. Their coupon structure allows free or discounted purchases at various times. Readers can sample books before they buy.
What is your background?
I live permanently in Thailand and spend most of my time writing. I occasioanally accept invitations to speak on Thai lifestyle and contemporary culture, though I try to encourage a dialague instead of giving a one-way formal lecture. Everyone learns something that way.

i read a lot, mainly biographies and thrillers. My garden is where I truly relax. I'm a hands on gardener. I have help for the heavy work but I am more in my element if I am pottering around, weeding or pruning. However, I'm not averse to a small gin and tonic in the garden at sundown.

Chatting and gossiping to Thai friends and neighbours is always fun. Thais are inveterate gossips! It inspires my writing and I get accurate first-hand material.
What are you currently writing?
"Thai Godfather."

A novel about a Thai family that runs a small market stall in rural Thailand. Quite where fact and fiction merge gets a little blurred as the plot slowly unfolds. There are surprises at every turn. Nothing is what it seems. The ending is totally unexpected.
Published 2013-09-27.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

A Thailand Diary Volume 1 January - June
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 49,930. Language: English. Published: July 8, 2014. Category: Nonfiction » Travel » By region
A virtual look at Thailand and the Thais through the pages of a diary. You will meet, from the comfort of your armchair, real Thais. From bankers to farmers, from rich to poor. From the very young to the very old. Read the exploits of people like Bancha, Banjawan, Dao, Weelai and Sawat. You'll get to know them as if you know them in person An authentic view of the country and its people.
Boxed Set Volume 2
By
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 108,270. Language: British English. Published: July 17, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » Travel » By region
"Thailand Take 2" is a no holds barred exposé of Thais and Thailand, presented through the words and actions of real Thais. These ordinary Thais show how Thailand’s culture is so different from that of the West."Escape to Thailand" is an account of an English expat’s move to Thailand and his early days here, a “fly on the wall” experience for the reader. Seeing what the average tourist never sees.
Boxed Set Volume 1
By
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 67,900. Language: British English. Published: July 17, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » Travel » Essays & Travelogues
“A Thailand Diary” is a candid look at Thais and Thailand in a light and readable diary format and holds back no punches. Get ready for some surprises when you read it. "Escape to Thailand” is an account of an English expat’s move to Thailand and his early days here. With many glimpses into the lives of ordinary Thais, the biography becomes a “fly on the wall” experience for the reader. Seeing wha
Escape to Thailand
By
Series: New Perspectives of Thailand, 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 32,240. Language: English. Published: July 16, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » Travel » By region
Escape to Thailand is an account of an English expat’s move to Thailand and his early days here. With many glimpses into the lives of ordinary Thais, the biography becomes a “fly on the wall” experience for the reader. Seeing what the average tourist or visitor rarely sees.
A Thailand Diary
By
Series: New Perspectives of Thailand, 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 35,010. Language: British English. Published: March 31, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » Travel » By region
A candid look at Thais and Thailand in a light and readable diary format. Holding back no punches, "A Thailand Diary" takes you inside the real Thailand and gives the reader a virtual tour of the country and its people. It allows its principal characters, real Thais, to talk of the cultural differences that make Thailand such a fascinating country. Get ready for some surprises when you read it.
Thailand Take 2
By
Series: New Perspectives of Thailand, 1. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 72,730. Language: British English. Published: March 18, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » Travel » By region
Thailand Take 2 is a “no holds barred” exposé of Thais and Thailand, presented through the words and actions of real Thais. These ordinary Thais show how Thailand’s culture is so different from that of the West. The book starts with some extracts from a Thai diary. Unlike other books, Thailand Take 2 makes readers feel they are living and meeting with Thais and experiencing their way of life.