Eden, discusses his book, his journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.
DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Eden?
MATTHEW C. PLOURDE: As you can imagine, I can tell you quite a bit about Eden! Ten years in the making, my first novel certainly took "the long way." Like a nomad, it traveled through word processor versions throughout the process. The manuscript was quite the Frankenstein's monster at the end of the road. But you don't want to hear about that! The story and characters should take the spotlight here and I'm proud about how far they have also traveled on this journey. What began as a simple "what if" has transformed into so much more. Eden explores an apocalyptic scenario with some human myth and conflict thrown in there. It is both a classic retelling of the hero's journey and a unique tale all its own. I believe the story appeals to a wide audience and it might just be the fastest 100,000 words you've ever read!
DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
MATTHEW C. PLOURDE: My novels are very character-driven. That is, the characters are the focus and they drive my pen. I give my characters free reign. In fact, my characters oftentimes surprise me and that is one of the greatest joys as a writer. Like other writers, I pull from my life for some character elements and my imagination for others. However, one thing remains constant: I let them develop naturally as the story unfolds.
DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
MATTHEW C. PLOURDE: To be selfish for a moment—me! Very simply, I write what I want to read. Well, most of the time. My second novel (The Antaran Legacy) was written for my wife. Even though Eden is dedicated to her and The Antaran Legacy is dedicated to my daughter... confused? Me too!
In any case, I'm always writing to a story and not a particular audience. I believe the moment I allow my fiction to stray from what's in my heart (by concerning myself with the whims of an imaginary audience), I've lost something important as a writer.
Damn. Did I even answer your question? Ah well—next!
DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?
MATTHEW C. PLOURDE: Though I've always wanted to write, I was never interested in the kind that pays (nonfiction / reporting). Writing fiction constantly took a back seat to my career and family. That's why Eden took so damn long to finish! I worked with a mentor for a few years and kept plugging at Eden. When the first draft was complete, I sent my query letters off to agents hopeful for a chance to show what I can do. Unfortunately, this was also during the Great Recession and many shops were closing house—I think nobody was interested in an unknown writer with no street cred. Discouraged, I put Eden on the shelf and went about life as usual.
After almost a year, I decided to give it another shot—on my terms this time. Self-publishing was at a point to make this possible so I went for it. My mentality has always been simple: just get it out there and don't expect anything. Armed with that mantra, that's what I'm doing.
DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?
MATTHEW C. PLOURDE: Can I leave a question blank? No? Um... please? Okay, okay.
Let's see. Right. Process. Process for writing. Are you sure I can't skip one?
Okay, here's the deal. I don't have a process. I believe my fiction comes from a primal place within my heart and I dare not try to cage it. I did heavy research for Eden and not so much for The Antaran Legacy. I took notes for both of those before I started them and my third book has no notes. I never write with an outline. I don't always write alone (kids are difficult to keep still, unless you have duct tape). There's not one shred of process in anything I do! Are you glad you pushed me to answer?
DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?
MATTHEW C. PLOURDE: I like to hear about the success stories—those authors who are out there doing their thing and finding success. I hope to someday be amongst their ranks.
Classically, I'm a fan of early sci-fi writers like Philip Jose Farmer and E.E. "Doc" Smith. These two helped shaped genres and they are actually quite obscure to most readers. As a kid, Farmer made me think and Doc made me smile. In many ways they both taught me that a story need only be entertainment, not a deep life lesson to be transferred to the reader. That truth is my warm winter blanket.
DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?
MATTHEW C. PLOURDE: Harry Potter. That would allow me to write more, after I bought everything in the world...
DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?
MATTHEW C. PLOURDE: Facebook ads and attempts to contact reviewers and bloggers. I've also hired-on a publicist to help coordinate signings, reviews, and such. I want to do so much more, but my kids do like to eat food...so, I must go generate money for all of us. That money certainly doesn't come from selling books.
DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?
MATTHEW C. PLOURDE: The Kindle is the #1 e-reader in the world.
Um... that's it. 'Nuff said!
DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?
MATTHEW C. PLOURDE: I have many tips for formatting ebooks and various other self-publishing insights on my blog. All for free! One piece of advice that's not in there is this: publish to Amazon first! Though I believe all the other markets are important, Amazon is the ruler of all. Study the various tips & tricks out there, format your manuscript carefully (and test it to ensure it looks okay), hire an editor, and don't scrimp on cover art. Last of all—just get out there and publish already!
DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My experience with cancer taught me a valuable lesson—don’t allow life to just “happen” around you. Make changes, take risks and be true to your own heart.
After 11 years, I’m finally acting upon those lessons learned. I left a comfy career in my hometown to travel the world as an enterprise consultant. My wife and I lived in Vietnam for a month while we adopted our son. And I’m now listening to that ever-present voice telling me I’m an artist. Words and stories are my craft, and I hope you find some joy and surprises in my fiction."
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