I recently met Matt Harrill on Twitter @matt_harrill . He seemed like a friendly guy so I asked him if I could do an article about him. Low and behold he writes horror – I can’t get away from these people!
I want to thank Matt and his girls for recently helping me with my manuscript (which is off.)
What I have gathered from his bio is he is an intelligent man with a Uni degree in geology. So I am not surprised that he researched his topic -Hell.
I will add that it took me two weeks to think of non-generic questions to ask Matt. So here we go:
Matt I believe you started your writing journey as a fantasy writer; what kind of fantasy characters do you like to portray?
The fantasy world I created dealt with the genocide of a people who believed in a certain type of magic. There were guildsmen, tribes, wandering travellers, smugglers. The magic system involved harnessing ones will through ‘focus stones’, each type of stone’s nature reflecting its origin. So for example if you had a piece of volcanic rock, its properties might have been heavily inclined towards fire. The physical make up of my characters were human. As I stopped writing the series mid-way through the third book , I had scope to go ‘nonhuman’ but had not had the chance to explore that option. I find a lot of satisfaction in exploring the abilities a person might have rather than just purely going for the supernatural.
I understand you spent 10 months researching for your book Hellbounce. So what kind of research does one do to discover the elements of Hell?
First off, it was literally just a case of anything and everything. Stories that interested me, media articles, random websites, the information from which I could not tell you the source if you paid me. I had the idea, and initially beyond that not a lot. Then I started working on the ‘why’ of Hell freezing over, and divided its inhabitants into clans, or tribes. This led to a lot of research into the Seven Deadly Sins, that I used as a template, each sin having a principal demon. The idea for the hellbounce, the process by which a demon returns to earth in the body of its mortal form, appearing at the location of its human death, was borne of a chance conversation. After that, it was filling out characters, finding suitable locations for the story. I’m a huge Lovecraft fan, so I wanted to pay homage to him by having my story start in that part of the world. I liked the idea of Boston, Ma, but Worcester had more of what I needed in terms of scenery. Lots of looking into scary haunted places gave me Sloss Furnace in Birmingham, Alabama. After that it was a lot of immense detail using google earth etc. All locations are real in my series, which means I have to make sure that I get it right.
As a horror writer myself, I am curious where your inspiration stems from? (for some it’s a dark place in their own lives, books they’ve read, movies they saw as a child…)
It would have to be the spooky strangeness of Lovecraft’s work. My own tale is uniquely ‘me’ and not a lot of trying to copy Lovecraft’s style, which was the intention to start with. I have a style of writing that can only be described as my own, coming from deep within my own twisted brain. It’s certainly not horror movies – I love a good demon romp, but paranormal stuff scares the crap out of me.
If you could have any historical figure (fictional characters included) read and critique your work who would it be?
Oh definitely Caligula. Roman emperor in early AD, he was mad as a box of frogs, did everything his own way which was usually the WRONG way. Would make for a great critique. Might have to improve his English first, or my Latin.
(Oh I love this answer!!!)
For those just entering the roller coaster ride of writing and publishing what words of encouragement or caution would you share?
Find your unique selling point, but don’t hunt desperately. Once you find what makes you different, game on! Also, for goodness sake, when someone offers you constructive criticism, listen! Trust me, I have a lovely marketing friend who recently made me feel three inches tall via skype regarding a DREADFUL newsletter I put together. But keep writing!
Matt please share any additional details including contact information, what readers might expect with the book in the works…
Ohhhh… this is the bit where I go nuts with links……
Places you can find Hellbounce now:
Places you can find Hellborne now:
And anybody who wants to can contact me via my website on the contact me page.
I would encourage all of you to engage Matt on twitter or go to his blog. He is a witty and an exceptionally easy to like person.
I would like to thank Matt for his time and wish him the best with his newest release:
…and wait there’s more!!! Hellbeast is on the horizon.