When did your love of books begin?
Books have always been a part of my life. We had bookshelves in several rooms in the house where I grew up. One of them was built into a planter in our living room. The earliest book I remember reading was Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss. We had Shakespeare Stories for Children and a full set of The Great Books. When our family went shopping, I liked to look around the B. Dalton bookstore at our mall. I was attracted to a number of books, including science fiction and humor.
When did you start to have the wish to become an author?
In high school, I started writing a personal journal to deal with typical teenage stuff. My English teacher, Darlene Loiler, read it and encouraged me to keep writing. I joined the school’s creative writing magazine and newspaper. But by the time I got to college, I doubted whether I can make a living as a writer. I considered switching my major to business because it was the 80s, and business was what everyone was supposed to be learning. Fortunately, I had a class with a wonderful writing instructor, Robert Oliphant, who rekindled my love for writing. I then found a writing job doing public relations and technical writing. I never let go of my desire to write books. I finally started in 2001 when I had more free time. My first novel, Offline, was self-published in 2005.
How have you found the process for becoming an author?
It’s a process of constant learning. When you’re not learning about the craft, you are learning about the subject matter. For my novel Amiga, I had to relearn how to use an Amiga computer after I sold mine 25 years earlier. I find ways to push myself in every book I write. It could be writing in first person, exploring a different type of character, or using elements of a different genre. By stretching myself, I can become a better writer and have fun doing it.
What would you say to those wanting to become an author?
Be open to feedback. My beta readers have given me valuable advice. My editor for Amiga gave me notes that helped me craft a stronger conclusion to my story. At the same time, you have to learn to take rejection and negative reviews in stride. Not everyone will like your book, and that’s OK. If you don’t have any one-star reviews, you don’t have enough reviews.
Tell us about your book/books:
I’ve published four novels, one book about public speaking, and several short works.
My latest release is The Remainders, which came out in September. It’s about a homeless son and his troubled father who struggle with personal demons and painful pasts as they search for each other in Southern California. Amiga is about a programmer who must deal with personal and career problems by facing a past she wants to forget. Both books were published by Black Rose Writing.
My earlier novels were self-published. In Offline, a manager must deal with a hostile merger, a budding romance, and an enigmatic employee named Bartleby. My alternate history novel Doria is about an orphaned girl who survives her country’s destructive revolution and gets caught up in the Cold War.
My non-fiction book Mastering Table Topics comes from my experience in Toastmasters. It shows how to give a quick impromptu speech and has 750 sample questions for practice. I’ve found my Toastmaster skills helpful in promoting my books.
You can find all of my books on Amazon and other booksellers. For more information, visit my books page at https://www.matthewarnoldstern.com/books.html.
What do you love about the writing/reading community?
I appreciate how we support each other. We recognize that writing is hard, and making readers aware of our books is even harder. We find ways to boost each other, share books we like, and give tips on the creative and marketing processes. Social media is often a contest of who can tear each other down the fastest. The writing community mostly seeks to build each other up.
If you could say anything to your readers what would it be?
I hope through my writing that you find connection. We live in challenging times, so I write about characters who go through their own challenges. As they learn to overcome their difficulties, I hope you discover ways to overcome whatever you are dealing with. I encourage you to complete the connection by writing reviews or sharing your insights on social media. I would love to hear from you.
Where can people connect with you?
You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and TikTok with the tag maswriter. To see my posts on a variety of topics and learn more about my books, visit matthewarnoldstern.com.