A Cage for the Wind is the story of a man who has been through a lot, done a lot, and most of all, gotten away with a lot. What inspired the idea of Jerry’s character and the life that’s shared in this book?
Originally, the book itself was simply going to be a new poetry collection to toss onto the stack of my previous collections. The poems in this book, however, started to take on a different sort of life of their own separate from what I’d written before. Eventually, I started filling in the spaces between the poems with little bits of story which in turn began to tell a tale of sorts of a man who would eventually become “Jerry”. I’ve written a lot of solid characters in the past, solid in that they have a very defined line, a route of progression, flawed, absolutely, but they’re mostly all very concrete; you can almost reach out and touch them if you thought about it hard enough. I wanted to write something different, not just a new character, but a new kind of character. Jerry is shattered, in pieces, and in probably will never be put together in a way that makes sense to himself or others around him. So the structure of the book reflects that, as it is written from three different points of view all centered around him.
Jerry is a provocative yet compelling character. What was the writing process like to create that balance in Jerry’s character?
Jerry’s evolution came about very, very slowly during the writing process, right up to the very last day before publication. I wanted a character that didn’t just leave the reader wondering more about and then shrugging off, but rather a character that had many different dimensions of possible existence. Jerry’s story is told from the points of view of three different styles and formats, but they are all “him”. My goal was to leave the reader having some idea of who or what Jerry is, while also in a way, having no idea at all. In that sense, Jerry can be whoever the reader wants him to be. The more people who read Jerry’s story and come to that realization, the more versions of Jerry will come into existence, and I think that’s an amazing thought.
What were some themes that came up in the book organically and surprised you when you were finished?
Flawed characters exist everywhere and are written every which way. I myself have never really gotten any joy out of writing a character who isn’t flawed or fractured in some way. But with Jerry, I wanted to create a character who the reader could sympathize with, maybe even empathize on some level, but couldn’t decide why, because he’s actually a pretty bad guy. He has his glimmers of goodness, but really, he’s a rotten, hole of a man with most likely no real light at the end of his tunnel. Not to mention, he’s a murderer. I think the main thing I wanted to get across, is that no matter how good or how bad someone is, they can never truly be 100% good or evil. I’ve seen a lot of this world try to argue with absolutes, and it makes me sick to my stomach to know that many people out there think so harshly and so absolutely about being “one way or the other”, or “if you’re not with me, you’re against me”, leaving no room to move either way. It’s sickening. And so maybe Jerry is more bad than good, but also, maybe there’s enough good in him to come back from all that darkness. Maybe. Probably not, but maybe. And that’s the point.
Have you pursued any other formats to tell your stories in?
A Cage for the Wind is the most “out there” I’ve personally gotten in terms of style and format. I’ll probably attempt writing another book I the future in a similar way with more tweeks and turns and twists, bending the ways a book can be read. I really like the idea of someone picking up a book and assuming one thing, then when they begin to read it they’re suddenly swept off their feet in a way they didn’t expect.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: A Cage for the Wind, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, dave matthes, ebook, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, poem, poet, poetry, read, reader, reading, story, writer, writing
To be fair, the reader has been warned that they will be “helplessly lost in an abyss of muddied and bitter confusion”. Jerry is one of the brave ones. He is brave for letting the reader see into his messy mind. He is brave for not attempting to hide the darkness inside him. He is brave for being exactly who he is, weird and disturbed as he may be. Perhaps the world would be a better place if everyone let others see them in their full glory.
Jerry has worn many hats and many masks. He has been the charming diner. He has been the office worker who does not conform or fit in. He has been the ‘jilted’ lover. He has been the unassuming courier enjoying the company of jazz on the lonely road. He has been the man who creates a marriage then goes home to a cat at the end of the day. Through his many faces, he has always been a writer and a murderer. This is the story of Jerry and all his different selves. It is the story of a man who has been through a lot, done a lot, and most of all, gotten away with a lot. Is it his upbringing? Is it his inborn nature?
When a book starts off with an oedipal confession then you know it is going to be a treat. In that moment, you know that Jerry is not going to be an ordinary person. Rarely do people come back from watching the mounds of their mother’s breasts peek out of the bathwater as she cries about something she never talks about.
Even when he does or says something particularly disturbing, Jerry is almost likable. Maybe it is because of the pity he inspires. He has a way of manipulating the reader into rooting for him despite his actions and character. He does nothing to be liked but somehow, he is. The writer does not describe him but a reader will know him. Jerry is the alter ego we all hide from the world and only allow him out in dark empty rooms. The crass narration of events is funny and abhorrent in equal measure.
The book ends just like it begins; in confusion. The writer often misspells the name ‘Agnes’. While it does not happen often, it causes a measure of distraction on the pages it does happen. Considering the type of writing in this book, any other errors will go unnoticed as Jerry keeps the reader gripped and their eyes stuck on the pages.
Ever gone by a gruesome accident with brain matter sprawled on the ground and limbs bent unnaturally as screams of agony fill the air? Ever found yourself staring, almost savoring the smell of hot blood and listening to the lull of fading pulses? That is what this book is. It is a hot but intriguing mess. A Cage for the Wind is daring. It is messy. It is the book you whisper about to everyone. Dave Matthes has executed a beautiful literary tangled web.
Pages: 152 | ASIN: B09D43RBRH
Tags: A Cage for the Wind, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, dave matthes, ebook, ficiton, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, memoir, mystery, nook, novel, poem, poetry, psychological thriller, read, reader, reading, story, suspense, writer, writing
Legend of the Horizon Vengeance follows the apocalyptic life of Rancid Mahoney and the man who took him under his wing. What inspired the direction of this novel and the journey Rancid goes on?
The themes I wrote about in the first book, Leave My Ashes on Blackheart Mountain, while important to the character of Mahoney, were still somewhat rudimentary, in that they were mostly about love and how to love someone in a world as brutal and unforgiving as the one these characters all live in. And I think the decision Mahoney made at the end of Blackheart Mountain summed up pretty well what that all means. In Book 2, Mahoney deals with the fallout of that decision, while taking on the brunt force of a plethora of even more complicated discoveries which will lead to even harder decisions. When I first wrote Mercy, a novella which would become the chronological Book 3 of The Two Revolvers Saga, Mahoney is already of a fairly advanced age. He’s grizzled with time, he’s pretty much an expert with the weapons that he has, both the physical and the emotional weapons. But in Books 1 and 2, the story takes place two decades before that, so he’s still pretty young and having to learn all of these incredibly harsh lessons on how to survive in an already ruthless world. So I think the core of these first two books, particularly Horizon Vengeance, is learning those lessons, but as the reader will find out, there is never any one single way with which to deal with the hard choices life throws at us, and just because a morally-good character makes one choice, it doesn’t always mean that choice was the right one.
What were some ideas that were important for you to personify in your characters?
Legend of the Horizon Vengeance is a massive story encompassing many different character arcs, while some that began in Blackheart Mountain are completed, others are expanded upon and left to grow through the remaining books in the series. In regards to Mahoney’s arc, I wanted to focus on his own growth from the point at which Blackheart Mountain ended, and lead into a sort of re-identifying himself. His journey throughout Horizon Vengeance begins at a point of having experienced much of the world, but that experience is still clouded with ignorance and a steep desire for purpose. When the book opens, he literally has no place of belonging, no sense of direction except for the vague words of Frank Delmont, his old mentor. And Frank is on a journey of his own, trying to rectify his own past mistakes. Their two journeys and lusts for clarity clash here and there, but ultimately, and Mahoney learns this quite violently, their collective journey is about acceptance.
What is one pivotal moment in the story that you think best defines Rancid Mahoney?
There is a moment about halfway through the book that happens between Mahoney and Frank that is perhaps the most eventful “pivot point” for Mahoney, but I can’t talk about that without spoiling the story, in fact there are many pivotal moments within the story that could be considered spoilers so I can’t really speak much on them. However, there is a moment between Mahoney and Wyatt Delmont, who is Mahoney’s step brother, that takes place just before a massive battle. Wyatt and Mahoney, while connected by half-blood, are both around the same age but grew up in different parts of the world learning different ways to survive, a reality that serves as a fissure dividing them in a way, both emotionally and morally. Mahoney’s two revolvers are sacred to him, as they have their own history. But just before the battle is to begin, Mahoney offers Wyatt one of his revolvers, and I think that a huge stepping stone for Mahoney in terms of learning to trust other people, made even more significant that it is Wyatt whom he is giving the revolver to.
What can readers expect in book three of the The Two Revolvers Saga?
