Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Interview With Author Matthew Rudd Reynolds

A World on the Island’s Edge: Book 1 of the Golden Dolphin

Matthew Rudd Reynolds is a counselor out of Portland, Oregon who received his master’s from Multnomah University. Additionally, he has worked as a youth pastor for the previous 11 years. Today, Reynolds, a member of the deaf community, provides counseling to patients that are deaf.  For more info, please see: www.luxthegoldendolphin.com.

1.      What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or
experience and conveying it into a book? I had always wanted to write a book. That much was a no-brainer. I had an idea in my head for years and I decided to finally sit down and write it down. What resulted from that was my including some experiences from my childhood that I feel helped ground the narrative more. You have these fantastical ideas and theories but the kids — what they were going through, their individual struggles — some of those were based on childhood experiences, such as my grandmother having Alzheimer’s, for example. Those experiences just poured out naturally as I was writing the book. It wasn’t planned. Just came together the way it did.

2.      What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader?Without giving too much away, it is about a girl named Andi who lives with her twin brother and grandmother on a fictional island in the San Juan Archipelago located in the northwestern United States. She and her brother Artie have been keeping their grandmother’s dementia a secret in an effort to keep their family together. However, it is becoming harder to keep others from finding out. After Andi discovers a golden dolphin named Lux with supernatural powers, she decides to keep him from being found out by the world. What follows are a series of adventures that culminate in their lives being changed forever. Who is my targeted reader? I would say anyone ages nine and up. I do believe that the book has crossover appeal and that all ages would enjoy it. Family members can certainly talk about it with each other! As my son put it, “The book is different and enjoyable for everyone. It is like watching a childhood movie when you’re older…when you’re young, you appreciate the fantasy and action elements more, how colorful it all is. When you’re older, you have a greater understanding of the story and the emotions behind that.”

3.      What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down? I think the biggest thing I would want readers to take away from this is not to underestimate others. Andi and her brother Artie are both underestimated in different ways and to see how they triumph even against the most overwhelming of odds is, I think, inspiring. To remain strong even when the stakes are very high. I also hope that readers see that even though this is a fantasy novel, there is no ‘magic solution’. There is no special thing that makes all the challenges the characters face all right. The answers come from chasing and fighting for them, not waiting around for something to happen. Moreover, many of the triumphs that are won in the book are won through interdependence—working together. Everyone has something to bring to the table.  Finally, one of the characters—I won’t say who—sees and does things very differently. Our tendency as a people, I think, is to mock everything outside of our own experience. I hope this leaves readers with the understanding that one can’t do that—that everyone is capable of much more than we can possibly imagine.

4.      What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers? Both Stephen King and Madeline L’Engle agree on this: just write. I found that to be very true. While I had an idea in my head, I was more surprised at what came out in my writing this book than not. Don’t worry about edits until much, much later. Just fill the page. Writers also should not listen to that little voice in their heads that say they can’t do it. I believe writers should receive praise just as heavily as they receive criticism. I think people who are artists tend to weigh criticism more heavily than positive feedback. Both need to be weighed equally. Finally, if you think adults won’t understand what you’re writing about, then write it for children. Children are much less practical than adults and much smarter than they’re made out to be. They’re more willing to accept the world you’ve built and more open to ideas that you’re trying to convey.

5.      What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? As this is a self-published novel, I do have to touch on the rise of the self-publishing industry. It’s much harder, I think, to “break in” to the mainstream publishing industry than it was. It was never easy but now it’s almost impossible. I think in today’s world, self-publishing allows some writers to be discovered that might not be found otherwise. The rise of the Internet and social media demands that the author be involved in the promotion of their book. So having a superior knowledge of how to use both are necessary in increasing the chances of your book’s success. In fact, it's downright essential.

6.      What great challenges did you have in writing your book? Writing a book is hard work, but as this was my first time, I didn’t anticipate how hard it would be on a personal level. Questioning myself, questioning where I was steering the plot, balancing writing and my family life, balancing writing and my work life. And of course, there’s always dealing with that little voice in your head that says what you’re writing is no good, that it isn’t coming out the way it should be .As difficult as writing the book was, the editing process proved to be even more difficult. I’m very thankful to my many editors for their input and ideas, which I think helped me tighten and improve the book. But it was a difficult process for me, to balance helpful suggestions against the story I was trying to tell. Those decisions are never easy.

7.      If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours? I think that the situations the characters face are rooted in real-life situations. The imaginative journey they take through the book, however, is quite fantastical. I believe the book balances both sides nicely; it is relatable in its characters and entertaining in its mythology. The book isn’t defined by one genre or one age group. It’s a story that I’ve wanted to tell for a long time. I feel that it has a lot of important messages that I think readers young and old will appreciate. If it can entertain someone and help them with something they’re going through, that’s an even bigger gift.
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

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