Todat I’m interviewing Matt Doyle, author of the LGBT Sci-Fi Mystery series The Cassie Tam Files.
Q1. Hello, Matt, and welcome to my blog! Tell us a little bit about yourself. How and when did you start writing?
Hi, everyone! My name is Matt Doyle, and I’m a UK based author, artist, blogger, and cosplayer. I started writing way back when I was about eleven and was given a series of creative writing assignments in school. Believe it or not, the three stories that I wrote there, as well as my first one in high school, were all horror tales. It was when I left school that I started branching out a bit.
These days, I tend to write hybrid genre stories with a science fiction grounding. There are just so many things that I enjoy reading, that little bits and pieces seep in from all sorts of places. Most of my books also feature at least one LGBTQ character. I’m pansexual and genderfluid myself, and I rarely saw LGBTQ characters in speculative fiction growing up, so once I started taking my writing seriously, I set out to write the sorts of stories that I wanted to read.
Q2. Who are your favorite authors and do you think they’ve influenced your work?
Hmm… Terry Pratchett was probably my first favorite author. I discovered his Discworld series when I was ten and it became one of my early literary loves. Whenever I was sick, I used to send my Mum to the local bookstore to pick up the next one in the series to cheer me up. In more recent times, Mark Z Danielewski interests me because his work is so experimental. His debut novel House of Leaves is one that I keep coming back to. Neil Gaiman too always draws me in with his stories, and I love Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series.
As to whether they influence me… I think they do in different ways. Terry Pratchett always reminds me that you can be smart without losing the humor, and Mark Z Danielewski is an inspiration in terms of keeping me trying new things. Neil Gaiman is someone I aspire to in terms of both quality and how humble he is, and the Mercy books really influence how I lay my stories out at times.
Q3. You know, one of my all-time favorite books is by Neil Gaiman. But I’m not going to gush over The Graveyard Book now. Back to your work: I’ll be reviewing your novel Addict this week; why don’t you tell the audience what it’s about?
(May 12 Edit: Read my review of Addict here.)
Well, let’s start with the synopsis:
For P.I. Cassie Tam, business has been slow. So, when she’s hired to investigate the death of a local VR addict named Eddie Redwood, she thinks it’ll be easy money. All she has to do is prove that the local P.D. were right to call it an accidental overdose. The more she digs though, the more things don’t seem to add up.
To make matters worse, her client, the deceased’s sister Lori, is a Tech Shifter – someone who uses a metal exoskeleton to roleplay as an animal – and Cassie has always been wary around the Tech Shift community. That wouldn’t be an issue if Lori wasn’t fast becoming the first person she’s been genuinely attracted to since splitting with her ex.
Easy money, huh? Yeah right.
The book is a lot of things. It was actually written after binge watching Blade Runner, The Maltese Falcon and L.A. Confidential, so it’s kinda my homage to hardboiled detectives, corrupt law systems, and cyberpunk timelines. Basically, if you ever wondered what would happen if an LGBTQ noir detective was thrust into a future world, this is for you!
Q4. Who is your favorite character from Addict or the rest of the books in The Cassie Tam Files series and why?
That is such a hard one to answer! Most people seem to say Cassie’s metal gargoyle Bert. He’s been a popular little blighter from the get-go, which really surprised me. I’ll stick with Cassie herself though. I really enjoy writing her as a lead. The combination of her snarky nature and her social awkwardness when she’s around Lori is really fun to play with, and I love having someone that stubborn to work with, because I know that wherever the story aims her, she’ll run towards doggedly. No matter what obstacles the story throws at her, she keeps going, which is such a wonderful quality. On top of that, when Addict begins, she’s not only already comfortable with her sexuality, but already an established P.I. Starting at a point where she already knows who she is has some advantages, most prominent of which (for me at least) is that I can tell the stories that I wanted to and let how immersed Cassie is in the world come through naturally without her needing to get through the door, so to speak.
Q5. What are you working on right now and what can we expect from you in the future?
Oh, far too many things! The Cassie Tam Files are my main priority at the moment in terms of writing; the second book The Fox, The Dog, and The King is currently in editing with NineStar Press, and the third book (tentatively titled LV-48) is under consideration with them too. I’m busy plotting the fourth book in preparation to start writing there. I really want to work on a proper video campaign for book two if the opportunity arises too, but we shall see.
I’m also doing some personal edits on a book called Mott, which is the fourth installment of my GameLit series The Spark Form Chronicles. That one’s been great to work on, because I haven’t written in that world for a little while. It has such a huge cast of characters, and the switching between their personal interaction and the wrestling inspired card battling is always good fun.
Then there’s Teller Tales, my YA horror quadrilogy. I’ll be revamping the first two books a little later this year and am hoping to get all four set to go before 2019. On top of that, there are a few other ideas that I have in mind, including a choose-your-own-adventure style book and a more adult horror.
I have a short story called Dear Sis coming in the furry anthology ROAR Vol 9 later this year. That’s an interesting one because not being sci-fi and leaning more towards contemporary themes means that it’s a bit of a departure for me stylistically. There are a few other stories under consideration with different anthologies too, so I’m hoping a few of those will pan out, but if not, I’ll post at least one or two of the stories on my site.
Speaking of which, I’m now posting at least five times a week over on the website and have a few places that I’m looking into joining as a contributor, so blogging is getting busy too. Plus, there’s the art projects, a potential video game, some more cosplay bits… I’d ideally like to eat and sleep during all that too if time allows.
Q6. Oh, wow, that’s a very full schedule! During this busy time, who is your biggest supporter and what would you like to say to them?
I think that my biggest supporter is probably my partner, who puts up with my long spells of typing and occasionally frustrated demeanor. To them, I say the same things that I always do: Thank you, and sorry.
Q7. If you could give other authors one piece of advice, be it about writing, editing, promoting or increasing their audience, what would it be?
This is always a really difficult question to answer, because what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. The best thing I can advise is to help each other out. If you have an author platform, promote others, especially if they’ve done the same for you. It helps you both grow, and you make some great friends that way.
Q8. I couldn’t agree more! Thank you for giving me this interview, Matt! Before we part, tell us: where can we connect with you online?
Thank you for having me, and I hope everyone enjoyed my ramblings. You can find me in a number of places, so feel free to stop by and say hi!
- Twitter (@mattdoylemedia)
- Instagram (@mattdoylemediaprojects)
- Wattpad (@mattdoylemedia)