Monday, March 17, 2014

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Matthew Cox

Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.

Hobbies and Interests:

Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- after="" and="" deliberate="" fiction="" happens="" intellectual="" it.="" life="" nature="" o:p="" of="" questions="" reality="" science="" that="" the="" what="">

He is also fond of cats.


Prophet of the Badlands (excerpt) – Honorable Mention – Writers of the Future

Section #4: About Your Current Work

BRoP:  Tell us about your new book and when it is out? Where can people purchase it?

MC: Division Zero, my debut novel, tells the story of Kirsten Wren and her exploits with the psionic branch of the police force. Set in 2418, the world has been reshaped by an event known as the Corporate War. After several decades of conflict, the population of North America has migrated into massive contiguous cities that span both coasts to avoid the aftereffects of chemical weapons, military genetic mutations, and out of control gangs.

Kirsten, the main character, is a psionic cop with the ability to see (and harm) spirits and other denizens of the astral realm. As rare as her talents are, they get her put on the Investigative Operations team (similar to detectives) of Division Zero and she gets handed all cases involving paranormal entities.

The story follows her as she pursues a killer who is using human-like androids known as dolls as murder weapons. While attempting to put a stop to these killings, she tries to come to terms with childhood abuse at the hands of a mother that thought psionics were the Devil’s work.

It is being released on March 7 2014 by Curiosity Quills Press. It will initially be available on Amazon, paperback and Ebook. It may be available through Barnes & Noble if they decide to carry it. 

BRoP: Is there anything new, unusual, or interesting about your book? How is it different from other books on the same subject?

MC: I have seen mysteries, I have seen cyberpunk fiction, I’ve seen paranormal fiction. I can’t recall seeing all three elements combined. (Not saying it hasn’t happened, just that I haven’t run across it yet. I did not set out to really do anything more than the story I had in my mind. One of the people at CQ dubbed this a “Cyberpunk Paranormal Mystery” if it were to have a genre.

Division Zero is a mixture of psionic and paranormal (ghosts) elements in a sci fi cyberpunk world wrapped around a crime drama – with generous helpings of character-driven narrative.

BRoP:  What was the hardest part of writing this book?

MC: Keeping it under 100k words.

BRoP:  What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

MC: My favorite chapter is probably either the Asylum fight (chapter 2) because of the vivid imagery involved; or the chapter where she finally overcomes her mother’s influence on her life – it was a poignant emotional moment that still gets me misty eyed every time I proofread over it.

BRoP: Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?

MC: I learned a lot writing this. It was on this project that I finally understood what passive voice was (thank you James Wymore), as well as figured out how to spot filler.

 BRoP: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in this book?

MC: In the fifteen minutes I've sat here staring at this question, I can’t think of anything. The story, as it is now, is a little different than it was when I started. I had originally intended for one of the characters to be a bit of a mystery (in the sense of Deckard from Blade runner), and sprinkled liberal clues as well as some red herrings throughout to answer the question.

However, upon reaching the publisher, I was told that the book would work better if I clearly revealed this nuance about 75% of the way through. I did so, and I do think that it resulted in a stronger story. I decided to do the ‘reveal’ chapter in a subtle, emotional, way rather than a big, explosive way – and I am fond of the depth of emotion it lends to both characters involved. It also gave me a chance to develop a side plot for the second book in the series here.

BRoP: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

MC: Question anyone who claims to know the wants and desires of a higher power. Humanity will never miss an opportunity to use superstition and fear as tools to control people.

BRoP: Tell us about your book’s cover – where did the design come from and what was the design process like?

MC: The publisher asked for some preliminary ideas from me, what kind of mood I wanted to evoke with it. The final design came from their cover artist, though I had a surprising amount of influence. (To Alex: I hope I wasn’t a pain.)

(Don't mind me. My jaw is on the floor for this cover! So epic.)

Cox Division Zero CoverMost cops get to deal with living criminals, but Agent Kirsten Wren is not most cops.

A gifted psionic with a troubled past, Kirsten possesses a rare combination of abilities that give her a powerful weapon against spirits. In 2418, rampant violence and corporate warfare have left no shortage of angry wraiths in West City. Most exist as little more than fleeting shadows and eerie whispers in the darkness.

Kirsten is shunned by a society that does not understand psionics, feared by those who know what she can do, and alone in a city of millions. Every so often, when a wraith gathers enough strength to become a threat to the living, these same people rely on her to stop it.

Unexplained killings by human-like androids known as dolls leave the Division One police baffled, causing them to punt the case to Division Zero. Kirsten, along with her partner Dorian, wind up in the crosshairs of corporate assassins as they attempt to find out who – or what – is behind the random murders before more people die.

She tries to hold on to the belief that no one is beyond redemption as she pursues a killer desperate to claim at least one more innocent soul – that might just be hers.

Author contact information: 

Book links:

This is part four of a five-part interview. Be sure to check out the other BRoP sites for the rest of the interview: 

Part 2 @ Terri Bruce

Part 3 @ T.W. Fendley
Part 4 @ *waves*

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