When I was a new writer, I met Jason Matthews on a critiquing website. He took me under his wing and taught me everything I know today. Without him, I'd be some clueless writer scribbling down gibberish that I thought was good, wondering why I wasn't having any success. He taught me the rules, logistics, how to make my writing tight, clean, and how to see the big picture. He didn't have to do that, but he did. It's just the type of person he is. And I'll forever be grateful.
Jason Matthews lives in Truckee, California with his wife and teen daughters. He’s the author of The Little Universe and Jim’s Life, along with several non-fiction guide books such as: How to Make, Market And Sell Ebooks All for Free, How to Make Your Own Free Website: And Your Free Blog Too, and Get On Google Front Page. He’s an amazing friend, father, and knows everything there is to know about skiing, soccer, and dogs.
I got the chance to "sit down" with Jason and ask him a few questions.
1. Tell us about ‘The Little Universe.’
Glad you asked. The Little Universe is that special needs writing project that seemed to take forever. It started as a hazy idea during UNC college days when I did a lot of things I don't really do anymore. It morphed from scribbly notes on bar napkins into a screenplay that began in Los Angeles traffic and culminated on a typewriter in a freezing house during my first Tahoe winter. Then it sat on a closet shelf collecting dust for 8 years while my agent drank whisky and perhaps died of alcohol poisoning. After his death, The Little Universe drove me insane by screaming obscenities to work harder on presenting its beauty to the world, so I tried. Several years of writing and marketing later… now she's my baby.
2. Having read this book a couple of times, I know how brilliant it is. How did the idea come to you? Or why did you write this book?
Thanks, M-dog (blushes). I always questioned authority and wondered about the bigger pictures in life and the universe. I demanded answers to those deep, unanswerable questions like are we alone and how did life begin and is there a meaning to it all? It boiled down to trying to define the universe. But space is just so darned big, y'know? They say the universe has billions of galaxies, is billions of years old and billions of light years across. Simply put, it's billions of brain neurons beyond my ability to comprehend it.
I wrote The Little Universe as a personal attempt to provide possible answers to those questions. Yep, pretty sure I nailed them.
3. Was there an underlying message in ‘The Little Universe’ that you wanted to bring across?
You know how sometimes things happen than stun you as fantastic coincidences or small world stories that make you think, whoa, that's seriously beyond coincidence, something's going on here. It often serves as a reminder or to start paying attention. I believe this is an indicator of some of those bigger life questions, not in the form of an answer but as a description of what's important for us to know and work on for our personal development.
4. Do you have a favorite character?
Took awhile to learn all of the characters represent aspects of my own personality. I envy Whitney for being so complete and operating out of ego, which I'm far from doing. Jim is the child in us all with potential for anything. Jon is the human with weakness and desire, probably more like me than the others. Adams thinks he knows everything yet is being set up for a hard lesson in humility. Jessica is type A, make a name for yourself. Go girl. Samantha is the wisdom behind the shot glass at the bar while Frank is enjoying that fine liquid she poured. Rose is the spirit within, forever trying to help us.
I love them all.
5. ‘Jim’s Life’ is the sequel to ‘The Little Universe’ (which I’ve also read and is fabulous) Did you find the process easier the second time around? And will there be a third?
Both novels were so frustrating at times because I only saw them in bits and pieces but had no idea how they ended. It took years each time to work with them, ask questions, do some soul-searching and hair-pulling until the final scenes presented themselves.
There may be a third that I wrote during NaNoWriMo and that's a continuation of the characters alluded to at the end in Jim's Life. Have to admit to already being in love/envy with Rain and in serious lust with fiery Krystal, two young women with powers to change the world.
6. You also write non-fiction in the form of ‘How-to’ books. Tell us about those.
After writing two novels and not having much luck with agents and publishers, I decided to go Indie and make it happen, amazed at all the free methods for selling ebooks or paperbacks. I started mentoring other authors who said, this is really valuable info. Cha-ching (cue the light bulb over head), I realized the power of information and wrote three How-to books.
How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free has become my bread and butter while How to Make Your Own Free Website: And Your Free Blog Too is for people who want to do just that and Get On Google Front Page is for those who'd like to see their sites do better with search engines.
7. What’s next on the docket for you?
Just taking it one Red Head interview at a time. Actually a lot of momentum is going on so doing what I can to network with readers, bloggers, everyone who shares a desire to be a part of that bigger picture.
8. Any advice for us struggling authors out there?
Wish I had the magic formula. Now that everyone can self-publish, it's the best of times and the worst of times to be an Indie author. Major opportunities vs. major competition. Do what you can to write a fine book and then continue to make it better while respecting reader's opinions. Make changes if needed. Stay as active with social media as possible without spamming. Blog, blog, blog about your favorite subjects and like-minded readers will find you. Keep doing it because you must. Write for yourself first, for others second and for money last.
Red or Blue? Red definitely when it comes to women. Blue for skies.
Cinema or DVD? Cinema for films like Avatar, Terminator, Shrek. DVD for couch-cuddling or anything with Sandra Bullock or Hugh Grant.
EBook, hardback, or paperback? Ebooks because my Kindle and Xoom perch nicely on the elliptical at the gym, where most of my book reading happens these days. Hardcover for learning books. Paperbacks for fiction and free publishing with CreateSpace.
Ghosts or Aliens? Ooh, how about the Ghost of an Alien? I unfortunately haven't met any yet. The ghosts (I believe) are spirits of people who have died but still want to be around for whatever reason, hopefully not during sex though, that's creepy. I also believe the universe has intelligent aliens, way more advanced than us. If they can get here or watch us, they must pretty advanced, right?
Steak or chicken? Hmm (Homer Simpson drool)… Steak and Chicken, sorry vegans. I like a thick New York with salt, pepper and olive oil grilled hot. I also make a mean Chicken Caesar Salad with extra secret spicy tidbits on the chicken.
<-----Me with Jason. Hubby and I had fun visiting Truckee. We might just have to move there. *winks*
Isn't he great? Hope you had fun getting to know Jason and I hope you guys will check out his work. Sometimes it feels like the friends in this business are the only thing that keeps me together.
Red. Head. Out. :D