Please put your hands together for Matthew Drzymala–author of The Bumpkinton Tales: Volume One.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Matthew Drzymala, I am 34 years old and originally from Manchester, UK but now live in Liverpool. I work in Payroll for a Global shipping company, although I count writing as my main job ;).
Hobbies, well, I enjoy writing, of course but outside of that, I will usually be watching something on television, I’m not really one for going to the Gym or anything. I’m a bit lazy when it comes to that. When I moved to Liverpool I undertook a creative writing course in 2013 and was nominated for an Adult Learner Award in 2014. It was an exciting time and an experience I’ll never forget.
2. When did you start writing?
I started writing purely for myself in 2011 as part of NaNoWriMo. Although I wrote as a child, I didn’t so much during my teens and twenties. I found the NaNoWriMo experience so rewarding that I felt I really wanted to explore more and see just what I was capable of.
Following my creative writing course, I released the first of my stories in my Bumpkinton series as well as a darker, psychological story called Brainstorm.
3. Why did you start writing?
I really just wanted the challenge of NaNoWriMo, I didn’t expect that I would want to carry on after that but to my delight I did and I am glad I did.
4. Do you recall the moment you first conceived the idea for your novel?
My latest release isn’t a novel, it is a collection of short stories and novellas set in the village of Bumpkinton. I remember the first time I conceived the idea of the actual stories. That happened at the very end of my evening course and I was completely out of ideas as to what to write about.
My fiancée said, “Just write something light,” and it grew from there, really. The story I wrote for that class does not appear in this collection as it is set a little further down the line and the events in that I felt would work better once we’ve got to know the characters better then BHAM, it’s over.
It’s pretty much going to be the final story I write in the series when I eventually write it for a proper release.
5. Tell us a little bit about your book’s title.
My book is called The Bumpkinton tales: Volume One and is a collection of short stories and novellas. Some are already available separately on Kindle but I also put in a new, exclusive story which will never be released other than in this collection.
I wanted to reach readers who love the feel of a real book or just don’t read or own a Kindle or eReader.
I didn’t have too many other ideas for the name of the collection other than The Bumpkinton Tales Collection but I wanted to make sure it left me open to further collections hence why I went for the one I chose.
6. Does your story have a moral?
I think all of the Bumpkinton stories have a moral. They all have a lot of heart and fun but each story has a little sad twist here and there. The stories are packed full of odd and peculiar characters, but there are a few normal ones too.
For every character that has a fantastic time, there will be one who ends up with a broken heart. I try to put in a healthy mix into every story. Not everybody can have a happy ending.
7. Of the characters you’ve created, which one is your favorite?
Without a doubt Father Whitworth O’Grady. He is a priest in the Bumpkinton Tales series. He’s a good man and tries his best but he’s also very human. He may be a man of God but the big man upstairs doesn’t always answer his prayers. He gets frustrated with the trickier villagers, just like we would if it were you or I there!
He’s just a joy to write. Whenever I’m writing his parts it’s just so easy to write. Some characters aren’t as easy, but Whitworth is not difficult to do. Plus all of his favourite foods are mine!
I also have a character called Michael Eriksson in my short story, Brainstorm. He’s quite a haunted, rattled character at his lowest ebb. He was very interesting to write and I hope to write another story about him eventually.
8. How do you feel about outlines? Are you for or against them?
I have nothing against them. I must admit I just sit and write. I tend to know the end of a story before I start writing, it’s all the fun in between I don’t know. I never sketch out a story outline, but that’s me. Every writer is different.
9. What is your favorite book genre?
Probably Thrillers, even though I don’t write them. I’m a massive fan of Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole series.
10. What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading Us by David Nicholls
11. Any project in the works?
I’m currently on the second draft of the first Bumpkinton novel, The Fantastical Gregory Shortbread. It’s a bit fractured right now, but I think another draft or two and it will be where I want it. As with any long piece of work, you come up with better ideas as you go which affect things you’ve already written. I’m currently rewriting a chapter and having to take a character out of it as they’re now somewhere else entirely.
It’s a long job but I’ll get there.
I’m also working on the start of a story for younger readers.
12. How long does it usually take you to write a book?
Writing short stories, probably 3 to 4 months, with a number of drafts. I’ve been writing my novel for around 15 months and I am nowhere near finished yet.
13. In your opinion, what makes a story ‘good’?
Simply, something that captures the reader’s imagination. You can have twists and turns aplenty, but if you’re not engaging a reader then you’re not doing yourself justice.
14. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write. Just write.
And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?”
1. Books or movies?
Both, they’re both massively different. Some would say books are better. That’s true in the case of how in depth a book can go, but I love movies too. In terms of adaptations, it’s usually the books, but, for instance, I much prefer the Bourne movies to the books. The books are fantastic, but I love the films more.
2. Dogs or cats?
Dogs, for sure!
3. Cake or ice-cream?
Cake. Who doesn’t like cake?
4. Nights out or nights in?
Nights in, I’m quite reclusive!
5. Being able to travel to the past or being able to travel to the future?
Past, at least I could see Elvis live or something like that. Future, what if I jump forward 10 years and find out the planet had been overthrown by a swarm of locusts?
6. Working in a group or working alone?
7. Losing all of your money or losing every picture you’ve ever taken and every picture that has ever been taken of you?
Rather lose the photographs because they don’t pay my mortgage! 😀
8. To find true love or to win the lottery?
9. Being Spiderman for a day or being Batman for a day?
Batman, though I’d rather be Batman for a night 😉
10. To never speak again or to never eat solid food again?
Crikey, without food I think. Being unable to talk would be horrendous!
11. Staying awake for forty-eight hours (continuous) or walking for twenty-four hours (also continuous)?
Stay awake, I think I could do that too!
12. Drinking a glass of expired, curdled milk or eating a bowl of cold, slimy worms? (Note: the worms would be dead, though not cooked.)
Worms, I’m not having curdled milk for anyone!
13. Spending half a day locked in a coffin (there would be a hole for air, of course) or spending two days trapped at the bottom of a well?
Half a day in a coffin (Do I know at that point I’ll definitely be getting out? 😀
14. To never again eat a piece of chocolate or to never again drink a cup of coffee?
Coffee, I’m not a massive fan of it, but you’re not taking my chocolate away!
15. Being two inches tall or being two stories tall?
Two stories tall