Sometimes death is just the beginning… The Paradise Resort is the ultimate in exclusive luxury island resorts. A private haven for only those deemed worthy enough to attend. Landon Verger is a titan of industry, a man who casts a long dark shadow and founder of Paradise. The resort’s opening weekend should have been a celebration of wealth and excess, but without warning the resort has gone silent. Sam Verger knows his father only too well; the great man casts a long and dark shadow. He also knows that Landon Verger’s enemy list is long and varied, any one of which would love to see his father dead. Sam seeks to employ a professional to investigate the island, Mac is one such woman. An ex-military officer she works dirty jobs and doesn’t ask questions if the money’s right. With her like-minded team they travel to Paradise. Mac thought she’d seen everything that death had to offer, she was wrong. What started out as a simple mission will quickly become the most desperate fight for survival she’s ever faced. There’s only one thing that she’s sure of, not everyone is getting out alive.
Matt Drabble has been kind enough to sit down me today to chat about his novel, ‘The Last Resort’. Matt, thanks for setting a little time aside today for us to explore this book. I’d like you to start off today’s talk by going into a bit more depth as to which was the initial trigger for this book?
It began from the idea of the book’s front cover, a bloody hand print on a palm tree leaves so many questions.
Was it important for you to include thematic elements into your books either as part of these questions or to add to the depth of the story being told?
I always try to have themes in mind when writing and hope that they permeate through me and into the story.
Do you also try and increase the depth of the story by including things from your own life or things that you have researched and found interesting?
I tend to stick to stories where I can create the world and those characters that live in it. I did do some research into weaponry for the tactical team that are sent in to investigate.
I think that any author will always put some of their selves when writing whether they know it or not. There was nothing specific from my life that went into this novel, but there is always a part of me.
What was the character creation like for this novel?
I find that once you get the ball rolling with a novel then pieces tend to fall into place and that means people as well. When putting together a team of individuals there has to be a balance, the reader has to believe that these characters are a family and fit together as a team.
Did you have a favourite in the team?
I did enjoy Mac from The last Resort and without spoiling the ending of the novel I would like to check in with her again at a later date. For some unknown reason I have always tended to gravitate towards strong but damaged female lead characters and Mac in this novel is probably my favorite.
So would you go out with Mac for a beer or perhaps on a date if the opportunity arose and she came to life for a day?
Definitely Mac, she would be both.
I’m liking your consistency with your character favouritism, it sounds like you’ve got a good relationship with here. Have any of your characters, Mac or otherwise, ever followed you into your dreams?
Not yet, but now that the idea has been planted I may well start to.
If it happens let me know, I’d be interested to see if the power of suggestion would work on that. As you’ve now finished this novel, have you already started working on something else?
I am about to publish the third and final installment of the “Gated” series which is out December 1st. I have just completed a first draft of “Grave Robbers” and I am currently working on the third installment of the “Asylum” series which is a horror anthology where the 13 short stories all tied together by an arcing story line that acts as a 14th tale.
Wow, you have alot of writing projects on the go. Are you lucky enough to be one of the full time writers I get to interview?
Yes, I write full time.
That is fantastic that you get to dedicate you time more fully to writing. How do you approach full time writing to get the most effective work out of yourself?
I have an office at home and treat writing as I would any job. I put in a full day and aim for 10,000 words a week.
That is a pretty impressive word count. How long does it take you to write a book at this rate?
I tend to have a first draft within 3 months.
Are you typing or writing your first draft long hand?
I have notebooks that I write ideas in before typing.
What does the editing process look like after the first draft has been completed?
I started out trying to editing and proof myself, but now I have a professional that works wonders with me.
Do you also employ professionals for the book covers?
I design all of my book covers. I tend to start with the cover before the story.
Okay, when you mentioned earlier that the image on the cover was a starting point I didn’t realise that it was the starting point. As someone who has the luxury of writing full-time, do you have any key tips for other authors wishing to improve their writing?
Proof, proof and then proof again. Also get a thick skin because some people are not going to like you whatever you do.
How do you approach reviews of your book when you have this idea at least in part in the back of your mind?
Getting book reviews are always an awkward process. When writing it’s easy to forget that someone will be on the other end of my words at some point.
We’ve now reached the end of the first section of the interview and if you’ve still got some time to spare I’d love to take a few minutes to ask you a few random questions. Let’s start with:
Who are your favourite authors?
King is King and long live the King.
*Laughs* What draws you to the King?
I find his ability to create a 3 dimensional world where every character has a back story.
Do you have a single phrase of quote from his work that you think just shows what a great author he is?
“People think that I must be a very strange person. This is not correct. I have the heart of a small boy. It is in a glass jar on my desk.”
*Laughs* I love that twist of dark humor of his. Before you got into the King, what was your favourite book as a child?
Famous Five stories.
Who is your favourite literary character?
Johnny Smith – The Dead Zone
Do you have any philosophies that you live by?
If you start chasing everyone’s approval you’ll never stop running.
Is there a book that you wish that you would have written?
The Dead Zone, so many different stories weaved into one novel.
What is your favourite quote?
These are the times that try men’s souls – Thomas Paine
What is your zodiac sign?
Speaking of animals, if you could breed any two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create?
I would like to see that one. I wonder if it would look like a dog with stripes – that could be cool. Can you stand on your hands unassisted?
What is your favourite word?
Can you curl your tongue?
Never tried…. no
Which are cooler? Dinosaurs or Dragons?
What’s the most unusual name you’ve ever come across?
I have to say out of all the names that I’ve heard from that question, that has to be one of my less exciting answers. Not one letter worth more than about 5 points on the Scrabble board. You need a good X or Z in there to ratchet up the absurdity :). If you could steal one thing without consequence what would it be?
That’s something worth stealing. Matt, thanks for being so generous with your time today and I wish you the best of luck with your promotion of ‘The Last Resort’ and your progress on your other writing endeavours.
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