I was introduced to Matt's work by Erin Al-Mehairi. I was sent a copy of his first novel The Dark Servant and was hooked. Matt was nice enough to give me an interview so sit back and get to know this fabulous new writer and after the interview there is a chance for you to win some really great prizes. You can also find my review here link
1. Tell me a little about yourself.
I’m 39, married with a 3-year-old son, and I live in New Jersey where I was born and raised. I graduated from the University of Delaware in 1997 with a history/journalism degree. I’m a huge AC/DC fan and am excited about their upcoming new album, Rock or Bust, but am also bummed their drummer is self-destructing.
2. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Right now I’m very limited as to what I can do during my spare time because of my little guy. He does a great job of making sure I can’t do anything I want to do (readers with kids will know what I’m talking about). I actually enjoy reading, but haven’t had much time to do that either. In theory I enjoy traveling and last did so when my wife and I escaped to Florida for a nice long weekend (with grandma and grampa watching the boy).
3. How long have you been writing?
Professionally, I was a newspaper reporter in New Jersey from 1999 to 2011, and even got a chance to write about my beloved AC/DC for USA Today in 2008 and 2011. I began my foray into authorship in 2007 and in 2010 actually sold the first book I ever wrote. That’s a long and frustrating story, but it led to good things, including my debut supernatural thriller, The Dark Servant, and you can read the entire account on the Writer’s Digest website.
4. Who or what inspired you to be a writer?
I’ve wanted to write a book, in general, ever since high school. I’d browse bookstore shelves and wondered what it would be like to see my name on one of them. I never read any particular author as a kid. I of course read Stephen King, JRR Tolkien, Michael Crichton, but didn’t have a favorite writer, per se. I joined the University of Delaware’s student newspaper, The Review, not because I wanted to be a reporter, but because it provided an outlet to write (and become better at it). The best thing I did in college was work at the school newspaper.
5. What do you find most challenging and enjoyable as an author?
Without a doubt the most challenging part about being an author is finding the time to write while juggling a fulltime job, being a dad, and the like. I get at least one hour and fifteen minutes of precious writing time a day after work—before I pick up my son from day care. I try to squeeze in more when I can at night (when my wife looks after our son), and on the weekend. The enjoyable part, at this moment, is realizing I can call myself an author, actually being able to hold the book in my hands and see my name on it, and know that someone out there liked what I did enough to take a chance on me and publish it.
6. What books do you enjoy in your free time?
Non-fiction: WWII history.
Fiction: Being a writer for Samhain Publishing has introduced me to numerous talented authors (Jonathan Janz, John Everson, Brian Moreland—there are too many to list) and I’ve got a stack of their books, and others, that are on my list.
7. Who is your favorite author/book and why?
Author: Dave Barry. I enjoy humor and was first introduced to him back in college with this Year in Review column. I have more of his books than any other author out there. Book: I don’t have a single favorite, but the following top my list: Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot, Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, and JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Why do I like those books? The Hobbit’s probably the first novel I remember reading—and finishing—as a kid. That made me proud. I loved dinosaurs as a kid (what little boy doesn’t?) and it was only natural that I read Jurassic Park, and that introduced me to Crichton. And I read ‘Salem’s Lot in a 24-hour period while on a college break—that’s how much it engrossed me. Those are books I go back and re-read, ‘Salem’s Lot especially.
8. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
I still think of myself as an aspiring writer. The one thing I’ve learned through all these ups and downs is to never stop writing. And if you’re getting rejections, and not even sniffs, then you’re likely doing something wrong. The book that helped guide my path and make me a better novelist is Don’t Sabotage Your Submission, by Chris Roerden. Regardless of genre, you will not go wrong reading it.
9. Can you tell us about any of your new work?
I’m waiting to hear back from my editor on a second book I hope to have published through Samhain Horror. It’s a supernatural western—if there is such a thing—set in South Carolina. (So it’s not exactly a Western, but you get my drift.) I’ll feel comfortable saying more when I’m confident we can iron out a deal.
10. What question do you wish someone would ask and what is the answer?
I just blogged about this very same subject! Whenever you get interviewed, people are bound to ask you the same (or similar) questions, and not ones you sometimes wish you’d get. So let’s see:
Q. Are you nervous about your first-ever book signing? (It’s a launch party at the Barnes & Noble in Bridgewater, NJ, on Saturday, November 22, at 6 p.m. [you’re invited].)
A. Yes! Even though I know family and friends will be in attendance, I’m still worried I might end up like the Spinal Tap guys, who appear at a record store for a signing and nobody shows up. I think they’re even mistaken for clerks. I’m certain that won’t happen to me, but it’s a very uneasy feeling when you’re not used to putting yourself out there, and then suddenly you need to start promoting your work. Hopefully it’ll be a fun time.
Photo Credit: Eric Schnare
See more about Matt and his book on his website: www.mattmanochio.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter (@mattmanochio), Pinterest.
For everyone! CREATE a PINTEREST board by choosing one of the following themes: Krampus, Old World Legends, Vintage Holiday, Old World Christmas, Christmas Around the World, Traditions and Legends, Myths, Monsters, and Horror, or something very similar.
Second rule: You must pin Matt's book cover and Amazon purchase link or Samhain Horror Purchase link. Third Rule: Follow Matt Manochio and Erin Al-Mehairi.
Third Recommendation: Extra points for pinning extra things about Matt, such as tour page, articles, etc.
Your board will be judged on the above PLUS your creativity and effort in the project! Send Erin at firstname.lastname@example.org your Pinterest page to enter by Dec. 8. Of course you can continue to use it through the Holiday if you wish!
Prize: A "Santa Checked His List and I'm on the Naughty Side" package. This will include your choice of Krampus themed apparel (t-shirt or sweatshirt, men or women, visuals to come) and a signed paperback of the book.