BooksLet's Get Lit

Let’s Get Lit!: Meet Matt Coleman, author of GRAFFITI CREEK

Welcome to “Let’s Get Lit!” on PureFandom.com. Here we will chat with an author about their work and their
favorite nerdy loves! This super cool edition will feature Matt Coleman, author of Graffiti Creek! I had the pleasure of chatting with Matt about his latest book, his love of Supernatural and his writing ritual!

Pure Fandom: Your novel Graffiti Creek was recently released! What can you tell us about it? 

Matt Coleman: Graffiti Creek is about a group of people connected by one mysterious and unknown item. And by the fact that they are all marginalized in and by society. Cary Trubody gets pulled over in what begins as a routine traffic stop and quickly turns into a forty-hour chase scene, which is the core of the book. During the chase, we meet Sameer Zardari, who is desperately seeking his missing husband; Marlowe Holliverse and his sister, Shelley, who are trying to find their brother; and, Bright Hudson, a female detective fighting her way through a boys’ club to figure out who is stacking bodies in Graffiti Creek, a painted up bridge on the outskirts of town.

The ideas all came to me in a swirl of emotions following the string of events which built to a heartbreaking boiling point of the Black Lives Matter movement. Couple that with the beginning of the Me Too movement and I was pretty deep in a pit of empathy mumbling about the world being a dumpster fire. Sometime around then, I rewatched the Hitchcock classic, North By Northwest.

As I watched it, it occurred to me that Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) was experiencing what marginalized people feel all the time: this constant dread and fear and feeling of having to keep your head on a swivel. As a writer, that all turned into a bit of a writing prompt or a challenge, so to speak. Can I put a group of characters through the ringer of a thriller and make readers care about them in a way that might spill over beyond the bloodshed? That was the goal of the book. To write a thrilling crime novel involving very real people in an empathetic way.

With all of that said, I will emphasize that it’s still a crime thriller. It is essentially 238-page chase scene. So, while I want readers to care about the characters, hopefully in a way that might inspire a little added empathy in real life, I also think it’s a fun and thrilling read.

PF: Where can we find it?

MC: The easiest place to find it is on Amazon. Or through my website (www.mattcolemanbooks.com). Or my publisher’s site (www.pandamoonpub.com). You should also be able to find it in your local bookstore. If it isn’t on the shelf, just ask them to order it. I would be your best friend for doing such a thing, so you could honestly say, “Hey, my friend wrote a book. It’s available through Ingram’s. Do you think you could stock it? He’s my best friend. It would mean a lot to me, as a customer.”

For any of the Pure Fandom fandom out there from or near Arkansas, I will be on tour through the state in the month of September, with stops in Fayetteville, Russellville, Little Rock, Texarkana, and others. You can check my website or @coleman_matt on Twitter for dates and times.

PF: We geek out pretty hard here at PureFandom. What fandom do you love the most and just can’t live without? (A book, movie or TV show)

MC: I have geeked out about multiple different things over the years. I stood in line for Harry Potter novels. I’ve written Batman, the Animated Series fanfiction. I routinely wear a Troy and Abed shirt which reads, “Never Forget.” But, if I have to name one, I’m going to reach just a little bit and say Psych. Now, before you roll those eyes, let me just say … I know … I know. It got a little goofy toward the end. But if you go back and watch seasons one through four of Psych, and then cherry pick some episodes through the final four seasons? Man, what a great show. It checked so many boxes for me. The mysteries were at least usually pretty stellar. There was steady comedy. And the pop culture references and guest stars were top notch. 

PF: The main characters in the book is Cary. If you could dream cast anyone to play her in a movie version of your book, who would it be?

MC: This is an easy one for me. I wrote the character of Cary with the hopes of putting a very normal woman (and I mean that as a compliment, not an insult) through the motions of an action movie. We don’t seem to bat an eye when we see Tom Cruise do all of these amazing things in an action movie. And I get that. He’s in super great shape. But, you know what? Cary Grant seemed very normal in North By Northwest, and he did some crazy stuff in that movie. We’ve also seen plenty of fairly normal male stars go through the action movie motions.

So, I wondered if we could extend the same suspension of disbelief to a woman like Cary. In my head, she looks very much like a friend of mine named Allison Tolman (Fargo, season one; Good Girls; Brooklyn Nine-Nine; Castle Rock). Allison and I were a part of a comedy podcast out of Chicago called City Life Supplement. It was created by a mutual friend of ours named Matt Lyle. So, yeah, I would obviously LOVE to see Allison get to take on the role of a full-fledged action movie star. She would be a perfect Cary.

PF: You are big Supernatural fan. Which season is your favorite and why?

MC: Oh, I’m going to get so geeky and serious on this question. I apologize in advance. So, season one has a soft spot, and it’s the one I’ll go back and watch a lot for nostalgia (and because it’s so monster-of-the-week that you can jump in and out without having to remember anything). But … but … my favorite season is season four. Season five, I think, was my knee-jerk, because the slow build showdown with Lucifer was so good. Each and every episode was on point.

