Thursday, 26 November 2020

A Slice of Cake With... Matt Doyle

This week I am delighted to have a slice of cake with author Matt Doyle.


Matt is a pansexual/genderfluid author from the UK who primarily writes hybrid genre fiction with a sci-fi grounding and diverse characters. In recent years, Matt’s work has included the award-winning LGBTQ sci-fi mystery series, The Cassie Tam Files, and several anthology appearances. Ailuros will be Matt’s first adventure in experimental fiction. 

When not working on yet another story, Matt can usually be found juggling freelance scriptwriting with running the pop culture website ‘Matt Doyle Media’, building cosplay, and programming video games.

What kind of stories do you write?

Ooh, that’s a tough one. Let’s see…

I write futuristic stories where the hopeful technology of today has evolved and been twisted into the corrupt technology of tomorrow.

Can you describe your writing why?

I’ve enjoyed books since I was kid. Whenever I was sick and had to stay at home form  school, I’d give my mum the pocket money I’d saved up and ask her to go and grab the next book in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. Books always cheered me up like that, and I started delving into so many different genres as I grew up. I write because I want to have that effect on someone else; I want to produce something that cheers someone up or inspires them when nothing else will.

Share with us your favourite passage from the book you enjoyed writing the most

I’m going to share a passage from Shadows of the Past. It’s the fourth book in my LGBTQ sci-fi mystery series, The Cassie Tam Files, and contains two different tales. This snippet is from the first story, A Week in New Hopeland. It was a lot of fun to work on because it’s the only story in the series to not be told from the titular protagonist’s POV. So, this is from a conversation between Cassie and her girlfriend Lori Redwood. Lori is helping Cassie with a case by working undercover in a busy office.


We sit on the couch and I continue, “Honestly, I thought there were supposed to be laws in place to stop people acting like this.” 
“There are. When you’ve done investigative stuff, you must have seen people bending the rules, though. Especially those in power. The more control you have, the more you seek. That’s what it looks like to me, anyway.” 
“Even so, this is so blatant, and everyone seems to know about it. It’s bullying, and it’s misogyny. Dad at the top or not, I really don’t know how he gets away with it.” 
“Lewis Graves is part of a dying breed. You see them once in a while when you’re a PI, usually in spousal disputes, but not as much as you would have fifty years ago. They act the way they do because, for whatever reason, they need to feel tough. They need to feel powerful. And to do that, they figure out who they think is below them and kick down. The truth is, even in the absolute cesspits of society, the holes full of cold-blooded killers and organized crime syndicates, there are so many people with much more legitimate power than them. If someone like him had to deal with someone like that, they wouldn’t last a minute, even if it never went beyond verbal sparring.
“And that’s the thing. Deep down, people like Lewis Graves know they’re weak. They know they’re nothing more than bullies, scrambling and crawling over the people they try to bury. That’s how he gets away with it. He’s desperate. And desperation makes you cling on tight and take every shortcut you can find.” 
“And do the desperate bullies always fall in the end?” 
Cassie looks at me, studying my face. Her expression is enough to give me my answer. Being who she is, she decides not to try comforting me with lies. “No, they don’t. Sometimes, the bad guys win. All any of us can do is try to make sure it doesn’t happen often.”

Tell us about your latest project

Okay, I’ve got two here. One that just came out recently, and one that isn’t out yet.

Half-Light came out in February this year. It’s the fifth and final book in The Cassie Tam Files. The series is essentially what would happen if you took a hardboiled pulp-style PI and placed them in a near-future, tech-driven setting. The twist to the genre conventions here is that the PI is an out lesbian. I’m LGBTQ myself, and tend to write stories that feature queer characters without their orientation being the focus of the story. So, in this instance, while there’s a slow-burn romance that spans the series, the focus is on the tech and the mysteries. Reviewers have compared the series to everything from Sam Spade to Blade Runner, which is really cool.

With Half-Light, I was basically tying everything up. Each book contains a complete case, but they all leave a few breadcrumbs that I picked up on here. Honestly, I’m very proud of how the series as a whole came out, and NineStar Press have been awesome as the publisher for it.

The books are available in all formats. If you head over to the book page my site you can find all the purchase links for each book. If you want to see some reviews, then there’s Goodreads. Amazon is where most people grab them, I think. 

The second one I want to talk about is Ailuros. This was one was picked up by Fractured Mirror Publishing recently, and the release date is currently set for September 2021. You see, this is a very different type of book for me. It’s a little bit sci-fi, a bit meta-fiction, and all experimental.

The current version is told through a mix of prose, audio transcripts and footnotes, and there are seven hidden passages to find that alter both endings of the book somewhat. Getting it set out for paperback, hardback and eBook is going to be a lot of hard work, but Fractured Mirror are really enthusiastic about the title. I’m glad about that because this was probably the hardest book I’ve written simply because I had to tie so many elements together.

As to what you can expect story-wise when it drops, it’s the tale of Josh Byrne and his genderfluid partner Alex Holden. Part of the story is a far-future homage to Alien set on an abandoned microgravity holiday unit. The other part is a near-future story about the negative effects of a Governmental initiative to reduce crime. The fun comes in seeing how both stories are linked, and how they impact each other.

What is your favourite cake?

It’s quite a boring one compared to some, I’m sure, but I do love a nice Battenburg Cake. It looks pretty, it has a distinct taste, and it avoids chocolate. I love chocolate, but for some reason, I don’t do well with chocolate cakes. Battenburg is a delicious alternative.

I love a Battenburg too, Matt - a great choice! You can connect with Matt at the following places:

Website: https://mattdoylemedia.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mattdoylemedia

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mattdoylemediaprojects

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MattDoyleMedia

DeviantArt: https://www.deviantart.com/mattdoylemedia 

Join me next week when I have a slice of cake with Laura Hunter.

If you would like to take part in A Slice of Cake With... please fill in the form found here. I'd be delighted to have you.

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Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find out more about her books on her website clairebuss.co.uk. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.