Jason Matthews lives in Truckee, California with his wife and teen daughters. He writes books, paints houses, skis, loves dogs and enjoys coaching European football - soccer. Life experience and the universe has fascinated him enough to write novels on the subjects: The Little Universe and Jim's Life. Jason also enjoys the fruits of the Internet, helping others create online platforms, making free websites and selling products such as ebooks. His guides include: How to Make, Market And Sell Ebooks All for Free, How to Make Your Own Free Website: And Your Free Blog Too, and Get On Google Front Page.
Jason also does Skype visits. If your club reads any of his books and would like a Skype visit, just contact him via his websites to arrange an author chat.
- Tell us about ‘The Little Universe’.
The Little Universe is about the amazing discoveries that are possible with a universe at your fingertips. Imagine being able to observe any star or planet no matter how far away. Imagine finding life on planets and then having the ability to accelerate universal time and watch it evolve from primordial soup to advanced life forms, even to intelligent alien worlds. Imagine what you could find.
- Why did you write this book, and what do you hope to achieve with it?
Growing up, I used to think about the vastness of space and wonder how many other worlds must exist beyond ours, especially planets that are so far away it seems impossible we could ever know about them. Then I thought of a science project where a miniature, self-enclosed universe is created including powerful cameras set in place to see any corner within it. Then the ideas really started rolling! I hope to achieve some answers to the deeper questions in life, and our place in the universe.
- Is there an underlying message in ‘The Little Universe’?
A paradox of the universe is that everything seems so big and far away, yet all life is actually connected, as Quantum Physics is beginning to understand. One major lesson in a human lifetime is discovering this connection. You may call the underlying factor many things; but I hesitate to use the word, God, because that word carries so many more varied meanings to different people. In The Little Universe, life is a soul experience and a chance for soul development that happens within our relationships and personal events, which are designed to assist in genius ways.
- Of the characters you’ve created, do you have a favourite? If so, why this particular character?
There is an alien called The Grandmother who lives on a discovered planet of seemingly primitive people within The Little Universe. She is a telepathic guide for those who seek assistance through meditation, prayer and dreams. She's a very wise and tuned-in spirit. I wish I had more of her understanding sometimes as I stumble my way through my own existence.
- How is writing science fiction or fantasy different from writing other genres?
I also write non-fiction in the form of how-to books. To me, those are much easier than my fiction because I already know all the parts, or can research what I need to know. With my novels, there's often much that I don't understand or see clearly as I'm initially writing. At first there is no beginning, middle and end, but there are just a series of parts. It's more of a jigsaw puzzle compared to the non-fiction. Over time, the story usually unfolds like a flower to me. Only then can I see the beginning, middle and end.
- What did you find most rewarding in the writing process?
The old saying, 'Why do you climb a mountain? Because it's there,' comes to mind. I didn't think I would write novels as a kid growing up. Then these stories got stuck in my head as ideas that felt like they had to be expressed. I doubted if I was up to the task, and they were quite large tasks that took years. But when they were finally done and when I heard from absolute strangers, saying how much they enjoyed the novels, then it felt like I had really accomplished something.
- What did you find most challenging, and how did you overcome it?
Writer's block or not knowing what comes next in the story is incredibly frustrating. Sometimes I'll complain in journal entries like, 'What the hell happens next in this story? I wish I knew what happens to this character!' Sometimes the answers come within minutes, but often they don't come for months. When I'm most blocked, it's usually because I need to learn certain things in my own life that will help with what I'm attempting to write.
- What have you done to promote and market your book, and what advice would you give to other authors?
Thankfully, the Internet has tons of free resources for networking and marketing. I created ebooks and uploaded to all the major retailers like Amazon. I created websites and blogs and became fairly active with them. I joined forums for writers and readers, and I also got into Facebook, Twitter and any social media site that felt worthwhile. All of these things are totally free of cost, and that's the best part. This effort was the background for my first non-fiction title, How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free. My advice for other authors is to build your online platform as much as possible with free resources. Be active and visible, networking as much as time allows. Blog, blog, blog. Get a free blog with a good company like Wordpress or Blogger.
- Who, do you imagine, would be your ideal reader?
My ideal reader would be a film producer like James Cameron who recognizes the potential for both The Little Universe and the sequel, Jim's Life, to be made into blockbuster movies. The other ideal readers are people who enjoy stories about the mysteries of life, our place in the universe, and those who feel good knowing we're all in this together with unique talents, experiences and pieces to share in the big puzzle.
- What advice would you give to help others build the confidence required to write their first book?
Mountains get climbed one step at a time. Immense structures get built one brick at a time. Books get written one sentence at a time. Anyone with an interesting story to tell can be an author. It just takes effort and time. When you feel inspired, write. Try to write a bit everyday. A month or two later, you might be surprised how much great material you've got on paper.
- Would you like to see your book adapted for the screen? If so, do you have any aspirations, or reservations, regarding this?
I believe the elements in my novels are perfect for the big screen. They have incredible visuals of alien worlds, futuristic inventions, light forces within living things, and they also have deeper meanings for thoughtful discussions. Hopefully the movies will help bring people closer together.
- Tell us a little about a good science fiction or fantasy book you’ve read recently.
The book I'm currently reading is by an Indie author and hasn't yet been published, but it feels like a real winner. It's called Ripple, about dolphins and the hidden work they do to better the planet. It takes the reader into the minds of dolphins and the angelic beings that watch over them from other galaxies. Very trippy stuff. You can currently only read it through Authonomy, but look for it to be published someday by author, Tui Allen.
- What are you doing now?
Now that I have five titles for sale as both ebooks and paperbacks, I'm spending my time marketing online. I'd like to begin the third novel and have a completed trilogy with room for more books; but the ideas just aren't flowing, so I believe the universe is telling me to market now, write later.
- Describe ‘The Little Universe’ in one sentence.
What a tough request! The Little Universe is about discovering the biggest mysteries of life, by simultaneously looking outward into the cosmos and deeply within ourselves.
- Where can we find you and your books?
You can find me at my home in Truckee, California or on my websites. You can find my ebooks at every major retailer and the paperbacks through Amazon and CreateSpace.