Monday, February 18, 2013

YA Heroes, Grits, & Matthew MacNish

So The Truth About Letting Go (link) drops Thursday...

I've decided the only cure for my nerves is more cowbell. Just kidding--it's another writer-friend interview! 

Matt and I met in early 2010 because I'd written a post asking what teenage boys liked to read, and I wanted male commentary.

I didn't know any male bloggers, so I started trolling the comments of my other bloggy friends, and I found Matt, Alex Cavenaugh (link), and DL Hammons (link). I know, the Dream Team, right? 

Well, we ended up being great friends, and now it's time for Matt to be in the hot seat. Let's geaux!

LTM: Back when we first "met," you told me how you'd lost your mom at a young age, then you were sent to live with some relatives you didn't get along with, and eventually you ended up in military school.

Share with the readers what it's like to grow up as EVERY male love interest in EVERY YA novel. You were getting all the poonanny, weren't you. Confess.
Hey, girl, you write YA?

MRM: Hah! This is all mostly true. My mom died when I was eleven, and my dad was useless, so my little sister and I moved to Minnesota to live with an aunt and uncle. By ninth grade they had kicked me out of the house, and it was off to boarding school.

I was an angry little punk, so it only took me a year to get expelled from the “nice” boarding prep school, and then it was off to, not military school, but an “emotional growth reform school for at risk teens in bumblefunk north Idaho” (that’s not exactly what it said on the brochure).

The thing is, though, before that school, I was a total dork. I was in the fencing club, I played the hell out of D&D and video games, and I spent my weekends reading fantasy and designing maps of cities for my role playing games. It wasn’t until they sent me away to boarding school that I discovered booze, weed, and partying. 

Oddly enough though, it was being into all that naughty stuff that finally gave me the balls to talk to girls (but no, I’m not giving you kiss and tell details, you’ll have to read my books to find out how awkward teen romance really is).

(Whatever. Nobody's buying the dork story, MRM. You were baggin' all the babes. We know.) 

LTM: Jessica Bell (link), who has the same name as my first cousin Jessica Bell, said at times emailing with you and me is like being a guest on a morning talk show. Knowing Jessica, I'm not sure that's a compliment. But assuming it is, what would our talk show be named?

I'm still going with "Leigh and Matthew in the Morning!" a'la...

MRM: M&M and LTM Be Droppin’ Gems.

(He says in his best "dork" voice. Whatever, Mr. "I'm a Dork," that idea's way cooler than mine.)

LTM: Since we're on news now, and I'm a former hard-hitting investigative journalist, I'm going to blow your cover and reveal that you were once an actor in the field of adult entertainment.
Exhibit A for the defense.
*Big reveal!* It's why you changed your name from Matthew Rush to Matthew MacNish. Care to comment? Tell us, what's the hardest part about working in the adult film industry?

MRM: LOL. First of all, do NOT do a Google image search for Matthew Rush if you are not 18, or if you are at work. I'm not kidding. (*serious face*.... Now back to the interview!)

But seriously, that's not me. My real name is Matthew Rush, though. Being an aspiring author of books about teens, it didn't seem appropriate to use a name so famously associated with someone so ... fit. Anyway, MacNish is my paternal grandmother's maiden name, and it's damn cool. So I adopted it as my pen name. I have some short fiction published under it.

The hardest part of working in the adult film industry is probably the pectoral muscles. Or maybe the glutes.

(And I was going to guess the fluffers. I've heard those guys are so demanding... But, yeah. That's "not you." You're also "a dork." Whatever. Much like hips, pictures don't lie.)

LTM: Moving right along. You started the Q3E (link) as a way to demonstrate we have the same brain when it comes to critiques. What am I thinking right now? Go!

MRM: You are imagining a scene from the sequel to Rouge (link), which is going to be called Rogue, and you’re picturing Hale, who has now become a cat burglar in order to help Beau support her and Teeny in Paris, while she removes her skin tight leather pants and gets ready to do some heavy petting and deep sighing with her lover.

Wait. Were we talking about critiques?

