Today I'd like to welcome Matt Doyle, author of 'WICK' to The Thursday Interview. Before we get started, a quick intro!
Matt Doyle lives in the South East of England. His house is inhabited by a wide variety of people and animals including (at time of typing) his partner, his three kids, two dogs, a cat, a snake, a rat, a rabbit, a selection of teas and a handful of wild windows. He has spent his life chasing dreams, a habit which has seen him gain varying degrees of success in a great number of fields. This has included spending ten years as a professional wrestler (both working shows under the ring names Tad, and working backstage booking and running several successful shows in his local area), completing a range of cosplay projects and scripting the webcomic ‘Tales of the Winterborn’.
OK - HERE WE GO !!
No.1 Would you break the law to save a loved one? Why?
Of course! The bonds we make are part of what makes life so rich, If you had a chance to save on that you cherish, who wouldn’t do whatever was needed to save them?
No.2 What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
We are all alive, that is itself a state of being. To be truly alive though, that’s a little more complex. What constitutes living varies from person to person I think. For some, simply finding where they feel they should be is truly living. For others, having something to continually strive for something is truly living. So basically the difference is that to be alive is to exist, to truly live is to find what makes life wonderful for you.
No.3 What motivates you to write?
I’ve always loved books. From when I was too young to read the words myself right up to the present day, books have given me countless worlds that I can get lost in. Whether I was sick and in need of comfort or just wanted an escape from the world around me, books have always given me that. I want to be able to give other people those same things. Escape, hope, entertainment and whatever else they many need.
No.4 Why do humans want children?
Oh so many reasons. An in built need to breed, a desire to pass on your genes, cementing your love with a partner, an intent to train small housekeepers. People have children for a lot of reasons.
No.5 What was the biggest challenge in creating your book "WICK”?
Self-Editing. I have an awful habit of self-editing as I go along, which sometimes leads to spending far longer than I should on certain things. At one point, I spent an entire night rewriting three sentences over and over again. A little bit of rewriting here and there is good I think, but stopping it from snowballing isn’t always easy.
No.6 What is the most important thing you have learned in life so far?
That no dream is too big to chase, no matter how much people may discourage you. I’ve spent a great deal of my life chasing after things that people honestly believed that I couldn’t achieve. The biggest example of that was probably pro wrestling. I don’t even come close to looking like a typical wrestler, but I still went for it and as a result spent nearly ten years doing what I was told I couldn’t. I even got to work shows that also featured one of my childhood favourites, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts.
As a secondary thing, learning that success is relative is also important. I was never going to be the greatest wrestler to walk the Earth, but actually being in the ring in a professional capacity was a success for me. Writing is the same. I may never reach the success of Neil Gaiman, Patricia Briggs, Derek Landy, Hugh Howey and so on, but I’m still here putting books out for people to read. That in itself is success. That said, I’m going to have a lot of fun trying to match those that I admire.
No.7 How did you come up with the title "WICK”?
I wanted to use single word titles for the books in ‘Spark Form Chronicles’ series. I have no idea why, it just struck me as the right way forward. By the end of the first draft, I’d realised that I couldn’t shift the concept so decided to run with it. While it’s not the only thing going on, the book does question whether the AIs in the book could be seen as living things. In fact, it’s the existence of the AIs that ties the various stories together, whether the characters realise it or not. Said AIs are holograms that are projected around electronic devices called ‘Data Wicks’ … and so ‘WICK’ was chosen. The second book is going to be titled ‘CARNIVAL’ after the primary AI.
No.8 How do you handle personal criticism?
Criticism is healthy if it’s done in the right way. I tend to ignore criticism that simply states ‘this is rubbish’ with no substantiation. I can appreciate that sometimes books just don’t click, but there isn’t too much that you can take like that. By the same token stating ‘this is great’ without saying why doesn’t help anyone either. If someone can say ‘I didn’t like …’ or ‘I loved …’ then you can learn from that. I don’t expect everyone in the world to love everything I do, that would be outright daft of me. If someone can say why they don’t like something I write and put it across in a constructive manner then I may just end up agreeing with them and learn that something I’m doing doesn’t actually work as well I think it does. Or decide that it comes down to a matter of personal preference. It’s really the same when people say why they like something I do. I can learn what does work and look for patterns in what people like.
No.9 Why should people read your book?
I’m not going to tell you that ‘WICK’ is the greatest book ever written, how it sits on that particular list is up to you dear readers. What I will say is that ‘WICK’ offers a lot of different things. By nature of being a genre-bender, it contains elements of so many different genres and subgenres that it should have something for everyone. Perhaps you’ll like the overall Slice of Life feel that plays out in a chatty style in a Soft Sci-Fi setting. Maybe the Political and LGBT swaying of Fahrn’s end of the tale will suit you. The New Adult ages of John Forrester and Lana De La Cruz will no doubt capture the imaginations of some readers, while Meera Thorne sitting in the Young Adult age category will grip others. The anthropomorphic nature of Carnival and some of her fellow Spark Forms should appeal the Furry community. You’ve got card gaming and AIs, romance and backstories, you even have a seriously foul tempered old man named Connor Ford.
I set out to create something that touches on a lot of different things without ever failing to address each piece of the overall picture fully. Did I succeed? I like to think that I did, but in truth, only you can decide that. In all honesty, for better or for worse, I would love to know if you think I did.
No.10 Why is there something rather than nothing?
Because even when there appears to be nothing left to give and nothing left to see, life can and will amaze you with what you missed, you just have to be willing to let it.
Thank you Matt :)
For taking the time to answer my questions
& the best of luck with your new book!
Check out 'WICK' on
With overblown visuals, stunning entrances and bloody battles played out in real time by holograms, Spark Forming has become far more than a simple card game. Drawing in fans from across the Colonies, no other sporting event creates a bigger buzz than the annual two day tournament to crown a new Spark Form World Champion. Yet the scramble for the title is not the only source of conflict this year, and for some competitor’s the real battles will take place away from the TV cameras.
What defines a person’s life and drives them to keep moving forward?
When a game grows to reflect a society struggling to hang on, are some lives more valid than others?
Can an AI ever truly be alive?