I first met Matthew earlier this year when we did episode 10 of R.B. Wood’s WordCount Podcast together. The intriguing Englishman with the kind eyes struck me as a man with depth, and he was also a dedicated writer. I’ve since joined a couple of his writing groups on Facebook and have followed his progress. I’m proud to be able to showcase his newest release, Fall from Grace.
It’s with great pleasure that I introduce Matthew Munson, and I think you’ll agree he’s quite the remarkable young man.
* * * *
In Matthew’s Own Words
Matthew is a civil servant, often seen vaguely shuffling bits of paper around from one bit of his desk to the next before mumbling something about “character development” and sloping off to write – which is his first love. He’s been published in a flash fiction anthology, some medical journals and two fiction magazines. As long as people keep foolishly accepting his work, he will continue writing – you have been warned.
* * * *
Inside Matthew Munson’s Mind
What is your idea of perfect happiness? For some reason, this question has been the most difficult to answer – I don’t know if there is such a thing as “perfect” happiness, it’s something that can change moment to moment, depending on your perception a lot of the time.
Having friends and family around me are things that are definitely in the “happy” column, but then again, so is solitude on occasions. I don’t know whether that’s because I’m an only child and so there’s a deep psychological factor there, or whether it’s just because I like to switch off and recharge my batteries sometimes – either way, I love company, but I’m also comfortable in my own company.
What turns you on creatively? Interesting question! Music, absolutely. I love music, and it’s always playing when I’m writing. Ironically, as I’m replying to this question, “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley is playing in the background. Is there a subtext there? Probably not … my music system is too random for that! My brain works a hundred times better with music playing than it does without.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Blimey” or “crikey” – typical English words that, despite them being a stereotype, I still use. I do use sarcasm rather a lot – it’s so normal to me now that I sometimes do it even without realizing I’m doing it!
What is your greatest regret? I try and avoid regrets wherever possible, because they’re ultimately self-destructive. I always try and look at a situation to learn from my mistakes, but then always look to the future; if you stay stuck in the past, you’re never going to get anywhere in life.
I write about my life on my blog, and I have spoken on there about one thing that could be a regret; I have a condition called dyspraxia, where my brain is slow in processing chemical information, which results in messages not being properly or fully transmitted to body (crudely put, I’m clumsy and can’t coordinate well), and I never talked about it as a teenager. Fifteen years later, I’m happy to discuss it, because that works to raise awareness of the condition, and I just wish I’d had the confidence as a teenager to say more about it.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I wouldn’t allow myself to change anything. I’ve become very comfortable in my own skin, and I’ve learnt how to accept who I am. If I changed something, I wouldn’t be me anymore.
What is your greatest fear? That I’ll one day lose that spark that gives me the ability to write. I never want that day to arrive.
Which living person do you most admire? Hmm, I’ve been debating this. Do I say someone inspirational and famous like Nelson Mandela, Nick Vujicic or Randy Pausch, or do I reference someone more personal, like my parents or some of my friends who have inspired me?
Or do I just leave the question annoyingly open-ended?
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? When I was a child, I wanted to be everything from a doctor to a psychiatrist to a policeman, but those ambitions quickly vanished!
I’d love to spend some time in the future writing full-time and I’d love to work as a Deaf advocate / interpreter. I’m learning British Sign Language at the moment and when I’m more confident, it would be fantastic to be involved with the Deaf community more actively.
If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? I’ll stick with the life I’ve got, thank you. Fall From Grace, my debut novel (out in September, folks, keep an eye out here on Facebook, it talks about life and death and one of the characters really reflects my own thinking – I seek out evidence! I want to live for the life I’m currently living; if I can fit as much as I can into it, and look back on my life with pride before I die, then I’ll be happy.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? World peace. No, seriously, my greatest achievement? There are things I’m incredibly proud of – my book, my confidence with signing that’s gradually increasing, being able to raise awareness of dyspraxia, and those achievements are things that are great achievements for me. When I first got the email, though, from Sara Slack, the director at Inspired Quill publishing, telling me that they wanted to publish my book, I felt such elation that it’s almost impossible to describe!
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Arrogance / stupidity / thoughtlessness. I know you only asked for one, but I can’t differentiate between those three.
What is your greatest extravagance? Books and music – I’m like a magpie, I love good books and music that inspires me.
What is one thing you want to do before you die? Live a full life!
What is your present state of mind? Focussed! My book is coming out in two months, I’m looking at some edits for, it, I’m working on a sequel and I’ve preparing for my next sign language class in September. I’m getting very organised with my time!
What are some of your favorite curse words? I have been known, on occasion, to swear – but only “bloody hell”. My parents will be reading this interview, after all – you don’t think I’d admit to anything stronger, do you?
What is your motto? Live free or die. Oh, wait, that’s the motto of New Hampshire. Damn. Okay, I’ll take “Open your mind and live.” The best times of my life have been since I did just that.
* * * *
Matthew, I much prefer your motto over New Hampshire’s, and congratulations on the release of Fall from Grace! I invite all readers to leave a comment or ask a question of this delightful, young author.
Connect with Matthew
Facebook (Fall from Grace)