About Matthew Williams:
Growing up in the 80s and 90s I was born in to science fiction. I enjoyed many of the infamous SF franchises of the time and read many of sci-fi's most influential works. As an adult, I marvelled at those SF novels which stood the test of time, while making valuable observations of the human condition, and I decided to create my own novels.
As a professional writer for Universe Today, I am well-versed in many topics ranging from: spaceflight to terraforming, Earth sciences to physics, and the future of human space exploration. I have interviewed many of today’s top scientific minds and NASA personnel, and been a featured speaker at astronomy societies.
I've had articles appear in such publications as Business Insider, Science Alert, Phys.org, HeroX, Pionic, Gizmodo, Futurism and IO9.
The Cronian Incident is my first published novel.
What inspires you to write?
Tough question, but I would say that anything that inspires me inspires me to write. For as long as I can remember, I've been the imaginative sort, and films, TV, video games and novels that struck me as inspired had a way of triggering my imagination. I would almost always need to express this through some form of art. These days, that art is the written word.
Tell us about your writing process.
In truth, I would say I am about 70/30 on the whole outlining vs. seat of the pants thing. Before I commit to writing smoething, I feel the need to jot down ideas ad create a framework for the whole thing. Sometimes, I will even write up a chapter for chapter outline of the book before I write a single word. However, once I get writing, I find that my story plans change quite a bit due to new ideas and the need to adapt.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Not exaclty. But I will often speak for them. When I'm thinking about the scenes I am writing, I often try to picture my characters in them and then say their dialogue out loud, just to see how it sounds. It's kind of like imagining how the story would look if it was adapted into a movie or series. And I find it helps me to write more detailed and rich descriptions.
What advice would you give other writers?
When I have a chance to talk to new writers, I like to share with them the five main lessons I have learned over the years. Many of these were passed on to me by people I respect a great deal, whereas others are things I figured out for myself along the way.
1. Do what you love, the money will follow – this was J. Michael Straczynski’s advice to me, the creator of Babylon 5 (one of my all-time favorite science fiction series). It sounds cliché, sure, but that’s only because it is true. Commit to a labor of love, and sooner or later, you will find that it will pay off.
2. In the meantime, keep your day-job – Fellow author Chris A. Jackson gave this bit of advice, and he was absolutely right! When first starting out, you have to understand that you won’t be able commit to writing full-time. So whatever you’ve been doing to pay the bills, keep doing it until you know for a fact that you can commit to your writing full-time.
3. Don’t wait to be discovered – my mentor in all things pertaining to the digital-age, Fraser Cain, once told me that in today’s world, artists have the opportunity to promote themselves like never before. You don’t need to limit yourself to shopping out manuscripts to publishers and waiting six months just to hear back. Utilize new media – blog, tweet, post, share, link, reblog, etc – to let the world know you are a writer and what you have to offer. Even if you don’t get “discovered”, you will be able to share your work directly with the people who would like to read it.
4. Do Your Homework – When committing to writing, make sure you know who you are writing your book for, what genre it falls into, and who (if anyone) has written something similar. This will help you refine your writing style and to make sure your ideas are as original as you can possibly make them.
5. Be patient – as my father would tell me, “It takes 20 years to become an overnight success”. No matter what you are doing, it will take time for it to get off the ground. Don’t expect instant results or even to succeed on the first try.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Initially, I went the self-publishing route, mainly because my friend and mentor Fraser Cain (as I mentioened above) advised me not to wait to be discovered. While this was fun and somewhat rewarding, I knew that eventually, I wanted to have my books picked up by a publisher. Mainly, I wanted my writing to have the benefit of experienced professionals and be promoted by people who knew what they were doing! In time, ironically, my efforts to promote myself via social media is what brought me to the attention of a publisher.
Based on my experiences, I would tell new authors that both routes – independent and traditional publishing – offer their own shares of benefits and perils. But in the end, it is important to get your work and your name out there. So regardless of whether or not they want someone else to publish them eventually, they should use all the resources at their fingertips to promote their writing now.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Good question! On the one hand, I've heard it argued that tradtional publishing is becoming obsolete thanks to ereaders, ebooks, print-on-demand (POD) and independent publishing services. But my own experience has taught me that people still trust publising houses to select and promote promising authors, perhaps even more so than customer reviews. I've also read many people complain about how independent publishing has saturated the market with books that are of questionable quality. Not only are novels suffering from a lack of proper editing, but the subject matter is often very imitative, where indie-authors are just looking to emulate famous writers.
I also know for a fact that there are countless people out there who still prefer the feel of a paperback between their finges and the smell of freshly cut paper. So while its possible that print media may someday occupy just a tiny share of the market, I think there will always be a place for paperbacks in this world. I also think that publishing houses are adapting to new trends by offering books in multiple formats. So they too should be around for a long time to come!
What do you use?:
What genres do you write?: I enjoy writing space opera, cyberpunk (gritty, urban science fiction) and of course, hard science fiction. Whereas space opera really gives you a chance to be imaginative, cyberpunk is all about the intersection of high-tech and low life! Somehow, reading and writing those kinds of works just appeals to me! And hard science fiction is definitely my favorite, since it is all about real science and real predictions.
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.