Guest Author Matt Coyle
Please welcome Award Winning Thriller Writer Matt Coyle! He wanted to be a writer as a young teen when his father gave him THE SIMPLE ART OF MURDER by Raymond Chandler. It took him a few decades but he finally got there. His debut novel, YESTERDAY’S ECHO, won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel, the San Diego Book Award for Best Mystery, the Ben Franklin Silver Award for Best New Voice in Fiction, and was named one of the Best Mysteries of 2013 by DEADLY PLEASURES MYSTERY MAGAZINE. The second book in the Rick Cahill Crime Series, NIGHT TREMORS, came out in June, 2015. Matt lives in San Diego with his Yellow Labrador, Angus where he is currently working on the third Rick Cahill crime novel.
Matt's thriller series is AWESOME!! It begins with Yesterday's Echo which features Rick Cahill, a disgraced ex-cop who, many years after her death, is still a suspect in his wife’s murder. After hundreds of pages, the series really began in revision when he came up with what would become the opening line of the first book: The first time I saw her, she made me remember and she made me forget.
He knew he had the protagonist he wanted and hoped that readers would want to learn what in his life he desperately needed to remember and forget.
How did you begin writing?
After the fourth golf company I’d worked for in ten years went out of business I had a little money saved up and a lot of free time. So I challenged myself to complete a lifelong goal and write a book or shut up about it forever. I wrote the first draft of my first novel in five months. Eleven years, four or five revisions, and 100 or so rejections later, Oceanview published YESTERDAY’S ECHO.
Night Tremors is your latest release. Tell us about it!
Rick Cahill, tired of taking bedroom clicks of married men with unmarried women, teams up with an old nemesis to try to free a man
convicted of murdering his family from prison. His quest fractures his friendship with his mentor, endangers his steady job, and draws the ire of the police chief who had tried to put Rick behind bars forever. With the police on one side of the law and a vicious biker gang on the other, all trying to stop him from freeing the man from prison, Rick risks his life to uncover the truth that only the real killer knows. What really happened one bloody night eight years ago.
What did you enjoy most about writing Night Tremors?
Taking my protagonist into a dark place and making him face his fears.
What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this particular story line?
I watch a lot of true crime on TV and the genesis for this story came from a true story of a young man imprisoned for murdering his family. Rick Cahill knows what it’s like to be wrongly accused of a horrible crime which is the hook for him to become emotionally invested in the case.
Give us some insight into your main characters and what makes them tick.
Rick’s responsibility in wife’s death hangs over his life like burial shroud. In some ways, his life has become a quest for redemption. But for Rick, redemption has been unattainable. He lives by a code handed down to him by his late father, like Rick, a disgraced ex-cop who’d been kicked of the force: Sometimes you have to do what’s right even when the law says it’s wrong.
What are your books’ central themes and topics?
I write about a guy dealing with inner and external turmoil. I didn’t start writing crime fiction to address themes. However, two themes have evolved organically: redemption and repercussions for one’s actions. As mentioned above, Rick is on a quest for redemption, But what if redemption is unattainable? How would a proud man deal with that?
The more I wrote NIGHT TREMORS, the more I realized that the title of the first book, YESTERDAY’S ECHO, is really the overarching theme for the whole series. At one point in book one, Rick thinks back on his own life when trying to help someone else: I knew what it was like to live with one horrible decision that had destroyed lives. Life moves forward, but the reverberations chase after you like yesterday’s echo.
In Rick’s life ever bad decision has consequences that endanger not only him, but the few people left his life he cares about.
Too long. The first one took about nine years to get it right. The second book took two years. Book three is looking like about fifteen months. I’m getting faster!
What is your favorite book on the craft of writing? Why?
SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS. Teaches you how to get rid of the unnecessary clutter and punch up your dialog.
What’s on your to-be-read list?
BADLANDS by CJ Box and KILLING SECRETS by Dianne Emley.
When you’re not writing, what are your other interests?
Reading. Cooking. Eating out. Golf. Hiking. Watching the second Golden Age of television.
What’s next in your writing journey?
Book three of the Rick Cahill crime series. The end of NIGHT TREMORS puts Rick in a predicament in book three that is hopefully exciting for the reader and very challenging to write for the author. Those damn repercussions…
You want the series now, don't you!! Well, you can check out his books here:
And reach out to him on social networks here:
Thanks so much for stopping by, Matt! Great to have you. Love to have you back when Book 3 comes out.
Are you a thriller/suspense/mystery author who would like to be featured on Fiction Friday. Contact me at sdawnskye (at) gmail (dot) com!