Author Matthew P S Salinas first began writing in the fifth grade, which happened to be a time in his life when he adored reading stories of all kinds. This time around, he also began dreaming of becoming an author one day. Speaking to The Literary Juggernaut in an exclusive interaction, the author and poet, who is currently working on releasing a sequel to his current work besides actively looking for a literary agent and traditional publisher to help him expand his audience, says he mainly wrote poetry and was initially published in Visions Literary Magazine. ‘After that, I went on a hiatus for a while and eventually returned to my roots in poetry and my interest in horror fiction,’ the twenty-seven-year-old American author shares with us.
Currently residing at Naperville in Illinois, the US, Mr Salinas, who always handwrites the books he works on, says he uses notecards, post-its, and just loose-leaf paper to write down all the interconnected plot ideas and characters. ‘I do find, though, that I often deviate from what I had originally planned either in pursuit of better ideas for the story or from personal critique. I always try to have the ending fleshed out before I begin to write as well. I feel the destination is important, and by having a clear destination, I can focus a lot more on the journey of writing itself,’ he tells us, sporting a beatific smile.
Inspired by Changes and Obstacles
Talking about his first published work entitled ‘The Desert’s Rose and Salt of the Earth’, a collection of over sixty poems, Mr Salinas says he found inspiration from this book from the constant changes and obstacles he has always faced in his life. He explains, ‘I believe a lot of beauty in this world comes directly from suffering, and I wanted to write about it. It originally began as a goal of trying to reach thirty poems, and by the time I was done, I had written more than double that.’
Be that as it may, the author’s second published work, Mr. Salinas’s Seven Scary Stories, is a collection of short horror fiction stories set around Halloween, his favourite holiday. The author says he started working on the collection while he was teaching in elementary schools as a substitute.
‘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,’ Mr Salinas lets us know, adding that the student told him that it was a ghost, a good ghost, that will eat all the other bad ghosts and keep him safe at home. ‘And 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,’ the author shares.
An Avid Reader
Inspired by Edgar Allen Poe, Clive Barker, Stephen King, Chuck Palahniuk, and Neil Gaiman, Mr Salinas, who writes whenever he can, says each of these authors has contributed to his love of literacy and given his life wonderful moments of escape from the everyday.
‘I linguistically love Edgar Allen Poe’s mastery of the English language. I’ve found the captivating narratives of Clive Barker and Stephen King to be equally as entertaining as they are terrifying. That is a quality I am constantly pursuing in my progression of being a horror fiction author,’ explains the author, adding that Chuck Palahniuk inspires him when it comes to understanding characters and their motives, as well as different perspectives. ‘Neil Gaiman always inspired me with his vast, imaginative worlds and ability to build a world around you that you feel a part of,’ he states.
No Compromise on Writing
Having worked on his published works while bartending, during college courses, in the library, and at home at his work desk, the author concedes he does not have a set schedule due to the constant change present in his life. ‘I usually write down everything I can and expound on it later. If something is really prevalent in my thoughts or keeps coming into my head, I am unable to stop myself from needing to write it down,’ he tells us.
Making it clear that writing is one of the things in his life that he refuses to give up on or compromise, Mr Salinas, who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education, says he has always wanted to be and will always want to remain an author.
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Nonetheless, does he find it difficult to juggle writing and other tasks? ‘I handle it rather well,’ says the author, who is also currently working on finishing his degree in physical therapy. ‘As I mentioned, I write every time I find an available moment. I am always motivated to write because there’s honestly nothing more I enjoy as far as activities go. My hobbies and interests outside of writing are reading, music, cooking, exercising, and, occasionally, painting,’ he adds.
Talking about Mr. Salinas’s Thirteen Scary Stories, Mr Salinas, who starts his day with exercising early in the morning, lets on, ‘It’s the sequel in the current horror anthology I have out. It’s the direct continuation of the stories started in the first collection and six new additional stories.’
‘Never Stop Writing What You Love’
Nevertheless, does he have anything to tell budding authors? Says Mr Salinas, who hopes to deliver the best quality stories that he can, both stylistically and grammatically, ‘Never stop writing what you love and know about. Being an author or writer is about expressing yourself and sharing your personal experiences or ideas. Some people may enjoy your work and some may not, but that shouldn’t be the ultimate determinant of your success.’
And as the conversation draws to a close, we ask the author if there is something that he would want to see changed in the world, and he says he feels the world could be a kinder place. ‘I feel too many people operate on autopilot and do not stop to think about the ramifications of their actions in respect to others,’ says Mr Salinas, who also speaks a little bit of Spanish, German, Hebrew, Japanese, and Russian. ‘I would just want to help people better understand we are all human and everyone is equal,’ he pronounces, thereby signing off on a thoughtful note.
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