My blog has been very quiet this last week or so, due to holidays, but I am very glad to be back for Matt Hilton’s Marked For Death blog tour! 🙂
Many thanks to Ellie Pilcher, at Canelo, for the opportunity to join in and for arranging the following interview.
Q&A with Matt Hilton…..
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
My name is Matt Hilton. I quit my career as a police officer back in 2008 to pursue my love of writing action thrillers, and am lucky to have done so full time since. I’m the author of the high-octane Joe Hunter thriller series, and also the Tess Grey and Nicolas ‘Po’ Villere crime fiction series. My first Hunter book, Dead Men’s Dust, was shortlisted for the International Thriller Writers’ Debut Book of 2009 Award, and was a Sunday Times bestseller, also being named as a ‘thriller of the year 2009’ by The Daily Telegraph. Dead Men’s Dust was also a top ten Kindle bestseller in 2013 and 2016. I’ve also been published in a number of anthologies and collections, and have independently published novels in the supernatural/horror genre. I live on the north Cumbrian coastline with my wife and two dogs.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
I think I’m just blessed with a wild and vivid imagination. I tend to have ideas that I visualise and then put them down on paper. Sometimes the idea is a single scene, which then leads to an entire book, or it is only useful as a short story or such. Sometimes a random snatch of conversation, or some snippet of information I read, is enough to get my mind working and writing.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
I’d like to say that Joe Hunter is based on me, but he is the younger, more handsome, fitter, slimmer version. Seriously though, no I can’t say that I have based any of my characters on any real person, other than perhaps as composites of many people I’ve met throughout my life.
How do you pick your characters names?
I mentioned my characters aren’t based on real people, but sometimes their names are. I’ve written in characters bearing names of some of my friends and readers – usually as bad guys who end up in horrible situations. But that tends to be what my readers love. Other times I grab names off the TV or from my Facebook feed and change and alter them to suit. Joe Hunter in particular had a name change before his first adventure went to press. Originally he had a different name that my publisher decided wasn’t punchy enough, so I had to come up with something new. I chose Joe because it is short and memorable and the everyman, and Hunter because it had a good ring to it, had local connections to me, and also did what it said on the tin – Hunter was the result of a straw poll, so it was a combined effort with my publisher.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
I’m pretty much one of those that writes by the seat of the pants. I don’t tend to plot too far in advance, and prefer spontaneity in my writing. I often have a theme and arc to the book, but no idea at the beginning how I’m going to navigate through to the end. I write directly onto a Mac these days, and usually edit as I go. I try to write something every day and aim for around two thousand words. When I’m full steam ahead on a book my word count goes up dramatically.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
John Connolly, J. A (Jack) Kerley, Robert Crais, Robert E. Howard and Dean Koontz are the authors I always reach for as soon as they have a new book out, but I also read many other favourites and it really does depend on my mood at what I read. I tend to read either thriller or horror books.
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve met many of my favourite authors and spoken to them at length, so would probably pick Robert E. Howard (who died back in 1936). He was the author behind Conan the Cimmerian, among many other iconic characters, and he also invented a fictional pre-historical world. I’d love to ask him if he had any hidden knowledge concerning pre Ice Age civilisations, because I’m a firm believer that mankind was advanced long before current accepted history would have it.
Were you a big reader as a child?
Yes, I loved to read as a child. If I wasn’t reading, I was writing or drawing, or making Plasticine models.
When did you start to write?
I first started writing fiction when I was in junior school, but really took to it in my early teens. I wrote my first book at 13, and have continued writing since. I’d written seven or eight novels, and hundreds of short stories, before I finally got a publishing deal at age 42. Sometimes some people thought I was an overnight success, but it took me decades to get to that point.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
I’m assuming you mean one of my own? Like many authors, I sometimes look back on my debut novel – Dead Men’s Dust – and cringe at some of the novice mistakes I made. I wouldn’t rewrite the end though, just certain passages, and get rid of other stuff that has come back to haunt me since. For instance, I made the mistake of giving Joe Hunter a birth date in the late 1960’s. That would make him knocking on fifty years old now, if his timeline was contemporaneous with our own. These days I never mention his age, other than he is simply a forty-something. I hope to keep him around for years to come, but without hearing his knees creaking when he hobbles across the page.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
The Stand by Stephen King.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
“Hiya. It’s Only Me.” Apparently it’s a catch phrase of mine that I’m usually unaware of saying.
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
I’d invite Sherlock Holmes to my local Starbucks -where I often sit and people watch – and see if he can deduce exactly what all those weird flavourings are that people put in their coffees these days because I haven’t got a clue. I only drink it black, with a wave of the milk jug over the top.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on two projects. The next untitled Joe Hunter thriller is bubbling away in my mind and demanding release, and also a standalone high-concept thriller.
Do you have a new release due?
I do. I’ve a brand new Joe Hunter thriller called Marked For Death out on the 17th July 2017, published by Canelo. It’s a rip-roaring action thriller that I hope will please and entertain my long-time and new readers. This September I’ve also my next Tess and Po thriller – Worst Fear – coming out.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
I used to hold a launch party and signing. But, you know, after twelve Joe Hunter books and four Tess and Po books, plus a bunch of standalones, my publication days aren’t as exciting as they once were, so I don’t tend to celebrate as such. It’s not that I’m jaded, I just worry people are probably sick of turning out for my latest book (only joking). Often I’m back at my computer working on my next novel. I tend to celebrate more a few days later when I get feedback from readers who have enjoyed the latest read.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
I’m active on Facebook, Twitter, and also via my website. If anyone wants to give me a nudge, I’m happy to talk books and writing and make them the recipient of my latest odd cheesy joke.
https://twitter.com/MHiltonauthor @MHiltonauthor Twitter
www.facebook.com/MattHiltonBooks official author page at Facebook
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Matt 🙂
Publisher: Canelo (17th July 2017)
Joe Hunter has been Marked for Death in his most explosive outing to date
It should be a routine job. Joe Hunter and his associates are hired to provide security for an elite event in Miami. Wear a tux, stay professional, job done.
But things go wrong.
Hunter is drawn into what appears to be a domestic altercation. When he crosses the mysterious Mikhail however, he soon finds something altogether more sinister…
Before long this chance encounter has serious repercussions for Hunter and his friends. Good people are being killed. On the run, in the line of fire, the clock is ticking.
From the bars of Miami beach to car chases and superyacht grenade battles, bestseller Matt Hilton dials up the intensity in this rip-roaring, set-piece filled thriller perfect for fans of Lee Child, David Baldacci and Stephen Leather.