For those who have been reading my most recent reviews, you may have noticed that I have become a fan of Matt Doyle‘s series The Cassie Tam Files.
After introducing me to their books, which I have loved reading, Matt was also kind enough to answer some of my questions.
Matt Doyle is a UK-based pop culture blogger and speculative fiction author who identifies as pansexual and genderfluid, and write books that feature LGBTQIA characters where the character’s orientation is not the focus of the story.
Amy: What is your favourite genre to read and are there any new releases you are anticipating?
Matt: This really varies depending on my mood. I’ve always been a fan of genre fiction as a whole, with a main focus on sci-fi and horror. I love certain types of fantasy too though, and was a huge fan of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. In more recent years, Urban Fantasy really caught my attention.
I’m really looking forward to the paperback release of Storm Cursed in the new year. It’s the latest in Patrica Briggs’ Mercy novels.
A: What do you do when you are not writing books? (e.g. hobbies)
M: Working on other projects, mainly. I run a pop culture site, and spend a great deal of time working on reviews and articles. When I’m not doing that though, building cosplay costumes and playing video games are my go-to hobbies.
A: What inspired you to begin writing?
M: Books were a big part of my life growing up. Whenever I was sick, I’d curl up on the sofa and ask my Mum to go and get me a book from the local WH Smith. They always made me feel better. I wanted to be able to give someone else the same sort of experience; write something that captures someone so much that it makes them feel better on a bad day. So, I started taking my writing seriously.
A: What experience since publishing your works has been your favourite so far?
M: Actually, that relates to a short story of mine. Dear Sis appears in the anthology ROAR 9: Resist from Bad Dog Books. It’s an all-ages furry anthology, and my entry tells the tale of a genderfluid fox writing a letter to their sister. It’s the most personal thing I’ve written, I think. Anyway, a couple of times now I’ve had people reach out to me to tell me that they read the story and it had an effect on them. The common one is that it helped them understand what being genderfluid is. Knowing that the story touched people like that makes me happy.
A: How did you come up with the idea for The Cassie Tam Files?
M: Basically, I had just finished work on a GameLit series, The Spark Form Chronicles and wasn’t sure what to do next. While playing a couple of round of Blazblue: Chronophantasma Extend online (read as getting destroyed online), the thought hit me that I was going to write a mystery story next. I knew it would be a bit sci-fi too as that’s what I tend to write, so the thought hit me to do something less modern feeling in terms of the detective. I like hardboiled detectives, you see, so I thought the old school character with a futuristic setting would work well. I binge-watched The Maltese Falcon, L.A. Confidential and Blade Runner, and immediately got to drafting ideas. It all spawned out from there.
A: Which character has been your most rewarding to write?
M: Definitely Cassie. We have some differences, but there are parts of her that are overblown extensions of me. The paranoia, the awkwardness, the love of horror films; they’re all little pieces of me. Writing her let me explore that a bit.
I have to mention Bert too! Cassie’s metal gargoyle was an unexpected hit. I thought people would like him, but I had no idea how much. Seeing readers love any character is so rewarding, so here’s a big “CAW” for all the Bert fans!
A: How long do you usually spend working on one of your books?
M: That varies. With The Cassie Tam Files, I’d spend a couple of weeks drafting a basic road map. After that, if I get the chance to write daily, it’d take about a month or two to write the first draft, then another two to edit it for submission. Once NineStar Press have the manuscript, it all comes down to the editors there and how much work they have on, so that’s when it hits the variance points.
A: What can you tell us about your next project?
M: Well, next up I’m doing a sci-fi horror. This one is a standalone, not a series. Basically, imagine Aliens but really queer. The monster is one of my own creation too which has been a lot of fun, because I’ve got to research some really cool traits that have evolved naturally for our wildlife down here on Earth. It’s been fun so far, because I’m approaching it differently. Basically, I’ve been writing it as a screenplay, and I’m going to adapt it into a novella afterwards.
A: After writing multiple books, what advice would you give to aspiring authors?
M: Listen to all the different pieces of advice people say, but don’t assume that they’ll all apply to you. We all work differently, and have different strengths and weaknesses, so the key is finding what pieces of advice work for you. Even the common ‘write every day’ isn’t a dead set rule in my opinion.
A: Is there anything else you would like my readers to know?
M: Growing up, I didn’t want to read coming out stories. I have no issue with them, and if they connect with someone, that’s awesome! For me though, when I was questioning my sexual orientation and gender, I didn’t want to see people who were as confused as I was. I wanted to see the future. I wanted to see what happens next. For me, I wanted stories where people just were themselves and had lives to lead, and chances to be heroes. Those are the stories I write. Stories where some characters just are LGBTQIA+, and that doesn’t have to be the focus. If those are the sort of stories you want to read too, please do give my work a look-in!
Other than that, I work really hard on my website too. If you like anime, comics, or video games, I do a lot of reviews you may enjoy. If you love LGBTQIA+ books, I do a lot of author interviews and spotlights too. If you want to see what I get up to, head over to https://mattdoylemedia.com and check it out.
Finally, if you made it this far, thanks for reading the ramblings of this particular oddball 😊
I want to thank Matt for taking the time to answer my questions!
I very much loved reading The Cassie Tam Files and cannot wait to read more of Matt’s amazing novels!
You can read my current reviews of The Cassie Tam Files by clicking on their covers:
Until next time bibliophiles!