I've found that as a reader, I enjoy most authors more when I know a bit about them. Usually their personality is infused in their writing. If I enjoy their personality, I'm sure to enjoy their books.
A couple of years ago, our staff reviewer, Carrie Anne, reviewed The Confessions of Jonathan Flite. In December, the sequel, The Release of Jonathan Flite, was released. To celebrate, we decided to sit down and have a nice visit with the author, Matt Beier, who is an absolute sweetheart.
Me: Who is your favorite writer and why? You can choose alive, dead, made up...the sky is the limit here.
Matt: I would have to say J.K. Rowling is my favorite writer-but not just because I love the Harry Potter books like everyone else (and yes, I do love them). She is my favorite writer because, apart from showing me how beautifully a story could be layered over the course of a long series, she actually affected the world with her work in an incredibly positive way. She got people of all ages excited about reading again. She inspired millions of people worldwide to gather at bookstores at midnight to celebrate book releases, and even build friendships as a result. She wrote a story about the power of love, courage, and unity, and some of that moral code seemingly trickled into her readers' psyches, because (as one recent example) we now have people referencing her books in protests against America's new divisive government regime. If I were to see J.K. Rowling on the street, I would probably burst into tears and fumble over any words of gratitude I might try to express-even though it would be my life dream to have tea with her. Finally, as she's a fellow INFJ, I'm sure we'd have a lot to talk about while sipping said tea.
Me: I hadn't really thought about it, but I have to agree with you on most of those points. I was one of those people at midnight book release parties. I know my world needs more of that!
Me: What makes you laugh? Like, Santa Claus belly laugh?
Matt: I'm a very internally oriented person, which can sometimes make me seem overly serious (which in turn can make me feel like the odd one out), so in pondering this question, I was quite excited to realize I had an immediate answer: my dear friend Matt Russell, whom I went to middle school and high school with but didn't get to know solidly until our early 20s. I laugh to the point of ripping my abdominal muscles (well, almost) when hanging out with him or even sharing a text exchange. I can scarcely do him justice in a description here, but I've often said that he's the one person on this planet who gets my head out of the clouds and back down to Earth. I'm very thankful to have someone like that in my life. We rarely talk about anything of grand substance, because it just doesn't seem necessary, yet we have a shorthand of humor-infused speech that has somehow evolved over the years to be intimate in its own ridiculous way. I have zero control over my laughter when I'm with him.
Me: Where can I buy my own Matt Russell?
Matt: *silence* (Because I didn't really ask him! )
Me: When you get dressed, do you put in the left leg first or the right? There may be another option here if you've created a new sort of suspension dressing system.
Matt: I put in my left leg first. I also launch with my left leg when doing handstands. If I were to be a karate master, I would also brace myself with my left leg. But I'm right handed, so go figure.
Me: I want video footage of the handstands.
Me: Where is your favorite place to decompress?
Matt: Other than my couch with Netflix and wine and dinner (which is pretty basic), I have a few tiers of favorite places. Since I moved to Marin county just north of San Francisco a few years ago, I've been surrounded by gorgeous nature, so on a regular basis I like to go hang out there, either hiking or lying on the beach or even sometimes taking my book work and setting up shop near ocean cliffs with my extremely portable camping chair. My next more realistic place to go for decompression is the Desolation Wilderness surrounding Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada mountains. I spent the best day of my life up there last May, just hiking alone until the snow blocked me from going farther. Finally, my least-visitable favorite decompression place is New Zealand, where I was lucky enough to study for a semester in college and return to once more in 2010. That entire country is heaven. i wish it weren't so expensive to get there and back again.
Me: Why are you a writer?
Matt: I'm a writer because storytelling brings me joy like nothing else in life does. It's the one thing above all else that makes my little life worth living. I've been through many bouts of self doubt regarding the challenges of building a career as a storyteller, but when I sit back and truly reflect on what I want my life to be, it's the only life trajectory that makes me feel as if I'm on the right path. I like to think that stories help us make sense of real life, and that they have a much greater effect on the world and people's understanding of it than they are given credit for. I like the idea of contributing to that effort in whatever unique way I can.
Matt, thank you so much for taking the time to hang out with me today :) You're a dear, and I'm a fan of both you and your work.
If you're interested in reviewing either The Confessions of Jonathan Flite or The Release of Jonathan Flite, simply send a quick message here.
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