Interview with John Matsui

Who are your favorite authors?
Ken Follett, Ernest Hemingway, Frederick Forsyth, China Miéville – their work is genius transcending genre. Thriller writers I greatly admire are Harlan Coben, Lee Child, Linda Castillo and Dean Koontz.
What are you working on next?
I've got a half dozen projects underway. I've got a good start on the third book in the Toronto Vampire Chronicles. After Book 1, Late Bite: Vampire On Trial; Book 2, Lycanthrope Rising: The true story behind the Vampire-Lycanthrope Wars; Book 3, has to have Zombies in the name. My working title at the moment is Zombie Empire.
My second series, Nathan Sherlock Foodie Thrillers, started with Gravity Games where celebrity chef Sherlock aka Nate The Nose is a wunderkind in the kitchen because of a super sense of smell. What none but he and his confidante / sidekick Bonnie knows is his olfactory powers also mean he can smell murder.
In Book 2, which has a working title of Murder On The Menu, Nate is looking at an ignoble loss at the world culinary championships and the ruination of his career and personal brand after a mysterious figure using the name Professor Moriarty has somehow removed Nathan's ability to smell.
Other projects I'm working on:
- A thriller that may become a series based on investigations by intrepid newspaper reporter Angel Dangerville
- A steam punk, sci-fi, time-travel novella
- A novella series, Comeback Jimmy, about a 16-year-old who came back from the dead
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Goodreads, recommendations from friends, and recommended lists online are some of the sources.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I don't remember if it was the first story I wrote but it is the first story I remember writing. It was in Grade 3 and even then it was a bit of a thriller (at least to an 8 year old). It was about my baby sister accidentally locking me in a closet, how I felt being trapped and how I was able to escape. My teacher showed it to my mother and told her I'd be a writer.
What is your writing process?
I sit down and write. No plan, no time frame, no deadline.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Other than a few thousand comic books, I think the first book I ever read on my own was one of the Boxcar Children series by American school teacher Gertrude Chandler Warner. It was exciting to me that kids could manage without an adult. It was daring and demanded ingenuity. I still love those elements in a novel.
I caught a film at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival called Pahuna: The Little Visitors directed by Paakhi A. Tyrewala that reminded me a lot about the Boxcar Children.
How do you approach cover design?
Wow! That's a toughie. I really messed up with my first cover which I've since replaced. I'm not 100% sold on the process I use now, but here it is. I find an image I feel is appropriate, buy the rights for it and then present it to a designer to do the rest of the graphic magic.
Are you writing a follow up to Late Bite?
My first novel, Late Bite, is a bit of a cliff-hanger at the end; so, yes, the second book in the series is well underway. I'm currently using the working title of Wanted: Dead or Deader. This may change after I'm satisfied I've got the final twist in place. Many of the characters who survived Late Bite reappear in this the 2nd book in my Toronto Vampire Chronicles series. The working title gives readers a good indication that in the tradition of a thriller, it's about the search for a killer, murder, mayhem and lots of action.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have no patience for banging on the doors of publishers, especially when I hear the stories of J.K. Rowling and James Patterson getting rejection after rejection before they nailed their first publication deal. Two friends, independently, sent me copies of their self-published books in April of 2014. I started writing Late Bite on March 4 and had it completed before the end of the month. Despite being a journalist and communications consultant my entire adult life, it surprised me I could produce a readable thriller so easily.
When will the sequel to Late Bite be released?
The Sequel, Book 2 in the Toronto Chronicles Trilogy, is called Lycanthrope Rising. Just as Dragul Mongolian is not quite your Bram Stoker style vampire, the sworn enemy of the Sanguinus, the Lycan Clan is not populated by your regular neighbourhood werewolves.
As for when Lycanthrope Rising will be released, I figure by the end May as an eBook and a month later as a paperback. It's written but I have to decide which ending I'll use. It's not so much how the book ends but whether where it ends. I have three or four twists and I'm not sure which should be the Book 2 ending with the rest pushed into the third volume, Zombie Empire.
As the title of Book 3 suggests, yes we get into Zombies but, again, these are not the corner store George Romero or Walking Dead variety.
Where can we see more of your writing for free?
Go to Wattpad.com where you can see serialized versions of a few of my stories.
http://www.wattpad.com/user/JohnMatsui
One is a ghost story that first appeared in Ricepaper Magazine called, Woman In The Shadows. Be warned. It contains lots of sex and violence.
Another serial is called Comeback Jimmy. It's the first part of a novella about Jimmy Fate, a 16 year old, who died and two days later was resurrected on his 16th birthday. It's a black comedy that I'm also pitching to Amazon Studios as a TV series.
