I'm pleased to welcome another fab author to the blog today to chat about the how's, when's, and where's of the writing life!
Check it out...
Matthew O'Neil is an activist, theologian, and author. He has a certificate in Creative Writing, an MA in Theology from Saint Michael's College and is a certified Humanist chaplain and celebrant. He is the author of the Transtemporal Series’ books “Attrition” and “Catharsis." He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Jude Scarowsky comes from a volatile home; his parents’ violent outbursts force him to self-isolate, medicating his anxiety with any distraction he can find. Until one afternoon, a child appears in his room.
Transported to a time and place long before his own life, Jude finds himself adopted by a peasant family with a rambunctious child drunk on supernatural powers. A child named Jesus of Nazareth.
Discovering that Jude is in fact the historical Judas Iscariot, he knows what his role in this tale includes. But what will he do, and can he handle the stress, knowing he will forever be equated with betrayal?”
Published through Hypatia Press, October 30, 2020.
Who are you and what do you write?
I’m Matthew O’Neil and I write sci-fi/horror with some pop-philosophy in between.
Where and when and how did the writing life begin for you?
Writing was something I always did. I started the way most bands or musicians start; you copy the work of those you admire and build your own from there. So it was copying Lord of the Rings when I was in junior high, taking creative writing courses in college and receiving a certificate in the art, and then writing my own serious work starting in 2012.
How has the journey to this point been? Can you give us a basic rundown?
I think I would summarize it as “there’s always room to learn.” A lot of it was patience with myself as I really made my work more intriguing to others and formatted in a way that was easier to grasp. Unfortunately I seem to have a tendency to ramble, so making my points more concise and understanding that there’s weight to every word was important for me. Part of it was also understanding, like music, you have to pay attention to why you like certain things. I had to go and read more authors, picking apart their work, to understand why it was appealing and how to apply it to my own work.
What's been the hardest part of your writing/publishing experience so far? And the most enjoyable?
Sometimes I fall down a rabbit hole while researching different subjects. I get curious about dozens of seemingly insignificant things throughout any process, but when I start looking up things for my writing, I can get lost. So the struggle, for the most part, is remaining focused The most enjoyable part has been the authentic feedback from my publishing and editing team about my work. Even when I’m feeling fairly unsuccessful (which can happen a lot), reading the email exchanges between us helps me feel a lot better about the work I do. They’re great confidence builders!
Would you go back and change anything?
Based on the private feedback I’ve received from the first book, I think there might be some things I’d want to change. Ultimately, this book was filled with a lot of emotions tied to some dire personal circumstances I experienced between “Attrition” and “Cathatsis”. I would only have wished for a more consistent time frame, or even to have waited until the events had passed in their entirety before I had started writing. Ultimately, writing is what helped me through a lot of it, so I don’t think I would like anything to have been different during the creation of this story.
Where would you like to be in 5 years time? And 10?
In five years, hopefully I’ll have finished the Transtemporal series and started on some other story lines I’ve been fleshing out in my notebooks. In ten, maybe I’ll have gone back and added a prequel trilogy to Transtemporal swearing its the end, while planning the true final three. I just hope I’m still writing. Truly, I will finish the series and start work on the ideas I feel are ready for work.
What's one piece of advice you'd give to new writers just starting out?
Write. Every day. Sign up for short story exercises, enter contests, give yourself any excuse to write. And when you’re not writing, you should be reading or taking classes on how to improve your writing. Most importantly, write for yourself. Don’t try to impress anyone except the you who fell in love with story telling. Impress yourself. Make yourself proud. Even if no one else ever reads your work, having that finished book on your shelf is often times reward enough and a powerful reminder of what you’re able to accomplish.
And most importantly...
Ketchup or Mayo? Ketchup
Night or Day? Night
Inside or Outside? Inside
Dogs or Cats? Dogs (pitbulls specifically)
Twitter or Facebook? Can I choose neither? No? Then Twitter.
ebook or Paperback? Nothing beats the feel of a physical book (but ebooks do my back a favor during moves)
Sun or Rain? Rain
Keyboard or Pencil & Notebook? Keyboard
Comedy or Drama? Comedy
Chips or Chocolate? Chocolate covered chips
Want to guest blog or be interviewed? Got a cover reveal or book coming out?
Get in touch today!