L A R R Y M A T T H E W S
Before we get started talking about your books, tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?
I was born in
. My father was a career soldier, so I spent my childhood all over the world. I spent seven of my first seventeen years overseas; four years in Lowell, Massachusetts Germany and three in . It was an experience I would not trade for a traditional childhood. It gave me exposure to other cultures and ways of thinking. Japan
What is your occupation outside of writing?
I was a broadcast journalist for 35 years, working mostly in radio. I also have about ten years in TV. I worked as a reporter, anchor, news director, producer and editor. My greatest interest was in street reporting, particularly in investigative journalism. I worked at small and large stations and two networks: ABC and NPR. The highlight of my career was eleven years at WMAL in
At the time it was the city’s highest-rated station and had what I believe was the best radio news department in Washington, D.C. . It was a joy and privilege to work there during a period in which radio news was at its zenith. America
Would you describe yourself as an introvert or an extrovert?
I was probably an introvert when I went into the news business but I had to learn to a measure of extroversion to succeed as a street reporter. Shrinking violets don’t do well on the street.
Do you have any pets?
We have a female Cocker Spaniel named Noey.
What are your favorite books to read?
I’m split between fiction and non-fiction. I like historical fiction set in the 1930s or the Old West. I’m drawn to character-driven stories and have only a passing interest in plot lines.
I’m currently reading Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. It’s an amazing story by a gifted writer. And, it’s a true story written about a man whose life rivals anything from a storybook hero. I also enjoyed Life by Keith Richards and Bobos in
Paradise by David Brooks. Both are very well written and both offer great stories.
Where is the most unique place you have traveled?
My most unique experience was climbing
Mt. Fuji in with my high school senior class on a beautiful summer night. Japan
Aside from your successes in the writing industry, what in your life has given you the greatest sense of accomplishment?
I have four wonderful children and nine grandchildren. Family is most important.
How many books have you written and how many of those are published?
I have written six books of which five were published. Two were “contract” books of the self-help variety for a publisher left by the side of the road in the crash of the publishing industry. Street Business, co-authored with Ernie Lijoi Sr., is a novelized version of real events based on the work of Lijoi, a retired undercover detective. I Used To Be In Radio is a memoir of my life as a broadcast journalist. Healing Charles is just out. It’s a novel about a young man from the backwoods of Alabama who is born with the gift of healing, but it’s a gift he’s indifferent to because he’s concerned about the pleasures of the world beyond the mountains. The story is about how he comes to terms with his gift. I’m currently writing a sequel that takes place thirty years later.
Do you have one particular genre that all your books fall under (i.e. suspense, romance, etc.) or do you write in many different genres?
I have not found a genre that I want to stick to. I know that as an author I’m supposed to find a golden bell and ring it over and over, but that has not been my interest or talent.
How much character and plot detailing do you plan out before you begin writing a novel, or are you a “pantser” (fly by the seat of your pants) ?
When I begin a novel I have an idea about the story and the main character(s). I do not plan every event and chapter. In a sense, the characters lead me. Frankly, that’s the most exciting part of the process. Once I know the character and his or her circumstances, I allow them to do the things that such a person would do and speak in a way that fits their lives. An example would be Charles, from the book Healing Charles. As a young man of eighteen or so he is clueless about life. He has no interior life beyond his fantasies of women and a desire to experience life, and so that is what drives the story. In the sequel, he’s almost fifty and his world has turned to ashes, and he goes in search of escape as much as answers.
Prior to becoming a published author, how many rejections did you receive? How did you handle the rejections?
When Ernie Lijoi Sr. and I were trying to sell Street Business, we were rejected, it seemed, by the entire publishing industry. That is, until Comfort Publishing said “yes”. neither of us had doubts about the story and believed that readers of police/crime books would enjoy it and find value in the accurate portrayal of undercover detective work. We were prepared to publish it ourselves if need be. We do not have agents. I have had three agents. The experience was not good. These agents would probably say it was me. Or the market. Or something else. It doesn’t matter. In the end, an author needs to be persistent about his or her own work and be his or her own champion.
How and when do you write? Do you keep yourself on a schedule or do you work while the muse is with you?
I write during the day, a little in the morning and a little in the afternoon. If the words are flowing, I’ll keep going until the words stop or until I realize I’ve put my characters in a situation that makes no sense. It’s not uncommon for me to go like crazy for twenty or thirty-thousand words and hit a wall. Then, I wait for the muse to return and I’m off again. When I’m writing a novel, I spend most of my waking hours thinking about it and trying to find the best way forward.
If you have a new release coming out, tell us about it.
As mentioned above, Healing Charles is just out. It’s a book I believe is of interest to readers who like stories about the tension between belief and non-belief in spiritual matters and how one comes to terms with faith, however it’s defined. This particular story is about a young man who goes on a journey to see what is over the horizon. It takes place in the early 1960s.
If you could give one piece of advice to writers trying to get published, what would that advice be?
Believe in yourself. No one else will until you’ve convinced them.
What's up next for you and your writing?
Completing the sequel to Healing Charles, then another novel. I have a cousin who is a retired Southern sheriff and he has a boatload of great stories that would make for an exciting novel of rural law enforcement in east
. It would have it all: moonshiners, drug runners, meth labs, violence, small town life and all of texture that one could imagine from such a setting. I’m excited already. Tennessee
Anything else you'd like to share with my blog readers?
Yes! Read Healing Charles! (It’s only half a joke) Please let me know what you think of it. Feedback from readers is very important to any author.
Where can we read more about you and your work?
Thank you, Larry, for sharing your work with us.
Best wishes in all your endeavors!