Interview Matt Drabble

The Bookie Monster Interviews Matt Drabble, author of Gated & Asylym - 13 Tales of Terror.

Self professed "funny onion", equal parts sports loving jock and comic book geek.

His third attempt at writing a novel "Gated" became a UK Horror Chart #4 and a horror anthology "Asylum - 13 Tales of Terror" is still #1 on the Amazon Horror/Anthology Chart for over 10 months and was recently voted #4 on's Top 10 books of 2013.

Tell us a little about yourself, your work and how you got into writing.

Born in Bath England way back in 1974 I currently reside in Wales with Mary and our 3 year old black lab Holly. I have always had a passion for reading and writing. A few years ago after a nasty back injury which never seemed to heal properly I was eventually diagnosed with a degenerative back condition called ankylosing spondylitis. This led to me being unable to work full time but also unqualified for any financial aid due to the current austerity measures. With too much time on my hands and a working class/blue collar background sitting around was not an option. I started to teach myself how to write and put my head down and kept on bashing away. Fortunately my third attempt was a horror/thriller called "Gated" which peaked at #4 on the UK Horror Chart and was the start of a new career.

What five words best describe you?

Jock, Geek, Determined, Odd & Hairy

Do you have a most embarrassing moment? Do tell!

As a comic book fan I remember writing in to a Spiderman fortnightly book expressing my shock at a storyline twist. They printed my letter along with a very nice reply that said that my letter was wonderful and perhaps I might make a writer one day when I grew up, I was 22 at the time.

Are there any critiques in particular that you just can’t seem to shake?

Proofreading is always an issue with indie authors. There is a reason that professionals charge an awful lot of money and why pro writers have an army of proofers and editors. I currently use two different proofers who do most of their work for either free or for a very low cost and I do multiple readthroughs myself. But there will always be some minor errors that slip through the net and readers will often assume that this is due to a lack of effort or just plain laziness.

If you were to create a writing soundtrack, what artists would be on it?

Anything by "bands" instead of "groups" I'm a big rock fan so the likes of AC/DC, Metallica, Rage Against The Machine, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Counting Crows et al.

How do you come up with the character names in your books?

More often than not it will be a combination of names that you hear or see on credits. Occasionally one will pop into your head out of nowhere like Everett Faraday or Tolan Christian.

How many people have you killed off over your career as a writer? Ever offed someone off then
kicked yourself for it?

I think that I've lost track, as yet I haven't regretted any one in particular as we all need a little killing now and then.

Have you ever written yourself or people you know as a character in one of your books?

Most of my working life has revolved around working in solitary jobs so I don't have a large experience of "real" people to draw upon.

Do you laugh at your own jokes as you write them?

Somebody's got to.

Do you write full time or do you keep a day job?

I am currently very lucky to write full time.

What’s the weirdest question you’ve ever been asked in an interview?

What's the weirdest question you've ever been asked in an interview.

When did you decide to make a career of writing?

After my injury and subsequent diagnosis I had to do something.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I hear a lot from readers as when I started writing I never even thought about anyone buying my books so I used my real name and email address etc. It's great to hear from people who have loved my work but I'm still looking over my shoulder thinking that they must be talking about someone else.

What was your favorite moment when writing your book?

There are always many moments when writing. I tend to have a starting point and an ending in mind but the journey in between is a blind one. Lots of times I will write a section and suddenly "Wow, that really works with the earlier bit!"

How long does it take you to write a book?

I treat writing like any full time job. At the minute I spend the morning working on a full length novel and the afternoons working on the lastest short story collection. I tend to ahve a first draft of a 90-100k word book within 2.5 months.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

Proof, proof and then proof again.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write what you enjoy but if you want to make sales don't be afraid to temper your ideas with what readers want. There is no shame in wanting to make a living. listen to the 3 and 4 star reviews as they tend to contain the most useful comments in order to improve.

What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do?

What is the hexaplex complicating factor of the mainframe gigatron of a 87 Tb calculating computer and how does it apply to the bandwidth megastrength of the world wide web and the universe at large?

Who are you reading right now?

I am currently listening to the audio book of Batman: No Man's Land

OK, so, what’s next, do you already have a new project in the works?

I have a supernatural thriller called "The Montague Portrait"which is going to published by Taylor Street Books this year. I am also in the middle of writing "The Travelling Man" and volume two of a horror anthology called "After Darkness Falls"

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Touch wood not yet. I keep several journals with story ideas every time that one comes to me, so hopefully I will always have an emrgency fund.

What tools have you found most successful in advertising/marketing yourself and your books?

I recently tried "Gated" on a freebie with BookBub and the book did over 31,603 downloads, which was nice. Also social media is always huge once you get a following.

Did any specific author(s) motivate you to begin writing?

King is King and long live the King.

You are hosting a dinner party and must invite 3 famous people. Who would you choose and why?

Robert Downey Jnr, Alfred Hitchcock, Muhammad Ali

What kind of research did you do when you were working on your novel?

It always depends. I tend to write fictional towns and locations but I did recently use Florence in Italy and an old opera house there. The internet is a Godsend and a welath of information, but stick to the offical sites and not Wikipedia!

In ten words or less:
·        Biggest fear?
o   Poverty
·        Favorite TV Show?
o   Community
·        First item on your bucket list?
o   Have a book of mine adapted into a movie.
·        Happiest moment in your life to date?
o   Getting my first Amazon monthly payment that was the equivalent of a monthly wage
·        If you were a Star Trek® character, which one would it be? Why?
o   jean luc picard, the guy is the bomb
·        If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
o   invulnerability
·        If you could choose your last meal, what would it be?
o   A never ending buffett
·        If you could meet anybody in history, past or present, who would it be?
o   Nelson Mandela, such poise and strength to forgive his tormentors for the sake of his country
·        If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
o   Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough Ice-Cream
·        How would your friends describe you in 3 words?
o   Who? Wierd, Quiet
·        Last thing you dressed up as for Halloween?
o   I'm English, I don' think that we possess the gene to be silly
·        Quirk that annoys your spouse/friends?
o   Pulling the duvet
·        The zombie apocalypse has begun. What zombie fighting badass would you want on your team?
o   Merle Dixon
·        What is one thing that you can’t live without?
o   Oxygen
·        What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
o   Setting up a friend by organising his proposal to his girlfriend without him knowing about it (luckily she said yes and so did he)
·        What is your biggest pet peeve?
o   Slowness
·        Who is the most famous person you have met?
o   The British Bulldog (wrestler)
·        Who’s your favorite blogger? (cough)
o   Only one - The Bookie-Monster
·        Worst job ever?
o   Call-Centre, I hate phones and talking to people!
·        Would you rather be homeless for a year or be in jail for a year?
o   Jail

Where can readers stalk you?