Welcome to BookView Interview, a conversation series where BookView talks to authors.
Recently, we talked with Matt Watters, an author and course developer and writer in the Vocational Education and Training sector, about his writing. He has recently released his science fiction novel Dream Phaze – Germination (read the review here).
Matt lives in Sydney, Australia and works as a course developer and writer in the Vocational Education and Training sector.
‘This narrative began as a short story in 2014. Over subsequent years it evolved through several plot, character, and title iterations until Dream Phaze emerged as an episodic series published online in 2018. These episodes, collectively known as Germination, are now an ebook.
Dream Phaze – Imagination, the second ebook in the series, will be released in March 2021.
Matt is a member of the Australian Society of Authors and Alliance of Independent Authors.
Dream Phaze website – https://www.dreamphaze.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/dreamphaze/
What’s the most difficult thing about writing a novel?
I can’t say that I find the process of writing a novel difficult, it’s the marketing and brand exposure that poses the real challenge. There are so many novels you must compete against for a reader’s attention. If I had a large marketing budget it wouldn’t be an issue, so I have to be shrewd when it comes to where and how my budget is spent.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing energises me. I write every day for a living and for pleasure, so I never tire of the process. For my Dream Phaze series, the excitement comes when the characters take over the story. I start with an idea and general direction, but the characters always take charge and drive the plot in ways that give depth to the story.
How do you select the names of your characters?
I’ve created a bank of character names. If I hear or see a name that interests me, I take a note. I’m always making notes on my phone. I research the origins and meanings of the names. I give characters names, but then I’ll change them if the name doesn’t fit once that character develops.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Because I write what is considered ‘hard’ science fiction I am constantly reading and researching new technologies. I frequent and subscribe to tech, medical, biotech and sociology websites and this is ongoing from prep and throughout writing. Because I focus on writing one series and genre, and this story is occurring 25-30 years in the future, I often look back 25-30 years and compare predictions from futurists. Some predictions have eventuated, most have not, we have not progressed as far as predicted. The cogs of advancement turn more slowly than people think. If 1990 predictions had come to pass, we should be flying to work in our cars with multiple bioimplants and living for more than a century. This rear-view assists in gauging where we might ‘really’ be in 25 years regarding human evolution.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I have never worried about what a reader wants from me. I write stories that I would love to read. I grew up reading Asimov, Silverberg, Aldiss, Bradbury, Wyndham and Herbert, the guys who wrote classic sci-fi. I have written many short stories that no one has ever read. I write because I enjoy the creative process, because it is what I like to do. Andy Warhol said, ‘Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, keep making art.’ I fall into this way of thinking. If people like the stories, great, if they don’t, I will still keep writing. Many of those short stories were the basis for the Dream Phaze series, because they form the vignettes within the novel. So, writing for myself has not been a waste of time, those stories were waiting, waiting for an opportunity to surface.
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
I think most people can tell a story. Fewer people can write that story. Fewer again can write that story with such conviction and insight that allows readers to experience multiple points of view reinforced by emotional justification. I think an effective writer must have empathy to cultivate a character’s emotional credibility.
Categories: BookView Review Interview