with Matthew McGuirk:
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences and biggest influences currently?
I started writing as long ago as I remember, but I guess I felt serious about it in middle school, hand scrawling novels through spiral notebooks. In high school, I wrote a novel, which looking back at it now was really bad, but it was fun and seemed good at the time.
As far as influences, I read a lot of Stephen King in middle school and high school and really still do, so I’d say he was one of my first influences and I really respect his longevity, ability to craft such diverse stories and dedication to the craft. I really respect the writing in classic/canonical literature, but don’t necessarily think I would consider those huge influences on me, although anything someone reads has an impact on them and their writing. I also love writers like Ray Bradbury and HP Lovecraft and think both of them do such a nice job of creating these wondrous places and stories that people can just get lost in. Lastly, my current influences are just about anyone and anything I read and like from authors on Twitter or throughout social media because there is so much out there that just doesn’t get enough attention and is amazing.
Q2: Any pivotal moments when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Matthew: I think I always wanted to be a writer, but the pivotal moment for me was after the longest break I took from it, where I hadn’t written much at all in about 5 years. Last November, it just felt right to get back into it and I’ve crafted over 100 stories and 50 poems since then, had numerous pieces published and accepted for publication and now have my debut collection out! I don’t foresee myself giving up writing again!
Q3: Who has helped you most with writing?
Matthew: To be honest, my wife has the biggest impact on my writing because she is my first reader and is both my harshest critic and biggest fan when it comes to my writing. We don’t always agree on everything she says or thinks about my writing, but I alway listen with as clear a head as I can and appreciate the time she puts into reading the pieces and giving me her insight. There have been many pieces that have greatly benefited from her fresh pair of eyes. With others, I’ve stubbornly held my post for better or worse and kept them as they were because in the end writing is subjective and not everyone is going to like everything you write.
Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing & did any travels away from home influence your work?
Matthew: I think place greatly impacts my work. I grew up in rural New Hampshire and still live in a similar area. You’ll find pieces of my work that describe places similar to my childhood home very closely. I find nature to be a huge part of both my fiction and poetry and growing up surrounded by it no doubt ingrained a lot of these images into my mind. I haven’t traveled a lot, but we have moved several times and the idea of movement seems to play a big role in a lot of my writing as well. Lastly, contrast is integral to my work and I think the dichotomy between living in the country and living in the city for portions of my life is a huge influence on the pieces that deal with those topics.
Q5: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far to you?
Matthew: My hybrid collection, Daydreams, Obsessions, Realities that was recently released with Alien Buddha Press is my greatest and most meaningful piece that has been published thus far. Each of the stories or poems came to fruition as individuals, but when I began designing the collection I saw a flow and storyline that lived between them and I think this is one of the greatest impacts the collection has. The collection also deals with many important topics ranging from relationships, addiction, mental health, nostalgia, place and others and I think the variety of pieces and diversity in topics will really be able to reach and connect with a wide and varied audience. I loved creating and curating this collection and hope readers will love reading it just as much!
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Matthew: I have many activities that are enjoyable and relaxing, but playing with my daughter, hanging out with my wife and watching some TV, reading and writing are some of the top ones. I’d say outdoor activities like gardening and just being in nature would be up there as well.
Q7: What is a favorite line/stanza from a writing of yours or others? Or share a link to a favorite artwork or music video.
Matthew: I just love writing endings, so any time I can make someone say, “wow, I really liked that ending.” It just makes me smile! I don’t want to give too much away as far as specific lines go, but there are some good endings in my collection in my opinion!
As far as one of my favorite starting lines, it has to be from a piece that has had a few close calls, but actually hasn’t been published. The line is, “We’re guys that can get rid of things and that’s how we got in the position we’re in.” I love that it throws you right in the action and makes you wonder a little right at the start. I’m hoping some day a magazine will pick that story up, but if not it’ll end up in a collection and some readers will love it!
Q8: What kind of music do you enjoy? Favorite musical artists, influences, songs that inspire?
Matthew: I’m not one who can listen to music while writing, but I do enjoy a lot of different music. I think country music and classic rock would be my most frequented, but my wife’s Itunes list is diverse and we are sort of all over the map when listening to music.
Q9: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
Matthew: I really appreciate anyone who wants to check out or has read my book, Daydreams, Obsessions, Realities from Alien Buddha Press! A little background is that it’s a hybrid collection with a few more fiction pieces than poetry, but pretty balanced and some that blur that line anyways. As mentioned in one of the previous questions, they are separate pieces, but do tell a story when laced together as they are in this collection. I’d love to hear from people that are reading and how they are liking it too, those types of interactions are so cool. Thanks again to anyone who has picked the book up or is thinking about giving it a read, I really appreciate the support!
Bonus Question: Are there any funny memories that you can recall during your writing journey or creative journey?
Matthew: I think the fact that I shared a portion of my terrible novel with a teacher when I was in high school at the time and now she’s a colleague is sort of funny because of how bad it was. She was encouraging though, which made it so I wasn’t deterred as a writer! I was definitely a little sheepish when I went to tell her I had some stories published online because of the previous piece I showed her. I guess in the end though, it just shows how much people grow throughout their creative journey and now I’m able to look back at that writing and see what would need to be scrapped and where there might still be some gems, which could be polished a little and turned into something nice.
I really appreciate the opportunity to answer these questions and thought they were really insightful and had me reflect on my work and journey as a writer. Thanks again, David and the team at Fevers of the Mind.
Bio: Matt McGuirk teaches and lives with his wife and two daughters in New Hampshire. He was a BOTN 2021 nominee, is now a regular contributor at Fevers of the Mind and has poems and stories published in 50+ literary magazines with 100+ accepted pieces. His debut collection, Daydreams, Obsessions, Realities with Alien Buddha Press isavailable on Amazon, linked in the bio and also on his website.Follow him on Twitter: @McguirkMatthew and Instagram: @mcguirk_matthew.
Website: http://linktr.ee/McGuirkMatthew Daydreams, Obsessions, Realities: https://www.amazon.com/Daydreams-Obsessions-Realities-hybrid-collection/dp/B09M5KY8HH/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=