Please introduce yourself to our readers (when and how did you start writing, your works,...)
I am Matthew Williams, I am 42 years old, and I was born and raised in the UK in a small village called Feckenham. Both my novels – The Shady Corner & Shadowchild – are set in the village. I guess it was just easier to create an environment for my characters in a place that I know so well.
For me, writing was something that happened organically. I never intended for it to lead anywhere at the time. It was 1999 when I first wrote a short story, maybe 10,000 words, I did it to overcome my fears of written communication when I was offered a promotion at work. I am dyslexic and found that reading helped me to overcome many of my struggles with the condition, naturally I figured writing would help me overcome the written side, and it seems to have worked well.
It wasn’t until years later that I found the short story that I’d written and realised that it was actually pretty good. After a great deal of hard work and a very interesting learning journey, that story grew to become my first novel – The Shady Corner – and it was published in 2012. My second novel Shadowchild came 5 years later in March 2017. I am still working hard to beat the demons of time that get in my way, but my next novel Talia’s Kiss will be published in 2018, I am determined to make this happen on schedule!
Please tell us something about your creative process and your sources of inspiration
I learned with my first novel that, for me at least, having a plan doesn’t always make it easier. I tend to find that the story carries me along with it, new ideas, new characters, plot twists, etc. They all evolve as I write and basically force me to keep changing the plan. Nowadays, I am happy to have a plot outline and an ending to aim for, I find that it works for me.
The inspiration for my stories comes from within. I spent most of my life in love with the dark and the creepy, whether it’s a movie, a book, or a TV show; horror has always been my favourite genre and my story ideas always seem to be dark.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
It’s exciting times ahead for the publishing market in my opinion. I have a network of literally hundreds of authors and the cost of books with the introduction of e-books is far lower than it used to be. Traditional publishing seems to have narrowed its view in more recent times, they seem to take less risks than they used to, and they seem to like the safe bet. I find that most traditional publishers don’t even accept horror manuscripts, so the growth of Indie publishing is only natural, it certainly works for the music and film industries.
In your opinion why are many people fascinated by vampires?
I think there are many reasons, but a big one must be because of their connection with humans and their immortality (I use the term loosely of course!) One of my favourite films is –The Lost Boys- and one of my favourite books is –I am Legend- yet I still wouldn’t really call myself a huge vampire fan. Maybe it’s the way that vampires seem to have evolved into something less horrific in more recent years with the ‘Twilight’ movies and ‘Blade’. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the Blade films, but I think the last vampire film I saw that was actually a horror was ’30 days of night’ and that’s going back a few years now. I’ll admit that the only vampire stories that I’ve read are ‘I am Legend’ and ‘Salem’s Lot’ so I can’t comment with any authority on how vampires are evolving in book form, sorry!
Do you have a favorite horror or thriller movie? which of your novels can you imagine made into
It’s hard to pick a single film, there are so many great movies out there. But if I had to say which movie scared me the most, then it is hands down ‘Eden Lake’ it’s very realistic and genuinely hard to stomach, and that’s without relying on visual effects at all. The whole movie unfolds with increasing tension and terror, I love it!
I could definitely see either one of my books as a movie. I am not a screenwriter of course, but I do visualise in vivid detail as I write, it does often feel like I’m watching a film in my own imagination. It has been said in a few reviews of ‘The Shady Corner’ that this book would work as a film brilliantly. I have to say that if any of my work ever made it to the screen I would be lost for words, I can’t think of anything more exciting than that.
Is it hard to evoke a dark mood through words? what’s your method?
I don’t find it hard to evoke a dark mood in my writing at all, as I already said; I have an affinity for the macabre and the creepy. My method is pretty basic really; I was often scared as a child while my imagination turned everyday noises into something more terrifying. I simply call upon those feelings and the experience of being scared, then inject that terror into my writing and my characters. I still get shivers down my spine as I’m writing at times, this effect seems to be reaching my readers so far; I’ve had several readers contact me to tell me that my books have given them nightmares. I’m so proud of that lol.
I think the hardest thing with horror is giving it a fresh and original feel. I love horror, but I have to admit that there is a lot of cliché in the genre. I always aim to give my readers a new experience; I hope that I am doing that.
What tips would you give to aspiring horror writers?
Do what feels right for you and listen to your critics. No writer is ever going to please everyone because everyone is different, but your critics will help you grow if you listen to them. I am lucky enough to have had a network of strong people around me, and they have all helped me to find the writing inside me. I still have critics and I always will, but as long as I listen to them I will only get better at what I love doing so dearly.