Hello Matthew, you're a bit of an enigma. I found a link to your novel "Proxies of Fate" on your Facebook page eventually, but it was kind of well-hidden why all the secrecy?
I’m a total novice when it comes to Facebook. If the link is buried blame it on my being internet illiterate. LOL.
Is the entire novel available on your web page?
Only the first six chapters are available online.
Who is the publisher?
I got the impression that this is a "golden era" of sci-fi type tale. Can you tell us a bit about it?
The story is true pulp. Set in the tumultuous 1930s, as the world seems on the verge of imminent collapse, two god-like heroes appear who alter history in their attempts to save the world, blessed with these powers by two mysterious alien species hovering over the Earth. There is Chris Donner, the Okie Angel, who inspires America through his selfless actions, and there is Li Chen, the Dragon King, who attempts to drive Japan from China and save his people from Imperial oppression. Both men attempt to lead the world out of darkness and nearly lose themselves to it.
The two men are archetypes for the time period and exist at opposite ends of the spectrum allowing the audience a window into this world from varying perspectives. Donner is a disillusioned veteran of WWI who struggles to survive in the Dust Bowl. Li Chen is an idealistic Manchurian peasant boy whose dreams tend to get him in trouble.
The most interesting facet of this story is the motivation and outcome of both men’s stories. There is no true hero or villain. Donner and Li Chen begin, roughly, with the similar intentions. Granted great power by mysterious forces, they use their abilities toward the same end, to help humanity. But their actions have radically different implications and those implications serve to change both men and the world around them. Gradually they meet in the middle, both psychologically and physically, and their story concludes in the ruins of Tokyo for the fate, and soul, of humanity.
I had a great deal of fun weaving their tale into actual history, allowing both men to interact with important figures of their time including Puyi, the last emperor of China, FDR, Howard Hughes, and numerous others.
This story, in radically different forms, has been in my head since I was twelve. Loving comic books, I sketched out this story of an all powerful figure come to save the world. It was really barebones and cliché with costumes (cringe), stilted dialogue, and odd villains.
For some reason, I could never let go of the story. Something about it always drew me back. As I grew up, the character and story changed, both in motivation and approach. The comic book trappings receded and the time period shifted from modern day to the Depression.
Two years ago I finally sat down and wrote a comic script. The original script was much more messianic, which I am happy I lost forcing me to rewrite and alter key elements in the story, including the origin.
Eventually I decided it was simply too big a story for the comic book format and decided to write it as a novel.
The main inspiration for this book is modern times. Proxies of Fate is a story about redemption and hope. That is the main reason I wrote it, to find answers and inspire a little bit of hope in what many believe is a hopeless world. We are seemingly back in the 1930s with the rise of extremism, the collapse of the economy, and an ever present fear of tomorrow. In this day and age, America could use something uplifting to turn their heads to a brighter tomorrow.
What's your background with writing?
I started writing at six, entering numerous contests growing up and winning several competitions. In college, I had a column in the school paper, “The Militant Mormon,” and put together an anthology for campus publication. From there, I wrote four novels of which two have been published, a slew of short stories, and a screenplay.
What is Anti-Christ: A Satirical End of Days?
Anti-Christ was my first novel and a satire on organized religion. It can be quite obscene and crass featuring a vegetative God, a fascist Jesus, and worse, though it still has my fave ending, the final battle being a four way dance between the US Army, angels, demons, and zombies.
And Divergence 1931? It seems you have a plethora of blogs.
Having a minor in history, loving alternate history, and being thoroughly obsessed with WWII, I decided to write an alternate history of WWII with FDR and Churchill dying prior to Hitler’s rise to power. I had intended to write the timeline all the way up to the present day but by the 1980s I thought the timeline had largely run its course.
Up until now, what's your greatest achievement as a writer?
Having a thesis published in an academic journal. The subject dealt with the difficulties of immigrants assimilating into American culture. It proved a tad controversial with some faculty.
What current shows, artists, writers, do you find yourself following?
I absolutely love Dexter and was blown away by Kick Ass, being the unabashed fanboy that I am. I’m also a fan of Mark Millar, Brian Michael Bendis, and of course the classics, Howard and Lovecraft.
Anything else that we should know about you?
I’m currently working on the final draft of a Lovecraftian horror novel, Drawn to the Abyss. Hopefully I’ll have it finished by the end of the year.