It’s been barely a few hours since our last torture session with Graham Austin-King, and Inquisitor Makhell and I are already bringing you the results of another Samorlian Inquisition. Makhell had it easy with the author of both Corin Hayes and The Forbidden List series of books. The author couldn’t wait to spill the beans as Makhell tickled his feet beneath Wesson’s Cathedral. So, without further a do – because he blathers on more than me – here is our second author, G R Matthews:
1. If I gave you an elk, where would you hide it?
“I’d give it a ‘Wh’ and call it a Whelk. Shove a shell on its back and no one would notice the difference. What do you mean it has four legs? Them ain’t legs, mister. Don’t you know nuthin’. Them’s its feeding frills. I’ll give you they might look a bit, to the uneducated maybe, like those animals whats got legs, but trust me, mister, them’s not legs. Got that. Not legs.
Now, get your arse (the correct spelling of the American’s ‘ass’ (That’s a type of donkey by the way)) out of the way, I’ve got to dig a rock pool to hide this in. In fact, grab a spade, you can help!”
2. Why would you be hiding it? Weird.
“Ashman you gave me the f***ing thing and you ask me that!
Bloody things are contraband in this country. Can’t go trafficking them beasts all over the planet. They is a pro-tec-ted species, don’t know you! I could get in a lot of trouble having one of them in my house! You cook them up and dry the skin, grate it and put in a pipe and you a truthful honest-to-goodness, class A narcotic! I’ll have the police round before you can say, that’s not an Elk… look it’s stuck to that there rock in that there pool. You ain’t never seen an Elk do that have you, Officer!”
3. Tell us something about your work in progress?
“I tend to write two books at the same time. Weird, I know, but I write half of one and get to a point where I need to think a little about how it proceeds, so I start another. Anyway…
Project one; ‘The A-Team meets Warcraft’, least that is how I’ve described to people so far. A team of four mercenaries, not the best in their field necessarily, are hired to do a job, but the world isn’t as we know it today. For instance, the government is now based on the Isle of Wight… the reason for which you’ll have to read the book to find out.
Project two is Corin #3, tentatively called ‘Three Times the Trouble.’ As ever, Corin’s got himself into trouble and the way out is not as easy as before. This time he has more to worry about and the stakes are higher.
They are both about ½ written and I’ll get them out by the end of the year! (Hopefully)”
4. If you were a tree, what tree would you be and why?
“Mountain Ash. Why? Because it is on a Mountain and the fact that it is already Ash means it can’t be burnt again.
Or a Coconut Palm, so I can brain unsuspecting people passing underneath.
Giant Redwood… because it is giant.
Yew… not you, but a yew tree. They always have great views and are in a place of prominence in the village or town. Plus it was turned into longbows and well, Agincourt.
I’m decisive, clearly.”
5. Were you an avid reader as a kid?
“My mother, bless her, always relates a story that goes something like this;
“The little bugger just wouldn’t sleep. Not at all. Not a wink. And we were at the end of our tether. Then one night, as he was bawling away, screaming the house down and attempting climb out of his cot, I plunked down the children’s encyclopedia (suitable for 7 to 12 year olds) in front of him. Silence. Hours of blessed silence.”
I started off reading and haven’t stopped. You can’t write, if you don’t (or didn’t) read. I used to teach Creative Writing at A Level, back when the government had some measure of respect for the discipline and considered it worthwhile, and it was easy to tell those who read a lot of books from those that read few.”
6. Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?
“The only hunting or gathering I do is via Amazon or other shopping sites on the Internet.
Much as I enjoy a steak, or lamb shank, it has been a long time since I dissected anything. Having said that, I haven’t pulled a vegetable out of the ground for more years than I remember – I can’t stand the scream they emit, or their plaintive cries of mercy, let alone their despairing calls of farewell to their family!”
7. You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What colour would you be and why?
“This is your own fault, you know. You’ve no one to blame but yourself! <Rant warning>.
I’m colour-blind, not awful and no the world isn’t black and white, nor can I tell you what colour that object, pencil, or bus is!
If I had to be a colour, I would be a normal, run-of-mill, colour that I could at least have a guess at. I’ll pick blue… for no other reason than I had a blue shirt at Uni which I loved! (And it was a hit with the girls too… well, one, and I married her so that counts).
What I wouldn’t do is pick some made up, non-existent colour and add it to the crayon box. None of your maroons, burgundys, egg-shell blues, topes, beiges and all the others on the paint colour chart. And Purple… what the hell is purple! I’ve never knowingly seen purple. I’ve worked in a large building for a year and half now thinking, knowing, sure it was blue. I was told this week it is purple… no it is f***ing isn’t! You just made that colour up!”
8. What was the last gift you gave someone?
“A book. Not one of mine. If either of my kids wants a book, I buy it for them. No questions asked… apart from making sure it is appropriate. I loved reading as a kid and I want them to do the same. My son consumes book faster than a shoal piranha nibbles the flesh off a drowning mammal.”
