I have no idea if Matthew Cox is Irish or not, but it's his lucky day today, since he's appearing on the Blog Ring of Power. Here are the links to the other parts of his interview:
The Writing Life
The Creative Process
About Your Current Work
Matthew will be sharing some words of wisdom with us:
Tell us about your route to success –did you use an agent? How did you land your agent and/or publisher?
I had been querying Division Zero for about nine months with little success from agents. I had a few partials, but I kept getting the same generic “this is great, but I just don’t feel like the right agent for this” responses. (I do appreciate getting the responses… the ones that just don’t reply are vexing.) While wondering if it was perhaps a problem with the query, I was on AQC and decided to ask a published writer (AW Exley, author of Nefertiti’s Heart and Hatshepsut’s Collar) if she would be willing to read the first 5 chapters. Since the query looked strong, I was concerned it might be the writing that was the problem.
After reading it, she suggested that I send a query to her publisher, Curiosity Quills directly without an agent. I did. A few weeks later they requested a full. A few weeks after that I got a request to make that change I mentioned earlier about the reveal. I agreed to make that revision, and they signed it
Since then, I have also signed 5 other titles with them (soon to be 6), as well as a co-author contract with Tony Healey to do a deep-space Sci Fi series.
Why did you choose to go with a small/independent press?
AW had nothing but great things to say about CQ, as well as a few other writers that I met via AQC Chat. What ultimately did it though was their quirky email signature. I figured if they had a sense of humor as odd as mine, it would be a natural fit.
Is there anything you would have done differently during the querying and publishing process?
I can’t think of anything I could have done better or differently – aside from going to writer conferences and meeting agents in person; alas, such things are out of my budget right now.
What are the most important elements of good writing?
Solid believable characters who remain consistent to the character’s nature. A good plot, and writing that creates vivid imagery in the reader’s mind. Mechanical issues can be overlooked if mild, but some things such as overuse of adverbs, filtering, and long swaths of expository backstory/infodumping can take the reader right out of a scene.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep writing. Seek feedback from writers and total strangers. Consider that feedback. Don’t be afraid. The only true failure is never to try. I sat on a short story that would become caller 107 for almost ten years because I thought it was ‘too weird’ to appeal to anyone. Accept all criticism delivered as honest feedback; ignore all mean-spirited comments.
What do you feel is the key to your success?
I’ve been told I have a wild imagination and am very creative. I honestly don’t know what to say here – aside from a confluence of fortuitous events occurring in a specific sequence. Who knows… if one fedex truck was four seconds slower nineteen years ago on a Tuesday when it rained, I might not be writing.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope that you find the world of Division Zero entertaining, vivid, and meaningful. I am doing this to give people an escape from the drudgery of the real world, and hope that I am deserving of the time they devote to reading anything I’ve written. I would love to hear back from anyone that has read it with your comments. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
What are your current / future project(s)?
The second and third books in the Division Zero series are in the works (writing finished and in various stages of editing). Caller 107 (the contemporary paranormal) is due out in July. Virtual Immortality, which is set in the same world as Division Zero, is also on the way. Book 1 and 2 of The Awakened series are at the publisher (again, in various stages of editing), and I am presently working on some short stories for an anthology they are putting out later this year. With Tony Healy, I am co-authoring Operation Chimera a deep-space sci fi story that is like Star Trek meets Wing Commander.
Soon, I will begin work on the 3rd (and remaining) titles in The Awakened series. After that, I have a few other projects in mind.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I’d like to thank Terri and Vicki for taking the time to lend me space on their blog. Also, I have some free fiction up on my website. Divergent Fate is a weekly installment fiction that I have been posting since going online.
Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.
Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour. He is also fond of cats.
Goodreads author page:
Most cops get to deal with living criminals, but Agent Kirsten Wren is not most cops.
A gifted psionic with a troubled past, Kirsten possesses a rare combination of abilities that give her a powerful weapon against spirits. In 2418, rampant violence and corporate warfare have left no shortage of angry wraiths in West City. Most exist as little more than fleeting shadows and eerie whispers in the darkness.
Kirsten is shunned by a society that does not understand psionics, feared by those who know what she can do, and alone in a city of millions. Every so often, when a wraith gathers enough strength to become a threat to the living, these same people rely on her to stop it.
Unexplained killings by human-like androids known as dolls leave the Division One police baffled, causing them to punt the case to Division Zero. Kirsten, along with her partner Dorian, wind up in the crosshairs of corporate assassins as they attempt to find out who – or what – is behind the random murders before more people die.
She tries to hold on to the belief that no one is beyond redemption as she pursues a killer desperate to claim at least one more innocent soul – that might just be hers.