I’ve been a fan of this author’s Cassie Tam series from book one and have today’s featured book waiting on my Kindle (read my most recent review of book 3 HERE). While I’m sad to say goodbye to Cassie and Bert (the coolest gargoyle familiar you’ll ever meet), I’m hoping she gets her happily ever after with girlfriend Lori. Read on to learn how this author spent time in a coffin – and it wasn’t by choice. Welcome Matt Doyle!
Would you rather sleep in a coffin for one night or spend the night in a haunted house?
Haunted house, definitely. I’m not consistently claustrophobic, but I can get jittery in confined spaces. I’ve seen a fair few coffins in my time, because my Dad’s an undertaker. I’ve been in one too, though not thanks to him.
We have a haunted fort one town over from me, and they do Halloween walks every year. This was a year the performers were still allowed to touch the customers too, so we had like Cenobites grabbing people, and some killer clowns gathering around the one caulrophobic person in the room. One room had coffins and zombies. Four of them grabbed me by my arms and legs and chucked in a coffin, then held it shut. Great fun!
Anyway, yeah, I’d prefer a haunted house. I’m fascinated by paranormal stuff, and I’d love to see if I could find evidence of somewhere being haunted.
Has a movie or book scared you so much you couldn’t sleep? Which one?
I’ve had a few like that. I saw Jaws when I was 7 or 8. We were on holiday, and staying with my Nan, and we all watched it there. Every time I fell asleep I had nightmares about falling in the water and the shark coming closer and closer. I was terrified!
The second one, I would have been about 11. I had a babysitter who lived down the road from us. He was actually only a few years older than me, but was in high school, so he was deemed old enough. I’d known him for a long time too, we bonded over video games and Sonic the Hedgehog comics. Anyway, he let me watch the original Nightmare On Elm Street. Then, when I went to bed, he intermittently stood at the bottom of the stairs and sang the nursery rhyme up to. I didn’t sleep at all.
Would you rather use a Ouija board or participate in a séance?
I’ve done both! The Ouija board didn’t work. The séance though? Okay, this is gonna sound weird. I was about 11 or 12, and a bunch of us decided we were going to do a séance on the playground at lunch time. I don’t know why we did it, but I can tell you, none of us slept that night. It was terrifying!
We all kinda saw similar things during it. A weird clown and a big, muscular guy carrying some sort of machine. It started out like the seances you see on TV, but it kinda became something else, I think. We got in a lot of trouble, as communicating with the dead was deemed as being too scary for the younger students.
Do you know what the scariest bit is though? The muscular guy told me he’d shot at my Dad. I asked him, of course, and he’d never been shot. A couple of months later, we went on holiday to Ireland though, and a farmer shot at him when he accidentally wandered onto his land. No idea if the farmer looked like the guy we saw, but it did creep me out.
Do you write to music?
Amongst other things, yes. I can’t write in silence. I get too distracted if I do; my mind starts wandering around and checking out the room and trying to start conversations with me. If I have something on in the background, it focusses on that. It’s like it needs a distraction to distract it from getting distracted!
Usually, I’ll use music. Certain songs are always inspirational, but I’ll mostly try to pick stuff that fits the feel of the scene I’m writing. If not that, I’ll put a podcast or something on.
What was the hardest scene to write in your featured book?
The penultimate one. It sees Cassie talking to some long-term characters that have kinda inhabited a grey area when it came to being allies or enemies. It was super important though, as it needed to tie up all but one of the loose ends that I’d been dangling from all the way back in book one. Getting that right and not letting Cassie get herself in trouble by just being her snarky self was tough. Knowing that there would only be one more scene after it too was an odd feeling because I’ve been working on that series for years!
What are you working on now?
I’m working a book called Ailuros. It has been signed by Fractured Mirror Publishing and is due out in September 2021. You see, this is a very different type of book for me. It’s a little bit sci-fi, a bit meta-fiction, and all experimental.
The current version is told through a mix of prose, audio transcripts and footnotes, and there are seven hidden passages to find that alter both endings of the book somewhat. Getting it set out for paperback, hardback and eBook is going to be a lot of hard work, but Fractured Mirror are really enthusiastic about the title. I’m glad about that because this was probably the hardest book I’ve written simply because I had to tie so many elements together.
As to what you can expect story-wise when it drops, it’s the tale of Josh Byrne and his genderfluid partner Alex Holden. Part of the story is a far future homage to Alien set on an abandoned microgravity holiday unit. The other part is a near-future story about the negative effects of a Governmental initiative to reduce crime. The fun comes in seeing how both stories are linked, and how they impact each other. I’ve been describing it as Alien meets Freud in the House of Leaves.
The final book in the lesfic/sci-fi/mystery series The Cassie Tame Files is here!
With Angel Tanner, the android that runs California’s criminal underworlds, pulling the strings, PI Cassie Tam finds herself thrust into a conflict with New Hopeland’s biggest and baddest. But working with the murderous AI may be the only way that Cassie can get to the bottom of her home’s greatest mystery: What is New Hopeland city?
As she struggles to balance her dealings with allies and enemies alike, Cassie is left with a difficult choice. She has always straddled the line between light and dark. Now, the time to decide which side she’s on is drawing close… if she can figure out which is which.
The complete series on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KJRBMLQ
Or, get them 30% off from the publisher, NineStar Press: https://ninestarpress.com/product-category/series/the-cassie-tam-files/
Matt Doyle is a pansexual/genderfluid author from the UK who primarily writes hybrid genre fiction with a sci-fi grounding and diverse characters. In recent years, Matt’s work has included the award-winning LGBTQ sci-fi mystery series, THE CASSIE TAM FILES, and several anthology appearances. AILUROS will be Matt’s first adventure in experimental fiction.
When not working on yet another story, Matt can usually be found juggling freelance scriptwriting with running the pop culture website ‘Matt Doyle Media’, building cosplay, and programming video games.