An interview with MG Mason

MG Mason
Salmonweird  -  September 02, 2019


Thank you for taking your time for my audience and myself ~

Who are your influences? 
Most of my earlier work is dark and moody and I still write those types of book. My current WIP is the darkest one yet. Recently I’ve started writing lighter and frivolous work, especially satire. For the book in question “Salmonweird”, I would say the main influences are Lindsey Davis who writes historical crime with a touch of humour, Jasper Fforde who writes weird fi with a touch of mystery, and Ben Aarnonovitch who writes the Rivers of London urban fantasy crime books.

When did you begin writing?
As soon as I was old enough to form sentences. I always had an active imagination, so say my parents, and few people who knew me as a kid are surprised that I’m writing today.

How do you come up with your stories, characters, character names, POV, etc.?
Get this – most of my stories come to me in dreams. That was the case with my horror comedy novella Dead Heat and at least three WIPs. Salmonweird was different though. I just sat down one day and started writing a story about a man living in a village full of ghosts as the only live person. Because this is largely historical fiction, I researched names for authenticity. Cornwall in England where the book is based has a distinct linguistic and cultural tradition from the rest of England because the native Cornish language is Brythonic (related to Welsh, Scots Gaelic, Manx, Breton, and Irish Gaelic) whereas the English language is Germanic. Names of people and places are quite distinct. Morwenna, Kensa, Corin, Ebrel, Jowan are all characters in the book.

If you could actually meet one of your characters, who would it be?  Why?
Interesting question! Probably Hook Hand Harry (the pirate captain) from Salmonweird. I had such fun creating him. Despite being the comic relief, he has moments of genuine wisdom, will help anyone who needs it, and isn’t scared about getting his hands dirty. He’s loyal and has traditionally “gentlemanly” qualities on how to treat others.

Do you work from an outline? 
No, I wing it as I go along although sometimes I have ideas for chapters and scenes which I then work to piece together into the narrative.

Tell me about your favorite scene in your novel(s).
The opening scene when my main character returns to his bedroom after hearing his wife screaming the house down. I don’t want to say too much, because I genuinely think it’s the funniest thing in the book.

Can you tell us a little about your writing philosophy?
To write the sort of book I would want to read rather than writing what I think would sell. If I can make myself laugh at the funny scenes, if I can set my pulse racing during the tense scenes, if I can cry at the tragedies I create, and if I can feel something approaching sadness or grief for killing a character, then it’s almost certainly going to have the same impact on somebody else too. I love being creative, I love the ideas that my mind throws up.

Have you ever tried writing in any other genres?
I never stick to one genre. Salmonweird is a supernatural crime comedy with historical fiction. A current WIP I expect to finish this year is a science fiction horror set during the Roman Empire. I have written horror comedy and a current WIP is a tech thriller. So you could say I’m a bit of a genre bender! 

Do you have any interesting writing-related anecdotes to share?
The only thing I can think of is meeting weird fi fantasy writer Robert Rankin at a collector’s fair. I walked past his stall several times looking at his books. Eventually he said “all the times you’ve walked past my stall and thought about buying, you could have bought a copy of all my titles”. I went over, had a good talk with him and bought his book purely on the banter we had. I met him several more times after that and always bought his most recent book from the stall. I still have those books (signed) today. 

Do you listen to music as you write?
No. I need to absorb myself in the place, the characters and situation and visualise myself being there. I can only do that without distractions. 

Where is your favorite place to read?
At the beach. I haven’t done it enough this year yet but hope to remedy that soon. My nearest beach is about 15 minutes away so I have no excuse. 

What is the current book your reading?
A New Scientist volume of papers and articles about chance.

Matt, here are some suggestions I feel readers would like to read:

The inspiration behind your book, the benefits of your book for the reader and any personal related story compared with the world of your book ~
At the beginning of my book I have a Rudyard Kipling quote: “if history were taught in the form of stories it would never be forgotten”. That is the essence of Salmonweird. I want people to appreciate, understand, and enjoy history through my fictional characters and see that people in the past despite maybe having different worldviews or outlooks, were no different from us. They still fell in and out of love. They had family clashes. They worried about the future. They suffered happiness and grief. They got ill. They went to war and survived, or they died. They wanted to live a good life. But sometimes things went wrong with all the best intentions.
It was not my deliberate intention to do so, but in Salmonweird I feel I have brought some elements of English and British history to life through the lens of a tiny fictional village in Cornwall while not sacrificing the most important element in a story – the story. I hope readers find it as entertaining as educational. 

I like how you come up with your stories Matt, I can relate to those. You probably dream in color too. I had a great time reading your interview and I wish you the best on your new novel. The ghosts are coming ~

On the behalf of my readers Matt, thank you for your time.

Read the first 3 chapters of Salmonweird here, folks!

About the author:

Connect with Matt

MG Mason was born in Swindon in the 1970s but currently living on the Cornish south coast.

He has had an eclectic professional life, reading archaeology in Exeter but working as a web content writer. Without doubt, fiction is his first love.

A friend once asked him if he had considered writing a book in one genre without throwing two other genres into the same story. Until that point he hadn't realised just how much mashing up genres defined his work.

They were right of course. But what else can you expect from a scifi nerd with an archaeology degree?

These days, when not writing for businesses or fiction, he's usually found somewhere in Cornwall with a camera attached to his face.

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