Author Spotlight – Matt Adcock (COMPLETE DARKNESS)
Matt is a lover of all things virtual, fantasy and sci-fi.
Novelist, Blog Editor, Head of Comms for an Aid Charity and a film and game reviewer for a group of newspapers. He’s been a zombie on the big screen in The Girl With All The Gifts and has the ISBN of his book tattooed on his bicep.
His first novel Complete Darkness has topped Amazon charts and was picked by Den of Geek as one of their ‘Top Books of 2019’ – the collectors hardback edition is about to launch.
Discover more about the Darkmatters universe: artwork, merchandise, links to prequel short story, media and future plans at: www.Completedarknessnovel.com you can disagree with him on twitter: @cleric20
Welcome to the Hive Matt Adcock. Let’s start small: tell us about a great book you’ve read recently!
Hey – glad to be here!? The best book I’ve read recently was Possessed by Peter Laws – it’s the tale of how the UK is hit with an upturn in demonic possession (not actually linked to Brexit) some religious types go mental trying to do DIY casting out these evil entities. But maybe the poor folk claiming to be possessed are actually just experiencing mental health issues and are much in need of medical assistance than holy hands – scary stuff happens…
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?
My character is a Battle Cleric – one who gets their divine power from the War domain. The combination of trading a little fighting ability for more robust divine spellcasting abilities is worth it. As for weapons – I find abilities like Crusader’s Mantle are extremely useful because it boosts all the party’s attacks when fighting the same (normally boss) enemy. Plus who doesn’t want bolts of inspiration from your god whilst in battle? Also I called my main character in Complete Darkness ‘Cleric20’ as a tribute.
Love the reference there!
When you’re not trawling through dungeons, how do you like to work? (For example, in silence, with music, or serenaded by the damned souls of a thousand dead shrimps? Do you prefer to type or to hand-write? Intense planner or is your system more organic?) Tell us a little bit about your writing method!
I actually enjoy writing in a range of places, I’m so old (although prefer the term old school) that I write my best stuff longhand into an ever growing number of A4 hardback notebooks. For many years I commuted into London on the train and I’d whip out my book and write. Lots of character inspiration came from noticing things about my fellow passengers. Occasionally they would read over my shoulder which often met with a concerned look – especially if it was a grim scene!? I love researching pseudo-scientific stuff and generally end up with more ideas to work with than is reasonable, but when I write up my passages on laptop from notebook it’s pretty organic, almost like a jigsaw puzzle of chapters and scenes.
What (or who) are your most significant fantasy influences? Are there any creators whom you dream of working with someday?
I grew up reading C. S. Lewis – his Narnia stuff, his demonic comedy ‘Screwtape’ and even his weird sci-fi which he’s less known for these days. His books were the gateway drug for Tolkien, George MacDonald etc. I’ve always loved fantasy as pure escapism – and the sci-fi end of the spectrum really resonated. Asimov, William Gibson and my favourite Iain M Banks were all massive inspirations who made me want to write.
I’d love to do some collaborative fiction, got a possible ‘choose your own adventure’ book in idea stage with the excellent Richard Mayers who mostly writes cyber-kids fiction about cyborg hedgehogs so I’ve no idea how that will turn out. If the tech was available I’d love to have the mind of Iain M Banks brought back so we could work on something super disturbing together. The Bridge is my favourite of his books – which wasn’t one of his sci-fi books but having a barbarian find a ‘Knife Missile’ which is obviously from his Culture novels breaks all the rules. The Bridge bends reality, breaks the rules of physics, invents technologies and plays around with impossible inventions. It also blurs the boundaries between life and death – I’m envious of anyone who hasn’t read it yet!
What was the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it? Alternatively, what games have you enjoyed recently?
Have been loving The Umbrella Academy which is highly creative stuff, I read the graphic novels back when they came out and couldn’t imagine it being a TV show but they’ve really nailed it. Ellen Page, who I got to interview for her film Juno, is one of my very fav actresses.
I’m also a massive gamer, on PS4, I’ve played Skyrim through many times and recently loved God of War and about to order Pathfinder: Kingmaker which looks like a super deep D & D experience. The Diablo games are my all-time faves.
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?
Oooo – nice, well I’m getting assets in place for a crowdfunder which will hopefully see my novel Complete Darkness become a comic! I’ve got a great artist, but there are lots of logistics, t-shirt designs, art cards and more to sort out so an extra day would really help!
Can you tell us a little something about your current work(s) in progress?
I’m currently working on a second novel for my publisher. Its working title is ‘Our Souls’ – which sounds funnier when you say it quickly out loud. Set in the same Darkmatters Universe as Complete Darkness, this is ironically a darker tale of an unstable AI who becomes a serial killer. Imagine a kind of cyberpunk Hannibal and you’ll be on the right lines. To be honest I scare myself sometimes with the grim scenarios that flow onto the pages. This will be fantasy for the brave only.
What’s the most (and/or least) helpful piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
I had the enormous privilege of meeting Iain Banks back in the ‘90s and he told me to keep my notebook with me at all times. Whenever inspiration hits, write it down – even if it’s just a sentence or two. Then when you have time but are not necessarily feeling inspired you can ‘unpack’ your source of creative thoughts from the notebook and expand them into scenes. It really works and Complete Darkness is the first result of doing just that.
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?
See last answer for this one really. Having a ‘bank’ of your best ideas to hand is a great way to kick start a writing session. Just aim for a single scene or passage, make it something you’d like to read and often before long the creative fuse ignites and you can’t stop. I find being hopped up on caffeine can help too.
If you could visit any country at any point in history, where/when would you go, and why?
I loved growing up in the ‘80s and would love to go back to that super cheesy time period. I’d like to explore the US on a road trip in an environment destroying muscle car, lapping up the fashion crimes and high-sugar food products – listening to those ‘80s tunes. A kind of Stranger Things fantasy I guess!?
Tell us about a book that’s excellent, but underappreciated or obscure.
I have a huge love for the comedy weirdness of Mark Leyner and his freaky fiction such as My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist is the sort of book you can revisit every now and then when modern life gets you down. I had to import some of his books as they’re not widely available but once you’ve ‘clicked’ with this guy you’ll never quite be the same…
Finally, would you be so kind as to dazzle us with an elevator pitch? Why should readers check out your work?
For centuries many have pondered the prospect of an afterlife and feared what came to be known as ‘hell’.
In the near future, we map the elusive ‘dark matter’ around us, only to find out that it is hell itself, and it is very real…
This action-packed literary shock to the senses mixes flights of comic fantasy with bouts of brutal violence. Mankind’s only hope seems to be having a very bad day.
Can the hero step up after an experimental bioweapon accidentally gives him superpowers?
Has the Devil inadvertently created a hero who could actually stop him?
See why this was voted as one of Den of Geek UK’s Top Books of 2019. Little can prepare you for this spiritually-charged, cyber-noir thrill ride.
Thank you so much!