Interview with Matthew James

What do you read for pleasure?
I read all the time, as widely as I can. Most books I read are either science-fiction, fantasy or humour. Think Neil Gaiman, Alastair Reynolds and Christopher Brookmyre.

I also read a significant amount of comics, graphic novels for all you snobs out there. Image put out a remarkable amount of creator-owned brilliance from writers like Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, Kurt Busiek, Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire. I also love my subscription to Marvel Unlimited.

I am also a reader of a lot of non-fiction including the Guardian and Independent newspapers and books from authors such as Owen Jones, Johann Hari and George Monbiot.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I currently own a Kindle Fire that is great for reading comics from my Marvel Unlimited subscription. I have yet to stop reading physical books, despite having bought several ebooks, and I read the Guardian and Independent newspaper via their websites.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in England reading Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. All three of these authors have had huge influences on my writing styles.
When did you first start writing?
I began writing short stories during the period when I was writing my thesis for my PhD. I had just read one of Neil Gaiman's short story books and it inspired me to write something similar. From that point, whenever I was inspired by something, I would try to get the idea down and develop it when I could find the time. I wrote an awful lot of rubbish before anything decent came along but eventually I improved.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Only an atheist is my first novel that was begun many years ago. The idea for it came from a short story of mine where Heaven operated as a bureaucracy and the angels had endless paperwork to complete. From there the scene where Jeffrey meets God and finds that he is not what you would expect formed and from that the basis for the story.

In 2010 my wife and I moved to Halifax in Nova Scotia. I had a period of 8 months when I was between jobs and being supported by an Employment Insurance scheme and, besides finding work, I was free to write. My wife would leave for work in the morning and I would spend my days writing and I was very fortunate to have such a period to explore my craft.

During this time I completed the first draft of Only an atheist and half of a science fiction book. I then spent the next two or three years searching for an agent, while constantly editing and refining the manuscript to the point where I felt it was ready for publication via Smashwords and similar forums. I now feel the novel is ready to release into the world.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
As with many Indie authors, I have been unable to get my work publishing through the traditional route but I feel my novel is worth publishing and that it will find an audience through the Indie route.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
My greatest joy in writing is in discovering where my characters and story and taking me. My stories usually start with a single moment or a single idea and finding out what happens next or has previously occurred is tremendous fun.
What are you working on next?
I am writing on the sequel to Only an atheist, the one I said I wouldn't write. Then, during a fever, the idea for the story popped into my head and I had to find out what happened next. The book is currently titled Jesus Returns, the Second Coming of God's son.

I am also working on a science-fiction story about a man with multiple personalities living in a dystopian state in a future London.
Who are your favorite authors?
Too many to list but the ones that I will always read are Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Christopher Brookmyre, Alastair Reynolds. Paul Cornell, Mike Carey and Joe Hill.

I am also a fan of comics and graphic novels and enjoy the work of Scott Snyder, Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, Kurt Busiek, James Roberts and Kieron Gillen among many others.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My wife kicks me out of bed to make tea. She has a real job so I can't complain and being up at a regular time is very useful for productivity and I spend my days writing as much as I can.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Of course, every author does. It's a short story called 'One Wish' and I still hope to publish it someday.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Neil Gaiman's 'Graveyard Book' is one of my favourites. All of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels. Alastair Reynold's 'Revelation Space'.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I read a lot, as widely as possible. Books, comics, newspapers etc. Walking and exercising helps keep me sane. Visiting family and friends on the weekend is always fun.
Published 2015-06-30.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Future Glimpses Two: Worldwide AI Network (WAIN)
Series: Future Glimpses. Price: Free! Words: 2,740. Language: English. Published: April 17, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » High tech
Future Glimpses is a science-fiction short story series that explores the effect technology has on our world and on us. In the second story we meet the Worldwide AI Network, or Wain, and the man who liaises with them, David. But what are they really up to and is there anything that David, or anyone, can do to stop them? If you enjoy this story, please leave a review. Cheers!
Future Glimpses One: 'The After Party'
Series: Future Glimpses. Price: Free! Words: 5,540. Language: English. Published: April 10, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » High tech
Future Glimpses is a science-fiction short story series that explores the effect technology has on our world and on us. In the first story, our protagonist attends the funeral of his Nana where she has been resurrected by the 'The After Party'. But what does this company really want with these simulations? And what will he do to save her from them?
Jesus Returns! Here he comes again...
Price: $3.49 USD. Words: 66,690. Language: English. Published: February 9, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire, Fiction » Religious
In ‘only an atheist can help God save the world’ the Lord Almighty came to Earth to save us from ourselves. He failed and now it’s the turn of His son, Jesus Christ to succeed where his dad didn't. Along the way Jesus’ll drink a lot, take a lot of drugs and sleep with a great many of his followers! And he may even convince us to change, if he can actually reach his audience that is!
Only An Atheist Can Help God Save The World
Price: $3.49 USD. Words: 62,890. Language: British English. Published: July 1, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire
(4.00 from 2 reviews)
Humanity is wrecking the Earth and God has had enough! Unfortunately, stopping us will not be easy, as Heaven's bureaucracy now restricts His actions and the only person on Earth who can help Him is an atheist! Also Metatron, the new ruler in Heaven, has sent a demon to deal with God. By any means necessary. All of this will lead to a confrontation of biblical proportions!