Thursday, July 21, 2011
Writer Spotlight: Matt Dunn
On Coffee and Roses I like to bring you news of exciting authors who are either waiting to be published or published and worth checking out.
This week, I'm really excited to welcome the very lovely MATT DUNN into the Coffee and Roses Writer Spotlight...
When did you first decide that you wanted to write?
When I was 14, I wrote a report of a cricket match to be read out at school assembly. I thought I'd put some jokes into it, and I got a few laughs (though in retrospect, they may have been because my flies were undone), so there and then I knew I wanted to be a comedy writer. It took me another twenty-one years to actually sit down and have a go at it properly, though.
What interests you as a writer?
The complexity of relationships. The individuality of men and women. Maybe it's the other way round, but anyway, put those together and there's endless material.
Do you have a typical writing day?
I get up, have breakfast, then sit at my desk, look at my mortgage statement, and start typing! Seriously, like most writers on a book-a-year schedule, I treat it pretty much like a full-time Monday-to-Friday job (but with more tea-breaks), so I make sure I put a full working day in evey day. Worst case scenario, if it's not going well, I make sure I grind out a thousand words, even though they all might be rubbish. As deadline approaches, I'll work longer and later, and my final drafts are always given one last going-over in one twenty-four hour non-stop bout.
What made you decide to write The Accidental Proposal?
I'd loved writing about Ed and Dan, the two characters from The Ex-Boyfriend's Handbook and Ex-Girlfriends United, and people kept asking me whether I was going to re-visit them with a third in the series. I'd originally come up with the concept for The Accidental Proposal as a standalone novel, and then it occurred to me it'd work perfectly for the two of them.
What are the best things about being a writer?
There are loads: You get to make up stories for a living. The feeling when someone emails you to tell you they've enjoyed something you wrote. The great writers I've met who you'd expect to be secretive and competitive, but are (mostly) the complete opposite. The thrill of seeing your book on the shelves. Being able to work from anywhere (I'm in Barcelona as I write this). Being launched in a new country (The Ex-Boyfriend's Handbook and Ex-Girlfriends United have just come out in the US, so I'm going through the thrill of that again). Oh, and the royalties.
And the worst?
Some days, it's the writing...
Tell me about what you're working on now.
Apart from my backhand and my tan? Quite a few projects, actually. I'm writing my first stage play, completing another draft of book 7 (which is a bit of a departure from my normal stuff), and I'm about a third of the way in to another romantic comedy.
You've written six brilliant novels so far. What would be your top three tips for aspiring writers?
You're making me blush! Well, read, read, read, then write the kind of book you want to read. I had an epiphany when I first read Nick Hornby's High Fidelity and realised there might be an audience for the kind of thing I wanted to write about, so I sat down and tried to write something like that. Six novels later, I'm still trying. Also persevere - loads of people start writing a novel, very few actually finish it. And set yourself a word target per day - if you can do a thousand words, then in three months, you'll have completed a first draft. Oh, and don't worry if you think it's rubbish - it all comes together in the editing. Eventually.
Do you have a dream project you'd love to write?
I've missed it - I would have liked to be one of the writing team on Frasier. I'd like to write a film one day, but not obviously One Day, as David Nicholls has already done that.
Anything else you'd like to say?
Thank you for having me!
Thanks so much to Matt for a fab interview!
I'm a massive fan of Matt's books and I can thoroughly recommend his novels. I read The Accidental Proposal in a weekend and loved every minute of it! To find out more about Matt, visit his website and follow him on twitter.
If you would like to be considered for a future Writer Spotlight, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org