(First, stop trying to confuse the readers! There's no such thing as Rogue! Second... what? No! I am not frantically scribbling down what you just said or brainstorming cover ideas to match it...)

LTM: I wrote a post once about driving my then-seven-year-old daughter home one night and her watching the heat lightening and how it reminded me of being a kid. You directed me to a similar piece of flash fiction you wrote about a little boy watching the moon, and it was gorgeous and touching... 

Just how many ladies do you make cry with your lovely writing? 

MRM: Man, I miss being a kid. I believe you’re talking about "Babysat by the Man in the Moon," which you can read at Bryan’s blog (link). You can read all my short fiction here (link).

Reading the story itself will probably tell you more about my writing than I can in this answer, but I have no idea how many ladies cry at my writing. I do believe though that sadness, and the expression of grief in general, is one of the most beautiful things about writing. I don’t believe in therapists; I write instead.

And if "Babysat" made you cry, wait til you read "The Deafening Silence."

(That's me right now. Silence. Oh, wait. My earpiece was off... Was I singing off-key? No, seriously, MRM's writing is gorgeous. Check it out~)

LTM: On that note, in addition to being a former actor, you were also formerly a DJ and music producer. Was your DJ handle LL Cool M?

MRM: It's true. I used to own a record label, a small independent underground label in Minneapolis called Butterbeat Records. My partner was the talent. I just wrote the checks. But anyway, he used to play at a lot of raves, and one night he opened for Daft Punk, who opened for Richie Hawtin (this was before they were famous), and that was pretty damn cool, getting to meet them all.
Yeah, you know me!

(I bet! And since you refused to answer my question, I'm giving you the DJ name Mad Panda. You're down with MPP...)

LTM: Finally, you and I have established we have a common ancestral link to Mississippi--yours being in Meridian and mine in Liberty. 

My husband likes to say all white people from Mississippi are related. If my Mammaw were alive, I'm sure she would've already established that my husband and I are cousins of some number. I'm sure us, too.

Finish this analogy: Mississippi cousins are to writing as cornbread is to...

MRM: Yep. My dad was from Meridian and was supposedly related to both the author John Grisham (our family’s branch spells it Gresham) and the composer Frances Scott Key. The Rush hospital in Meridan is apparently named for a relative of mine.

Unfortunately, I’ve been mostly estranged from that side of the family for some time. It’s kind of sad, especially since my dad passed away in 2008.

As for the analogy: Mississippi cousins are to writing as cornbread is to grits.

(Mmmm... grits. Now I want some shrimp. This is the part where the Louisiana relative comes over, and it gets really good...)

LTM: OK, finally finally, get serious now. I know you're involved in like 15 blogs and you're co-hosting the A-Z Challenge in April (link). You're also working on a new book. So tell me the premise of your new book. Is it about how a super-popular blogger devised a master-plan to take over the publishing universe and give all his best friends (and possibly cousins) huge, seven-figure deals? And when can we expect it out?

MRM: My new MS WIP, which has the working title Running from Ruby Ridge, is what I call a YA Contemporary Psychological Thriller with elements of Magical Realism (I know, long winded genre, I’m working on it). It’s about a kid who’s been bouncing from foster home to foster home for years and finally gets shipped off to a behavioral modification program by his probation officer.

Long story short, he and another kid escape, and the story follows them as they try to survive on the road and get away from the psychopath who abuses them but also saves them.

I’m revising and expect to have it to betas soon, but I’ll probably query it this spring and see if I do any better than with the last book.

(Wow. And wow on that genre. I think your dork claim is officially debunked. And no word on the book deal? No? Not even for a cousin?)

Well, that wraps up this month's installment of Leigh & Matthew in tha... I mean, that's all we got, reader- and writer-friends! I'll be back Thursday chewing my nails. Til then...

Have a super week~ <3


Jessica Bell said...

LMAO!!! I love this. And hey, Rogue! Rogue! Rogue! Oi! Oi! Oi!(to replace Aussie Aussie Aussie ...) :-P

Natalie Aguirre said...