But season four is important. Season four is when the angels join the Supernatural mythology. And that was huge. I know at this point we can’t even remember what it was like before, but there were three seasons of just the Winchester boys hunting demons. So, during those seasons, demons were bad and Winchesters were good. It was good vs. evil, no matter how nuanced the writers tried to make the boys. With the inclusion of the angels, we were given a whole new concept of good vs. evil. And the Winchesters were somewhere in the middle, EXACTLY where they are supposed to be.

And with the angels being such bags of dicks, we even got our concept of good and evil flipped and turned upside down. So demons might be “good.” Angels might be “evil.” Anyone and anything could go in any direction. So what should have been a completely predictable show which may have eked out five or six seasons (six seasons and a movie!) is still going strong  into season fourteen.

PF: Speaking of Supernatural, who is your favorite character?

MC: I’ll keep it shorter. Crowley. He’s the best. Close second: Ash.

PF: We are always on the hunt for a good book. What are you loving right now?

MC: How much time do you have? I’ll try to keep it fairly under the radar, so maybe someone will pick up a book they may not have know about. I’ve been reading a lot of horror lately, and in that genre I can recommend a couple of books which so perfectly gave me what I went out looking for. Under the Blade, by Matt Serafini, is like the book version of your favorite 80s slasher movie.

After that, I wanted more 80s-style horror, and found it in Video Night, by Adam Cesare (think more along the lines of the 80s teens against a world invasion type of horror). If horror’s not your bag, I’ve also been picking up some palate cleansers in the form of witty cozy mysteries (although they both toe the line of thrillers). The Detective By Day series by Kellye Garrett is great. Just Great. Start with Hollywood Homicide and move on to Hollywood Ending. Fun, witty, and page turners.

In the same genre, I love the start of the Poppy Fields series (Fields’ Guide to Abduction), by Julie Mulhern. For more straightforward mystery, I will recommend The Teratologist, by Ward Parker, as a historical mystery with the feel of The Alienist, but infused with some supernatural elements and Mark Twain (as in, literally, Mark Twain … as a character … it’s weird and wonderful). Also, the Earl Marcus mystery series (Heaven’s Crooked Finger and In the Valley of the Devil), by Hank Early, is fantastic southern mountain mystery with a fine dose of country grit to it.

PF: If you could have any superpower, what would you pick?

MC: I have always … always answered this question with “stop time.” Ever since I was a kid. I assumed getting oder would make me say it even more adamantly. But, no. No. I no longer want that power if I only get one. You know what power I want? I want my body to be able to process carbs and sugars without adding any weight or other negative health factors. I will be Badass Metabolism Man. Now THAT is what getting old looks like.

PF: Tell us about your writing ritual. 

MC: I do more and more planning the more experienced I get. I used to “let the story talk to me.” Now, I roll my eyes hard at that shit. Letting your characters pick where they go next (FOR ME) is a recipe for having eight unfinished manuscripts in a Google folder labeled “Someday?” I take a story idea and I plan it out, chapter by chapter, with notes of what will happen in each chapter. Then I try to map out about how long I want the chapters to be in order to have a full book. And that becomes my writing goal. It depends on the book for how many words/chapters I try to aim for each week. But it usually hovers around three chapters or six to eight thousand words per week.

PF: What are the top 3 songs on your playlist right now?

MC: The National’s “Guilty Party” (because it really put me in the right frame of mind to map out my next work in progress); “Oh Mama,” by Run the Jewels” (because the video stars Rick and Morty and RtJ always puts me in a good mood); and, “The Night That I Found Jesus (Down at Robert’s Western World,” by Matt Campbell (because Matt’s a friend and I can’t get enough of that dang song).

PF: Summer is a great time to binge watch TV shows! What TV would you recommend?

MC: My most recent binge was season two of Goliath. It’s on Amazon Prime, and I believe it is the show Billy Bob Thornton (fellow Arkansan) was born to do.

PF: What are you working on now?

MC: I am about to dive back into a sequel to my first book, Juggling Kittens. I have finished a detective comedy about a boozy, foul-mouthed, socialite who plays amateur detective while turning her local chapter of the Junior League into a drug ring. It’s under contract and should come out next year, I believe. I am putting the finishing touches on a horror novel about a couple of Methodist ministers hunting a mummy.

PF: Thank you so much for chatting!

Need more Let’s Get Lit! in your life? Check out my interview with J. Patrick Black, author of NINTH CITY BURNING. And don’t forget to hit me up on twitter if you’d like to be featured on Let’s Get Lit! 

Thanks for reading!

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Meg Bonney

Meg is a TV obsessed writer based in the Midwest. She is also the author of the award winning YA-Fantasy novel, EVERLY and tends to be overly caffeinated. Find her on Twitter to chat about TV, books and Bellamy Blake's freckles.

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