BOOK FUN MAGAZINE - FREE READ

NORA INTERVIEWS MATT BRONLEEWE












(Matt and Rebecca St. James - Showing off new book "House of Wolves")

Where did you get the idea for House of Wolves? It's quite fascinating! Did you come up with the title to this book? If not, what was the working title for this book?

It was a given that my second book was going to feature August Adams (after he first appeared in Illuminated), so the big question was WHAT BOOK WAS GOING TO BE THE CENTERPIECE?




I found an article that talked about this book called The Gospels of Henry the Lion. This was a book that was stolen by the Nazis during WWII, then disappeared for half a century, then suddenly reappeared on the Sotheby's auction block where it sold for nearly twelve million dollars! That, coupled with the amazing images in the book, had me hooked. The title came from some history about Henry the Lion himself. He was part of the Welf dynasty, "welf" meaning "wolf".... so there you have it! He was from the "House of Wolves"...and thus the title was born. Titles are really important to me....in fact, it's the first thing i work on after a story idea pops into my head. I've got a long list of stories and titles....for both future August Adams books and for other stories too!

What are your favorite books? Why?

I have tons of favorites, but definitely the Lord of the Rings series and anything by C.S. Lewis had a profound affect on me growing up. I loved the epic nature their books....and their characters, who were so plagued by their own inadequacies but still strove for greatness.

When and where do you do your best creative work? What time of day works best for you?


Working professionally in music has taught me that the "muse" is a myth. If you sit around waiting for the muse to arrive, you'll never get anything done! Now, I'm not saying that I have times when I'm more inspired by others...I most certainly do....but I think I just let the creative flow always work in the background...and then the minute I'm sitting in front of my laptop, whether it's at home or in a coffee shop or standing in the middle of the street....I WRITE....and I keep writing till my fingers give out!

Is your spouse a hands-on or hands-off partner? Do the kids jump in to help? How much does your familiy help you with your fiction writing - inquiring minds want to know?

My wife and three kids are hands-on, whether they know it or not. Things they do and say influence my writing, sometimes specifically, sometimes less so. And I love it when they can help give some direction. "Do you like this better than this? What about this?" I probably drive them crazy....but they seem to put up with me! And my wife always gets the first read of the first draft. She's an awesome editor...tons of great ideas....and spots problem areas before anyone else!

Does fiction writing come easy for you or is it difficult? What do you enjoy most about the writing process, what do you least enjoy?








I love writing. I could do it all day, every day, and be very happy. The difficult part right now is the juggling. I jump back and forth between three careers, producing records, writing songs, and writing books. Sometimes the three intersect, but often times they don't! It makes for an interesting life, that's for sure!

Does anyone else help you with plot twists and turns? If so, who?

I run ideas past my wife and kids. I run ideas past some of my good friends. And I have some writing buddies who are really helpful too. So much of the time I'm just in the moment....and I feel the plot wanting to careen this way or that way....and I go with the flow and ka-bang! Plot twist! It's a double-edged sword...honestly, I'm trying to back away from having too many twists and turns because I think it can wear a reader out. I'm trying to focus on having really interesting characters. But don't worry, there's still going to be craziness!

How did you start out your writing career? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? If so how?

(Charlie Peacock)

Being an author is still very new to me. I never thought about it growing up, and now, looking back, I think part of me never thought it could be possible. I was really passionate about music during high school and college, so that took first chair with me creatively speaking. It was around my 30th birthday (4 years ago) that I began toying with the author idea. But I thought I would be in my 40s or even 50s before I would seriously pursue it. I had a meeting with uber-producer Charlie Peacock, and mentioned that I was interested in writing. He hooked me up with the guy who ended up as my agent, the wonderful Don Pape. And the rest is history!

Out of all the hats you've worn so far (producer, songwriter, author, former band member of Jars of Clay etc), what has been the most rewarding? Why? Any hats you'd like to wear in the future you haven't worn yet? Why?


Most rewarding? All hats have their own rewards! I will say that I am LOVING the author life. As a songwriter and producer, I'm one step removed from the people who will eventually hear the finished product. But now for the first time I'm interacting DIRECTLY with people, and it's fantastic! I get the most amazing emails from people all over the globe! They really inspire me to work hard and push for even better stories!

I know you have done extensive research for both of the August Adam books you've written. What surprised you in your research?







The research is intense. I visit libraries and museums. I read tons of books. And then I have to take everything I've seen and learned and extract the best parts....and then shove it inside a high-octane story! I'm constantly shocked by what I learn....in fact, I bet most of the things people would think are "outlandish" in my books are the factual parts! For instance, in House of Wolves, there's a statue of the Virgin Mary which is fashioned to be an ancient torture device known as an Iron Maiden. I didn't make that up! I found it in a history book! Wild!

Did you always know of Hitler and the secret Nazi Lair hidden beneath the snow? or was this a great find for you? If so now did you discover it. If not, what fascinated you about Hitler and this hide away?

While researching Illuminated, I stumbled across a lot of strange facts that I tucked away for later. Hitler's preoccupation with Antarctica was one of those facts. As I began work on House of Wolves, I realized that the Nazi/Antarctica connection worked perfectly into the plot. I bought a bunch of old books and magazines to aid me in further researching it. The best thing I found was an old National Geographic magazine that had pictures and articles about a US investigation of Antarctica. Awesome stuff! And completely real!

What inspires you to write? What inspires you while you are writing?







There's something inside of me that just has to stay creative all the time...and I really mean ALL THE TIME. It drives me crazy. I wish it had a mute button, or a pause button, or something, but it's this constant drive to innovate, to do something unexpected and new, and when coupled with a little news item, or a historical tidbit, or even just something I overhear in a Starbucks, it turns into a story! Beyond that, it's following the characters along their journey. They always take turns I didn't expect...and I love that, because it means that the voyage the reader takes closely mirrors my own. I bet sometimes I'm more surprised by a turn of events than they are!

HERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS I KNOW YOU WANTED TO ASK MATT BUT WERE AFRAID TO, SO I DID!!!

When you have the time to sit down and watch TV - can you easily find the remote control? When you find the remote who controls it in your house?

The remote is jointly shared by my wife and I. Well...and now the kids too, since they've figured out how to use it better than we can!

What was the first film you remember seeing as a kid? What impact did it have on you if any?

The first film I vividly remember seeing in the theatre is Star Wars. How classic is that! I was probably taken to movies before that, but when that music blared, and the words started scrolling, and then....LASERS! DARK FREAKING VADER??? Get out!! I was hooked! It was epic. Huge. Iconic. As a writer, I strive to create modern epics...new stories and characters for readers to latch onto!

Given our current gas situation and the fact that you are an author (and very creative - dream with me here) - what form of transportation would you like to see in the future? The Jetson's had creative ideas way before their time. Other authors have suggested a hovercraft from Star Wars, the "Beam Machine" from Star Trek, and maybe walking on the backs of "Trees" like they did in Lord of the Rings? What would you like to use for future transportation?

I think wagons drawn by woodland creatures would be both eco-friendly and wise use of an untapped natural resource!

If you had to pick a TV Reality Show to be on which on would it be and why? ( It can be anything from Survivor to So you think you can dance?

Iron Chef! Does that count? I guess it's like 1/2 game show and 1/2 reality show but that would be awesome!! If only I was a chef......



If you could be a superhero for a while (now be creative here - you can mix and match powers and outfits - you are the author let your imagination flow) which one would you be and why?

Ok...hate to admit this....but I've known this answer to this since I was a kid. WOLVERINE. He's one bad dude. I mean, c'mon, claws coming out of his hands?? Instant healing powers??? Dark and maybe a little crazy? LOVE IT.



If you had all the time in the world (and just as much money); to do anything you wanted, what would you do? Why?


I'd lock all the world leaders in a room and not open the door until everything was worked out. Or maybe I'd hire teams of people to extract the delicious creamy middle out of every Twinkie in America. Or maybe every Twinkie in the world! Or maybe I'd be really noble, and take all scientists off unnecessary jobs and put them to the task of curing cancer and AIDS and other big problems. Or maybe I'd just fly around in a jet, never stopping anywhere, always refueling in the air (because it's cooler), and just take it easy for a few months or longer. Or maybe I'd LITERALLY BUY THE WORLD A COKE. Wouldn't that bring world harmony?

If you had 24 hours to hang out with anyone alive or dead in the history of the world; what two people would you pick and why? What would you do?


Moses? David? Theodore Roosevelt? Abraham Lincoln? Plato? Gutenberg? I'm stumped. I guess I'm stopping with Jesus. And....wait! I've got it! I could bring my wife! She and I could hang with Jesus! Best date-night ever!

What is the neatest place you have ever visited? What made it so neat, special and memorable to you?

Neat? LIke CLEAN? Cause that would maybe be the the master bathroom at our house, which my wife keeps SPOTLESS. Oh....I see.....MEMORABLE. "Neat" like "cool" like "unforgettable". Gotcha. I'm going to go with a recent one, just because it's fresh in my head. My wife and I went to France a couple months ago, and while we were there we went to a place I needed to do some researching about called Monsegur. I can't recount the entire story here, but by the end of it we were climbing to the top of this mountain...through rain....through hail (not kidding, real ice pellets smacking us on the head)....and then ended up in this 1000-year-old chateau that was worn and ancient and historic and....wow! It was a true-life Indiana Jones experience and it was amazing!

Have you ever or would you ever have the desire to jump out of a plane? (with a parashute on of course). If so, why? If you already have what did it feel like? Would you do it again?

I may have missed my chance. I think I signed some insurance thing saying I wouldn't go skydiving!! Ha! Too bad, because I'd love to do it. I've done some bungee-cord flying stuff, but that's not quite the same. Skydiving. Yeah, that probably needs to go on my "bucket list"!

What is your favorite resturant to have breakfast? Why? Is there something you usually order there? What is you favorite dinning experience? Please Explain.

We often go out for breakfast as a family on Saturday mornings and I love it. It's such a treat. I don't know why exactly....I think it's linked to a childhood memory. When my family would vacation, growing up, we would go out for breakfast. So now I think my brain thinks "vacation" when we go out for breakfast.

Or something like that! Or maybe I just like a good omelette. That's probably it. As for favorites, we've only done it once, but one Saturday we went to the world-famous Loveless Diner here in Nashville and I ordered this amazing pulled-pork and eggs special that blew my mind. Man, that sounds really good right now! Guess I know where I'm taking everyone next Saturday!!


Hey, Matt, thanks for taking the time to hang out with me and sharing your heart. Hopefully you have had a good laugh and had fun answering the fun quesitons. I know that we enjoyed your answers.

Are there any last comments that you would like to leave my readers with?







More than anything, I love community. That's why I've started THE UNSECRET SOCIETY. A while ago, I gave away 100 signed books...and we're going to be doing much, much more in the future. If you're interested, just take a little stroll over to www.mattbronleewe.com!

We can't wait to read what happens next to August Adams!! We are ALL looking forwad to meeting you soon at book club!

Thanks again for being such a great sport Matt. Blessings on the writing of your third book in this series. May the Lord inspire you like nobody else can. :D

Nora :)

13 comments:

  1. Marvelous interview! Too many good answers and question to comment on any in depth. Except, I knew there was a reason I liked Matt; anyone whose favorite authors are Tolkien AND C. S. Lewis are immediately my friends! The standard bearers of all time. I haven't had the money to get Matt's books yet, but they keep moving higher on my wish lists.

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  2. Another great interview! I have yet to read one of his books, but I am going to have to give them a try because they sound great.

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  3. I'm still reading Illuminated but will have it finished by book club. Can't wait to finish now. Look forward to meeting Matt this month!!! As always, great interview Nora. See ya soon.

    Gail Mundy

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  4. I really enjoyed reading Illuminated and look forward to House of Wolves. Matt has the life I want:) Ok, so I'm not at all musical, but the researching and visiting museums and libraries around the world - wow! Maybe Spielberg will buy the movie rights and then Matt can afford to hire me as his research assistant!
    Thanks for the interview -
    angela

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  5. A great interview - I'm about one third of the way through the book and love it. I look forward to Monday night at 7pm.
    Nora you are the BEST!!

    Marcia Massie

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  6. Great interview Nora and Matt. I am looking forward to meeting Matt at our meeting. I can hardly wait to sit down and finish the book, but I'll have before we meet.
    See you both Monday.

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  7. WOW! What an interview! Matt's energy is awesome.
    I read Illuminated in just 2 days. Charlie is a great kid.
    Matt, there are a couple of places in the book that remind me of A Christmas Story. Is that one of your favorite seasonal movies?

    I look forward to book club next week.

    Ginger, Suwanee, GA

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  8. Wow, what a great interview. I didn't realize he was the same Matt from Jars of Clay. Interesting to see how much his creative side is at work. Must admit, I'm speechless to see someone that creative... and in so many different areas.

    Loved Illuminated. Can't wait for book club.

    Catherine Kinney

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  9. Fantastic interview! He seems so cool. ugh, I'd never go sky-diving! Thanks for all the fantastic questions. You're up on my blog with this one, too. :)

    ~Mimi B

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  10. Super interview! Matt is so fascinating. I can just feel his enthusiasm for life. His creativity is awesome and inspiring. Illuminated was so fast paced. I look forward to reading House of Wolves.

    Marlene Rauch

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  11. Fun interview, Nora and Matt :) Thanks to both of you for taking the time to put it together :)

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  12. Hey Nora! Great Interview! I have emailed back and forth with Matt a couple of times, and he is really a great guy!

    Sure wish I could be at that bookclub meeting!! My little green monster is rearing his head!!

    One of these days....I'll be there!!

    Kim
    Window To My World

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  13. Nora, Enjoyed the interview with Matt. I wish he would share some of his creativity with me. I enjoyed getting to know him through the interview. Tisha

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