Today I am interviewing Matt Maxwell, author of the new horror, crime novel, The Queen of No Tomorrows.
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DJ: Hi Matt! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Matt Maxwell: Hey there. Thanks for letting me on.
Well, I’m older than people typically think I am (probably because I know how to put together my own technology out of the box and none of my VCRs flash 12:00 or anything like that.) I learned how to drive in the parking lot of the only ziggurat in Orange County (as seen in the original DEATH RACE 2000), I worked in an arcade in a mall in 1987 (and spent too many hours in them once they became a thing many years before that.) I’ve played in a noise/rock/drone band called The Roswell Incident (http://www.highway62.bandcamp.com). I also, uh, write stuff, like this new book.
DJ: What is The Queen of No Tomorrows about?
Matt: The perils of writing fiction, maybe. Or that whole fondest wish coming true and watch out thing. Mostly it’s about Cait MacReady, who’s an ex-punk rocker and librarian in eighties Los Angeles and what happens when she forges a book that shouldn’t exist. There’s a lot of other stuff going on in it, but I’ll let the readers discover that for themselves.
DJ: What were some of your influences for The Queen of No Tomorrows?
Matt: I came up with a big influence map for it and explained a lot behind it on my blog. Here’s the big long link (feel free to hide it and just link in text.)
The short form is that a lot of the book was informed by my own life and experience. Not the cosmic horror stuff, but the life in LA circa 1987 stuff. At that time I was in college in Orange County, but visited the city a lot to check out weird bookstores and shows going on then. I wanted to get a little taste of the subcultures and honestly how different things were back then when everyone wasn’t carrying around a super-computer in their back pockets. But beyond the lack of tech, I was interested in looking at LA as its own place, so yeah, it’s definitely a character in the book. Aside from that, I’ve a host of writers and art that I enjoy and has shaped me, but I’m not sure that any of it is apparent in my own fiction.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
Matt: Oh, the readers get to decide what they like about the characters. I’ve found that my own input in these things doesn’t matter as much as I thought it might’ve. I mean, I write out stuff, but the readers assemble it all in their own heads and hearts when they go through the book. I mean, if we’re talking personally, I wanted to make it clear that Cait was working towards something else, something personal, in a world that largely didn’t care. We’ve all felt like that, right?
DJ: What is the world and setting of The Queen of No Tomorrows like?
Matt: Well, being 1987 Los Angeles, it’s a lot like our world, only pre-internet, largely pre-cellphone (but there are pagers, so the roots of that are there, though I’ll note the first time I saw a mobile phone being used in person was at a pastrami shop in Culver City). Of course, I’m more interested in the weird and crazy side of things. Though I was also interested in notions of history in LA, and how its codified history only goes back to the mid-1800s unless you want to be reading about the Franciscan friars settling the missions. Otherwise, it’s a lot like our world, just weirder. I did my best to try and cement the real-world setting through interactions between the characters. The people make it real by living their lives, navigating everyday society.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing The Queen of No Tomorrows?
Matt: I’ll go with “favorite section to write” and that was a scene that takes place in the Last Prayer club, a sort of goth/industrial club in Hollywood. It went to crazy places that I didn’t see coming or had planned for at all and just rolled with it. Other than that, I was just happy writing the kind of book that I wanted to read, myself.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
Matt: I couldn’t guess. I leave a lot of room for interpretation. My hope is that they’d want to read it again and see how things changed with Cait from the start of the book to the end, particularly since one of the themes involves sort of a-temporal events, how outcomes dictate beginnings and like that.
DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began writing The Queen of No Tomorrows? Was there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?
Matt: If there’s deeper themes, I like to leave those for readers to assemble on their own. I’m not a big fan of just pointing out what I think is important. It may sound weird, but what I want is secondary to what the reader picks up. Now, people may decide there’s stuff in there that I certainly didn’t put in or didn’t want to put in, but it’s hard to fight that. As I said above, mostly I wanted to tell a relatively new story (that’s quite a trick in fiction, much less cosmic horror). Not entirely sure I accomplished that, but I think I did give it a unique setting and sense of place.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from The Queen of No Tomorrows that you can share with us?
