Got a little something extra for you today! You might have seen my review of this debut novel (if not, check it out here). It’s already getting some interested attention, which is awesome. Let’s see if I can’t keep drumming that up – the author, Matthew Quinn Martin, was good enough to answer some questions for me about his book. I hope you enjoy his answers, and stay tuned afterward for another something extra…
Nightlife is your debut novel, so let’s start at the beginning. Can you tell me a little bit about the book in your own words?
I think I might have used all of my own words up on the book itself. I’m kidding, mostly…I do have a hard time talking about my own work, however. I’ve been jokingly referring to Nightlife as “not your kid sister’s vampire novel.” And while that might be a bit of a goof, it’s not a terrible way to describe it.
Your take on vampires is what sells me on the book; I love a good horror story, and these creatures are pretty nightmarish … In the book Jack breaks out a few ‘scientific facts’ when he’s explaining them, and what they do to humans, to Beth. Now I’m curious (and a bit creeped out), how much of this is real scientific fact and how much was creative liberty?
Some of it is frighteningly accurate…at least in a fictionalized way. I’d probably be heading into “spoiler” territory if I got any more specific. But…if anybody out there might be interested in losing a few nights sleep, I’d recommend Carl Zimmer’s Parasite Rex as bedtime reading. That was one of the more nightmare-inducing books I consulted while working on Nightlife.
The book has an urban setting, though it’s set in a fictional town. The benefits of that creative liberty seem fairly obvious now that I’ve read the book … How much easier is writing within a fictional setting compared to picking a real location that’s already mapped out?
New Harbor doesn’t exist anywhere except in my imagination, but it’s based on New Haven, Connecticut––which is where I grew up and spent most of my 20s. Anyone who is from there will recognize at least a few landmarks. This “fictionalization” of a real place in New England is a technique (one of many, I might add) that I lifted from Stephen King––who, in turn, lifted it from H.P. Lovecraft. In many ways, it’s an homage to those two writers whose shadows (arguably) loom largest over modern horror fiction, and I like to think of New Harbor as something of an illegitimate offspring in the line of Arkham and Derry.
There are benefits and drawbacks to this technique for certain. On one hand you can pretty much do what you want in terms of setting (and you don’t have to worry about upsetting anyone by putting monsters in their apartment building). On the other, you can’t just pull out a map when you are plotting out logistics and details. Trying to keep it consistent was a challenge at times.
“The Division” seems to be your open door into Book 2, and they’re something else I’m curious about! They don’t seem very fond of Jack … Without a need for the spoiler warning, how much more of them will we be seeing?
The Division (and an early incarnation of Agent Ross) made their first appearance in a novelette of mine called Hazardous Material, which was published in Aphelion Webzine. A revised and expanded version of it should be coming out as a “single” in between the two books, and we’ll get another piece of the puzzle there. You’ll be seeing a fair amount of them in Book 2 as well.
The partnership of Jack and Beth seems like it has a lot of promise for good things to come, and is definitely not the usual pairing of an odd couple … So I have to ask, how badly messed up will that get? Say, on a scale of one (fluffy bunnies) to ten (keep an underground bunker handy)?
Since you’ve read the book, then you know an underground bunker might be the last place you want to be when things get messy in the Nightlife universe. And, yes, they are about to get pretty messy. You never really know what something will look like until it’s gone through the revision mill…but right now Book 2 is shaping up to be both darker and more expansive.
Beyond a second book (which I’d really like to read!) is there a plan for more hunting with these characters?
First off…thanks for the vote of confidence. As it stands, I’d like to see at least one more installment of this story after Book 2. The ending of that book will hopefully invite readers to feel the same way. Beyond that…we’ll just have to see.
Indeed we will. Thanks to Matthew for the interview! Nightlife is out on October 21st, and again, I definitely recommend this one. Good Halloween reading, if you ask me…
…And now, on to the second part of today’s treat! Matthew has been kind enough to offer up a digital copy of Nightlife for the very first (hopefully not the last!) giveaway here at Over The Effing Rainbow. It will run for one week, and will close to coincide with the release date.
So you have until the 21st of October to enter, and it will be open internationally. To enter, simply leave a comment below. Easy! So have at it, folks…