Carpinello's Writing Pages welcomes Canadian MG Fantasy author Matthew David Brough.
First, a bit about Matthew:
On a road trip across western Canada, a boy and his two older sisters listened as their mother read them The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Although he knew he loved the story, and as a teenager went on to fall even more in love with The Lord of the Rings, it wasn’t until the year he was turning 40 that Matthew David Brough felt the full force of these books. He sat down to write a story and out came Del Ryder and the Crystal Seed, the first book in a fast-paced fantasy adventure series for ages eight and up.
Matthew is a pastor who doesn’t like preachy books, but loves stories of hope. He lives in Winnipeg, Canada with his wife, Cheryl and daughter, Juliet.
Why did you pick to write books for MG?
Prior to finishing my first novel, I thought for many years about writing a book. As a pastor, I mainly thought I would write non-fiction—something about God, theology, or spirituality. I had also tried writing some fiction, but never finished anything. Finally, I decided that I would love for my daughter to be able to read a book that I had written. She was five years old, so I figured if I started right away that maybe I could finish it by the time she was ten. That’s how I chose to write for Middle Grade. I surprised myself when the first draft was finished in just a few months. Now, I’m hooked, and my daughter will turn six soon. She’ll have a whole series to read when she’s ready.
What types of books do you like to read?
Lately, I am really enjoying reading books to my daughter, including a great book called The Green Ember and the first Harry Potter book. I enjoy fantasy for younger readers, books with fast-paced adventure—yes, I enjoy Dan Brown—and I love biographies. I also read a lot of non-fiction.
When you are not writing, what do you like to do?
I’m not a full time writer, so this is a bit of a strange question for me, as most of my life is “not writing.” I love my job as a pastor, so preaching is certainly something I love. Outside of work, I love sports, mainly as a spectator (especially soccer, hockey, basketball), although I still play Ultimate Frisbee. I also like movies, going to the theatre and travelling, but most of all I just like spending time with my family.
Tell us about Del Ryder and the Crystal Seed and how the story came to be.
The original idea for the story was about a young boy who travels back and forth between earth and a fantasy world, bringing creatures back with him. It was loosely inspired by the movie Jumanji, where chaos ensues because the elements from a board game start coming to life around the two kids playing the game. There’s a funny thing about writing, though: the story doesn’t always do what you want it to do. As much as I liked the original idea, the girl in the story quickly became the main character. And once they were in Azdia, they ended up staying there far longer than originally planned. The book ended up being much more like The Wizard of Oz, in that a young girl and her three male friends end up stuck in another world, and they have to figure out how to get home.
Here's a peek at Del Ryder and the Crystal Seed:
Del Ryder, an ordinary eleven year old girl with something to prove and looking for a place to belong, leads her three best friends, Phil, Guy, and Sam, through a magic portal into the mystical land of Azdia. There they meet Crimson, one of the shape-shifting lumens, the caretakers of their world which is full of wonderful creatures and infused with an inner light. He is full of hope, believing that Del and her friends are the awaited ones who will rescue his world from a growing darkness. Unwilling to accept their destiny, the friends still manage to enlist Crimson’s help in what becomes a fight for their own survival. Held hostage by living trees, battered by storms, and caught in a stampede of giant feldroes, the darkness of Azdia blocks them at every stage of their adventure. But Del and her friends persevere, following the clues of a cryptic riddle, in the hope that it leads them home.
Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.
This is my debut novel. I have written a short story which is part one in a serial called The Adventures of Crimson and Hollow. The serial is accessible for younger children, and is a prequel to the Del Ryder series.
What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?
The second book in the Del Ryder series will be available in May 19, 2016. There will be at least one more book in that series, and I hope to have more episodes in the Adventures serial.
What advice do you have for other authors?
The main advice I have is don’t give up. From what I’ve read, it seems like every author has a different process, but all seem to agree that you need to keep writing, every day if possible. I’ve found it incredibly helpful to set small writing goals and to track my first draft word count. When I first started my goal was to write only 300 words a day. This was so small that it seemed ridiculously easy. Most days I wrote over 700 words. That doesn’t sound like much, but it added up very quickly.
Anything else you want readers to know?
Yes! The title of the second book in the Del Ryder series is Del Ryder and the Rescue of Eleanor. It will be ready for Pre-Order on Kindle and Kobo February 19th.
Where can readers find you and your books?