We recently got the opportunity to promote author Matthew Salinas’s new book, ‘Mr. Salinas’s Seven Scary Stories.’ After the promotion got started it seemed like there was more to know about Matthew and his book so we got the opportunity to ask him some questions. Find out why Matthew loves horror, where the idea for book came from, if we can expect more books, and a lot more in the interview below…
-PH: Before we get into the book, please tell us a little about yourself, and how you became an author.
-Matthew: I first began writing in the fifth grade. I loved reading stories of all kinds and began dreaming of becoming an author one day. In high school, I wrote primarily poetry and was published in Visions Literary Magazine. After that, I went on a hiatus for a while and eventually returned back to my roots in poetry and my personal interest in horror/horror fiction.
I currently reside in Naperville with my fiance Jordana and our two cats. I am a full time student working on my clinical rotations for school. I am going to get married in October this year. My birthday is also just around the corner on March 18th.
-PH: Why horror? What is it about horror that you love?
-Matthew: Ever since I was younger, I’ve always had a fascination with the horror genre. I feel a lot of the thematic material in the works aligns with a lot of my own personal experiences. I’ve always loved the ability of horror to entertain the reader while still scaring them. I believe it’s very interesting that stories can be exciting enough that we still want to finish reading them in spite of our own dread. Beyond that, my grandmother used to really go all out for Halloween when I was growing up, so it instantly became a favorite holiday for me personally.
-PH: Please introduce ‘Mr. Salinas’s Seven Scary Stories’ to us.
-Matthew: It is the first collection of short stories to take place in Nowheresville, which will be the recurring setting for the series. I am currently working on the sequel and determining if I have enough source material left in me for a third.
The collection contains seven short stories which are all related to each other by themes and settings. The whole course of the plot takes place during one particularly unusual Halloween. It seems the supernatural haunts the town- and perhaps always has (depending on who you ask).
-PH: What sparked the idea for this book?
-Matthew: It actually all started while I was substitute teaching in elementary schools. A student whom I had developed a good rapport with had completed an art project around Halloween and gave it to me. It was a ghost he made out of paper to look like a pop up. The student told me, “Here Mr. Salinas, it’s a ghost. A good ghost though. It’ll eat all the other bad ghosts and keep you safe at home.” That idea inspired “Tyler’s Ghost”, which was the first story in the book. From there, I continued to draw inspiration from that experience and found myself writing a whole collection of short horror stories.
-PH: As opposed to doing an anthology, did you consider a novel instead?
-Matthew: I did in the beginning. However, I quickly realized that there was a lot more independence when writing numerous short stories as opposed to one long, cohesive narrative. From that idea, I decided it would be best to give little cutaways into the town of Nowheresville. I personally feel that the unsettling nature of the abrupt pacing helps keep the reader on edge as well. You witness quite a few things happen, but you will definitely find yourself going back to make sure you didn’t miss anything.
-PH: What is the biggest thing that all these stories have in common?
-Matthew: The main commonalities are the setting of Nowheresville and the fact they all take place on Halloween. I modeled the setting after the small, rural town I grew up in, so the personal nature of the setting made it resonate as one of the strongest links between the stories. The idea of a quaint town with a haunting vibe about it just draws me in and inspires me. It’s almost as if the history of the town itself lends to the feeling that maybe there really is something out there in the dark.
-PH: On the other side, what is the biggest difference?
-Matthew: Each story has a different main character with different motives. Even though elements of the stories are interconnected, the plots, characters, and even the methods of storytelling vary greatly.
-PH: What kind of horror can readers expect to find in these stories?
-Matthew: There’s quite a list: the supernatural, witches, werewolves, ghosts, demons, and a few madmen. Beyond that, I tried to explore the very real emotions people experience in situations of terror, many of which are based on the feelings and experiences I had while growing up. Personal suffering and tragedy makes for great motivation, as unpleasant as it may be. I also feel that everyone experiences things that are personally unsettling or just plain terrifying at some point in their life. I believe appealing to the shared universal experiences we all have gives everyone an ability to understand and appreciate the work.
-PH: Is there anything specific about the some of characters that you can share with us?
-Matthew: I definitely modeled characters after traits and mannerisms of people I know. I’m not entirely certain that was fully a conscious effort though. Beyond that, most of the characters are inspired by all the literary works I’ve read during my life. I like to be eclectic in my characters and story lines. I feel that stems directly from the various types of narratives I enjoy.
-PH: If readers could only read one of these stories, which one would you recommend?
-Matthew: That’s very tough, I would have to say Tyler’s Ghost. Not because it’s the first story in the book, but because of its monumental inspiration to create the collection itself. Without that story, I feel there wouldn’t have been a Mr. Salinas’s Seven Scary Stories.
-PH: Your book as already gotten some great reviews. How does it feel to have your work so well received?
-Matthew: It feels amazing. I really enjoy the fact that people out there are liking my work. I’m very appreciative of any and all readers. It also motivates me. The affirmation drives me forward and makes me feel that, at the end of the day, I have stories worth telling. I was never sure of exactly what people would think of it once it was released, but so far it’s been very nice to be so well received.
-PH: And this is only the beginning. What do you have planned for a second book? Any ideas yet how long this series will go?
-Matthew: I am actually working on the sequel and just about to finish the second draft before more editing. I would ideally like to continue the series as long as possible, yet I don’t want to continue writing if I feel I can’t deliver quality work. The second book was written to really finish up the loose ends and cliffhangers from the first book. It’s nearly double in length, so I’ve definitely not run out of inspiration yet. I have always loved horror fiction, though, so I might find myself revisiting Nowheresville a few more times in the future.
-PH: Here’s your chance to promote anything we haven’t talked about. Let us know something more about the book, the next book, something else you might be writing, where people can find you, or anything else you would like to mention.
-Matthew: I hope you enjoyed this interview about me! As stated above, I am currently working on releasing a sequel to my current work. I am also actively looking for a literary agent and traditional publisher to help me expand my audience and improve the quality of my work even more. I only wish to deliver the best quality stories I can both stylistically and grammatically. You can find my biography and work on Amazon or Twitter handle @AuthorSalinas.
We would like to thank Matthew for taking the time to answer our questions, and letting us promote his book. We hope this was a good introduction to him, and gave a more detailed look at his book. Don’t forget to pick it up today at Amazon, and stay tuned for book 2!