Today I'm interviewing Mat Leyshon author of 'Jack the Ripper Live And Uncut'
Hello Matt would you like tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I was born in Australia spent most of my childhood in a suburb called Liverpool in Sydney. I now live in the USA (Tampa FL) and love life here too, being married with two children. I am spoiled with two good choices on where to live, which can be a blessing and a curse at the same time.
I’ve wanted to write stories pretty much since I have been able to write. I love storytelling and either seeing or hearing reactions from those that are party to it. Currently I’m a humble software engineer by day but hoping I can make a career out of this author gig.
Do you aim for a set amount of words pages per day?
I have two kids and one of them is a night owl like their mum and dad. So no, haha! I always try to either write/contribute to a book or do work on the promotion of my current one. To give you an idea though I wrote 60 pages in 5 weeks, which is not great, but my family went on a road trip for 10 days. In those 10 days I wrote 180 pages. I love them dearly but man do I get a lot done when I’m on my own! I do set writing goals or milestones but they are not daily ones.
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
I use a computer and that is probably a very good thing.
Where do your ideas come from?
I could default to my dark, twisted mind but I think there are various things that serve as catalysts for inspiration. I could get ideas from research, it may cause a simply idea to grow into something bigger, which definitely happened with this book. It can also come from the most obscure of places, when I am totally distracted and should not be thinking about writing. I recently mapped out 90% of my next story’s outline while sitting in a hotel hot tub. I can’t say I planned that.
What is the hardest thing about writing your book?
Definitely research for starters. For most matters, especially the main topic in this book (Jack the Ripper) you find that one or two sources can’t be deemed reliable enough. This book required a ton of research, a lot of it after midnight, and it was a very dark rabbit hole to go down. I found I was full of a lot of adrenaline after writing and researching some aspects of this particular book and found sleep difficult after a lot of nights.
It is obviously tough to find the time. The vast majority of this book was written between 10:00pm and 2:00am. That can be taxing, especially trying to be a decent husband and father in the same time day. The words of James Patterson still resonates with me though. “There are no excuses, a writer will always find time to write during their day.” I believe that is true, I just had to extend my day.
One other thing, was maintaining a balance where the books narrative was concerned. I wanted to write a Jack the Ripper tale that even the hardest of hard core fans would enjoy. They could enjoy the yarn, and appreciate the detail, not be preoccupied with pulling it apart. I also wanted to create a mainstream thriller for any reader, that loves a good page-turner, to enjoy. Knowledge of the Jack the Ripper murders is not a prerequisite here. There is more reward for those who do though.
What is the easiest thing about writing your book?
Getting into the narrative that either didn’t require any further research, or none at all, just imagination. I could also say writing the juicy bits was interesting, which made it easy of course.
Do you ever get writer’s block? and if you do is there any tips that you use which could help others through their dreaded writer’s block?
I did and got a mad case of it while writing my book. What I eventually did was jump to another part of the book that I felt I could write easily and worked on that. It kind of helped as I went from that point through to the end, leaving a 12 chapter gap right in the middle of the book! When it came to filling in the gap I simply pushed through, writing only 2/3 of a page on one night. The next night I wrote 3 pages. After that I was good and had my momentum back.
My advice would be to possibly write another part of the book, I know that’s not feasible for some novels though. That or simply push through bit by bit. If all else fails, locate the nearest hot tub.
Can you tell us about the cover's and how they came about.
I conceived the idea very early. I wanted a cover that would jump out, especially as a thumbnail, but I also wanted it to have a confronting Ripper scene, along with a strange third party leaving people to wonder “who is that guy?” I sat down with an artist and conveyed this idea and I thought he did a very good job of the artwork. I actually did the title design.
Who designs your book covers?
I did, with some input from the cover artist. I was pretty stubborn about what I wanted though. To be honest I am currently considering a new cover that is more basic. I had somebody in the know tell me they felt the cover spoke only to Jack the Ripper fans and I think they have a point. Most thrillers have basic covers that give away nothing, so I may go back to basics, and that may include changing the title.
Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
I have not tried it to this point but have thought about it. I see and read mixed feedback regarding the experience so I am currently not sure. If I were confident it could increase my readership by a decent amount I would probably be all about it.
What is your favourite positive saying?
“Don’t expect, suggest.” (Yes I quoted a U2 song haha.)
I also love “It is not the mountain that we conquer, but ourselves.” – Sir Edmund Hillary
Also “Do things based on the reasons why you should rather than not do them based on the reasons why you shouldn’t.” That one is actually mine.
Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?
I live in a country with Donald Trump as President, so who the hell knows!
Hopefully writing more, having produced at least 2 more stories. Would prefer they were best-sellers like any author, but this current book has given me so much personal satisfaction by merely completing it I think there is gratification in that alone.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Start now! What are you waiting for?
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Oh man I love this question! If I had to pick one, which is very difficult, I would say The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. It was my favourite book growing up as a child and one of my all time favourites. It’s not just a classic, it’s extremely clever, wonderful imagination and very funny. It also has a very important message that is still relevant for children today. I would have been honoured to have my name attached to a book and story so rich.
For materialistic purposes I would say The Da Vinci Code. I actually love the book but I did say for superficial reasons. I could have bought my own island and retired on that thing.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
It’s hard work. Whether your book requires research or simply your own creativity, it is still very hard work. It is so worth it though. Holding that proof copy in your hand is the greatest feeling. Also don’t be afraid to reach out. Many writers, especially myself, have called upon the generosity of others and most are very keen to help.
And be ready for the hard yards once that first draft is done. There is just as much ahead as what is now behind you. But if you believe you have written/told a good story then roll your sleeves up and fight for it. Some of the most successful authours received a lot of rejection before their story finally hit the big time.
Where do you see publishing going in the future?
I think self-publishing, or publishing through companies that are more independent or even obscure, is going to continue to grow in numbers. The big houses can’t accommodate everybody and the number of people who believe they can be an author is growing almost exponentially on account of how accessible chances are for them.
I see eBook depositories such as the Kindle Store, Smashwords, iBooks and the like only growing in numbers. The invention of tablets has helped that. It’s also a lower cost method of getting your story out there. I think more people will be taking easier or faster options, enabling them to spend more time writing. The market is saturated and that’s not going away. I think a consequence of that is the bricks and mortar stores will simply stock by choice, with more “print on demand” publishing coming to the fore.
I also see audio books becoming more popular. With so many people commuting, working out, or simply not wanting to read paper or screen anymore I think the audio option is going to show growth.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Just one shameless pitch for the book. If you’re a Ripperologist you WILL enjoy this book! If you’re not you will still enjoy it as well. My first proof-reader knew nothing about Jack and even told me if he saw my book in a store he would have walked straight passed it as it is “not his thing”. He has now purchased six copies of the book and given them to others to read
Thank Matt and we wish you all the best with your book for these who might interested in purchasing a copy of the book there is a link below.