Short, Sharp Interview- Matt Hilton


PDB: Can you pitch your latest publication/ project in 25 words or less? 
 
Joe Hunter seeks missing women in the Arizona Badlands and faces off against a family tougher than their surroundings, but there’s No Going Back. 

PDB: Which books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently? 
 
I’ve been reading some books that I’ve been meaning to catch up on for a while, and throughly enjoyed Adrian Magson’s latest Harry Tate thriller, ‘Deception’, and Stephen Leather’s latest Jack Nightingale book, ‘Nightmare’. 
 
Books that have struck me – and stayed with me – in the last year or two are R J Ellory’s ‘A Quiet Belief in Angels’, and Ken Bruen’s ‘American Skin’, but if I’d to pick one book I read recently and wished I’d written it would be ‘No Country For Old Men’ by Cormac McCarthy, that was/is a true modern masterpiece.
 
I’ve really loved the current TV offerings like ‘The Walking Dead’, ‘Spartacus’ (all three series), ‘American Ghost Story’ and the two series’ based on Chris Ryan’s ‘Strikeback’. All have been violent and gory, but more than that they’ve all been beautifully shot and throbbing with drama. 
 
As far as movies go, I’ve been loving the resurrection in spy/assassin fare with ‘Salt’, ‘Hannah’, and last night watched ‘Sucker Punch’, which to be honest took me by surprise. Weird, yes, but a superb piece of art in motion.

PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader? 
 
I think as a writer you have to be. You can learn more about writing by reading other people’s work and studying what they do that makes for a terrific book. But that’s not to say you can’t simply read for pleasure. I love a deep book, but I also love something where I can simply disengage my brain and enjoy the ride.

PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television? 
 
I started off writing scripts when I was a boy – my attempt at paying homage to monster movies like ‘King Kong’, and Ray Harryhausen’s ‘Sinbad’ series. But I moved on and turned to writing fiction instead: a much easier format in my opinion. 
 
A few years back I did script a short horror movie called ‘Quilt’ but it never came to anything. More recently I’ve been working with a friend of mine called Richard Gnosill, who is a movie maker, and we’re putting together a short movie based upon my apocalyptic story, ‘The Day’. 
 
I love the synergy between writing and images that end on a screen and can’t wait to see the finished result. Funnily enough, some people say I write in a cinematic fashion, maybe that’s because of my earliest attempts at telling tales through storyboards and scripts. Will I write more scripts in the future? I’m not sure, but things do tend to come around again, so I’d never say never.

PDB: How much research goes into each book? 
 
It largely depends on the book. Some of my Joe Hunter thrillers have quite a few locations and facts that I must check out, whereas others have very few and I only research to check some of my points later. Mostly I tend to research as I go, and use Mr Google and Mr Google Earth for what I need to know. Also, because the Joe Hunter books are set in the USA, I try to get across the pond a couple times a year, but this is more to ‘feel’ the atmosphere and get a couple details to add local flavour, like accents, brand names and landmarks and such.

PDB: How useful or important are social media for you as a writer? 
 
I’m pretty useless when it comes to ‘Twitter’, and don’t fully understand what people get out of it. It’s very limited in my opinion, but that’s probably more my lack of understanding than it is the system. However I do use Facebook quite a lot, as well as Blogger and have my own website. I’ve found the social media sites invaluable for making contacts and friends, and for engaging with my readers. 
 
My one big grump about it all is the massive distraction it causes to my writing time. It’s so easy to get caught up updating all the different social media sites, then replying to people when they respond, that I can easily lose half a day. But I still think in today’s climate, an author needs to market him/herself and there’s no better way to do so (for free).

PDB: What’s on the cards in 2012?
  
 
I’m working on a few different projects at the moment. Coming soon is an anthology of action-oriented short stories that I’ve collected, aptly called ACTION: Pulse Pounding tales Vol 1, which contains some terrific stories from established and upcoming authors alike. At this time my plan is to release the collection as an eBook some time this May.
 
Also, I’ve a couple of other short stories appearing in anthologies this year, including ‘True Brit Grit’, which you are familiar with Paul, plus ‘Uncommon Assassins’, collected by Weldon Burge for Smart Rhino Publications.
 
As far as Joe Hunter goes, I’ve recently seen publication of book 7 in the series – No Going Back – and the paperback will be out this July. In the USA, a reprint of book 2 ‘Judgment and Wrath’ will be released in paperback this fall/autumn, with books five and six to follow soon. I’ve also recently published a collection of short Joe Hunter stories in ebook called Six of the Best. I’m busy marketing all of these.
 
On the work front I’m currently writing Joe Hunter 10, and have started work on a new project featuring a character called James Rembrandt who I hope to set up in a series of his own. Also, I’ve been asked to add a novella length episode to Steven Savile’s techno-thriller series ‘Viral’, and am also penning a few short stories and such for different markets. 
 
As we speak I’ve just finished a Joe Hunter 10k words short story I hope to have out as an eBook and special addition to one of the novels, plus a ‘violent western’ story called ‘Trench Warfare’ for inclusion in the aforementioned ACTION anthology. So loads on. 
 
As far as publicity, I’ve all sorts coming up and will be at Crimefest in Bristol, Harrogate and at Cleveland, USA for this year’s Bouchercon, as well as loads of other appearances here and there. Then I’ll start thinking about marketing and publicity of the next Joe Hunter book – Rules of Honour – coming at the end of the year. 
 
So I guess I’m going to be kind of busy again. That doesn’t include the social media stuff, the blogging or the editing for Thrillers, Killers ‘N’ Chillers, the webzine I run with Col Bury and Lily Childs. Oh, and the life I’ve to live.

 

Published by PaulDBrazill

A writer and teacher, from England and living in Poland. 'The Poundland Poe.' Books include The Last Laugh, Guns Of Brixton, and Gumshoe Blues. This/ That/ & The Other.

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