The Compulsive Reader: Author Interview: Matthew Milson

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Author Interview: Matthew Milson

Matthew Milson, author of Young Arcan and the Garden of Loc is with us today to answer a few questions about what makes him tick and what his new book is all about.

What's one thing that makes you laugh?

Watching John Cleese do a silly walk or try to return a dead parrot. Classic.

What makes you write?

If by this question you are asking why I choose to write, then the answer is simple: I can't draw and I don't play any instruments. However, if you want to know what inspires me to write, then the answer is a little bit longer. What really inspires me I would have to say is reading another author's work. Whether it's a novel, a short story, a poem it doesn't matter. When I read a line or a passage that makes me think wow, there is no other way that could have been written, then I instantly want to sit down and start plugging away at the keyboard, because I want to be able to do the same thing for someone reading a piece of my writing. As an author, I think you can tell when you are writing something like that too, because it just comes so easy and your hands are moving as quickly as possible to keep up with your brain before the thought gets lost somewhere in between.

Why fantasy?

I think the main reason I chose to write a fantasy novel is because of the freedom it affords. I've always been fascinated by the idea of creating an entirely new world, somewhere that no one has ever been before, and then writing about it as if it has always existed and has a history of its own. Then, once you have this world set up, you can do whatever you want with it. Anything is possible, and no one can say otherwise. It is an extraordinary amount of freedom for the writer, and in some ways I feel challenges their creativity. You now have a world where basically anything goes, so how far can you take it? It really gets you thinking outside the box as far as what can happen and how problems are solved.

What other books do you have planned/what are you working on now?

There are two projects that I am working on at the moment. First, I am in the revision process of the second novel in my Tales From Emberthel series (Young Arcan and the Garden of Loc being the first one) which will continue Arcan's story and give the reader a better look at the world of Emberthel and the numerous creatures and beings that inhabit it. I have yet to decide on an official title for it, but I have narrowed it down to a couple of choices.
The second project is in the early stages of writing. It's a novel, but not a part of the Tales From Emberthel series. This one is geared more toward an adult audience. I suppose it could be considered in the fantasy genre depending on your viewpoint, but it is set in our modern world and draws on real ideas and beliefs – that is to say, there are no creatures that I invented myself, and the ones that do appear in the novel, somebody somewhere believes that they really exist.

What influences you to write Young Arcan and the Garden of Loc?

I think my influence to write Young Arcan and the Garden of Loc was my desire to tell a good story. I wanted to write something that was original, and could be enjoyed by children and adults. A lot of times I describe the story as 'a fantasy that doesn't take itself too seriously' because while I wanted to create a world that was rich and had a sense of history, I did not want to write a story where the reader skips over the names of people and places because they are twenty letters long with hyphens and apostrophes. I just wanted to write something that was a quick and enjoyable read.

Can you describe Young Arcan and the Garden of Loc in three words?

Yes. Oh you actually want me to say them? Ok. Fantastically Unique Narrative – or in one word: FUN! That's clever, right?

What were some of your favorite books when you were younger?

In grade school I would read what all of the other kids where reading, which were books by Bruce Coville and R.L. Stine. I could not begin to recall what any of the books were called without looking them up online. Once I got to junior high and high school, that is when I really became interested in reading however. That was when I discovered The Old Man and the Sea, A Tale of Two Cities, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and many others. That is when I started reading for fun, and not because somebody simply told me to.

What's the last book that you read?

The last book that I read was Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman, which is a collection of short fictions and wonders as it is described on the cover. Actually, it's a book of short stories and poems, but I think since the word 'poems' tends to turn people off, they changed it to 'wonders' which just seems more magical.

Currently, I am close to finishing American Gods…also by Neil Gaiman. I've recently discovered Neil's work, and have realized that I have been missing out. Now I am trying to play catch-up.

Is there anything I didn't ask that you wish I had?

Yes. If you would have asked "What is your favorite movie based on a book?" I would have said, "The one they haven't made yet." Then I would have winked and pointed at the cover of my book.
Thanks so much! Be sure to visit Matthew at his website, http://www.talesfromemberthel.com/, if you'd like more info!

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