Hi, Matt! Thank you for joining us today! How long have you been writing? What inspired your quest to become a writer? I’ve been writing seriously for three years. I’m a pastor, so prior to that I’ve written lots of sermons and articles and resources, things like that, but I’ve only been writing fiction for the past three years.
My high school teacher encouraged me to write more, but back then I was going into computer science, and decided writing wasn’t for me. But it’s always been there in the background. When I was in seminary, I wanted to write more creatively; I tried bits and pieces, and failed miserably. I would end up writing just a few pages of a story, or I would try to write a play, but it would never stick, and I would never get around to finishing it.
Then, on my 39th birthday, I was listening to a podcast where they were interviewing guests who self-published. I had never heard of self-publishing before that and I felt empowered. I thought, Oh, maybe it’s possible to write something and put it out there to see what people think, rather than going through some vague process. And so I started writing a science fiction story, but it deteriorated.
A few months after that, I started writing something else, centered around the idea that maybe I could write something my daughter would want to read. She was five years old at the time, and so I thought I would write something for a ten year old. I started writing a fantasy for middle grade, thinking I would write something for when she was ten years old. I was writing this out of the desire for my daughter to read this, not for anyone else, and that motivation ended up being what stuck.
I thought it would take five years, but it actually took me only three months to finish the first draft.
So I think I found the right motivation.
Tell us about the Del Ryder series! In Del Ryder and the Crystal Seed, Del Ryder, an ordinary eleven year old girl with something to prove and looking for a place to belong, leads her three best friends through the magic portal into Azdia. There they meet Crimson, a lumen full of hope, who believes Del and her friends are the ones they have been waiting for. Unwilling to accept their destiny, the children still manage to enlist Crimson’s help in what becomes a fight for their own survival. Held hostage by living trees, battered by storms, and caught in a stampede of feldroes, the darkness of Azdia blocks them at every stage of their adventure. But Del and her friends persevere, following the clues of a cryptic riddle, in the hope that it leads them home.
The adventure begins with Book One in the Del Ryder Series: Del Ryder and the Crystal Seed, and Book Two, Del Ryder and the Rescue of Eleanor, continues the adventure. Readers have only a little longer to wait before Book Three is completed.
Describe your writing style in three words. Fast-paced. Adventurous. Inspiring.
What is the greatest praise you’ve received about the story so far? That is a hard question! After I self-published the books, I started thinking about how hard it is to get people to buy middle grade books, unless you know teachers or the kids, obviously. So I started doing school visits. That’s really been the most rewarding thing: going in to talk to kids and getting them to like reading. I wasn’t a big reader when I was a kid, and I talk to them about that.
The best feedback comes from the kids themselves. A librarian emailed me the day after a visit to her school to tell me that a student (I think she was about nine years old) had downloaded my book and read the entire thing in one night. Then she came back the next day and asked if she could borrow the library’s copy of the book so she could draw the cover and some of the creatures described in the book. The librarian ended up sending me the cover that the girl had drawn. That was the greatest praise: that someone liked the story enough to want to draw pictures of it.
You can view her artwork on my website.
You also write non-fiction. Tell us a little bit about that! I started out wanting to write non-fiction years and years ago. Writing fiction made me a lot more confident to come back to writing non-fiction; it’s super hard to adapt sermons to book form. I ended up changing almost everything I wrote.
I got the idea for this series while working on my sermons. I picked out ones that were particularly good, and that became the basic premise for 3 short books. The first book, Let God be God, was published in January, and all proceeds are donated to two different local missions. The second book, Let God Be Present, deals with trusting God and overcoming mental barriers for not letting God be present in our lives.
I also host a podcast called Spirituality for Normal People.
What is your favorite thing about writing? What is your least favorite? My favorite part is discovery, when I’m writing and something happens in the story that I wasn’t expecting. I think fiction writers understand that. All the sudden your characters do something or say something that you didn’t plan, and it’s awesome. You look at the scene and think, This is the best part of the book! It wasn’t planned, it just kinda came from somewhere else. This is one of the reasons I like writing fiction more than non-fiction.
The most challenging thing is consistency. It’s work. That’s the tough thing. Starting is something I don’t necessarily like. I usually don’t feel inspired to write. It’s partway through that you start thinking, This is awesome and I’m glad I’m writing today.
About MattOn a road trip across western Canada, a boy and his two older sisters listened as their mother read them The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Although he knew he loved the story, and as a teenager went on to fall even more in love with The Lord of the Rings, it wasn’t until the year he was turning 40 that Matthew David Brough felt the full force of these books. That was when he sat down to write a story and out came Del Ryder and the Crystal Seed, the first book in a fast-paced fantasy adventure series for ages eight and up.
Matthew is the devoted husband of Cheryl, loving father of Juliet, and the pastor of a small Presbyterian Church in Winnipeg, Canada. In both his reading and writing, he avoids books that moralize or “preach,” but loves stories of hope.
Find him on:
The Del Ryder Books
Darkness is spreading across mystic Azdia. Soon, all of life will stop glowing with light. Soon, the trees will no longer spring to life. Even the mighty feldroes will cease to roam the forests. Already, many lumens, the shape-shifting caretakers of Azdia, have lost faith in their provider and protector, the mysterious Mr. Thicket. The only hope for the creatures of Azdia are the awaited chosen ones sent from another world called Earth.
Del Ryder, an ordinary eleven year old girl with something to prove and looking for a place to belong, leads her three best friends through the magic portal into Azdia. There they meet Crimson, a lumen full of hope, who believes Del and her friends are the ones they have been waiting for. Unwilling to accept their destiny, the children still manage to enlist Crimson’s help in what becomes a fight for their own survival. Held hostage by living trees, battered by storms, and caught in a stampede of feldroes, the darkness of Azdia blocks them at every stage of their adventure. But Del and her friends persevere, following the clues of a cryptic riddle, in the hope that it leads them home.
The adventure begins with Book One in the Del Ryder Series: Del Ryder and the Crystal Seed.
GET the Ebook
Get the Paperback
Del Ryder and her best friend, Sam, need help if they are going to face off against the forces of darkness. Their best hope lies with Eleanor, who, in a different age, brought hope and light to the land of Azdia. When Eleanor is captured, Del defies the odds and sets off on a rescue mission which takes them to brink of disaster. Will Del be able to free her before the mysterious Heir of Mordlum corrupts, not only the entire realm, but also Del’s best friends?
Find out in Book 2 of the Del Ryder Series: Del Ryder and the Rescue of Eleanor.
GET THE EBOOK
Get THE PAPERBACK
Matt’s Non-fiction Works: