Join me for an author profile with Matthew Pizzolato --
1 - When did you first start writing?
I started writing when I was twelve years old. It was an attempt at a novel that I never finished, mostly because at the time I didn't know what I was doing. I began experimenting with short stories and honed my craft from there.
2 - Do you read much? If yes, have you always loved reading?
As long as I'm breathing, I'm reading something. My love of reading is what sparked my love of writing. I've been reading constantly ever since I first learned how.
3 - Who’s your favorite author? What’s your favorite book?
My favorite author is Louis L'Amour and my favorite book is one that he wrote, Flint. Although I enjoy everything that he wrote, that one's my favorite because I can see myself as the title character, Jim Flint. A lot of my outlook on life and the principles that I live by are outlined in that book, as well as one of the goals that I have.
4 - What writers have influenced you the most?
Louis L'Amour is my biggest influence, but I've also read a lot of Elmore Leonard, Stephen King and J.R.R. Tolkein. Of course, I read as many Westerns as I can find and have read all of the great Western writers, and I try to keep up with as many of the current Western writers that I can.
5 - Do you have a favorite fictional character? Either from a book or movie or a tv show?
My favorite character would be William Tell Sackett, one of L'Amour's characters who appears in several of his books. Tell is a loner, much like I am, and I've always identified well with him.
6 - What are you working on right now? Can you tell us something about it?
Right now I'm working what will be at least a novella, if not a full length novel, featuring the series characters that I write. One is a Texas Ranger named Jud Nelson, the other is an antiheroic outlaw that goes by the name of Wesley Quaid and the other is an assassin who calls herself Sabrina.
A new villain, Clay McBayne, was introduced into the storyline in my latest book. Although Quaid and Nelson often find themselves on opposite sides of the law, they may have to join forces in order to overcome the evil forces that they align themselves against.
7 - Is there anything in particular that you do to get in the mood to write, or to get in the ‘zone’? Any particular pre-writing routines?
There's nothing in particular other than applying my posterior to my chair and my fingers to a keyboard. I try to eliminate all outside distractions so that I'm not temped to procrastinate, something at which all writers are quite skilled.
8 - Where do you do your writing?
I have an office dedicated to nothing but my writing. One wall is entirely book shelves and I have a desk for my computer. The only luxury that I allow myself is a stereo because sometimes I like to listen to Marty Robbins or Chris Ledoux while I write.
9 - How do you approach your writing? i.e. - Do you do outlines? Character bios? Etc.?
I do use character bios that list just basic details about each character and include a journal entry from the character's point of view. I don't do outlines because I find they take the fun out of writing. Part of the reason that I write is to see what happens next. Where's the fun in exploring a story if you already know what is going to happen? For longer works, I'll write a basic plot summary so that I'll have a sort of a road map and I have the conclusion in mind so that I have a goal to write towards, but I never iron out too many details.
10 - Do you have any advice for other writers?
Persevere. Never quit and never give up, no matter what anyone tells you. Writing is a skill that is best learned by doing two things, reading and writing. The more you write, the better your work will be. Always keep learning. I think it was Hemmingway who said that we are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.
11 - Are you a morning person or evening person? Day or night?
I'm an evening person. I do most of my writing in the evenings and sometimes late into the night, until 1 or 2 am, when the words are really flowing.
12 - Do you have any pets?
I have red heeler named Bo.
13 - What’s your favorite ‘I need a break from writing’ activity?
Civil war reenacting. It's a way of stepping back in time and disconnecting not only from writing, but from the problems of everyday life. It's how I recharge the writing batteries, so to speak.
14 - How do you approach writing sex scenes? They can range from mild to wild. Where are you on the mild to wild meter?
I don't write them. I leave them for the white space in between scenes. Sex is an integral part of the human experience and essential in most stories, and I don't leave any doubt that my characters experience it. However, I feel that detailed sex scenes are for erotica and I don't write in that genre.
15 - Do you write in one genre? Or more than one?
I write primarily Westerns but I have written Horror and Science Fiction. Personally, I think that any kind of story can be told as a Western, and told better as one, in my opinion.
16 - Are you self-published or with a publishing house?
Although some of my short stories have been accepted in different magazines, my three books are self-published.
17 - What are your thoughts on getting a literary agent?
I've looked into agents in the past, but since I am self-published, I don't feel that there is any need to acquire one currently. However, I like to keep my options open.
18 - What about marketing? How do you approach that area?
My approach to marketing is use social media to provide content that readers of my genre would be interested in, history about the Old West or pictures of Old West figures such as Buffalo Bill or Jesse James, or even screen shots from some of the great Western movies. Sometimes, I'll buy advertisements, but for the most part I let book sales take care of themselves. Nothing is more annoying that someone who constantly blasts, "Buy my book!" over and over on social media, so I try not to do that and just post book links occasionally.
19 - What about beta readers? Do you use them? How many do you have? Where do you find them?
I have a few that I use. Most of them are friends or other writers that I know. Some that I know personally and some that I have met online.
20 - What’s your favorite food?
Oreos and milk. Does that count?
21 - What’s your favorite color?
22 - Is there a particular website or facebook page or blog that you, as a writer, find very helpful?
One of my favorite websites is a list of Old West slang terms: http://www.legendsofamerica.com/we-slang.html
I like to sprinkle slang terms into my writing to give it an authentic feel. For example, this morning for breakfast, I had some cackleberries and overland trout along with some sinkers and bee sweetening. I washed it all down with some brown gargle.
23 - What’s your favorite time of the year?
My favorite time of year is the fall and winter. Where I live in the South, it's extremely hot during the summers and I enjoy the cool weather as well as the fall colors. I like hunting and fishing and cooler temperatures make them more enjoyable.
24 - What’s your most recent book about? And where can people buy it?
My most recent book is a Western short story collection featuring the series characters that I write called Two of a Kind. Some of the stories detail their early interactions with each other, but the last four stories in collection lead directly up to the novella that I'm currently working on titled No Remorse.
25 - As a writer, what do you feel is your strongest gift or talent or skill that you have, that helps you the most as a writer?
My dialog. I've been told that it sometimes has a sharp wit about it, and I suppose that comes from the sarcastic streak that I have.
26 - Please share some of your links with us - facebook author page, website, where people can find your books –