An original work that I'm writing directly on wattpad each week is entitled, The Superhero Suicides. I hope to turn it into a series of books based on the Super Workers Union - ex superheroes go commercial and unionize.
What inspired you to write Lycanthrope Rising?
I suppose writing Late Bite forced me to write a sequel, considering the first book in the Toronto Vampire Chronicles ended on a cliffhanger.
I also wanted to explore the motivations of this strange creature who I created, Dragul Mangorian.
In all vampire stories I've read, there's the yearning for blood and perhaps star-crossed love that's pretty well where they all start and end.
Humans would be and have been in bygone times (and more modern times) willing to murder to meet their physiological needs for food, shelter, etc. to maintain their existence. As Maslov showed us in the Hierarchy that bears his name, once our physiological requirements and our need to be safe are satisfied, we can aspire to acting on progressively higher planes: such as Social belonging, Esteem, Self-actualization, and finally Self-transcendence.
Without giving away too much of the plot, Mangorian as the sole surviving member of a once mighty branch of hominids, the Homo sanguinus, yearns to be part of society and ultimately to be with others of his kind.
To me, it was natural that he'd seek fertility scientists who could help him rekindle his species. Considering his age, 208 years, and immunity to cancer and blood-borne pathogens, medical researchers would be lining up to peek at his genome, which is 99% like that of Homo sapiens.
That also raised another question: How could Mangorian be the last of his kind?
It's always bothered me that vampires in fiction hide from humans when they are faster and stronger than us and often have other magical powers. A simple bite (or blood transfer in some cases) forces a victim to switch sides.
As in Guillermo del Toro's novel, the Strain, vampirism ought to spread like a pandemic leaving us neck deep in blood suckers who rule the planet.
But in 99.9% of the versions of the vampire myth, they don't rule. They are the hunted.
In my opinion, I solved that one by making my vamp a subspecies of humanity who can't turn humans into Sanguinus. I also gave the Sanguinus a fertility problem. They don't reproduce readily and therefore their numbers remain low.
That still leaves the question why, if Sanguinus are faster, stronger than humans and have claws and fangs that make short work of even skilled warriors, how did mankind get into a position of dominance?
The answer was right in front of me in tropes within the genre Underworld, Twilight, etc.
I needed werewolves to even the playing field but rather than making werewolves the opposition, I made them human — really human, humans who train like Spartans, employ technology (iron back then, graphene now), and the final piece, humans who ally themselves with wolves and dogs.
Man used dogs throughout history to help in the hunt to tire and hold large beasts like bears at bay. Dogs/wolves are great at cornering large prey but not so good at the final kill. A wolf pack of 10 might lose a key member before a moose or musk ox goes down. Wolf packs couldn't sustain themselves if a valuable member were maimed or killed each hunt. Enter man. Spears, arrows, and even rocks coaxed the prey toward death from a relatively safe distance.
The dogs and men shared the kill. Win win.
My thought was that wolves/dogs aided H. sapiens in a fight against the smaller number of H. sanguinus. These human warriors and their dogs became the elite fighting force for humanity and used their physical prowess and the myth of shape shifting — that they could transform into wolves — to control humans who were weak of limb and resolve into tens of thousands of years of war to make the Sanguinus extinct.
Published 2017-09-15.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Lycanthrope Rising
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 89,180. Language: English. Published: October 1, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural, Fiction » Horror » Undead
Police arrest Dragul Mangorian. Headlines scream that he's a real vampire & sole survivor of the species Homo Sanguinus. The news awakens the terrifying, wolf-like Lycanthrope Clan that believed it made the Sanguinus extinct. Mangorian meets Skyla whose 1-in-a-billion genome makes her the possible Eve to his people. The Lycans vow the two will never mate
Gravity Games
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 83,990. Language: English. Published: February 3, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural, Fiction » Mystery & detective » International crime
Part Sherlock Holmes, part Celebrity Chef, 'Nate The Nose' leads us on a dark and delicious foodie thriller. Only the preternatural olfactory powers of Nathan Sherlock are able to help anti-terrorism agents get on the scent of terrorists who stole a weapon that could destroy all life on Earth.
Late Bite
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 72,940. Language: English. Published: August 13, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Horror » Undead
(4.67)
Al Hamblyn is best friends & partners with Dragul Mangorian, TV's #1 Late night talk show host, who just happens to be a vampire. The two take readers on a thrilling roller coaster ride that starts off gently with sprinklings of dark humour before twisting wildly and then plunging straight into murder, ferocious actions scenes and pure terror.