Interview with Mark Matthews

Published 2013-12-03.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in Pennsylvania, living there until I turned 18. Then, it was off to the United States Air Force for the next 21 years.

Though the area (PA.) did not directly influence my writing style or desire, I find that J.R.R. Tolkien did. I read the Hobbit for the first time when I was 8 years old. Since then many others have fueled the dream. David Eddings was another favorite.
When did you first start writing?
As a teenager I wrote short stories for pleasure. They were mainly a form of relaxation. It was during this time my own style began to slowly develop and come through.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Barrett and his mismatched companions must save the world from an imprisoned evil god and his demon horde who shall be released from their Outerworld prison if the evil sorceress Basath has her way.

Some readers, and even other authors, say fantasy writers are traditionally narrow minded in their stories. We are blamed for constantly re-doing the basic 'good vs. evil' plot. However, I believe that is what fantasy is all about. Usually, it involves swords, sorcery, creatures of various kinds, and adventure. Often times you'll find romance and humor thrown in as well. It's difficult to turn away from a winning combination, and in the same instance each author can add his or her own flair to it.

A writer's portrayal of these imagined worlds and characters makes the story worth reading and enjoying. If the author can make readers 'be there' or 'see it' unfold before their eyes, then we have succeeded in our goal, regardless the age old plot.

I could likely write another entire page concerning the plots to both 'The Wizard's Crystal' and "Book One of The Outerworld Key : The Protector' but I will assume you have read the synopsis versions here on Smashwords.

With that said, know that I put a great deal of thought and time into developing my characters and worlds. I hope you share their passions, thoughts, and feelings as you read on from page to page.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Sharing my work and, believe it or not, having a reader expound their thoughts on my writing is a joy beyond comparison. So many times readers download your book then simply wait patiently for the sequel or next series.

Writers look for validation of their material. Not just a Facebook 'Like', but a reader's comment or review is the most satisfying thing of all. And of course, if they share that knowledge with friends, family, etc... it makes it all the better.

After all, that is how fans are formed. Naming the writer's greatest joy is quite's our fans!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Traditional publishing is an inherently slow and tedious procedure with a great amount of rejection to show for your efforts. Admittedly, in this modern technological world of ours, nearly anyone can publish a work and that should be celebrated in many respects.

Cost, time, and effort are the plus sides of being an Indie author. I chose this method since the opportunity is at it peak and I believe it is the way of the future. Though, I do love a good book in my hands, Kindle readers and the like are 'the new wave' if you will.

The audience base for an Indie author is nearly unlimited and it fuels writers passions even more than before.
What are you working on next?
Presently, I'm working on Book Two of The Outerworld Key. The title is still unclear at this point, but it will likely be 'The Gateway' or 'The Demon Gate' or something along those lines. Follow my blog at for updates.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Continuing the story. That may sound rather ridiculous, but it's true. Each morning I wonder where my characters will wind up by the day's end. I never know since it's not pre-planned. It simply happens as I sit in front of the keyboard.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Anything outdoors! I love hiking, kayaking, walking the dogs, driving, watching wildlife, camping, etc... Of course reading is another major love. It's a terrific way to unwind before bed.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I look for authors who take the time to do things like this interview. Ones who develop websites and actively participate in self-promotion are the folks who are serious about what they do. That impresses me and draws me to their books.

Of course, good writing and terrific stories help as well.
How do you approach cover design?
Cover designs are very personal things. They must portray the stories content, catch the readers eye, and not appear ridiculous or hastily contrived. I literally spend hours researching and considering cover art and design, because if I can't impress you at a glance, then the book,(no matter how well written) is usually doomed from the start.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I enjoy the Kindle Fire HD.
Describe your desk
Very organized and clean. Though during the creation process, there can be as many as a dozen 'post-it' notes scattered about to remind me of a sudden thought or where I'm taking the story.
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