Friday, June 6, 2014

Matt Whyman Author Interview


Book Nerd Interview

Matt Whyman is a bestselling author, also known for his work as an advice columnist for numerous teenage magazines.

He has written two novels for adults, Man or Mouse and Columbia Road, as well as both fiction and non-fiction for teenagers, including Superhuman, XY, Boy Kills Man, XY:100, The Wild, the So Below trilogy, Inside the Cage,Goldstrike and The Savages.

His most recent books, Oink! My Life With Minipigs (also known as Pig in the Middle), and Walking with Sausage Dogs, are both comic memoirs about family life with problem pets, published by Hodder and Stoughton.

Matt has worked as ghost-writer for the recent autobiography of a celebrity dancing dog, and under the pen name of Carnegie-nominated mystery writer, Lazlo Strangolov, author of Feather and Bone and Tooth and Claw.

A graduate from the University of East Anglia's MA in Creative Writing, Matt is often invited to teach the subject for writers of all ages. Recently, he has hosted workshops across Russia and the Middle East.

In 1995, Matt became the first agony uncle for 19 magazine, and has subsequently written regular advice columns for B, Fox Kids, AOL UK and Bliss. He often appears on television and radio in this role. Over the years he has co-presented a series of ITV's cult Saturday morning show, Love Bites, and a live weekly phone-in on LBC. He is currently resident agony uncle on BBC Radio 1's The Surgery

Matt is married with four children, and lives in West Sussex, UK.

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"Wickedly funny and mildly disturbing…Whyman's taste for the bizarre is grislier than most, and a gruesome finale is particularly unsettling. But it's his choice phrasing (the family's victims are "free range") and spot-on comedic delivery, seen especially in 12-year-old Ivan's pointed practical jokes, that make the book so digestible." —Publishers Weekly

"I devoured (there's no other way to put it) The Savages. And they were delicious! Seriously. I absolutely loved the book. It was funny and fascinating, occasionally repulsive, and beautifully written. Also quite thought-provoking, since I have an uneasy relationship with meat-eating, yet can't quite commit to vegetarianism. What I especially loved is how caring and tender the Savage family was. I'll be on the lookout for more of Matt Whyman's writing from here on in. I'm a fan!" —Ellen Potter, author of The Kneebone Boy






Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?

I studied film production as part of my university degree. As much as I loved scripting, shooting and editing, I grew increasingly frustrated that the end result never lived up to what I had conceived in my imagination – much of which was down to budget. Writing fiction overcomes that issue. Quite simply, all you need is a pen and some sheets of paper. It means you can tell a story from the corner of a rundown bedsit that would cost millions to shoot for the screen.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?

Papillion by Henri Charriere. I remember seeing it on the bookshelf as a small boy, and wondering what a book with a rusty lock and a butterfly on the cover could be about. I love the adventure in this epic tale of prison life in the French colonies, from the hardship and desolation to the fact that the human spirit is really very hard to break. I still think the jacket design is unbeatable.

In your book; The Savages, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?

Well, it shines a spotlight on an ordinary, hard-working family of cannibals. The Savages are simply following a tradition handed down by the grandfather, and consider it a secret treat that brings everyone together at the table. They really do have traditional values at heart! It isn’t a book about blood and guts but simple food choices, and how we tend to define ourselves by what we eat. The story itself centres around the father’s reaction to his teenage daughter when she starts dating… a vegetarian.

For those who are unfamiliar with Sasha, how would you introduce her?

Sasha was born into the family way. She doesn’t know any different. Yes, she’s well aware that people would be horrified by the meat on her plate, but aside from that she does her level best to lead a normal teenage life. Just don’t mess with her, or any of the Savage clan. You wouldn’t like them when they’re hungry.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?

I’ve just signed off the edit for my next novel, which is published in the UK by Hot Key Books this summer. It’s called AMERICAN SAVAGE. Enough said?

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?

I would happily introduce any member of the family to the most treasured literary figures, knowing they would behave themselves. The Savages only pick off people who cross their path, after all.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Jack?

