It seems like it’s been way too close to forever since I’ve last invited someone to come take up some space here on the blog. Well, dear friends who are tired of me blabbing on about how I blubber under lasers, your luck has changed because I just so happen to have convinced the wonderful Mike Matula to give us some of his time and his words. You see that guy to the right there? He’s the one who’s here to face off in the first every Fat Mogul vs. Mike Matula. Let’s get this battle of wits started, shall we? Well, perhaps not so much a battle of wits as it is a fairly straightforward interview…
1. Alright, Mike, now that I’ve introduced you, why don’t you tell us just who in the heck you think you are?
Hi, I’m Michael David Matula, though I prefer it when people call me Mike. I’m a novelist and a short story writer.
2. And from whence do you hail?
Sunny Chicago, Illinois. Home of the Whopper, I believe it’s called, though I might be confusing it with someplace else.
3. The Windy City of Whoppers. I like it. So, why are you here?
Try Not to Burn is my first published novel, and it’s a character-based paranormal thriller about what happens to good people who wind up in Hell. Here’s a quick pitch for the book:
Shot to death in the line of duty, rookie cop Brandon Morales awakens in a much darker world than the one he left. Trying to make sense of it all, Brand stumbles across Sam and Jane, two women simply struggling to survive. With their souls hanging in the balance, and eternal damnation never more than one wrong turn away, these three strangers will need to put their trust in one another in order to stay one step ahead of the flames of Hell. But when enemies pose as trusted friends, when lost loves crumble the will to continue, and when hidden desires threaten to tear allegiances apart, it will take more than faith and determination to pass God’s final test. It will take a miracle.
4. Sounds mighty unique. What caused you to write it?
Stubbornness. Gumption. A belief that I had a story worth telling, and not enough sense to give up when the going got hard.
5. I’ve definitely found that persistence is the key to most artistic endeavors. But the real question is, are you proud of it?
Very proud. I don’t know that I would have said that even a year ago, but the feedback I’ve been getting has been nothing short of amazing. I kept expecting people to tell me the book sucks, as I’ve never been super confident in my abilities, but folks really seem to be enjoying it. It’s incredibly rewarding to see how much people have connected with the characters, and how invested they end up becoming in the story.
6. I’ve unfortunately not had the chance to read it yet, but I’ve heard nothing but amazing things. Why don’t you give us a taste? What’s your favorite word, or phrase, in the book?
My favorite word is probably “Gral.” It comes from the sound the monsters make when they move, as it’s the grinding of their joints that gives them their names.
For favorite phrase, it’s a tossup between “darker than the lining of a smoker’s lungs.” and “slower than a pregnant tortoise.”
7. I have to admit that I’m curious to know how you are aware of the speeds of pregnant tortoises. Perhaps a question for another time. How long did it take you to get this story to the point in which you were ready to release it upon the world?
Longer than I’d like to admit. I originally wrote the short story the book is based on when I was just out of high school. It was just about a group of characters who meet after their death. Years later, I expanded the concept into a full novel. The novel was eventually accepted by Post Mortem Press, an indie publisher out of Cincinnati, Ohio.
8. Well, it’s definitely got a strong concept behind it. How’d you wind up thinking up such a fantastic fable?
It’s partly inspired by video games, believe it or not. I approached the afterlife as a simulation, a construct designed by God to test the human soul. He knows how it will play out, but it’s in the testing and the struggle that we define ourselves.
9. So, we’ve got video games as one example. What else fills your time in-between weaving yarns?
I’m pretty boring. I like watching movies, listening to podcasts, and jogging pathetically short distances. I also like to sketch from time to time.
10. Good stuff. Back to the book. Who do you think would have written your book if you hadn’t been the one to get to it first?
That’s a tough question. This book isn’t quite like many other books I’ve read. If I had to pick someone, I might actually say Robert Kirkman. The Walking Dead is a bit similar in a few ways, as I’ve always thought of Try Not to Burn as a survival/apocalyptic story. The Gral in my book do share some similarities with zombies, as well, although the Gral make an average zombie seem like a helpless kitty-cat.
11. Ain’t much better than a helpless kitty-cat, though, is there? So, you’ve obviously got the writing bug. Got any plans for the future? Sequels? New books? Movies? Book Tours? Hollywood Walk of Fame?
There is definitely a sequel in the future for Try Not to Burn. I’ve also got a few other projects in various stages of completion. A recent short story of mine has just been published in Wrapped in Red, a vampire anthology from Sekhmet Press.
12. Well, I have to admit, you’ve piqued my interest. Where do you suppose I could get one or more of your books for my very own?
It’s available in paperback as well as on Kindle and Nook. I also get a warm, fuzzy feeling every time someone adds the book to their shelf on Goodreads.
13. Any other links you want to share, perhaps so I can call you up and ask you how the Gral are able to move?
I’m nothing if not easily accessible, and I enjoy hearing from other readers and writers. Twitter’s the easiest place to reach me, but I try to stay as up to date as possible on the other social media whatsits.
14. Well, I’m honestly out of questions here. Anything else you’d like to add, like telling the folks at home about why you dedicated your book to me?
Oh, um…I’m not sure how to say this, but I didn’t end up dedicating the book to you. I totally considered it, but I decided to go with my mother for this one. I’ll, uh, I’ll keep you in mind for a future book, though. Honest.
Well thanks for stopping by, Mike. I know them folks at home were hoping for a bloody battle that would bring the whole world wide web to a halt, but I can’t think they went away unhappy with the experience. I know I’ll be adding your books to my list. I’ve already got one sitting on my Kindle dealie.
If you folks at home have any questions for the man who claims his monsters could kick Kirkman’s hindquarters, feel free to hit up the comments here or on facebook, or contact him at one of the many locations he gave us above.
And have fun out there!