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Author Interview with Matthew Boudreau

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When did you first start writing fiction?

Young enough that I don’t remember exactly how young. Back in primary school, though, definitely. It was something my older sister did and she made me want to do it. It took quite a while for me to get any good at it though.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading? Paper or eBook?

I don’t have anything explicitly against eBooks, but I tend towards paper whenever possible. The main exception being when my local library only has an eBook copy. Right now I’m reading Watchmen by Alan Moore and doing that via eBook since I couldn’t get my hands on a paper copy.

What’s your favorite under-appreciated LitRPG novel?

I never see enough love for Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson in the community. It admittedly doesn’t have a lot of the hallmarks of modern LitRPG, but it’s a great precursor to the genre as a whole. 

Of your books, which is your personal favorite? Why?

I’ve only published one so far, PlanetCrash, so that’s a shoe in. But I’m really excited for a lot of what I’m planning, so I don’t think it’ll hold the top spot for very long.

You can make one LitRPG book (not your own) a movie. Which is it and why?

I don’t know that I would. Movies based on books never turn out as well as I’m hoping they will. I guess I’m just really attached to how I view things in my head, and seeing someone else’s vision of it always causes some dissonance, even when it’s done well. 

Do you believe in writer’s block?

No. In my experience, writer’s block is just when you let perfectionism take over. You can always put down another sentence, it just might not be good. If I can’t get a line or paragraph to work after a couple of tries, I just say “screw it,” move on, and come back to it in the next draft. 

Are you an outliner or pantser?

A loose outliner. I write outlines of everything that I think is going to happen, which gives a general structure and progression to the story, but I’m far from married to it.

What is your writing process like?

I’ve experimented with a couple different processes. Sometimes it’s a plot that comes to me first, so I’ll outline that and find characters to fill it in (this was the process for PlanetCrash). Other times I’ll have a character and a world for them to inhabit, and I just need a plot for them to. In general, though, I feel like the strongest parts are the ones I come up with first. One of my biggest weaknesses as a writer is filling out that last element, whatever it is for the book in question. That’s something I’m still working on. 

How many hours a day do you write?

I try to get in 1-2 hours per day, but work often gets in the way of that. 

Share a photo of your workspace and tell us about it?

The desk is the really interesting part, in my opinion, and I think it might be older than I am. I haven’t really seen any other desks like it, but I can imagine they might have been more popular back in the late 90s, early 00s. It’s kind of cropped off in the picture, but to the left there’s a large cabinet for a desktop PC and a rack for CDs. Presumably it was intended as a place to store software CDs, but since my PC doesn’t have a CD/DVD player I just use it to hold my music collection. 

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Who are some of your favorite authors of all time?

Brandon Sanderson is hands down my #1. He doesn’t write LitRPG (yet), but he consistently nails every aspect of his books. Moving character arcs inside epic worlds and brilliant pacing throughout books filled with crazy twists. The man leaves me nothing to complain about. 

Where do you get your ideas?

A lot of them come from music. There’s a lot of ideas in lyrics that aren’t given any time to air themselves out, and just end up as tantalizing hints. So I sometimes take those and build on them until I’ve really fleshed out a single throwaway line from a song into an entire story. 

What are your thoughts on how VR will affect the future of humanity?

I have a day job as a design engineer, and I’m already seeing it affect my job. We’re starting to pick up VR as a design tool–it really helps you think about your designs to be able to see them in full scale, as though they were in front of you, and to mess with them and move things around. Unfortunately it does still give me a headache, so I avoid it a lot.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I don’t generally research before starting a book. I address things as they come up in the story, but I have this constant fear that if I start by researching I’ll get sucked into the research aspect and never actually put words to the page. 

First video game memory?

Super Mario 64! It’s a great game, and the definitive Mario experience to me (and a lot of other people). I never actually owned the game, though, it was always playing at someone else’s house. 

What can fans expect from you next?

I’m working on a sequel to PlanetCrash, tentatively titled PlanetRise, with another unrelated project in parallel to that. A lot is still up in the air about that one, so I don’t want to talk to much about it yet, lest I promise things that I end up cutting.

Anything else you would like to add?

Not really. Mostly I just want to jump back into my writing!

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