That’s a good question, because I had every intention of making Jack likeable, and then changed my mind from the moment he opened his mouth. So, it created an interesting character – someone who seemingly exists as a positive force in Sasha’s life, only to turn out to be a huge douche.

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?

Every time my editor asks how the new novel is coming on, I always add about 10,000 to my word count. There’s no reason for this. I always deliver on time. I just can’t help myself! (If you’re reading this, Emily, I’m ‘50,000’ words in.)

What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?

Serving behind the condom and cold cure counter in a pharmacy, wearing a white coat like that would make a spotty sixteen year old look remotely qualified in the medical field, and working alongside a girl who would one day become my sister in law. Still so very wrong at every level.

Who was your first girlfriend?

I was eleven. Her name was Sarah. Two weeks after I asked her out, she moved to New Zealand with her family and left no contact details.

Tell me about your first kiss

Maybe that was responsible for the emigration thing?

What did your last text message say?

“Sure thing!”

When was the last time you cried?

I have never cried. I just get dust in my eyes quite regularly.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?

The Fifties are underrated.

What is your greatest adventure?

Bringing four children into the world and watching them grow up to become individuals with lives of their own.

What would be harder for you, to tell someone you love them or that you do not love them back?

Telling someone you don’t love them back must be quite the heart-breaker. Let’s hope I never find out.

Where can readers stalk you?

You can find me on Twitter @mattwhyman, on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/mattwhymanbooks and at home in a vest and sweatpants because nobody can see me there, can they?


Things you would change about your high school years if you could go back in time.

You’re not stupid. In time everything will fall into place. Relax.

Your first date didn’t emigrate to New Zealand with her family simply to get away from you. Have a little more confidence in yourself.

That girl who washed you down in a student film project? One day she’s going to be married to a mega world famous rock star. So don’t be an idiot and throw away your only copy. It might be worth something.

You’ll give up smoking in your early twenties. Why bother starting?

That day you got pushed into the river by Lewis as payback for something you hadn’t done? You’ll never forget it. That guy should probably watch his back for the rest of his life.

Coming last in the school cross country race is a lesson in humility, rather than a massive embarrassment. Get used to it. You’re not cut out to win prizes.

Your friend’s hot older sister? You shouldn’t be so shy about talking to her. That’s your future wife.

Shoulder length hair dyed pillar box red might seem like the cool cut of choice, but there will be pictures and your kids will laugh. Why not just leave it natural and blend into the background because that’s where you’ll be spending the rest of your life.

You assured yourself that everyone’s first car was an embarrassing old banger. Age 45, you’ll still be driving one. Some things never change.

You should probably keep quiet about doing so badly in your French exam that you were graded with an X. Otherwise there might come a day when someone adds it to your Wikipedia entry.



They'd love to have you for dinner . . .

Sasha Savage is in love with Jack - a handsome, charming ... vegetarian. Which wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the fact that Sasha's family are very much 'carnivorous'. Behind the family facade all is not as it seems. Sasha's father rules his clan with an iron fist and her mother's culinary skills are getting more adventurous by the day. When a too-curious private detective starts to dig for truths, the tight-knit family starts to unravel - as does their sinister taste in human beings . . .

You can purchase The Savages at the following Retailers:


And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Matt Whyman for making this giveaway possible.

2 Winners will Receive a Copy of The Savages by Matt Whyman.



June 6th Friday:Jean Book Nerd VLOG POST & INTERVIEW
June 7th Saturday: The Bookie Monster REVIEW
June 8th Sunday: Books, Bones & Buffy REVIEW
June 9th Monday: The Book Gazer GUEST POST
June 10th Tuesday: Mother/Gamer/Writer REVIEW & 5 RANDOM THINGS
June 11th Wednesday: Book Suburbia FAVORITE BOOKS
June 12th Thursday: My Book Addiction REVIEW & GUEST POST
June 13th Friday:The Cover Contessa INTERVIEW & MUSIC PLAYLIST
June 14th Saturday: The Bookshelves REVIEW
June 15th Sunday: Jenna Does Books REVIEW & DREAM CAST



*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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