This week, we got to sit down with the Gated author, Matthew Drabble. He’s published 13 books so far, with one set to release this December! Readers are in for a treat. Not only is Drabble interesting, he is a source of inspiration. A sufferer of A.S. he used it as an opportunity to hit the ground running with his writing. Clearly, it’s worked out!
Let’s dive into what he had to say.
Who Is Drabble?
Starting with the most interesting part about this interview, you’re a “Metalhead sport loving jock and gaming/comic book geek.” First of all, awesome. Second of all, how does all this equate to being an award-winning horror author?
I think that having at least two very different sides to a personality is always helpful when it comes to creating stories. In my chosen field there are times when you need the carrot and times when you need the stick. I have always been drawn to creativity in others across a variety of genres. Horror and comic books share a lack of confinement, where anything is possible and the only limits are those of our own imagination.
You’re a lover of horror and character driven stories. What draws you to the horror genre?
I find that extreme situations are the best for peeling back the veil of the human psyche. Life and death struggles will always reveal our true selves and who we are at our very core. I also strongly believe that when it comes to writing the reader first has to come to care about a character before they are placed in any kind of jeopardy. If I decapitate a stranger on page one there may be a cheap thrill for the reader, but they won’t care about the death, a death and a tear for the dead always have to be earned, otherwise they’re pointless.
You suffer from A.S. and for all the readers out there, that’s when your spine is affected with continuous inflammation. Was turning to writing full-time tainted a bit by this, or do you enjoy being able to put pen to paper?
I have always had a love of reading and when I was young I’d often start a novel without ever finishing. My diagnosis was the catalyst simply because I had enough time on my hands to finish the job. When I wrote my first novel it was a personal journey just to see if I could. It honestly never occurred to me that anyone would ever read it. I think that for all of us life can sometimes knock us to the ground and then she keeps on kicking. But what can we do? We can either stay down or keep getting back up again. It’s an old adage but “Writers write” and that’s the simple truth, so no matter what I was doing with my life I’d still be writing in some capacity.
You have many books out. In total, how many are there exactly? How long did it take you to write all of them?
I have 13 out with a 14th released on the 1st of December and my 15th is currently being proofed. I treat writing like any job. I clock-in in the morning and put in a full shift. I set myself a target of 10,000 words a week, so I tend to have a first draft of a novel around every 3 months or so I think that you have to be disciplined if you’re working from home no matter what the job.
It’s not just novels, though, you also write short stories. What is it about short stories that you really enjoy?
Writing a full length novel is always a long journey but with short stories you get to the end so much quicker (as simple as that might sound!). I tend to aim for my short stories to be around 6,000 words or so, long enough for a proper introduction but not too long to outstay their welcome. You can also have so much variety in a short story collection, one story you might have aliens, the next it’s an archaeological dig. You can skip from outright horror to humour and everything else in between.
Are you currently working on a new project?
I am about to publish the third and final instalment of the “Gated” series which is out December 1st. I have also recently started work on a third instalment of the “Asylum” series. These are anthology collections where there is a connecting story that links all of the tales together. The first two were set in an asylum where the tales came from the residents, but obviously it would make no sense now for the facility to reopen for a third time after the first two books. So now the building will be used for a new purpose and a whole new arcing storyline to tie the short stories together.
How do you market yourself as an author? You have well over 43k followers on Twitter!
Social media marketing is one area where I should be doing so much more. The market is flooded with indie authors and it can be so hard to stand out. Plenty of time people will read your books, like them and then forget your name as they move on to something new. I think my dream is to one day have someone else run that side of my business and I can just be left alone to write!
We have a large aspiring writer audience. What advice would you like to share with them today?
The first thing is to grow a thick skin. Something that I tell anyone who asks is that some people will not like your work no matter what. There is never going to be any way of pleasing everyone. It may sound like such an obvious part of writing, that when you sell a book the reader can leave a review, but the reality can be difficult. There aren’t many jobs where you pour your heart and soul into something for months and then someone will just dismiss it instantly.
Second is when you finish a novel stick it in a metaphorical drawer and leave it for a few weeks before you come back to it. Third is to proof, proof and then proof again, readers will make no allowances for indie authors and will demand the same perfection that authors with a team of professional editors and proofreaders produce. Fourth is that when looking to improve I tend to ignore the 1 & 2 star reviews and the 4 & 5 ones. I find that the 3 star reviews are the most useful as the reader liked the book but thought that it could be better.
Where can readers purchase your books?
My Amazon author page. Here readers can download a totally free and multi award winning novel called “Abra-Cadaver” it is a Horror/Thriller/Murder/Mystery.
Any links you’d like them to follow?
We’d like to thank Matthew Drabble for agreeing to this interview. His answers have so much detail, he’s a valuable source of information. Not to mention inspiration. For all the aspiring writers out there, thinking they will never be able to make it, remember his words: “writers write.”
If you haven’t checked out his books, don’t hesitate to do so. You won’t regret it!