Matt: “The crowd rode the beat right to a pulp.” Honestly I’m not great at this sort of thing, but that was a line I really liked.
DJ: Now that The Queen of No Tomorrows is released, what is next for you?
Matt: I’m working on a book with the working title VOIDMAW. It’s a far-future space opera about a galactic theology in steep decline, though the reasons for that decline are something of a surprise. There’s some cosmic horror elements in it as well. It’s about a court composer who gets herself into some trouble and becomes attached to a religious warrior on a personal crusade.
Other than that, I’ve got the two follow ups to QUEEN OF NO TOMORROWS planned out. There’s a set-in-the-same-world but not a specific prequel called CINDY SAYS FOLLOW. The direct follow-on novel featuring Cait and Alondra primarily, is called THAT BLACK RADIANCE. But there isn’t a contract for either of these. If you liked QUEEN, be sure to leave reviews so that my publisher can see the feedback is all I can say.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
@highway_62 on twitter
highway62 on tumblr (semi-active)
I don’t have Facebook or Insta. Can’t recall my Goodreads page (there’s something like three Matt Maxwells operating.)
https://www.amazon.com/Matt-Maxwell/e/B00515JGE0 for Amazon page
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about The Queen of No Tomorrows that we haven’t talked about yet?
Matt: Everyone should listen to Savage Republic (youtube is the best source right now, though I think you can buy records from iTunes.)
DJ: Is there anything else you would like add?
Matt: Not so much. Just thanks for the invitation.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
Matt: You’re welcome. Hope folks enjoy the book!
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*** Queen on No Tomorrows is published by Broken Eye Books and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
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Part supernatural horror, part crime noir, and set in eighties Los Angeles. Librarian con artist Cait MacReady forges occult tomes, but her latest creation has caught the attention of something magical and terrible.
LOS ANGELES, THE EIGHTIES
Cait MacReady spends her days in the UCLA library, special collections, restoring old books and saving them from the ravages of time. By night, she works her real job, making copies of antique and occult texts. But don’t call them forgeries. She only gives customers exactly what they want.
When her ex-lover, now business partner, shows up on behalf of some customers who want a book that isn’t written yet, Cait gets suspicious. When she discovers they’re from the organization No Tomorrows, she gets scared. And when she finds out that their leader, the enigmatic figure called the Queen, wants a book that only Cait has, she begins to wonder what’s real and what she’s manufactured on her own.
Cait’s latest creation, the Smoking Codex, is a work of complete fiction and all her own, nothing but vodka-fueled occult nonsense and heartfelt desire. It’s a fake—no history, no power.
Or is it? This book takes on a life of its own, and the police get involved as people start to die. Now Cait must somehow manage to stop a thing that has already happened: the book’s secret god is already known.
And its name has been spoken.
About the Author:
Matt Maxwell is the creator/writer of the western/horror comic series STRANGEWAYS, which has been ongoing since 2008. He is also the author of the recent short story collection TUG ON THE RIBBON AND OTHER STORIES which ranges from magical-realist near-future SF to the dark and smoky LUNA SANGRE which blends science fiction and fantasy to CRUNCH TIME which is a blackly humorous look at office life in the time of the zombie apocalypse.
He is also the author of RAGNAROK SUMMER, which will begin online serialization in spring of 2011. The second STRANGEWAYS book, entitled THE THIRSTY is due for printing towards the end of the year. He is also hard at work on the third STRANGEWAYS collection, entitled THE LAND WILL KNOW.
At one time or another, he was a digital animator and visual effects artist, an office monkey in a university thinktank, the guy who got jammed quarters out of your arcade machines, direct-mail stuffer for a televangelist you’ve probably been spammed by, teacher of 3D animation and thanatology (though not at the same time), has driven across the US once that he remembers and knows where to find the last of the wild V-8s.