Oh, man, is it hot!
The dogs are looking at me every time they need to go out as if to say, “Um, we’ve reconsidered, we don’t want to go out there, do you happen to have any SPF-1000?”
Dog Days indeed!
Here’s something to start your week off on the right foot: an interview with HS Matthews!
HS Matthews is a writer of Young Adult Fantasy Fiction novels, her debut novel Lottie Jones and The Magical Realms, Dragoron is the first in a series of books following Lottie Jones from her life as an ordinary young girl to a life quite extraordinary, full of magic, sorcery and adventure! HS Matthews lives in Southern England with her husband and dog, where they all share a love of long country walks. Well, maybe not right now. In any case, let’s have a chat!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I was a teenager when I dreamt of being a writer, though I never told anyone. I was very shy and kept it myself. It wasn’t until many years later that I actually sat and started on my first book, and I love to do that, it is an amazing feeling to create characters and worlds that others can lose themselves in.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
That is a difficult one to answer, can I say that I am not a writer that has lots and lots of notes, I sit at my computer and see where the story takes me. Once I have finished, I read and edit to improve it and pick up anything that doesn’t work. As my books are fantasy fiction, then my imagination is my biggest resource, and the internet is there for anything I need to check.
What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
I don’t know about unethical, but I do feel that to get a book published traditionally you either have to be an established author or a celebrity. The literary agents seem to be the gatekeepers to a traditional contract, and if they don’t think that your book will sell in great numbers, no matter how good it is, then you haven’t got a chance as a new author. It seems to be a very closed environment to me for new authors.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I am using a pseudonym, I want to keep my home and writing life separate, should I become a rich and famous author, I don’t want the celebrity that could go with it (hey, we can all dream that we are going to be the next big thing!)
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
At the moment I am working on the Lottie Jones series, I am not sure how many there will be in the series yet, it’s a work in progress. In the future I would love to write something stand alone, maybe a thriller or horror story, I have some ideas that I am writing notes on.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
It would be “Don’t listen to your English Teacher!” she told me that I had no imagination. Her words stopped me writing for many years, and it was only when I showed my family and close friends some of my poetry that I started to doubt her words. I told a couple of my friends that I would love to write a novel and they told me to “Go for it!” so I did, and I can’t thank them enough for their encouragement. And guess what? I have a brilliant imagination!
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Buying my Mac Book Air, I do all of my writing on it.
What did you do with your first advance?
As an independent author I did not get an advance, wouldn’t that be nice!
What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?
I haven’t really based any of my characters on real people, maybe apart from myself. Lottie Jones is the young girl I wish I had been, she is brave and strong, which was not me at her age. I was not a confident teen and struggled with a lot due to bullying at school. Lottie has been a good outlet for me, and I thank her so much for letting me write her story.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have the third Lottie Jones installment that I am working on at the moment, plus a short story that I have started on, I am not a writer that has a lot on the go as I find it distracting to have too much to finish. If I need to do something different from Lottie, then I tend to direct my emotions into poetry.
What does literary success look like to you?
Literary success to me is when a reader gets in touch and tells me how much they love Lottie Jones. I get such a buzz when they tell me “I can’t believe that happened!” or when they tell me to hurry up and write the next installment, I often receive messages asking how book three is getting on. It is the engagement with my readers that gives me the most satisfaction, and that is priceless.
What’s the best way to market your books?
As an independent author I am still trying to figure that out. I am trying Amazon advertising at the moment and have used all of the social media advertising options to see which works best for me. It is still a work in progress, I am very much still learning the marketing side of being a self-published author.
We’ll provide links for your fans to connect with you below, but I understand you have one more surprise?
Yes! Here’s a sample from Lottie Jones; I hope your readers love it!
After a few minutes both men were looking up at the sky, I looked up in the direction that both men were, on the horizon were two small silhouettes gradually getting bigger by the second, I could just tell by the outline it was the dragons, the wings were spectacular, and noise was amazing, it was like a beating heart, pounding away, I was speechless, not that anyone could hear me talk.
The dragons were overhead by this time, they were huge, bigger than anything I have ever seen, they were so majestic, so beautiful.
They were coming in to land, gently they slowed up and it looked like they floated down to the ground like a feather, I was in awe.
“King James, thank you for coming,” one of the dragons said.
I should have been in shock that a dragon could speak, but it just seemed so normal, nothing out of the ordinary.
“Elgar, I’m so happy to see you and you to Agra my dear old friends,” said the King.
“I wish it wasn’t under such circumstances King James, but these are dangerous times we are finding ourselves in, and you need to know what’s going on in the mountains, King James we need your help,” Agra told the King.
“Ok, tell me what’s going on then?” the King asked.
“Well, it started a couple of weeks ago, just after the celebrations for the New Moon,” began Elgar. “We were out on a flight, the sky was an unusual colour, there was a purple hue to it, the mountains were silent, not a sound, it was extremely eerie. We were just above the highest of the mountains when a flash of light shone up to the sun, it was just for an instant, and we decided to go down to the ground to investigate,” he continued. “When we got to the ground what we found was horrifying, King James we found …”
I heard a knocking in the distance, knock, knock, it kept going, I wasn’t in the glade anymore, I was back in my bed, No! I thought to myself I was just about to find out what was happening in Dragoron.