Book 3 was actually the first book in the series I wrote, titled Mercy, it was originally intended as a simple standalone novella. It’s been out for a few years and the reception I received from readers is part of why I decided to expand on the world and lore of Rancid Mahoney. I’m currently working on Book IV, titled The Dead and the Dying, which will take place from the point of view of several characters, mostly set during the same time as Mercy, leading up to where that book ended, and going beyond.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: action, adventure, author, author interview, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, dave matthes, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, Legend of the Horizon Vengeance, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, western, writer, writing
Rancid Mahoney has received a letter–a letter from someone from his past. Someone has gone to a lot of trouble to seek Rancid out. As life has continued following the apocalypse, Rancid has moved on and forgotten much about his life as a young boy. The letter, however, holds the key to a new adventure and a dangerous one at that. The letter requests he make his way to a place called The Throat and to do so as quickly as possible. There are now decisions to be made, and Rancid faces the possibility of a reunion he never expected.
Legend of the Horizon Vengeance, by Dave Matthes, is the second book in The Two Revolvers Saga and follows the apocalyptic life of Rancid Mahoney and the man who took him under his wing. Theirs is a unique if strained relationship. Boarding the Moonlady in order to take part in Frank Delmont’s plan isn’t exactly what Rancid had in mind, but he doesn’t exactly have too many directions to turn. His fate aboard the ship seems sealed–swabbing, scraping, and scouring. Frank seems determined to teach Rancid some survival skills he believes he may still be lacking after all these years apart.
Matthes’s work reads much like a western. Set in apocalyptic times, readers will appreciate the writing style, the absolutely vivid descriptions, and the fantastic exchanges between characters. Matthes does include some particularly graphic depictions of carnage. He paints quite the picture of a world seemingly set on destroying itself.
Rancid and Frank have a strange relationship. Their bickering throughout the story keeps readers on their toes. There exists a kind of electricity between the two, and as much as I wanted them to come to terms with their history and move on, I wanted this dynamic to continue. The two completely make this novel what it is. They possess the perfect mixture of qualities of protagonist and antagonist.
I highly recommend Legend of the Horizon Vengeance to any fans of action/adventure series. I was particularly drawn to the setting of Matthes’s story. I have not often seen post-apocalyptic tales set on the open sea. This one is expertly told, is driven by well-developed characters in a thoroughly engaging plot, and contains the ideal amount of humor combined with peril and suspense. It is the perfect addition to any fiction fan’s library.
Pages: 478 | ASIN: B097C9SJ81
Tags: action, adventure, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, dave matthes, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, Legend of the Horizon Vengeance, literature, nook, novel, post apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, read, reader, reading, science fiction, scifi, story, western, writer, writing
Leave My Ashes on Blackheart Mountain is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a western, action, and science fiction as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
-“Blackheart Mountain” is actually a prequel to a novella I wrote last year, titled “Mercy”, which was only supposed to be a one-shot story. “Mercy” was so well received that it got me thinking about writing more for the character of Mahoney. While writing “Mercy”, it started off as simply another run of the mill post-apocalypse story that I began writing out of trying something new, since I don’t really dabble too much in either genres of westerns, science fiction, or post-apocalypseness, but as with everything I write, and I’m sure as it happens with a lot of writers, the story and the subject nature just kind of evolve on its own. About halfway through finishing the first draft of “Blackheart Mountain”, I came up with a story for a third book, to take place after “Mercy”, and just before finishing “Blackheart Mountain”, I came up with an idea for another story for Mahoney. So there will most likely be four books total for Mahoney and the world he lives in.
I understand that you have an educational background in computer engineering, automotive science and criminal justice. Has your familiarity with these subjects helped you write your books?
Actually not at all. There isn’t a shred of my formal educational background that I can say helped with my writing career. I can say that many people I met in college influenced some of the characters I’ve written about, but that’s where it ends. Most of my research for the stories I write is done on my personal time.
What were some challenges you set for yourself as a writer with this book?