9. What were you like in high school – nerdy, sporty, etc…?
“As Bill Gates once said (or may have said), “The geek shall inherit the earth.”
I was painfully shy, which I covered by being painfully loud and sarcastic (though I’d prefer the word humorous). I’m still shy, an introvert in many ways, but I’m a little more socially able these days – ask the Treehouse (my small fan club) who came from as far away as Dutchland (yes, it is called that) and Germany to meet up at BristolCon this year.
I did play football for the school team. I did learn Judo for a bit, Kung Fu for a while too, oh and I played Badminton in the odd county competition too.
I really enjoyed my childhood. I’d like to thank my parents for that… they did a good job. I can’t be more grateful to them.”
10. What’s the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?
“I’m watching DS9 from beginning to end at the moment. I watched it when it came out, but kind of lost my way through it. Now with Netflix I can enjoy an episode an evening.
I like, even in DS9, the hope for the future, the examining of human nature, the desire to better than we are now. I’m not quite sure why Gul Dukat is now reminding me of Donald Trump (except Dukat has more brains, more intelligence, charm and respect).
Odo and Quark are genius double-act of the kind that Star Trek always seem to throw up. On a side note, Odo can’t replicate a face, but can make perfect eyes? Something so infinitely more complex! How? Why?”
11. What do you want to be when you grow up?
“I am grown up. Physically, that is. Mentally, I am still a child. I think my favourite author, Terry Pratchett, said it best, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man I put away childish things because, wow, then I could afford much *better* childish things!”
12. Describe the colour green to somebody who is blind.
“You’ll have to try and describe it to me first.
If I had to, which I suppose I do, I would say imagine that moment when you’ve just woken up. You are no longer asleep, and you’ve just cleared that tired breath out of your lungs. You can feel the beginning of the day seep into your bones… that’s green. Or might be. I don’t know.”
13. Who would win a fight between Frodo and Sam?
Sam does everything for Frodo, who, let’s be honest, isn’t really the hero of the books (or films). He is a little bit of a coddled rich boy forced into a difficult situation. Sam is poorer, has struggled for his whole life. It is he who carries Frodo and the ring, without complaining. It is he who sacrifices, who loves beyond loving, is truthful and brave beyond measure.
Sam would win. That’s it. Anyone who says anything different is wrong. Simple.”
14. A white rabbit hops through the door right now wearing a helmet. What does he say and why is he here?
“Oops, wrong door.”
“Excuse me, have you seen a tall man with a taller hat?”
“Erm… I’m looking for an invisible cat?”
“I’m late, get out of the way.”
“Erm… wrong universe. Sorry.”
“Can I borrow a cup of sugar? I’m your new next-door neighbour.”
“Did you see where he went?”
“What? Never seen a naked rabbit with a helmet before?”
“You drink one little bottle of absinthe…”
15. What’s your favourite game, be it video, board or tabletop?
“Favourite? That’s hard to pin down.
AD&D was the most fun I’ve had playing games. Also, the TMNT RPG was great, and I DM’d that one.
Elite, when it first came out.
Pools of Radiance by SSSI.
I love a good game of Munchkin too.”
16. The last book you read was…?
“Just finished ‘A Walk in the Woods’ by Bill Bryson. I watched the film too. He has gentle, despite the swearing, sense of humour and a light sarcasm about life’s experiences. He isn’t British, but like all those we claim as ours (Murray is a British tennis player, not Scottish) (we can’t help it), he may be one of the greatest British writers ever.”
17. Supercar, Superbike or Superboat, and why?
“Car. Michael, one man can make a difference… cue the music! Either that or a super-helicopter… cue the music!
Why? They are called ‘Super’ and I need a different reason?!”
18. Where is your preferred writing space?
“I have a lovely set up of two-screens, a comfy chair, some headphones and great keyboard.
Sadly, I seem to have lost this to my kids!
I’ve written in play-centres, in pubs, in the car, but at present, I’ve resurrected an old Netbook, updated it to Windows 10 (cheaply) and installed Scrivener upon it. Combined with a bar stool and high-shelf (acting as my desk), this is where I write the most… and it is my bedroom, just in front of the portal to the dimension the rabbit came from. If I look out of the window I can see the Whelk in the rock pool.”
19. When’s your next book out?
“When they are finished, edited, checked, buried, dug up, edited, re-read and I decide they aren’t as shit as I thought they were at the start.
Sometime this year, I’d guess. Both of them.”
20. Do you have a question for me?
“If you could be any circus performer, what would you be?”
JP: “Easy! Fire Breather, for sure. I’ve done it before! Only once, mind. Or rather one night of it. It was during a medieval re-enactment. Well, the evening of, to be more precise. I had a petrol taste for two days and sensitive lips to boot. Was fun though.”
Well there we have the ramblings of an interrogated G R Matthews. I hope you enjoyed reading them, I know I did. Makhell didn’t, alas. He said Matthews should be burnt, but luckily I talked him round. Now go hound Matthews on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads, and buy his fantasy/scifi books here!