I have a review coming up for this short story, but was lucky enough to get the opportunity to put a few questions to author Matt Ferraz about writing, reading and his stories.
Here’s what he had to say…!
As a writer:
Do you have any writing quirks / odd writing habits?
I’m obsessed with backups. Every five minutes I stop what I’m doing to save a copy of the file in a USB and on the cloud. Last year, I was in a writing residency in Costa Rica and every evening I sent a backup to my mother’s e-mail, in case my computer exploded.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Cinema is a great passion of mine. I like to watch all kinds of movies, from Marvel blockbusters to four-hours documentaries on the Holocaust. I also ready a lot, obviously, and enjoy cooking.
What do you most love and/or hate about writing?
I love the fact I can writing about anything I want – as long as it doesn’t infringe copyright. How cool is that?! My writing also gives me opportunities I wouldn’t get otherwise. That residency I mentioned, for example. I never imagined I’d travel to Costa Rica and spend two months living in a ecological reserve. But then I got a scholarship to do just that and write a book about the endangered jaguar.
There’s nothing I hate about writing, but I hate the fact people don’t take it seriously. I was in a family reunion the other day, and my uncle told everyone I didn’t work, that I was just a writer. All I can say is that he wouldn’t last a week doing my job.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Yes, and sometimes they hurt. But they’re necessary. The last thing a writer should do is surrounding himself with Yes People. You need to learn and grow with reviews of all kinds. I think the worst thing any artist can do is believing he’s so awesome he doesn’t have to put any effort into his work, that everything will come out automatically. That’s the first sign of decadence.
As a reader:
What is your favourite book (other than your own!)?
Anna Karenina, by Liev Tolstoy, is, to me, the single greatest piece of art ever produced. I’m also a sucker for Stephen King, I’ve been reading his work since I was twelve. And I’m a big fan of Edgar Alan Poe’s, J.D. Salinger, Jules Verne, and Agatha Christie.
Which author do you feel deserves more love than they get?
This is going to sound weird, but I’ll say John Grisham. Yes, one of the best-selling authors in the world needs more love. Not that he needs to sell more, but so many people are prejudiced against Grisham, thinking he writes bureaucratic novels for law students, but his work has a lot more passion than that.
What was your favourite book as a child?
King Solomon’s Mines by H. Ridder Haggard, Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie, Enigma on Television by Marcos Rey…
What book is top of your TBR pile right now?
I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction about Central America. It’s my new obsession, after my literary residency there. My next read is going to be a biography of Archbishop Oscar Romero, from El Salvador.
With regards to THIS book:
I reviewed your previous book, Sherlock Holmes and the Glad Game, which was a mashup of the great detective with America’s darling, Pollyanna. Now we have a mashup of a couple of childhood classics, with Robert Louis Stevenson and Anna Sewell. How do you come up with such unusual book combinations, and how hard is it to make them work together?
I have a simple formula: I think of the most absurd crossover possible, and then I take it one-hundred percent seriously. Jekyll and Hyde is one of my favorite novellas since I was eleven, and I wanted to tell a story about these characters that sounded fresh and unusual. So why not have it narrated by an animal? But not any animal: Black Beauty, from the famous Anna Sewell novel! By then it was too late for me, and I had to write it.
As an ‘author of all trades’, you have written in multiple genres. Do you find it more satisfying to create entirely new characters and worlds in an established genre, or to take existing characters and settings but create an entirely new format for them to play in?
It’s a different process for each one. With these crossovers, I try to make the characters my own while keeping that flavor that made them work in their original novel. Creating original characters is easier because I don’t have to match another author’s work, but it’s also difficult for obvious reasons.
Do you have a series of further mashups planned, and if so, can we get a sneak peek into what books might be on your hit list?
I have an idea for another Pollyanna novel. This one involves her meeting with a famous horror writer from real life. At first, I thought it was too bizarre, but then I told it to a friend who said I need to finish it because it’s so bizarre!
Is there anything else you would like new readers to know before they dive on into your story?
These books are made with love. I’m no trying to revolutionize Pollyanna, Sherlock Holmes or Black Beauty, all I want is to create fun scenarios by putting them together. I hope you enjoy these crazy adventures!
Thank you, Matt! And all you mashup fans, who must by now be intrigued by the unique premise of this story, don’t have long to wait as my thoughts will be following shortly.
The Horse and Mr Hyde is available on Amazon right now!