In my second interview of the day (two fab authors in one day – what more could you ask for!?) I’m delighted to welcome the amazing Matt Cain. Matt’s second novel, Nothing But Trouble is released today (get your copy here) and I can reveal that it is an absolute cracker. I LOVED IT! Although I must warn you that once you start reading you may not be able to stop….
Hi Matt, a big, warm welcome to Bookaholic Confessions! Thank you so much for participating in this interview, would you like to start by introducing yourself…?
Yes, my name’s Matt Cain and I’m 38 years old. I was born in a town called Bury and brought up in Bolton, in the North West of England. I moved to London in 1999 and worked for years in TV production before becoming the culture correspondent on Channel 4 News. And now I write novels full-time!
I am really excited about your new novel, Nothing but Trouble. It sounds like a brilliant read! Can you tell us a bit about it?
With pleasure! Nothing But Trouble is a sexy, glamorous thriller about a straight-talking pop star whose wild, rock and roll lifestyle lands her in a situation where everything she’s worked so hard for could come crashing down around her. My first novel, Shot Through the Heart, was more of a romantic comedy but this time I wanted to write an out-and-out bonkbuster and to come up with a story that would have readers so hooked they wouldn’t want to stop for breath.
Are your characters completely fictional or do you ever base anyone on people in real life?
To be honest, because I made factual TV programmes for years then worked in a newsroom and in both jobs had to stick very closely to the facts, one of the things I love most about writing fiction is being able to make everything up. So if you look at my pop star Lola Grant, I’m sure you’ll recognize elements of Britney Spears, Adele, Amy Winehouse, Madonna, Taylor Swift and Lilly Allen in her personality. But there’s a lot of me in there as well. And a lot of her I just plucked out of thin air!
Where do you find your writing inspiration and come up with new ideas?
Between us, I hate doing any kind of research so I tend to stick to what I know. I find having to interrupt my flow to look things up online so boring! But because in my past career I was lucky enough to interview pop stars like Kylie Minogue, Robbie Williams and the Spice Girls and spent quite a bit of time backstage in the music business most of my ideas were already there for this book. So chapter 4 takes place as my pop star shoots her latest video and I based this on the day I spent behind the scenes with Kylie Minogue when she filmed the video for Love at First Sight. And the scenes in which my pop star promotes her new album are lifted from the time I spent trailing Will Young for The South Bank Show. If you look up the documentary on youtube you can probably spot exactly where my inspiration came from. And I hope I’m not revealing too much there!
How long did it take you to write Nothing but Trouble?
I wrote the first draft quite quickly, in about five months. Then I left it for a few months, came back to it with fresh eyes and did a second draft. Then I showed it to my editor and re-worked it again, responding to his suggestions. If you then include the time I spent going through the copy edit and all those fiddly things towards the end of the process it was probably about a year.
Your debut novel, Shot through the Heart was a huge success (I personally loved it!) What did it feel like to receive so many wonderful reviews for your first book?
Thanks so much, that’s always lovely to hear! It was great to read so many fab reviews, especially as before that book was published I’d written a couple of novels that every publisher had rejected. So my confidence had been totally destroyed and I’d been left with no idea whether or not I was a good writer. Hearing everyone say such nice things about Shot Through the Heart made me feel so much better.
How do you go about doing any relevant research for your novels?
Well, I think I’ve already answered this but I only pick worlds I’ve already researched in my previous jobs. So my first novel was set in the film business, this one is obviously set in the music business and the next one I’m working on at the moment is set in another creative industry but I’m not supposed to tell anyone about it yet.
What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t a writer?
I expect I’d still be working in telly. Or maybe something to do with foreign languages; I studied French and Spanish at university and I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about how much I miss speaking both of them. I don’t know, maybe I just need to go to France or Spain on holiday!
Who are your favourite authors and what kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I love all kinds of books. I like thrillers by writers such as SJ Watson and Tom Rob Smith. I love bonkbusters by Jackie Collins and Rebecca Chance. And then I love books that really move me emotionally, like The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller or The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver. Since I’ve been writing myself I find I read much less innocently and much more analytically. And I try to take something away from every book I read.
And finally – can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?
I’m dying to tell you about my next book but I’d get into so much trouble if I did! But all I will say is that it’s another sexy thriller that takes place in another creative industry but this time one of my big themes is sibling rivalry. It’s something that played a big part in my childhood so I’ve been enjoying exploring it through the eyes of my fictional characters. And I can’t wait for you to read it!
A huge thank you to Matt and Lucie at Pan Macmillan. ♥
Don’t forget to get hold of your copy of Nothing But Trouble.