First Chapters Q&A with Matt Davies

Matt Davies is an author of YA fiction.  He has been a full-time writer for 10 years and has ghostwritten seven non-fiction titles and written scripts for TV commercials and documentaries.  Matt sat on the board of Australia’s Emerging Writers’ Festival for 5 years, including 2 years as Chair.

Matt will be reading at First Chapters on Friday 5 April from his debut novel This Thing Of Darkness.  

1. Brunswick Bound has asked you to read a piece from your published work.  Tell us what we can expect from the piece you have chosen?

I’ve chosen a section midway through the novel when Riley wakes up at her old house after a harrowing night.  It’s a pivotal moment for my character and gives the reader a sense of the tone of the book.

2. How would you describe the kind of books that you write?

I write contemporary young adult novels set in Melbourne. They lean on the literary side and I try to pack an emotional punch.

3. What was the first book that you read (or had read to you) that left an impression on you?

The first chapter book I remember reading was Judy Blume’s Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. I was in fourth grade at the time and I remember thinking that the book had been written just for me. I went on to read a lot of Judy Blume books and only now, as an adult, do I realise how good they really were, especially at a time when ‘young adult’ wasn’t really a category of book.

4. Do you believe that books should answer life’s big questions?

I think novels should ask the questions and explore some possible answers. It’s important, especially in YA, for books to be balanced. No one wants a moral lesson shoved down their throat.

5. Do you have any writing quirks?

I don’t write novels in a linear way (from start to finish); I start with the scenes that are most vivid in my mind, then go back to the start. If I get stuck I jump forward to a scene that I’m more sure about.

6.  What is your favourite word or phrase?

The End.

7. What have you found most surprising about publishing a book?

How slowly everything moves. The publishing process took two years from contract signing to publication (which is on the long side, even in publishing), and getting word out doesn’t happen overnight either – you have to continually plug away at it.

8. What is the question that you hope never to be asked in an author Q&A?

To pick a favourite author or favourite book – an impossible choice!

9. What question do you hope you will be asked and why?

I like talking about my journey to publication because it’s a story of persistence that I think is motivating for other authors trying to get their work published.

10. Which author that you have read do you think should be better known or more widely read?

The American YA author Chris Lynch. He writes about boys behaving badly, which is tough when you’re asking the reader to sympathise with characters who do some petty horrific things.

You can find out more about First Chapters on the Brunswick Bound website.


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