Tuesday, December 27, 2016

In the Spotlight with Bayou Book Junkie ~ Author Matthew J Metzger

In the Spotlight with Bayou Book Junkie ~ Author Matthew J Metzger

Hi Matthew J Metzger and welcome to Bayou Book Junkie. Matt has been writing since 2012 and to date has published 9 novels, but, horror of horrors, he’s not great at updating his website/blog! Matt, Matt, Matt, what are readers and fans to do when they want more, more, more? On the other hand, he’s proud and open about being FTM transgender, having blogged about his transition, and, I have it from the horse’s mouth, that he’s pretty open generally – music to our ears! The 5 Star book that brought him onto our radar was What It Looks Like, and we’re currently making inroads into his backlist and we have many, many questions. So, here’s where we stop scaring Matt and open the floor to him.😊

BBJ: Welcome to Bayou Book Junkie, Matt. In your own words, would you please tell us all about yourself and what set you on the path to writing queer romance?

Matt: Apart from being horribly disorganised? Well, I'm British, I'm 26, and I'm a short bloke with a shaved head and covered in tattoos. And I use curses like commas. I'm the last person you'd expect to be writing romance of any kind. I started out online in fanfiction as a teenager, and it wasn't initially romance, per se, but people. I've always loved the interaction between people. My favourite TV shows have always been those with great banter and dialogue: Stargate, Red Dwarf, Life on Mars. And my favourite characters (with two exceptions) were always men, so I tended to just look for stories involving the guys. Romance was essentially a bit of a by-product as I found myself in a fanfiction world where the best romances were still full of that sarcastic chatter, and the worst were all saccharine-sweet and boring. So I started writing my own sarcasm, got gradually halfway decent, a friend demanded I write her an original story one day...and here I am, several years and several books later. Ta-da!

BBJ: Please describe a typical day in the life of Matt Metzger, author, and tell us what you do to relax?

Matt: Work. I'm actually really boring! I have a day job that I love, very numbers-oriented and nothing like writing, and then I come home to fuss my cat and watch YouTube videos, or go to the gym or kickboxing. And then when I have days off, I go to a cafe in Leeds and I write books. (My record is currently 13,000 words in one day.) I don't switch off, and my mental health tends to act up when I slow down for too long, so I'm always working.

BBJ: Matt, we have to say that we’re a little puzzled. You make no secret of the fact that you feel no romantic attraction and are ace – can you tell us how that translates into writing an amazing romance like What It Looks Like? What did you draw on to deliver what for us, as demanding readers of romance, is pretty much perfection? I mean, Rob was so protective and supportive of Eli, and the way you ended the tale..!Matt: Romance is everywhere. E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E. You just don't exist as an aromantic asexual without it being constantly rammed in your ears that there's this THING and you ought to do the THING and why haven't you had the THING yet. I grew up on Stargate, there's a romance. I watch South Park, there's romances. I love Red Dwarf with a passion, there's a romance. So I might not feel it, but I know what romance is. I know what love is.

And this is the kind of crazy thing, when I'm trying to persuade people to write more trans characters, they're going, 'Oh but I've no idea what they feel or go through, I couldn't, I'm not trans.' And I'm like, dude, I'm not romantic. At all. I am literally incapable of feeling the THING that every one of my books has been about. But apparently I'm convincing you all pretty well, so...it's not really an excuse, is it? If you're a good writer and you do your homework properly, you can write anything. You can be anything. Get into anyone's head and see the world as they do. That's all I've done. I know what romance is, I know what other people feel when they fall in love, I know what it does to their lives. I've just never physically been in that position.

As for sex, I'm what can be termed a libidoist asexual. That is, I have zero interest in having sex with anyone and I have never once felt sexual attraction, but I do have a libido. I watch porn, I jerk off, I get horny for a couple of days after my HRT shot. So I can understand why people want to scratch that itch, how good it is and how damn distracting it is when you can't. And my tastes are unsurprisingly a little kinky. So the sex side of my romances is pretty much done from a 'if I weren't asexual, this is the kind of thing I'd like' perspective!

