October 02, 2011

Author Interview: Matt Xell (giveaway included!)

Welcome to Turning Pages,

Today it's not only me here, but we also have a very special guest; the author of Tower of Parlen Min, Matt Xell. He was kind enough to answer a few (a lot) of questions for us.

I'm currently reading Tower of Parlen Min, and it's really impressive so far!

First can you tell us a little about yourself, and your book?

My name is Matt Xell and I am the author of The Narrow Escapes of Ves Asirin, which is first a series of YA speculative fiction novels set in the fictional world of Everlon. Tower of Parlen Min is the first book in the series, which is where we are introduced to Ves Asirin, the title character and protagonist of the first six books. Ves is an 11-year-old, introverted and orphaned boy with a complex memory loss disorder who wins a trip to the Tower, the home the world's wealthiest inventor Jacobius Trent. There, along with 19 other children, Ves competes in the Sword Challenge which is series of puzzling quests and tasks whose grand prize is 12 million dollars. But all is not as it seems, and the Tower which is this grand and fantastic place keeps many dark secrets; from dangerous sentient wolves, a haunted cottage in the woods, a history of tragic deaths to a seemingly unstoppable supernatural serial killer. And over the course of the story, Ves finds that he is not as 'ordinary' as he thinks and is somehow attracting all these surreal events and has been unknowingly connected to the Tower for a 150 years.
Chocolate or Candy?

Reading or Writing?

Books first or Movies?

Coffee or Tea?

Cats or Dogs?

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I'm a video game addict. I swear if you want to read more of my work, keep me away from any of The Elder Scrolls games, lol. And yeah, I watch a lot of movies, TV and animated shows, and read loads of japanese comics. I'm equal parts a consumer and a producer of the kind of entertainment and magical storytelling I love!

If you had any super power, what would it be?

The ability to manipulate all forms of matter and energy.

You could do just one thing to change the world, what would you do?

Make high-speed internet accessible to atleast 80% of the world at very low costs.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

A software developer or somekind of programmer.

What made you decide on becoming an author?

It wasn't really a decision I had to make, I think I'd always been an author or at least some form of a storyteller. I'd always liked fantasy literature and the visual arts when I was a kid, and back then I used to do a lot of penciling (I was terrible at it) and what little writing I did were comic book plots. I didn't know there was a correct format for scripting back then, so I wrote mostly in novel prose. Tower of Parlen Min and the rest of the Ves Asirin stories were meant to be a series of graphic novels but in 2007 I decided they'd be novels first.

Where do you prefer to write, outside, in an office, with your family in the living room?

Mmm ... I'm not so strict or partial to enviroments. I think can I write in any place peaceful enough and provided I have the materials I need. Solitude and silence is a requirement only when writing serious and dark scenes, a lot of the mystery/supense scenes.

When writing your book, what different types of obstacles did you have to overcome?

There was a lot of research to be done especially when working on the concept of the Sword Challenge as it had it's own stories and anecdotes hidden inside the various tasks. So I went through loads and loads of all kinds info; historical events, factual events, mythologies, folklore, ethinic cultures, pop-cultures. Worst of all is that I didn't have internet access at the time so I had to rely on books and a copy of Encarta Encyclopaedia 2006 for what was scraps of info. With what little money I'd have, I'd go to an internet cafe and download some articles on Wikipedia

Are any of the characters in Tower of Parlen Min based off of real people?

No. I prefer not to write about characters inspired by real people, at least none that are living. Though I do borrow certain characteristics and elements from other fictional characters.

Do you know anyone with memory loss?

No I don't. The concept of Ves' memory loss disorder was inspired by the movie Memento directed by Christopher Nolan, in which the main character had short-term memory loss. I went a little further with that idea, doing more research on memory and the parts of the brain where it's stored. I also borrowed a few things from Autism Spectrum Disorders and fabricated one unique to Ves and his character.

When is your book coming out in paper?

I honestly don't know yet. There's some technicalities I need to go over especially with the cost of distribution and shipping (Its a large book and I don't want people paying too much for it) ... and some more edits I think, so hopefully sometime early next year.

Do you plan on writing more books? Do you already have something in the works?

I'm slowly, putting together the plot for the second Ves Asirin book which is titled Eclipse Over Atuwis Wood. I haven't had a lot of time to work on it because I'm still marketing the first one. I think I'll start writing it in April 2012 and it could take me as long as 1 year to complete it. And I'll be releasing several light novels in the months between that'll also be set in the world of Everlon. These include Eslo's Story, The Hunt For Majis and The Brothers Macullen.


Not only was Matt nice enough to answer all of these questions, but he also wants to host a giveaway!! His giving away FIVE e-book copy of Tower of Parlen Min, to five lucky winners! All you need to do, is fill out the form below!

-Must be a follower.
-Ends October 20.
-Must fill out form!!

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