Author Interview: Matthew Davenport

Matthew Davenport

1. 1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I’m working on multiple projects. Satan’s Salesman 2: The Devil is in the Details is the novel I’m trying to finish. I’m 75% there, but have been distracted by my other projects. I’m also working on a plot for something with my brother that’s best described as Lovecraft meets Hogwarts. Then I’m also working on two anthology projects with my usual Mythos crowd.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

I have a wide selection over a few genres. Most people know me for my Andrew Doran series, which is a pulp adventure series during the 1940’s and follows an archaeologist as he protects the world from the artifacts of the Cthulhu Mythos. I mostly tend to write in the mythos, with another novel of that style being The Trials of Obed Marsh, that follows the downfall of Innsmouth. It works as a prequel to Lovecraft’s own The Shadows Over Innsmouth.

My brother and I work together on a series called, Broken Nights, that follows a vigilante who isn’t “Bruce Wayne rich” as his world slowly spirals towards more and more comic book level threats. It asks the question of how a normal man with an Amazon account can stand against super villains.

More in the vein of The Trials of Obed Marsh, but less Mythos, I also have a horror series called, Satan’s Salesman. It follows the sales culture of our modern world by applying it to the trade of souls on the supernatural plane. The protagonist, Shane Lowe, tries to find any angle to justify his dark deeds.

My other books include a young adult story, currently in the queue for republication, called The Sons of Merlin, following the lineage of Merlin as Camelot is thrown into the hands of evil again. I wrote that one with Robert Reynolds who originally came up with the plot back when we were in school.

My earliest works, the Random Stranger series, are an urban fantasy set of books giving personalities to some of the world’s more prevalent ideas. This was the first set of books I had published and I am overdue to finish that trilogy.

Finally, I have started working regularly with a group of writers to put out several crossover/anthology books that gather some of our worlds together. The Tales of the Al-Azif, The Book of Yig: Revelation of the Serpent, The Tales of Yog-Sothoth, and Time Loopers are all included in that.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Scribbling in my notebook is my favorite part of the writing process. I thoroughly enjoy piecing together my ideas, plotting out the story, and building a roadmap. The conception of the idea on paper is the most free my imagination will be in the entire process.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

As happy as the roadmap makes me, I am always surprised by the twists and turns the characters begin making as soon as they start to be typed out. I could have the most detailed notes ever (looking at you The Trials of Obed Marsh), and my characters will do entirely unexpected things and I will have to go back to my notes and adjust for these changes. It is absolutely astounding how much autonomy the fictional characters of my mind can have once they start to come to life.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

If there was any skill that any author has that I wish I could bottle up and drink, it would be C.T. Phipps’s ability to sit down and make himself write. The hardest part of the process, for me, is making myself sit down and take the time to get started. Once I have started, it’s easy peasy, but getting that wheel moving is akin to moving a mountain with a toothpick.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

I have most recently been working on my The Esoteric Cavalry stories. It is a set of Weird Wild West tales that are in the same universe as Andrew Doran. Hiram Cartwright is the main protagonist and he is a survivor of the Civil War who fought for the Esoteric Cavalry, defending the Union against the use of Mythos monsters and Dark Wizards. His spirit is damaged and he can’t settle down now that the war is over. He’s hurt and can only keep fighting monsters because he just doesn’t know how to do anything else.

If he kidnapped me, I would explain that his suffering was necessary for the world to not fall into chaos. I would remind him of everything he saw during the war, the things not recorded, the things other minds would have buckled under, and I would ask him what would have happened if he hadn’t been there.

He would probably see me as some omnipotent demigod, akin to Nyarlathotep, controlling his life and ruining others. He would accept my explanation and likely still shoot me dead.

7.You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

The last book I read was Lumley’s Necroscope. It is similar to in stakes as most of my stories, so the stakes for a poker game would likely be a bit of esoteric knowledge from Lumley’s Necroscope. Perhaps the knowledge of how to use his Mobius Continuum to travel between worlds. I know a certain archaeologist who might be desperate for that information.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

When writing, the biggest trap to fall into is giving up. There’s a quote out there that I can’t remember who said it but it goes something like this: “The best novels ever written never made it past the first chapter.” Or something like that. Basically, a lot of people, even full time authors, get discouraged, distracted, or just tend to not care enough after they’ve started that first chapter. They hit the wall of “wait…this is actually work?” and they stop. Try not to. Work through it. There is no feeling quite as awesome as getting that first draft completed. Push through the hard parts and clean it up after the fact, but don’t stop.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Book 3 of the Andrew Doran series, Andrew Doran and the Scroll of Nightmares came out in October 2021!