Friday, April 13, 2012

It's early 1700's and Katherine Lindsay is kidnapped by pirates in The Devil's Fire by Matt Tomerlin - Author Interview

Arr Maties, welcome aboard the pirate ship of Captain Jonathon Griffith. Don't touch anything and beware of the captain; he might make us walk the plank. Author Matt Tomerlin is our guide this weekend. We'll stay close to him since he is in good ranks with the crew. Matt is going to tell us about his new release and how he weaved his tale.

Louise: Matt, welcome to my blog! I’m so excited you could join me for a chat. When did you first decide to submit your work to be published? Tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.

Matt: Thanks for having me, Louise! Last year I read an article about self-published ebooks surpassing traditionally published books in number, and I decided to dust off a manuscript I had completed a while back. It was a pirate story that I'd put a lot of research and character development into. I began editing it extensively, and the last half of the novel changed quite a bit. My writing style has improved (hopefully) over the years, so it went through a lot of editing. Once I was satisfied with it, I released it for Amazon Kindle. It's sold more copies than I ever imagined, and reviews are starting to pop up now.

Louise: Please tell us a little about your new release, The Devil's Fire, without giving too much of a spoiler away.

Matt: It's about a young woman named Katherine Lindsay who is kidnapped by pirates in the year 1717. The pirate captain, Jonathon Griffith, has eyes for her, and murders her husband. Katherine is taken to the Caribbean, where she witnesses the most despicable acts of piracy firsthand. She quickly realizes that if she is going to survive, she must become a different person. The story is told through a number of shifting character perspectives.

Louise: Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?

Matt: I plan the main characters out, but most of the time they evolve over the course of the story. Katherine took on traits that I didn't always plan for. In the end, she surprised me. There's a crucial turning point in the very last chapter, and the choice the main character makes is one I had not foreseen. It simply happened, and I knew as I typed it that it was the right way to go.  

Louise: Yes, characters do seem to take control and we have to listen. How much research do you do for your books? Have you found any cool tidbits in your research?

Matt: "The Devil's Fire" is historical fiction, and even though I took quite a few liberties with the time period and some of the historical figures, I wanted it to feel as authentic as possible. A reader appreciates an author who knows what he/she is writing about. It makes it easier for them to suspend disbelief. They want to learn a few things while being entertained. 

Louise: What is your writing process? Do you outline, write by the seat of your pants (Pantser) or a combination of both?

Matt: A combination of both. I usually have a rough synopsis, but I'm quick to abandon a plot point if I discover a better option along the way. 

Louise: Do you write full time? What did you do before you became a writer or still do?

Matt: I'm a graphic designer. Eventually I would like to write full time, but at the moment I am balancing the two.

Louise: Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example….get coffee, blanket, paper, pen, laptop and a comfy place.

Matt: No ritual. Ideas come to me at random times and I'll rush to my computer, and start typing away. Some days I will write two chapters, other days I just have no creative energy. I have to take it as it comes.

Louise: Describe a typical writing day for you.

Matt: I wish I had a typical writing day… that'd be great!

Louise: Please give us a sneak peek at your future books. What’s on the horizon?

Matt: I am currently finishing up the sequel to "The Devil's Fire." It's titled "The Devil's Tide" and follows a couple of survivors from the first book, as well as introducing several new characters. I'm incorporating more historical figures into it, including some very famous pirates. It's fun to mix fictional characters with popular historical figures. The ending of the first book provided a nice path for the second, and it was easy to get right back into the flow of the story. I've paid close attention to reviews, taking note of what readers seemed to like the most about "Devil's Fire." I want to give them more of that, but also something new. This is not a retread of the previous story.

 Click on the image to read an excerpt from chapter 5.

Louise: I just love your book covers! What is your favorite genre to read and who is your favorite author?

Matt: Believe it or not, historical fiction is not my favorite genre. I'm a huge science fiction and fantasy nut. I love Orson Scott Card, George R.R. Martin, Frank Herbert, Tolkien, etc. After I finish "The Devil's Tide," I will continue on a science fiction novel that I've been working on for a while.