Such a fun interview. And I've always been curious about why Matt changed his last name. Now I know.

Steve MC said...

What an interview! So much wit this early in the day, I'm sure a lot of it went over my head.

Also, very cool about Daft Punk. Never heard of them till I saw "Tron: Legacy" this last week (twice) and thought they were great.

Yeah, I can dork with the best, and that Matt definitely is.

Laura Pauling said...

Love the interviews. I do remember Matt mentioning that about the name change. The new one is good. I hope this one works for Matthew. Sounds like a great premise.

So, Leigh, are you going to add the cat burglar? ;)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You two were having too much fun with this!
Boarding school messed you up? Figures.
Not even going to ask about the panda suit...

Pat Hatt said...

Great and fun interview, never knew about the name thing, and I'll take your advice and not google it, my eyes have seen enough I'll never scrub out of my brain already..haha

Carolyn Abiad said...

Love this! Great way to start my Monday morning. :)

Matthew MacNish said...

Oh Bwah hah hah hah hah! That catwoman photo really takes the cake. Hilarious. Well done, LTM!

Hart Johnson said...

HA! How cool is that that we know a porn star!? And Ruby Ridge is in Idaho! Good spot for that freaking long-genred book! (great concept) (I think reform school FREQUENTLY had the opposite effect--just like jail... you put people among criminals and they turn from one-trick wonders into criminals.

D.G. Hudson said...

Matt does a mean interview, and you bring out the best LTM!

Brightened my morning. Seriously. I remember when Matt changed his name. Usually there's a good reason for that.

kah said...

I would be the BIGGEST fan of Leigh and Matthew in the Morning. I'd wear "I heart Leigh and Matt" t-shirts and everything.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Best of luck to you on the new project, Matthew. It sounds like a real winner to me :)

Barbara Watson said...

Super fun interview! I loved learning a little more about Matt. Thanks, you guys.

Andrew Leon said...

You know, seeing as how celebrities can get book deals as easily as passing gas, you might want to just take your name and run with it.

Old Kitty said...

You and Mr McNish are related!?! *Faints*.


Take care

Kelly Polark said...

Ha ha ha! You guys are too much!!
Love it!

Anonymous said...

Rogue, LOL!

Nice getting to know you better, Matt!

Joe Lunievicz said...

Enjoyed the chatter and the laughs! Great for a holiday Monday.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

You too have the wittiest banter ever! Great interview! And I could never remember which was Matt's real last name and which was his pen name (spastic memory I have) -- but I think THIS explanation will fix it firmly in my mind. LOL!

Julie Musil said...

OMG, this interview is the BEST! I'd watch you guys on morning TV for sure.

Angela Ackerman said...

Great interview! Matt is one of the very best people out in blogger land, so it is always awesome to find out more about him!


Matthew MacNish said...

Thanks everybody! Right back at ya.

farawayeyes said...

That was fun!

'YA Contemporary Psychological Thriller' is that a genre - for real. Don't con the dumb blonde.

RaShelle Workman said...

Hahahahahaha!!!! You guys are awesome! And you ought to do, if not a TV show, then a radio show. =)

DL Hammons said...

What a pair of characters!!!! Classic! :)

LTM said...

@Carolyn--Yay! That's our morning talk-show goal! :D

@DG--Thanks, girl! Yes, it was either Matt changed his name or his family changed theirs... ;o)

@Laura--Mreow! :D <3

@RaShelle--Ahh... we'll have to do TV. Otherwise we can't show our book covers! :D

@Don--you know it! <3

M Pax said...

Interesting story on the name. Yeah, I can see how going away to school as a teen could lead to trouble. Great to learn more about you, Matt.

Waving at Leigh.

Lydia Kang said...

Matt and Leigh, I so enjoyed this interview! I learned so much about Matt! Like, he looks really fierce in panda ears, for example. LOL. Just kidding. Really great interview!

Trisha said...

Such a fun interview... though I'm not sure who interviewed who! hehe

LTM said...

It's true, Trisha! Thanks for stopping by! :o) <3