There was a lot of time and research put into Native American history, Manifestation Destiny, and the historical figures having lived during that time period. In regards to the history and the foundation of the book “Blackheart Mountain” itself, I purposely didn’t go terribly in depth with the history of how the world “fell” in my book, because how the world ended is really not what the story is about, and it would just seem like unecessary info to detract from what was going on in the story. I wanted it to remain a mystery, something for the reader to wonder about while they’re reading, as it is literally said in the beginning that the populace largely doesn’t bother itself with the history of how civilization ended so much as it does with maintaining the will and the means to survive, because they can’t find a relation to the two concepts. The going philosophy in this world is that the ability to survive has no reliance on an understanding of how humanity got to where it currently is(and in a way, that kind of mirrors today’s world). With forming the image and the history of the Tuskatawa, a tribe of survivors claiming to be the direct, albeit long and far-off ancestors of the native americans who were massacred long ago and far away, I wanted to make sure their culture was as concrete and concise as possible, from their funeral processions and how they handled their dead to their food recipes, their stance on violence, and exceptions to their own Law. In the end, I took from the behaviorisms and cultures of several different tribes, combining them into one, as at the heart of the Tuskatawa is their combined bloodlines of every tribe to have existed in the past. I picked up a half dozen books on the history of native americans and spent a decent amount of time reading just to familiarize myself with where the Tuskatawa “came from”. The title “Leave My Ashes on Blackheart Mountain” is actually a spin on “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee”. Being that this takes place two decades before “Mercy”, the only real challenge I had was making sure nothing spoken about in “Mercy” contradicted the events that are taking place in this new novel, particularly with the main characters Rancid Mahoney and Til Drange. I’ll have the same task when writing the next book in the series.
While editing writers often have to remove things they want to keep in but just can’t for various reasons. What was the hardest scene for you to cut from this book?
I actually didn’t cut anything, but rather added a few scenes and expansions to dialogue to flesh out the character development of Mahoney a little better. Very rarely will I ever cut out material while editing, unless it’s just that awful, or during the course of writing I decided to change something about a character later on in the story that would have to be supported by something that happened earlier on. Most of the time, the first draft ends up being a pretty bland, almost point for point blueprint, more than an actual cohesive story. I use the editing phase to sort of “fill in the blanks”, and oftentimes it feels as if the first draft I wrote is a movie or a book someone else created that I’m changing to make better in my eyes.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: action, adventure, author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, dave matthes, ebook, goodreads, kindle, kobo, Leave My Ashes On Blackheart Mountain, literature, nook, novel, post apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, read, reader, reading, science fiction, scifi, story, western, writer, writing
When your work is savage and your world is cruel, it’s hard to find your heart. Mahoney knows this better than anyone. He lives in a world that was burned to the ground many years ago, and he knows nothing but cold, hard truth and scavenging his way through life. With the love of his life waiting behind hoping for his safe return, Mahoney is dispatched on a mission to deliver a prisoner for execution. Not one to be left in the dark, Mahoney finds himself struggling to figure out how he has arrived on the legendary Blackheart Mountain. What should have been his opportunity to hand over the one thing everyone around him wants most, may just turn into the moment that changes his life.
Leave My Ashes on Blackheart Mountain, by Dave Matthes, is the thought-provoking tale of Mahoney, an outlaw of sorts who has made his home working for the powerful but evil Gunther Ostrander. Mahoney, by and large a loner, is accustomed to taking care of things his own way. Living in the remnants of a world he never really knew, he often uses violence as his go-to with little remorse.
I was immediately taken with the setting of Matthes’s book. This post-apocalyptic scene is striking in that it mimics the feel of the Old West in both character and setting. From the brief mentions by characters of modern times gone by to the hints of modern technology, readers are taken on quite a visual thrill ride as they try to piece together each scene. I am not a fan of westerns, but this particular book is so much more and carries readers on a captivating journey into the author’s imagination.
The notion of an almost mythical Blackheart Mountain and the ways in which it impacts the main character are fascinating to read. I am a huge believer in drastic changes as a character is developed throughout a story, and Matthes succeeds in carrying Mahoney through some major challenges to mold a character not to be forgotten. From his kindness and almost subdued nature with Cassandra to his quiet viciousness when threatened to his experiences among the Tuskatawan people, Mahoney takes shape before our eyes, and his spirit is almost palpable.
I highly recommend Matthes’s unique tale to anyone who enjoys westerns and modern takes on the genre. I think readers will be pleasantly surprised at how well the mix of action meshes with the tender character development that takes place throughout Matthes’s gripping novel.
Pages: 350 | ASIN: B086TZ41WX
Tags: action, author, book, book review, bookblogger, dave matthes, ebook, fantasy, ficiton, goodreads, kindle, kobo, Leave My Ashes On Blackheart Mountain, literature, nook, novel, post apocalyptic, read, reader, reading, science fiction, story, war, western, writer, writing
No Old Souls at Fury Tavern follows the trials and tribulations of the general dive-bar-going populace. What pulls you towards telling the story of the people many others seem to use only as background characters?
