In Conversation with American Author Dakota Matos

22-year-old Dakota Matos is a lively writer of children’s literature and the horror genre. Living in the United States, Matos has authored Spring, The Legend of Serenity, and the Three Cats: A Children's Short-Story and His Reality: Books One and Two, and many more. He draws his interests and inspiration of writing from authors like J. R. R. Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien. and obsessive studies of abnormal psychology.

“For my writing process, I’m what people call a “Gardner.” I plan as I write,” he quips.

Quillopia was delighted to have a lovely conversation with the budding author Dakota Matos.

We would love to have you give us insight into your writing process and how you chose to become an author?

For my writing process, I’m what people call a “Gardner.” I plan as I write. I do, however, engage in prior planning for the characters’ names, the title, and any foreshadowing that will affect the story. I chose to become a writer because I’ve always possessed stories in my head. It was intriguing to share them with the world, and possibly make a comfortable living at the same time. I’m currently working full-time, but patience is key.

The majority of your books deal with horror fiction. What drew you towards this genre?

I’ve always been fascinated with horror stories, mainly those that deal with the internal struggle of a human’s mind. Paranormal stories are great, but there’s something about probing a vulnerable mind that seems……desirable.

Writers really love being asked from where they get their ideas, so who is your inspiration?

The majority of my inspiration comes from movies and television. I tend to enter reading slumps as I was never a very active reader growing up, so the film has filled a void. But now in my adult life, I do love to read books of all genres as well. For foreshadowing, I love to study slower-moving films. For time manipulation, director Christopher Nolan is my main inspiration. When it comes to fantastical elements in books, however, I gain inspiration from the works of J. R. R. Tolkien more than from other authors.

Do you ever find yourself haunted by the characters you’ve created in your books?

I’ve never possessed this issue. In fact, I like to put some of my own dark thoughts into my characters, even though they tend to do things I never planned.

You’re working on two completely different genres: horror and children’s literature. How do you find that balance?

I’ve already explained previously about my motivation for the horror, so I will focus on the children’s literature here. The first moment of motivation for me to create a children’s story was when I watched the movie The Magic of Belle Isle. It’s a simple movie, but one that incorporates the beauty of simple stories. I do, however, tend to add elements of horror in some of these books. (Rising Angel, one of my children’s stories, is clearly about a girl dying and her journey to be at peace). Since my children’s stories are mixed in with those of the horror genre, I do ensure that such stories are clearly labelled that they are written for children, along with the proper keywords being included.

Our readers would be curious to hear what genre you’re working on now or what might be next for you?

I am currently planning three more stories (Creak, The Changer, and Eternal Glory), one of which will most likely be entered in this year’s Book Pipeline Adaptation Contest, as I can think of enough details to write a full-length novel. (Most of my stories end up being short, which is insufficient for most contests). Two of these stories are of the horror genre. For the third (Eternal Glory), it will be my next children’s work. I won’t go into too much detail, but this children’s story will be written in honour of my late grandmother.

What’s the best advice you would like to give to other writers?

There are some pointers I would like to share...

  1. Don’t wait for motivation to write.

  2. Don’t hop from story to story without finishing the first one.

  3. Cheaper novels/novellas tend to sell better than cheaper short stories.

  4. Research real-world subjects.

  5. Patience is key.

  6. If you possess a stable income (which should be the priority overwriting), don’t focus on profit. Make your stories very cheap, and include free versions on other platforms.

  7. Editors are never guaranteed to write a better story than you, especially when they haven’t published personal works on their end.

  8. If you trust someone, ask him/her to proofread.

  9. You can make book covers yourself.

  10. Quality over quantity. (I need to take this advice).

  11. It may take years to be noticed. (I’m just now starting to be noticed, after nearly two years).

  12. Make your story unique. (This includes you, romance/self-help authors).

  13. Self-publishing is free, and the money you thought of using to pay for a traditional publisher can be of better use in advertisements.

  14. Gain a social media following.

  15. Listen to the market, but make sure you write for yourself first.

  16. Being able to make a comfortable living by writing should be the goal. Anything more is just a bonus.

Read his books on : Dakota Matos

Thank you!

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