by Matthew Quinn Martin
on Tour October 14 – December 14, 2013
NOTE: Excessive strong language, Graphic violence
For centuries an ancient evil has slept beneath the streets of New Harbor. This Halloween, it wakes up.
An action-packed debut horror novel from talented new writer Matthew Quinn Martin, NIGHTLIFE pits a feisty bartender and a mysterious loner against bloodthirsty terrors as alluring as they are deadly.
Nightclub bartender and serial heartbreaker Beth Becker might be a cynic. But when her best friend goes missing Halloween night, Beth knows it’s up to her to find out what happened.
Her quest will take her on an odyssey through the crumbling city of New Harbor, Connecticut. Along the way she meets a homeless prophet warning of something he calls the “Night Angel”…a bloodthirsty creature that has been feeding on the forgotten. And she will form an unlikely bond with a hunted stranger who knows all too well what is stalking the streets at night.
He reveals to her to the hideous truth about the nightmare creatures that have haunted mankind’s imagination for eons––creatures the world calls vampires. Together they are the only hope for New Harbor, but to defeat what lurks in the shadows they are going to have to conquer something far stronger than fear––their own desires.
Read an excerpt:
Matthew Quinn Martin was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania and raised in New Haven, Connecticut. However, it wasn’t until he moved to Manhattan that he realized he was a writer. These days, he lives on a small island off the North Atlantic coast of the United States where it gets quiet in the winter…perhaps too quiet.
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania but moved to Fair Haven, Connecticut around the time I turned ten. Since the, in the words of Steely Dan’s Cousin Dupree, “I’ve worked a lot of nowhere gigs.” I lived in Manhattan for a long time and now reside on a small island off the North Atlantic coast. It gets quiet here in the winter…like The Shiningquiet.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
Nightlife originally started out as a screenplay. That’s where I started out too, as a screenwriter…and I have a file cabinet of un-filmed scripts to prove it (as well as the original version of the one that did get made, Slingshot, if anybody feels like taking a peek).
Around the time I was ready to shop Nightlife as spec, not many people in Hollywood were interested in looking at big-budget projects that didn’t have a measure of pre-awareness (remake, toys, video game, etc.) to them. So I figured I’d take a crack at reworking the material as a novel. Doing that turned out to be much harder than I’d anticipated.
How do you create your characters?
I build them in a lab, stitched together from the leftover parts of other characters that died when I couldn’t finish writing their stories. OK…maybe not. I’m not sure if I––or any writer, honestly––actually “create” characters so much as “raise” them. They really are like children. In the beginning they take up all of your attention and energy. They keep you awake at night. Then, as they grow, they misbehave and annoy you…but also surprise you in so many ways. Then eventually you wake up to find that they’ve packed up and left your imagination to go live in the imaginations of other people. You wish them the best and focus on raising the next batch.
What inspires and what got your started in writing?
With regards to writing horror specifically, I’m inspired by my past. Without getting into too many specifics, my childhood was one of almost constant fear. Fear of physical violence, fear of dislocation, fear of starvation, fear of being alone, fear of the unknown, fear of fear itself (which is not so easily banished as that famous talking point would have it). All of those fears, as well as many others, were there––and they were there abundance.
I think that a lot (not all, but a lot) of horror writers can point to upbringings that are similar in the generalities if not the details. I think growing up with that unrelenting fear causes a person to develop nerves on the outside of their skin as a defense mechanism. You begin to “feel” terror in almost every experience…but if your imagination is open, you can ride that fear like a wave. The downside is that the fear is always present, but eventually it can become a driving force rather than an enemy…at least if you embrace it.
I got my start writing (especially novel writing) through a series of sideways moves. I spent my 20s as an actor (and bartender and other assorted survival jobs). Along the way I was struck with the (not particularly original) idea to write a project for myself to star in. This became the screenplay Slingshot––which did get produced as a feature film. One that I, alas, did not get to star in. David Arquette got to do that.
Through the experience, however, I discovered that I preferred writing to acting. Writing novels came later…also as a sideways move when I wasn’t having a lot of luck with that drawer full of un-produced screenplays. I’m not sure where the next sidestep will take me, but I’m anxious to find out.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
These days I’m lucky enough to get to write in an office in my house. I decorated it to look exactly like the kind of place you would find in a typical high-rise office building. Very no-nonsense, but also comfortable. The message is clear once you step inside: This is a place where work gets done.
When I was still in Manhattan I lived around the corner from the American Natural History Museum, so I would go there to write. I’d show up when they opened the doors and left when they closed up shop. They had wifi and a cafeteria (that sold wine I might add), and any time I needed a break I’d just wander around and look at the exhibits. I miss that routine, but I’m happy to have a permanent space now.
As for needs…beside coffee (which I need to do just about anything and have since I was five years old) all I really need is a keyboard––computer, AlphaSmart, typewriter, it doesn’t much matter as long as there is a QWERTY keyboard in front of me. I’ve tried, and failed, on many occasions to write long hand. I simply cannot do it. I’m beginning to wonder if I think in QWERTY.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
It’s a cliché, but they really do just show up out of nowhere. Some are worth keeping. Some aren’t. Some, I feel could be better handled by another writer, and those I pass along to someone who might be able to use it. Getting the ideas is the easy part––right now I think I have more ideas tucked away then I will ever get a chance to finish (but I’m not the speediest writer on the planet). The hard part is figuring out which one to do next and how to make it better than the one I just finished.
What do you like to read?
I read fairly widely. Right now I’m working my way through the EC Comics archives (Tales from the Crypt, Weird Science, ShockSuspense Stores etc.). It’s a bit of a dive into the roots of modern horror and fantasy fiction for me.
I will admit, however, that I’m having a tough time reading straight prose at the moment. I think it’s because I’m spending so much time writing and revising that I can’t turn it off when looking at someone else’s words. I keep trying to pick apart the structure, find ways to make a scene or sentence better––which, when I happen to be reading writers more skilled than I, is courting madness. To combat this I’ve taken to listening to audio books. There are some drawbacks of course (especially if the narrator is an ill fit) but it’s working for me for now.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
I’m just at the beginning of it all myself, so I don’t feel particularly comfortable dispensing “sage advice.” Allow me, instead, to share some from other writers I admire. I think these sentiments are worth printing out and taping above your keyboard so that you can stare at it every time you start writing.
From Stephen King: “Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”
And from Joe Eszterhas: “Fight, Write, Throw Up, and Keep
Now those are words to live by.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Just my gratitude. Köszönöm szépen.
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