Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Author Interview: Matt Dunn

Author Interview, Matt Dunn, Lad Lit, Chick Lit, Dick Lit, Fratire
Hi Matt, thanks for taking the time out to chat with me. You are busy working on your tenth novel at the moment - what is it called and what's it all about?
The working title is A (Christmas) Day at the Office - it's a sequel to A Day at the Office, and revisits the Seek Software team nine months after that fateful Valentine's Day. It's set on the day of the office Christmas party, when big changes are in store for the company, and all the people who work there...

Home, Matt Dunn, Lad Lit, Fratire, Dick Lit
Your last novel, Home, has so far proved to be your most popular work in terms of reader reviews (4.5 average rating on Goodreads). Why do you think this story has been so well received?
Well, the Goodreads score's closer to 4, and it seems to be well-received on Amazon too (not that I check more than half a dozen times a day), but to answer your question, from what people have told me, it's mainly because a lot of people seem to identify with the story (people leaving small towns to live in the city/complex relationships with their parents/the people they leave behind, family, illness etc.). Plus it seems to make them laugh and cry, which I think lends to a much more involved reading experience. My previous novels have been pure comedies, so maybe I'm on to something...

The main character in Home, Josh Peters, returns to the seaside town he grew up in after living in London for the past 18 years. You also grew up in a seaside town. How much of this is based on real life experiences?
None. I made it all up completely. At least, that's what my lawyers have told me to say.

You are one of a number of successful British male romantic comedy novelists alongside the likes of Mike Gayle, Nick Spalding, Danny Wallace and Nick Hornby. How do male writers tackle the genre differently to their female chick lit counterparts?
You'd have to ask them. But personally, I think we just tell it how it is from our point of view. Or rather, how we see it. Which is kind of how it is, if you believe all that 'perception is reality' bollocks. Which I do, obviously.

The Ed & Dan Trilogy, Matt Dunn, Ex-Boyfriends Handbook, Ex Girlfriends United, Accidental Proposal
Of all the characters you have created in your novels, who has been your favourite and why?
Dan, from the Ex-Boyfriends/Ex Girlfriends/Accidental Proposal trilogy. He's the one I've had the best feedback about. Though I stress he's not me. And probably because I could get away with a lot, given that he's so extreme/shameless.

If you could have written any book other than one of your own, which book would it be and why?
Fifty Shades - for the royalties. But in terms of quality, Nick Hornby's High Fidelity. It's the perfect example of my genre, and the book that I wanted to emulate when I first read it. Ten novels later, I'm still trying.

Your second novel, The Ex-Boyfriend's Handbook, was optioned for sitcom development by CBS. What happened and if it was made into a TV show, which actor would you have playing Edward Middleton? 
Hmm. I get paid more the more popular it is, so whoever the current biggest box office draw is. One of that Game of Thrones lot, perhaps?

Social media, authors, marketing, book marketing
Social media platforms have revolutionised the way fans can communicate with their favourite authors. What is the strangest thing you have ever been asked by a fan?
The strangest thing that actually happens is being asked for free (signed) books by people who aren't fans, without any preamble. I get a lot of that. They might at least buy me dinner first. Generally, though, I LOVE social media. I spend all day at my desk creating an imaginary world, so it's great when real people email me, or tweet, or say 'hi' on Facebook.

What is the best piece of advice you could give to an aspiring author? 
I'll simply pass on the best advice I was given: read the best-sellers in your genre, and see how they achieve their page-turning quality. And then, um, do that.

You turn 50 this year, any big plans on how you will be celebrating your half century?
'Celebrating' turning fifty? Yeah, right!

Check out all of Matt Dunn's work at his website and Amazon page

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