Author Spotlight – Matt Moss
Joining us for today’s Author Spotlight is Matt Moss!
Matt Moss grew up in a small town in the mountains of Northern California before the age of the internet. While most of his time was spent outdoors, he did enjoy the golden age of video gaming that spanned from the NES to the Xbox. In his late teens, he moved to East Tennessee to pursue a degree in computer graphics but quickly found out that sitting behind a desk did not suit him, so he went to work with his hands as an industrial electrician instead. Working in construction, he learned many skills and met many different types of people. He credits his past, and a love of reading, to his passion for crafting a good story.
Currently, Matt lives in North Carolina and works as a maintenance technician at a craft brewery. When he’s not at work or spending time with his wife and four young children, he’s busy working on his next novel. His books have been described as fast paced, intriguing, and a little weird. He hopes that the reader enjoys his novels as much as he enjoys writing them.
Matt Moss is the author of THE LEGEND OF THE SOUL STONES, ALTERLIFE, and THE FARM. For a sneak peek at new books, free stories, and more, subscribe to his newsletter.
Welcome to the Hive, Matt. Let’s start small: tell us about a great book you’ve read recently!
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. I was looking for an inspirational book, and this one was recommended to me. It was good, but my personal favorite inspirational work of fiction has got to be The Alchemist.
Okay, time to escalate things: reality warps and you suddenly find yourself leading a D&D-style party through a monster-infested dungeon. What character class are you, and what’s your weapon of choice?
I’ve always been partial to tanks. Barbarian or Warrior class with plenty of health potions, and a White Mage or Cleric in the party to heal me or utilize enhancing auras. But if we’re talking about life or death with no reset button or re-spawn, I’d probably choose a Ranger or a Mage class for the range. Give me a staff or bow to pick the enemies off from afar – preferably something imbued with magic.
When you’re not trawling through dungeons, how do you like to work? (In silence, with music, or serenaded by the damned souls of a thousand dead shrimps? Do you prefer to type or to hand-write? Are you an architect or a gardener? A plotter or a pantser? D’you write in your underwear, or in a deep-sea diver’s suit?) Tell us a little bit about your writing method!
I prefer music when writing. It gives me a surge of energy and inspiration. I currently do all of my writing on a laptop, though I did write my first novel by hand during my breaks at work (would not recommend because you then must type it all out and your wrists will hate you.) Gym shorts and a t-shirt are my go-to clothes because they’re the most comfortable. However, I do hear that Dyrk Ashton often writes in nothing but a silk Kimono, so I might try that sometime.
When it comes to the process, I lean more towards plotting, but I do give myself plenty of freedom to discovery write along the way. I don’t use Scrivener or any other tools that an author should use, and I keep the characters and most of the story inside of my head (not recommended for sanity reasons.) Before I start writing a book, I jot all of the major points down in a timeline on a piece of paper. I stick to that for the most part, but I do allow myself to get a little crazy in the ‘pantsing’ part of the writing. I drop notes of where I want to go ahead of where I’m at in the story – mini-plotting within the discovery phase – then delete them as I catch up. All of this still ties in with the major plot. It’s a weird method, but it works for me. Also, everything I write is in Google Docs for ease of accessibility.
What (or who) are your most significant fantasy influences? Are there any creators whom you dream of working with someday?
Patrick Rothfuss and Brent Weeks are my biggest influences. For me, they’ve got a good grip on the craft and know how to create a great story.
I would love to work with anyone who’s willing to take a chance on my work one day. My ultimate goal is to see one of my stories come to life on the screen. I think that’s every writer’s dream.
What was the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it? Alternatively, what games have you enjoyed recently?
My wife and I are finishing the final season of Mad Men. I’ve always thought I had a marketing mind, but trying to market a writer… that’s a whole new ball game. It can be incredibly difficult – especially starting out. I’m still no good at it. Hoping that the ‘BUY MY BOOK’ box of t-shirts with my face on the back that I ordered will pay off.
The world shifts, and you find yourself with an extra day on your hands during which you’re not allowed to write. How do you choose to spend the day?
Definitely with my wife and four kids. We’re currently thinking about buying a camper. When I’m able to write full time, we plan on traveling the country and seeing the sights.
Can you tell us a little something about your current work(s) in progress?
ALTERLIFE is my main focus right now. I’m halfway through book 3 of 5 in the series. It’s a mind-bending thriller in which people have had a hard time narrowing down the genre. Someone placed it in 5 sub-genres… I think that’s the max so far. It’s a weird series, but I’m having a blast writing it. It’s about a new virtual reality video game called Alterlife, and how far one man is willing to go to secure his family’s future. The MC’s experience seems to be going extremely well in Alterlife, but things quickly go off the tracks. I like to derail the train in my stories.
What’s the most (and/or least) helpful piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
I try to stay positive, so I won’t include the least helpful advice.
The most helpful advice I’ve received is to write every day. The rest will come in time.
Every writer encounters stumbling blocks, be it a difficult chapter, challenging subject matter or just starting a new project. How do you motivate yourself on days when you don’t want to write?
I’ve never had trouble with writer’s block or starting something new. My biggest inhibitor is time. I work full-time. My wife and I have four small children, on top of regular adulting things like house/yard maintenance, bills, appointments, etc. But I still carve out time to write where I can. I want to be a full-time writer, so I try to stay as productive as I can in all aspects of my life. Complacency is the enemy.
If you could visit any country at any point in history, where/when would you go, and why?
Middle Earth. Because it was magically epic.
Tell us about a book that’s excellent, but underappreciated or obscure.
I’ll dip into some historical fiction on this one. The Religion by Tim Willocks is a great book that I rarely see mentioned. It’s beautifully tragic.
Finally, would you be so kind as to dazzle us with an elevator pitch? Why should readers check out your work?
I create stories that are fast-paced, intriguing, and a little weird. Each book that I write gets better and better. So jump on the Moss train now and buckle up. We’re going to the moon… and beyond.
Thanks again for joining us, Matt, and good luck with your latest release!
Matt Moss is the author of the SOUL STONE trilogy and LEGEND OF THE SOUL STONES. Book two of his LitRPG quintet, ALTERLIFE II, is out now.