Posted by: Thomas Drinkard | July 25, 2011

Meet Matt White, Fantasy Author

T. Hello, welcome to Pinnacle Writing. Thanks for visiting.  Please give us a bit of biography.

M. Well, I was born in Salinas, CA and moved to Alaska when I was five. I lived up there until I was off to college, but I still feel that I did not appreciate the outdoors and wilderness living Alaska offered. It was just what I always knew. Now, living in the city, there are things I definitely miss about that place. I went to Lewiston, Idaho and attended Lewis-Clark State College, majoring in Criminal Justice and Creative Writing. I worked as a juvenile corrections officer for seven years in Lewiston, ID and Everett, WA. I now work at Everett Community College as a campus safety officer and have been for the last two years. I’ve been in Everett for the last five years.

T. When did you start writing?

M. I remember doing pass-along stories in junior high and high school. I enjoyed those and really tried to make my segments entertaining and make my friends laugh. After having read The Lord of the Rings and being obsessed with the Star Wars movies since I was five years old, I attempted to write my first fantasy adventure novella when I was 19. During that time, I was in college and took some creative writing courses for fiction and poetry, which helped me immensely with my writing. This “novella” began to grow as I learned more about the craft, and I began adding layers and characters to the base storyline to gain a larger feel and scope. I really found a joy in creating new characters and integrating them throughout the story and feel that those aspects set these stories apart. Over ten years later, the “novella” became a 700+ page fantasy novel, which was split into two books, The Exiled Son and The Leaves of Dusk. Realtime Publishing published The Exiled Son in late June 2011. The Leaves of Dusk will be released in September 2011.

T. Was there a favorite writing teacher or mentor? Tell us about him/her.

M. My creative writing professor in college was Claire Davis, author of Winter Range, Labors of the Heart: Stories, and Season of the Snake. She was a great help in developing the fundamentals of painting a picture with words. She came around just when I needed it most: toward the beginning. In addition to the classroom assignments, I had many revisions of my own book ahead of me. Ms. Davis also taught me how to give and receive criticism, which still is not always fun, but a very crucial part of the process. Her black and white approach and dry sense of humor still sticks with me to this day. I have attempted to contact her recently with news of my published work, but have yet to make contact.

T. Please tell us about your current book what is the genre? Give us a blurb.

M. As I said, The Exiled Son began as a stab at simply writing a book. I never thought it would turn into the two volume tree-killer that it is today. The base storyline is still in place: gods coming to Earth to battle each other, in order to restore balance to the forces they represent, and the ramifications and casualties that their actions cause. The plot of The Exiled Son follows Tallic Shawen, the son of a SangreLin prince, who grows up in a simpler setting than his father’s empire home. While going unnoticed by the empire, he goes through a period of slavery and imprisonment and emerges as the only man outside the SangreLin Empire who can wield the Luzblad, a powerful sword created by a god to kill a god. Tallic embarks on a quest to avenge his years of imprisonment, his dead mother, and to stop the SangreLin Empire from its tyrannical ruling of the entire world. It is a fantasy adventure at heart that has become much more epic with the supporting cast of characters and personal journeys that accompany the main quest.

T. Do you have a sequel or prequel in mind or in progress?

M. I won’t call it a sequel, but the conclusion to The Exiled Son, The Leaves of Dusk, is due for release in September 2011. I finished writing the two of them as one book, but due to cost and printing issues, I split the two at a harrowing cliffhanger in the middle of the book.
In addition, I am currently writing a true sequel that takes place 20 years after the conclusion of The Leaves of Dusk, where the scars of that journey are still being felt by all involved and a new menace takes shape. This book is less of an adventure and more of a multi-faceted personal journey for many characters as they deal with a race of demigods attempting to sacrifice the people of Earth in order to get to their home among the gods. This book is written in a less linear viewpoint, which is both challenging and entangling, and tackles the afterlife and dreams as one interlocked idea. This story has also given me the opportunity to create my own pantheon of bickering gods, which is something that I have wanted to do for awhile.
Other than that, I have some ideas for another sequel (fourth book), but that is a ways down the road. I am also considering some prequels/side stories for some of the supporting characters of the first two books. They would be shorter books, perhaps novellas, but I’ve said that before. We shall see.

T. What are your writing habits? Are you an outliner or do you write “by the seat of your pants?

M. My writing habits are nothing set in stone. I write as often as possible, whenever the inspiration hits me. At times, I am not writing in the actual book at all, but rather covering future plots or reworking old ones. It is good to carry a notebook with you at all times. I have had ideas come to me at strange instances and have been thankful for mine when I needed it.
As far as planning, I go with a basic outline to cover as much of the story as possible, and then I let my imagination run wild in the scenes to connect the plot points. Many times, this method results in new plots and changes to the overall story, which I always welcome, as long as the pieces of the puzzle fit. Writing and inventing on the fly never fail to yield some interesting results that just cannot be planned. Once you get to know your characters, they really can come to life and write for themselves. That is something that supersedes any planning, as you have to just let them work it out amongst themselves. It keeps the story fresh and less predictable.

T. What are your ideas about the future of digital publishing?

M. I welcome technology and very much appreciate the sales and cheap price tag that it gives my books as ebooks, but personally, I prefer words in print on paper. There is just something special about having a library in your home on a big shelf. Perhaps it’s the Hobbit in me.

T. Anything else to share?

M. I’ll probably think of something right after this.

T. Thank you.

M. Thank you for this opportunity! I hope you enjoy my work.

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