Like a number of authors, Matt Cairns came to writing late, after a lifetime of experiences both tragic and good.
His career was pretty straightforward. He grew up in a small town in central New Zealand called Waiouru, which afforded many happy years of exploring the local woods and countryside. With a military base nearby, Cairns knew what his career path would be. He spent four years in the military, and eight years in the police—the majority in frontline policing.
He read novels constantly from as early as age six or seven. By nine or ten he was reading Wilbur Smith books which he couldn’t get enough of: action, tough guys, strong beautiful women, sex...
As he grew older, life intervened, and in 2006—following two years of post-relationship blues (accompanied by alcohol fuelled depression, anxiety, unemployment...)—he decided to start writing. Over the next four years, among other things, he completed a course in writing, rejoined and again left the police, and travelled aimlessly overseas, before finally sitting down in 2010 to write.
When coming up with the idea for Cold Blooded, he wanted to use his military and policing experience to write the sort of book he wanted to read. A mix of crime and crack soldier. Bad folk vs. small town. With an element of the unreal...
He knew he had the setting: his hometown. In the depths of winter Waiouru snows, at times heavily enough to isolate it from the outside world. There’s nothing better, thriller or horror, than snow soaked in blood. This is the setting for Cold Blooded...
During the latter stages of writing Cold Blooded he began to suffer from headaches, and before long was diagnosed with a rare and chronic condition known as Cervical Dystonia: a neurological disorder where the signals sent from the brain cause the muscles in the neck to pull and contract. In his case forcing his shoulder to come up and his head to turn to the left.
With his ability to work now in doubt, he was relieved to discover a treatment—Botulinum Toxin—which, together with an at times 'questionable' sense of humor, has allowed him to carry on writing.
In addition to his first novel Cold Blooded, Cairns has also written a semi-autobiographical non-fiction book titled How To Live With Anxiety, Depression, And A Little Known Condition Called Cervical Dystonia, which he describes as a sort of “profile extension”.
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