Louise: Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers we have not touched on?

Matt: Thanks again for the interview! "The Devil's Tide" is scheduled tentatively for summer of this year.

Louise: Where can the readers learn more about you and find your books on the web? 

Matt: Readers can find me on:

Louise: Matt, thank you again for visiting with me this weekend.
Readers, Matt is giving away an eBook in Kindle format to one lucky commenter. If you don't mind, please leave your email in your comment so we can easily contact the winner. If you opt not to, be sure to check back on April 16 to see who the winner is.
Matt Tomerlin was born in 1979 in sunny Southern California. He has written several short stories and just completed his first novel, "The Devil's Fire". Due to positive feedback, he is also planning a follow-up to "The Devil's Fire". He is also working on "ARCTURUS," a science fiction retelling of the Arthur legend.
Tomerlin currently resides in Murrieta, California, where he works as a freelance graphic designer, when he isn't writing.

Excerpt from "The Devil's Fire":
It was six hours before the pirates discovered her cowering beneath the bed.

Several pirates spilled into the cabin, laughing and cursing. She glimpsed only their feet. Some wore boots, but most were barefoot. She watched through a hole in the heavy quilt that was draped over the bed as they thieved most of her clothes and jewelry. They took whatever perked their interest and then left, their boisterous laughter fading into the roaring pandemonium that had enveloped the main deck.

After what she presumed to be two hours, she heard a loud scuttle and a subsequent shriek that was abruptly cut short. A riotous commotion lasted for nearly five minutes before it broke into uncontrollable fits of laughter. For the next hour she was left to ponder her husband’s fate. Her mind played out a relentless torrent of ghastly possibilities, with Thomas meeting a grisly death in every one of them.

And then, with a glorious flood of relief, she heard his voice. Her eyes burned. She squeezed them shut, refusing to allow any tears to burst free; there would be time enough for that later, when she held him in her arms again, and the present ordeal was nothing more than a memory.

Thomas was conversing with a man whose voice held a distinctive air of authority. As this man spoke, the pirates gradually calmed. Katherine found herself transfixed on the voice, even though it was far too muffled through the cabin walls for her to distinguish words. He possessed a tranquil tone that she rather liked, and she temporarily forgot her peril while listening to him.

Thomas and the man with the fair voice eventually ended their conversation, and the pirate uproar started anew. This went on at some length, and the cabin remained empty over the next few hours. Gradually, the clamor outside grew even louder, and the unmistakable sound of a shattering bottle prompted her to wonder if the pirates had discovered the cases of wine in the cargo hold.

The endless ruckus numbed her senses, and she found her eyelids growing heavy. The floor’s wooden planking seemed to stretch away from her. Her vision thinned to narrowing slits that soon receded into darkness.

The door was thrust open, and the ruckus outside flooded the cabin like a tidal wave. Katherine lifted her head and smashed the crown of her skull against the underbelly of the bed. Her eyes shot open in accordance with the jolting pain.

A pair of buckled shoes marched deliberately for the bed. The man who wore them reached down and tore the quilt away, spoiling her hiding place. With the velocity of a striking snake, his hand shot under the bed to grasp Katherine’s hair, dragging her painfully from cover.

“This ship’s treasures never cease,” said the man with the voice that she had liked so much. But his pleasant enunciation was no match for the hunger in his eyes.


  1. Matt, thank you again for visiting on my blog. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. You'll have to come again when The Devil's Tide is released.

  2. I have tried to leave a comment several times lol great interview to you all. I love stories set in earlier times and cannot wait to read this. Nice to meet you Matt. Others might be having same issues when leaving comment I had to set up a blog lol :)

  3. Trina, thanks for stopping by! Google is changed their rules - commenters have to have gmail or a blog. I know it's a hassle. Thank you for doing what you had to do to comment! And since you're the only commenter - you win the eBook! I'll email Matt your email address!