Interview with Matthew Mazur

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing for me is getting to write a story with my brother-in-law, Tim. Tim and I collaborated on the text and then I bought materials for Tim to do the drawings. Sarah Grillo took those drawings and turned them into the online versions for the book. It was so exciting to collaborate with them and let the book develop over time.
What are you working on next?
I want to work on a book about neurodiversity. This book begins to tackle that idea but I want to showcase a famous person with special needs being successful.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love Walt Whitman, biographies, Eric Carle, and Leo Lionni. I also love reading biographies and books about early childhood development.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I love the kids that I work with. When I was on a plane the other day and we hit a little turbulence I started thinking about the kids that I work with. It helped calm me down. I love this one little girl who sings along with my music classes. She doesn't know the lyrics to the songs but she loves to sing with me and that made me smile on my bumpy flight.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love playing music, running and being with my wife. I also love our three birds: Rick Astley, Dolly Parton and Carnie Wilson.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes - it was called The Very Brave Hamster. I wrote it when I was a little kid. I still have a copy of it in my childhood bedroom. It is about this Hamster who goes around his neighborhood and meets all these different hamsters with different personalities and he is seeking wisdom. It's kind of like Waking Life - but with Hamsters. Also, I had nine hamsters at the time which I am told smelled really bad.
What is your writing process?
I come from a music and a theater background so I am familiar with processes and how messy they can be. I try and get an idea on paper. Then I edit it. Then I test it out in front of hundreds of audiences. I see what flows, what works and what doesn't engage people. Then I go back and make slight edits over time. It's never finished.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
There was a book about skeletons. I can't remember what it was - but I remember that I loved it. I took out a copy of it from the Mt. Pleasant Elementary School Library. These skeletons end up going to sleep in this big comfy bed at the end of the story. That always brought me a lot of comfort and warmth and I loved that.
What do you read for pleasure?
Biographies. I am currently reading Bruce Springsteen's and even though it is not the best thing I have ever read I am happy reading it.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Livingston, New Jersey. People like George Costanza grew up in my hometown. I absolutely love it. It's between the small towns and the big city. It has a little bit of everything. The theater and the arts programs had a major influence on me growing up. I used to struggle a lot in school because of my attention deficit disorder. Teachers used to let me write songs and do creative projects for extra credit and that was a big deal for me. Not only did it help with my grades but I also took an interest in the topics that I had to write about. There was also this teacher in high school who taught Earth Science. I was passing him in the hallway one day and he explained to me in a brief hallway conversation that he was finishing his Master's degree. That moment made a huge impact on me. I went on to study in two different graduate programs that absolutely changed my life.
When did you first start writing?
When I was a kid. I used to love writing plays and raps. I wrote this one play my freshmen year of high school that was all in verse - in the style of rap - and I was so blown away that I could write an entire, coherent storyline using rhyming verses.
Published 2016-12-08.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Scrak's Big Adventure
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 270. Language: English. Published: September 23, 2016 by Matthew Mazur. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Animals, Fiction » Children’s books » Social Issues / Special Needs
One day Tim walks outside with his pet parrot, Scrak. She decides to go on a big adventure. Can you move like Scrak the parrot? This movement-based book is designed for children in preschool, elementary school and for children with special needs. The book is written by beloved children's musician "Mr. Matt" Mazur and Tim Shaw, Jr., who is an artist and gamer on the autism spectrum.