While watching movies or reading books, like many other people I’m sure, I take note of as many background details as I can, including the people populating the background. I get to thinking, I wonder what that person’s story is, I wonder what they do for a living, what their troubles are and all that juicy stuff that we’re supposed to wonder about the main characters. No Old Souls at Fury Tavern most definitely has a story that follows the main character, but it’s also largely about the other characters and how all their pieces fit together to form the overall picture. In a way, Rocko Pitts wouldn’t be who he is without the other characters, and vice versa.
I always enjoy how you bring your characters to life and make them seem real. Were you able to use anything from your own life in this book?
Every one of the people populating Fury Tavern and Grocer Junction in the book were inspired by people I’ve worked with, drank with, had relationships with, and lost my sense of morality alongside of.
What were the driving ideals behind Rocko Pitts character development throughout the story?
Rocko Pitts, if he can be, while compared to most everyone else in the story, really has no particular drive. He’s a wallflower and he’s okay with that. But while the book progresses, he starts to wonder if he’s going to be okay with that lack of purpose for the remainder of his life, or if he’s just going through a phase of apathy. The main story of “Fury Tavern” is his coming-to-the-realization that while everyone else around him has their own lives, he really doesn’t have much of a life at all.
What is the next story that you are working on and when will it be available?
Currently I’m working on the follow up to “Fury Tavern”, titled “A Scorched and Mystified Wilderness”. It continues the story of Rocko Pitts and the other denizens of Fury Tavern. I can’t really say too much about the plot without spoiling the end of Fury Tavern. But there will be chaos of all kinds, and I’ll be exploring deeper into the characters introduced in the first book. I am also working on Book II in a western/post-apocalypse trilogy, and my seventh collection of poetry. All three of those books I’m hoping to have released at various times next year.
Rocko Pitts is a low-ranking receiving clerk at Junction Grocer Supermarket. He doesn’t like going to Fury Tavern with his coworkers, but he does it anyway. He likes the woman at Register 4 but everyone says she’s ugly. He doesn’t have any interest in politics, but the Mayor wannabe, Rand Sleeman, will do whatever it takes to get his vote. Rocko lives a quiet life and likes it that way but doesn’t seem to know why he likes it that way. In fact he doesn’t seem to have any purpose at all, and he’s okay with that. But travesty begets travesty, forcing the simple-pleasure-seeking Rocko to complicate his life just a little bit more than he’d normally be comfortable with. “No Old Souls at Fury Tavern” is a story about the seemingly meaningless meanderings of the dredges and sloths of society who exist in the background and behind closed doors, the denizens who populate the barstools at Fury Tavern, and more importantly, the very soul of Fury Tavern itself.
No Old Souls at Fury Tavern, written by Dave Matthes is a must read for anyone entertained by the trials and tribulations of the general dive-bar-going populace. In the story, we meet a regular guy, working in a regular place, who deals with a series of seemingly mundane problems. The ways in which the characters interact with their world, however, is much more interesting than what you would find in your rundown neighborhood dive bar.
Despite a few typos and minor grammatical errors, the writing is excellent. The author’s style is unapologetic and rich, with plenty of depth worked into his narrative to keep you hooked throughout the book. Never too simplified or overly complex, the short, bite-sized chapters keep the pace moving at a quick beat which is obviously what the intention was.
Characterization and world-building are areas that Dave Matthes excels at. While reading No Old Souls sat Fury Tavern, it is impossible not to relate with either the protagonist, Rocko Pitts, or any of the other inhabitant of his world. Each character is carefully crafted and comes with his or her own set of idiosyncrasies and personality. And, each of the characters seems to be placed very well within the world that Matthes creates.
From the descriptions of the physical attributes of Pitts’ world to the imagery – and empathy – that gets drummed up as the characters interact with their world, it is no difficult task to forget that you are reading a work of fiction. The world surrounding Pitts seems as real as the one we all inhabit and that makes identifying with and relating to him a satisfying experience, indeed.
The author is able to transport you into his world and the ride couldn’t be more believable. Add that to the fact that the story is entertaining, and you have yourself a highly-rated book that should be on your must-read list.
Pages: 220 | ASIN: B07R881T6Y