Today I am very excited to welcome Matt Dunn to the blog – I have been a fan of his writing for years and I absolutely devoured his latest release 13 Dates a few weeks ago. Matt also very generously offered his time for a Q&A and here it is – enjoy!
Why 13 dates? I wrote in my review that it seems a tiny bit like you’re tempting fate what with 13 being an unlucky number and everything, so is that why you chose it, BECAUSE of the unlucky thing?
Actually, I’m pretty sure I read it in some scientific journal. Either that, or I made it up. I can’t remember which. Though it sounds plausible, doesn’t it?
Have you ever done the fake-Noah?
As if! I’m a novelist. We sit in a darkened room and make stories up for a living, and rarely ever interact with real people, so probably wouldn’t have the confidence (or the social skills) to go for something like that!
In honour of the opening scene, what is your favourite Starbucks drink, and do you find all the sizes/additions/extras, etc as baffling as Noah? (Added bonus: Would you ever wind up the Starbucks barista like Angel did? Because MAN WAS THAT FUNNY).
I, um, never go to Starbucks. I try to avoid most of the chains – I’m a bit of a coffee aficionado (plus it fuels a lot of my writing) so I’ve got one of those ‘aeropress’ things that makes perfect coffee. If I have to get a coffee ‘out’, I’ll try to go to an independent coffee shop, and I’ll usually order a flat white. And yes, I often try and wind up/have a joke with people I interact with. If it works/they get it, it probably goes in a book. If it doesn’t, I’ll probably end up wearing my flat white!
You’re published these days by Amazon publishing, what’s that like? They are quite hard to find on social media, to promote stuff, do they have like offices and things? I mean they must have offices, duh, but do you go and have meetings and stuff like at your old publisher S&S?
They’re great! A breath of fresh air to work with. A bunch of fabulous, talented people, great editors (and yes, we do have meetings and stuff, quite often over lunch/cocktails), and they seem to really value their authors, which is nice. Plus, when you’re published by the people who own the shop, you tend to get put on the best position on the shelves. Which is nice.
Most of your novels have been stand-alones, but you’ve written two books set at the Office (A Day at the Office & Christmas at the Office) and Ed and Dan have made three appearances (The Ex-Boyfriends Handbook – still one of my all time favourite books, FYI; Ex-Girlfriends United; and The Accidental Proposal), what was it about those that inspired sequels, and will there be any more?
Thank you for your kind words about The Ex-Boyfriend’s Handbook! Sequels generally come about for two reasons: I think the characters still have a story to tell, and people email me telling me they’d love to read more about them. Plus one of the best pieces of writing advice I ever heard was ‘end every novel as if it’s a new beginning’ – and if that’s the case, then each book should finish with a natural starting point for a sequel. I’d love to bring Ed and Dan back but I think that after three books I’d better let them get on with their lives without any more interference from me. As for the ‘Office’ books – we’ll see…
Would you write a sequel to 13 Dates? Because I would LOVE to read more from Noah and Angel, especially after how you ended 13 Dates.
Maybe. I’ll have to see how well it does first!
You recently signed a new deal with Amazon (Hurrah – congrats *throws confetti*), with your next book being called The Wedding, can I get any details about it?
I always think weddings are interesting because whenever you go to one, it makes you think about your own relationship. So I thought a wedding told from the point of view of a number of different guests – all at different stages in their lives/relationships – might make for an interesting novel. And though I keep reminding myself that writing a book set on one day and with multiple viewpoints is actually quite hard to do, and to pull off (like the Office books), it’s actually been a lot of fun to write. Oh, and it’s set in Barcelona, which is an amazing city.
One of the things that fascinates me when I’m reading books is how attached I get to the secondary characters – Marlon and Mary in particular in 13 Dates, would you ever write a novel about them? Mary’s travels would be SO interesting and Marlon just seemed like he needed a good lass to settle down with…
Heh – you’re probably right about Marlon! And yes – there’s a saying, ‘story is character’. Most of us have some really interesting/funny/strange people we hang around with/spend time with, sometimes not always through choice, and I think the more you populate a novel with interesting people, the more fun it is to read (and the more you have to work with as a novelist). Plus, interesting secondary characters are really fun to write!
Let’s talk about your Twitter account, you post some pretty decent one-liners, how on Earth do you come up with them? Do they just pop up in your head? Do you have a whole list written down, that you can just pick from each day? WHAT IS THIS SORCERY?
Thank you. I suppose I’m just lucky that my brain is just wired that way. Or unlucky. Time will tell… Seriously, though, some do, some take a bit of work, and yes, I have a list – most novelists are always writing things down in the hope they can use them at some point in the future – saving them for an ‘appropriate’ time. And social media is a great ‘vent’ for that/testing ground for things that you think you might also be able to use in a book..
If you could have written one book, in the whole entire world, that isn’t your own… What would it be and why?
The Da Vinci Code. No – Harry Potter. Or maybe Me Before You. Something that means I could afford my Ferrari and Yacht… Seriously, though, perhaps Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell – it’s the most amazing piece of writing, technically brilliant, breathtakingly transporting. Or maybe High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. It’s the book that made me want to write, the one I’ve re-read more than any other – and I’m still blown away by how good it is each time.
Do you ever fancy writing something other than a rom-com? Authors are diversifying all over the place these days, writing rom-coms one minute and serial killer thrillers the next. Do you ever want to write a thriller or a teen novel?
Funnily enough, I’m writing something COMPLETELY different at the moment as a side project. I can’t share any details just yet, but watch this space…
Last one, what are you reading right this moment? Except for this incredibly amazing Q&A, obviously.
Just my own work, as in edits for The Wedding. My deadline’s approaching fast….
Thanks so much Matt.
Matt’s new book 13 Dates is available from Amazon now!