Inklings Press has a chat with author Matthew Harvey, who made his publishing debut with his story Battle At Veldhaven in our anthology Tales From The Tavern.
Hi Matthew, and good to catch up with you. Inklings Press started out as a group of fellow writers encouraging one another – how did that project help you?
I've been writing short fiction, mostly for my own amusement, for a few years now. The group was a good cheering section; everyone was eager for everyone else to push themselves to write more and better things. Then, stepping up to e-publish as a group spread the load, and gave me more confidence than if I'd been considering a short collection of my own work. Without the group pushing that together, I don't think I would have had the nerve!
Your group is scattered quite widely around the world – was that a problem? How did you manage to keep one another on track?
The group is scattered, but the internet knows no borders. Time zones were a little more of an issue, where some people might just be finishing work as others were crawling into bed. But internet chat offers a lot of freedom. An encouraging message here and there (occasionally a firmer prod) kept everyone moving toward the deadline and got us to market.
Does your location play into the kind of fiction you write? Are you inspired by your surroundings? If not, what has proven to be your inspiration?
A lot of my inspiration comes from the wide and varied collection of fiction I've read myself. Not all of it is in novel format, which I think was mentioned in my bio. I've been an active member of a roleplay gaming group for longer than I've been writing, and there is a lot of imagination there to be tapped. At some point the world of Tyriell, Theng and Duen may be a game in its own right... if I can work out how to make it work.
How long have you been writing fiction, and what gave you the impetus to become a published writer?
I've been writing fiction for I think five years. I've never been utterly convinced if its any good (my inner editor at work) but when the idea for the Inklings Anthology was pitched, I knew it was a golden opportunity to put up or shut up. It's a baby step, I admit, but now I can work towards more and more grand projects.
What we really enjoyed about Veldhaven was the way in which certain characters grow - we won't say which for those readers who haven't tried the story yet. But what do you most enjoy about your own work?
I like the chance to explore a world of my own creation. Veldhaven won't win any awards for originality, but the world came to life for me more and more as I wrote. There's an enthusiasm that comes from that kind of mental exploration that leaves me wanting to write more and expand the boundaries of what started off as a short and simple story and make it something grand.
What are you most trying to convey in your story?
I don't think I was trying for any great emotional aspect or concept. I was just trying to write an adventure. Great writers make it look easy, but finding the right words to get anything down is actually very hard. Maybe in a future work I might try for a more driven story, but not just yet.
From the other stories in the publication, which one most attracted you, and why?
I think the Bear-Trap Grave pulls most strongly on me (by Brent A. Harris). It's the one where I empathised most with the protagonist, something I think fiction needs. It's something I'm certainly trying to work on with my own.
This is the first publication for Inklings Press. What future plans are there?
Bigger and better things. I know there will be more anthologies; the plan is to explore different genres and see what kinds of things people have most fun writing. After that, Who knows. Maybe one of the Inklings will take the literary world by storm!
Matthew, many thanks!