When some authors decide to do a series, they put out a prequel so their readers would understand what is going on in their story. Often, that prequel is another novel.
But Matthew Head has done something different. His prequel, The Chronicles of Darkness: Prequels, is not another novel – but three short stories, each about the characters in his forthcoming novel, which will begin the series. Matthew is here to discuss this plus his writing process:
MH: I remember being impressed when “The Da Vinci Code” came out and there was all that massive hype around it – I remember people going to Paris and other locations from the book to try and hunt down the clues for themselves, it was mad! And I thought wow, all of this excitement from a book!
Then I went to university and we studied quite a bit of heavy literature there – it sunk in just how important the written word is. I guess I was enticed into it by the magic of the written word, because I think there is a magic to words – if written correctly they have to power to make us laugh, cry, feel anger, feel love. That’s colossal power and it’s thrilling to be involved with that.
MC: What is it about dark fantasy/supernatural that entices you?
MH: I’ve always loved that sort of thing – I think the idea that there’s still some mystery in the world is so exciting. The very fact that once upon a time people believed in all these creatures and beings is fascinating – regardless of whether or not there’s any real truth to it or not. I mean let’s face it, life today can be pretty dull – it’s all shopping at the supermarket and sitting at a desk and getting a bus, yawn, yawn, yawn. I think it’s a terrific escape to imagine fighting off a ghoul in a graveyard or encountering a werewolf in the woods.
MC: You’ve written three short stories that serve as prequels for “The Chronicles of Darkness: The Box of Infernos”. This is not something a lot of writers do. What made you do your prequel this way?
MH: I decided very early on I wanted “The Chronicles of Darkness” to be an immersive world. There’s going to be five books in the series but I want it to expand beyond that, I want my readers to be able to delve deeper and experience more. These prequel tales allow you to do just that.
They also serve as a literary smorgasbord, a tasting session before the feast of the books to come! In these prequels you’ll get a feel for all the themes that will be prevalent in my actual books. There’s “The Darkness at Down Street” which is spine-chillingly terrifying, then there’s “The Destiny of Melissa Smith” which is heart-breakingly sad. And then in “Beauty and the Beast” there’s a real blood-pumper of a story with a sting in the tail. Something for everyone!
MC: What advice would you give to any aspiring author?
MH: Don’t be put off by rejection from mainstream publishers. Believe in yourself, believe in your work. The publishing world is changing and with the ever expanding digital age that we live in the author has more of an opportunity to get their work out there than ever before. You could have written a stonkingly brilliant book but if the publisher doesn’t think it will sell copies because of its genre then they won’t touch you. That doesn’t mean your work isn’t worth reading – many people will love it! Roll up your sleeves and make it a success yourself!
MC: What can we expect from Matthew Head in the future?
MH: Well as I say “The Chronicles of Darkness” is a five part series so I’ll be getting those out into the world in the next couple of years starting in July. Then after that – who knows? I’ve got a almighty pile of ideas for a whole range of books in my brain and if I’m blessed with a long enough life then I’ll do my very best to get them all written!
Here’s where you learn more about Matthew Head and his books: