Under Rotting Sky: Author of the award winning Kind Nepenthe, Matthew V. Brockmeyer talks to Kendall Reviews.

Matthew V. Brockmeyer lives in the redwoods of Northern California with his wife and two children. He is the author of the critically-acclaimed novel KIND NEPENTHE. His short stories have been published in numerous anthologies, magazines and journals.

KR: Coffee?

KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?

I live in the redwoods of Northern California with my wife and two children. I spent the last twenty years deep in the woods in an off-grid cabin running a homestead and small farm, but have recently moved to town to open a bookstore which was a life-long dream.

KR: What do you like to do when not writing?

Read! I’m a voracious reader. I also enjoy gardening, brewing beer, playing guitar, howling at the moon and bathing my fangs in human blood.

KR: What is your favourite childhood book?

As a wee child WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE. The theme of releasing your inner-beast is one I return to often. I see it really as a werewolf story. My story MINE is an obvious tribute.

From my teen years, LORD OF THE FLIES. It’s really a horror story. It’s an amazing look at the ease in which humanity falls into tribalism. The scene with the talking pig’s head on a stake is so surreal and wonderfully grotesque. Extremely well-defined characters. That enigmatic ending. Just a fabulous story.

KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?

Music definitely has a huge roll in my writing. I often write about various subcultures like punk, and Grateful Dead and Phish tour. It would be really hard for me to name a favourite album because my taste is so eclectic, I love everything from jazz to black metal to classic rock. But if I had to, I’d choose the Misfits box set that came in a little coffin and has all their Glen Danzig era stuff. That combination of horror and punk is really where I’m at, songs like Vampira and Night of the Living Dead will never get old for me.

KR: Do you have a favourite horror movie/director? 

Well, that’s really tough as I’m a complete horror fanatic. I love everything from the classics like The Exorcist, The Shining and The Omen to eighties slasher movies to J Horror, French Extreme, Korean, seventies exploitation like Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes. I love Rob Zombie’s flicks, the new A24 movies like The Witch, Hereditary and Killing of a Sacred Deer. But if I had to choose just one, I guess I’d go for the original Texas Chainsaw.  

KR: What are you reading now?

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah.

KR: What was the last great book you read?

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. It was amazing. Her descriptions of the natural world are so incredible, the characters so rich and deep. And it’s all wrapped up in this murder mystery that literally kept me guessing until the last page.

KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?

Honestly, I really love my Kindle. It’s just so light and easy to read. I love being able to read in the dark, and carry 500 books around with me everywhere I go. I actually hate reading hardbacks. They’re just a pain. But I just opened a bookstore so don’t tell anybody that! 😉

KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?

Bukowski, John Steinbeck, Jack Kerouac, Donna Tartt, Bret Easton Ellis, Andres Dubus III, Stephen King, Peter Straub, Jack Ketchum, Ed Lee, Don Delillo, Poe, T. C. Boyle, Irvine Welsh, William Burroughs.

KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?

I’m a plotter and outline everything. Even flash fiction is worked out in my head before I start writing.

KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I do pretty exhaustive research. I’ve written a couple historical fiction stories and became a member of the historical society, visited local history museums, sought out experts. I’m a voracious reader and will search out books on particular subjects, both fiction and nonfiction. I also love documentaries. I like to actively research as I’m writing as it’s inspiring. I’ve been having a blast researching the early punk scene of San Francisco for my new novel.

KR: How would you describe your writing style?

Maximumist is the term T. C. Boyle uses for his work, and I’d go with that I suppose. I like to immerse the reader in the world and be quite descriptive, but at the same time you have to keep the story moving, and you definitely gotta be careful with those adverbs and dialogue tags. I’ve taken a lot of creative writing classes and workshops and try to follow most of the modern writing rules, and when I break them I’m usually very aware of it. I don’t like to be too lyrical or flowery, I like my prose to have an intensity and edge to it. A serious tone.

KR: Describe your usual writing day?

Get up, write. Eat. Write. Read. Research. Edit. Edit. Edit. Read. Read. Eat. Read. Sleep.

KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?

Oh, jeeze. My novel KIND NEPENTHE is definitely the best thing I’ve ever written. As for short stories, I’m partial to THE GYM TEACHER. It garnered me a lot of fans and came to define my themes and style.

KR: Do you read your book reviews?

Yeah, usually. Though I try not to let them effect me too much. It is a great affirmation to read the positive ones. But in the end it’s all subjective. Nothing is universally liked.

KR: How do you think you’ve developed as an author?

My voice has become stronger. My characters deeper. The narrative structures more developed and nuanced.

KR: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received regarding your writing?

Read. Read. Read. Take notes on what’s working. Underline. Reread as often as possible.

KR: What scares you?

The idea of anything ever happening to my children. Which is the main theme to nearly all my stories.

KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?

UNDER ROTTING SKY is a collection of twenty stories I’ve written over the past four years, both previously published and unpublished. I’d like to think it showcases my skills as a writer in that it stretches the gamut from literary and historical fiction to classic horror to extreme horror and splatter punk.

KR: What are you working on now?

I’m working on a novel about a young punk rock girl who runs away from home and joins a cult of blood worshipping pornographers. It takes place in San Francisco in the early eighties.

KR: You find yourself on a desert island, which three people would you wish to be deserted with you and why?

You can choose…

a) One fictional character from your writing.

I suppose Dandelion from my story A Dirty Winter Moon. She’s a homesteader and herbalist as well as smart and beautiful.

b) One fictional character from any other book.

Robinson Crusoe would be a good guy to be on an island with, lol. He knew what he was doing. Definitely not that guy from the King story SURVIVOR TYPE. He was useless as hell.

c) One real-life person that is not a family member or friend.

Rob Zombie would be pretty fun. We’d have a lot to talk about, and hopefully he’d have some good drugs.

KR: Thank you very much Matthew.

Matthew V. Brockmeyer

Official Website: www.matthewbrockmeyer.com

Twitter: @HumboldtLycan

Facebook: www.facebook.com/matthewbrockmeyer/

Instagram: www.instagram.com/humboldtlycanthrope/

Under Rotting Sky

Twenty unforgettable tales of transgression and horror by the award-winning author of KIND NEPENTHE.

Enter a disturbing dreamscape where your worst fears are illuminated and taboos are mockingly shattered.

In “Mine” a child hangs precariously between the isthmus of innocence and evil, shedding his humanity for the altar of a wolf pup.

A horrifying and ancient legend reveals itself with a shocking new twist in “A Dirty Winter Moon.”

“Have a Heart” teaches us that nature always prevails over the follies of man, sometimes in an extremely gruesome manner.

In “Rumpelstiltskin” the troll under the bridge is very real, and wants your children for unspeakable deeds.

In “The Gym Teacher” a boy’s obsession with serial killers leads him to discover the true nature of a monster.

These twenty stories traverse the outskirts of society to reveal the brutality of humanity in all its gory glory.

You can buy Under Rotting Sky from Amazon UK Amazon US

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