Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to welcome Matthew Bartlett to our Author Spotlight blog! Matthew was part of our “All Your Fears in One Basket” with the New England Horror Writers for Small Business Saturday. Born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1970, Matthew M. Bartlett has had a lifelong interest in horror. Gateways to Abomination, his debut, is a collection of short fiction and vignettes about occult radio broadcasts, and he is currently hard at work on an illustrated chap book The Witches of Western Massachusetts. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts with his wife Katie and an unknown number of cats.
Thank you very much for joining us on our Author Spotlight Matthew. Can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing? How would you like us to introduce you?
I’m 44 years old, and I’ve been writing horror fiction for myself and a small group of friends for about ten years. In 2014 I started writing long stories and submitting them for publication. At some point early in the year I decided to compile a lot of the Livejournal work in a collection, which is my first book, Gateways to Abomination. It’s a collection of stories, but they’re all connected by an overarching plot.
What was the inspiration for [newest release/series release is part of/spotlighted release]? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?
A friend of mine had started a Livejournal page that chronicled the life of an askew town and its odd public officials. I was immediately drawn in. Before that, I hadn’t considered Livejournal as anything other than a journal. So I copied my friend, but used an idea I’d had about a spectral radio station run by the dead. The early stories were written from the point of view of the revenants behind the station; in later stories, I started playing more with ideas about how the broadcasts might affect those who hear them, and what the authorities might have to do in order to stop them.
What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books?
Horror was something I was drawn to even as a child. I think it can distract people from their workaday anxieties and quotidian fears and plunge them into world where the bizarre is possible, and potentially around every corner.
How important has the New England setting been to your writing?
I’m a very provincial writer; I don’t think I’ll be writing anything about faraway lands any time soon. I draw inspiration from the New England landscape, the people, the old houses and buildings. You can take a walk anywhere in New England and come home with ideas.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
I have a chapbook I’m working on with an illustrator. It’s called The Witches of Western Massachusetts, and it’s meant to be a sort of take on Roberto Bolano’s Nazi Literature in the Americas with its fictional biographies. There’ll be a biological summary on one page and an illustration on the facing page. It’s shaping up to be a very pretty book. Then, later in the year, I’ll have a second book of stories revolving around the radio broadcasts.
Where can people find your work? (Besides ABSW ;)–though they should totally check here first!)
My work can be found on Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.com. A few bookstores in the Northampton area carry it as well. I also offer signed copies for people who get in touch through Facebook or my website.
How can we follow your work, share your awesomeness, or otherwise stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?
I’m on Facebook as Matthew M. Bartlett, and I also have a website, matthewmbartlett.com