Posted October 13, 2014 by in Interviews

Author Interview with Matthew Mather


I recently read author Matthew Mather’s book CyberStorm. It offers a graphic look at the undoing of society when people are faced with pure need to survive. Matthew Mather has captured the fear and panic that a man feels when trying to keep his family alive and healthy. You can find my whole review here.


Mike Mitchell is one of the oblivious millions living in New York City, even mocking his best friend, Chuck, for his “prepping” lifestyle. When the power first goes out, it’s quite inconvenient. Then a winter storm drops feet of snow and the temperatures drop below freezing. Within days, Manhattan becomes a war zone. Lucky for Mike and his family, Chuck is ready with a locker full of supplies.


RS: Thank you for taking the time to talk with me, Matthew. Congratulations on the success of your apocalyptic thriller CyberStorm. Not just in readership, but with 20th Century Fox’s interest in the movie rights. How did that come about? And how exciting was that discussion?

MM: I started out as an indie writer, but I purposely sought an agent once my first book took off, and when my second book was even more successful, my agent decided to shop it around for film rights. I wasn’t expecting anything, but out of the blue an offer came in within a few weeks. It was amazing! A dream come true for an aspiring writer.


RS: You have had quite a techy career. How did you navigate to writing?

MM: I’d always been interested in writing. Even when I was young, I’d always be sketching ideas for book, writing short stories…but nothing came of it. When I went to college, I decided on engineering as a “sensible” choice to make a living. But, when I reached my 40th birthday, I decided to take a year off and take a try at writing a novel. By my 44th birthday, I was earning enough to quit my regular job and write full time. Living the dream!


RS: The SciFi world has really exploded lately with “survival after civilization collapse” stories. How long had yours been a “some day” idea before finding its way to paper?

MM: I had the idea of CyberStorm kicking around in my head for maybe three years before finally putting pen to paper, but once I started, I wrote the whole thing in under three months. It was an idea just waiting to get out!


RS: You mentioned in your blog that you passed on the opportunity topublish CyberStorm with a major publishing house in favor of self-publishing in the domestic market. What was behind that decision?

MM: Yes, last year I had several six-figure offers from some of the big-five publishers. It was tempting, but at the time I was making more money from self-publishing…so I decided to keep doing what I was doing. On the other hand, I’ve signed deals with several of the big publishers in foreign markets, so in effect I am doing both things at the same time – self-publishing and working with traditional publishers. I think this is the way of the future.


RS: You chose to write CyberStorm as a first-person narrative. I often wonder how much of him- or herself an author puts onto such characters. How much of yourself can be seen in Mike Mitchell?

MM: Haha, good question. There is some of me in him, of course. There’s some of me in every character. But the reason I chose to go first person on that book was really to place the reader inside of his head, to soak up the paranoia and fear that comes with a siege mentality. I even fasted for almost three days when I was writing the book to give myself the sensation of what it might feel like to starve—the inability to sleep, the constant circling of thoughts about food, how it degrades your ability to think clearly and so on.


RS: Good thing for Mike, his best friend Chuck was prepared for everything you put them through. What about you, Matthew? Where do you fall on the preparedness scale?

MM: Since I wrote that book, I have actually started to think about being prepared more. I keep a few dozen gallons of distilled water stored in the garage, keep a well-stocked medical kit with antibiotics, masks and so on…and lately have attached a full generator to my cottage in the mountains up north. I’m not paranoid, but it doesn’t cost a lot for a few small things. You never know! Even with this Ebola thing or a new flu virus, who knows if it might be wise to suddenly have to stay indoors for a few days or weeks…


RS: You have grown quite a large group of readers. Do you in turn like to read? Who are you top three favorite authors to read?

MM: Sure I love to read! I’m actually reading The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, also reading some of his short detective works…and reading a lot of Poe lately. This is more for upcoming work I want to write myself. In the science fiction field my old favorites were Asimov and Heinlein, and of course newer work by Gibson. I seem to consume a wide range of books!

Rachel Storey

Software engineer by day, bookworm by night. I love reading. I love writing about reading. I love talking about writing about reading. I joined Bookkaholic to have great conversations about literature, so please feel free to leave comments and discussions.