BBJ: And Matt, what’s up next, please? Care to share with your new friends?😊

Matt: I'm currently working on Sex in C Major, which is downright filthy. It focuses on Stefan, an FTM guy with a pretty intensely messed up life and struggling to handle his sexual fantasies and accept what they supposedly mean about him. He needs a lot of work to unpick his damaging beliefs and is heading for total disaster with his inability to get it all under control and work through the mess in his head. Fortunately, disaster is averted by him running into Daz, who steadily takes over and becomes Stefan's owner and makes his fantasies real.

But the strapline for it really is that Daz can only teach Stefan about sex. It's Yannis, Daz's boyfriend, who is going to make the real and permanent change to Stefan's world, and begin to unravel all the knots.

(I've worked on it for seven days in total, and managed 60,000 words in that time, so while it's not actually finished yet, I'm hoping for a release next spring!)

BBJ: So, Matt, you started transitioning at age 25 in 2015, but could you tell us please about how you came to the realisation that this was what you had to do? Is it something that you’d been thinking about for years, had realised from a young age? Was there a catalyst?

Matt: I had no idea. None at all. I was effectively raised like a boy. In my house, a girl could be whatever she wanted. She could be a nurse, a violinist, a geneticist, a world leader, whatever. But boys couldn't be the first two. My dad was very traditionally masculine and raised all his kids that way. So I didn't really realise that I wasn't a girl at all because I was handed the gender role of a boy. I naturally gravitated towards boys things, and the odd time I didn't (like writing or liking butterflies) it was totally okay because I was allowed to like those things too. I was basically treated like a boy who was allowed to have long hair. And when you swagger around like you own the joint with a permanent scowl, other people treat you like a boy too. People did not argue with this aggressive-as-hell kid.

And because I didn't really get along with other girls or talk to them about girly things, I didn't realise that how I felt about my body was grossly out of proportion. I thought everyone felt like that. And I had some serious unrelated mental health problems in my teens that basically meant I never once even thought about gender, gender roles, or my own.

Then I moved out, went to university, starting writing seriously, started to get better. I started writing as Matthew. To this day I don't really know why. I just didn't want to use my name or a girl's name, and everyone assumed initials meant women anyway. So I went with a man's name. People called me he and I liked it. I toyed with genderqueer a little, but it didn't quite fit.

Then one day, it all sort of clicked. People were sharing pictures of hot guys on Facebook and making the usual comments and I thought, 'Man, I wish I looked like that.' And it slotted into place. I didn't want those guys. I wanted to be those guys.

I was in my early twenties already, maybe 23 or so, and I'm a bloody-minded sod. When I know, I know. Within six months, I came out, started transitioning, and the rest is history. I was 24 when I changed my name, about six months shy of the 25th birthday, and two months after that birthday, I had my first surgery. Five months after that, I started HRT, and here I am. Beard and all!

BBJ: And now for some daydreaming, Matt: you’ve been writing for years, have fame and fortune, and both a private yacht and a jet at your disposal – which do you use, where do you go and who do you take with you?

Matt: Sell the yacht, keep the jet. I'd bounce all over the world to meet people. One of my oldest friends lives in Iowa and we've never met after more than ten years, he'd be the first. Then work my way through my tweeps. I've got a great collection on Twitter and I'd love to actually get to hug them in person instead of with gifs. But nobody would come with. Those hugs are MINE.

BBJ: Could you see yourself collaborating with other authors, Matt?

Matt: Not really. I have a very unique writing voice, more like a speaking voice than anything else, and it would be crazy hard to collaborate with it. And I tend to go from no story to completely plotted idea in six seconds, so I wouldn't do it on the creation of an idea either. I wouldn't totally rule it out, but the odds are pretty low.

BBJ: What inspires your work, Matt, other than your own life experiences?

Matt: Often conversations with other people in the genre. So, I was having trouble with a publisher who basically ended up telling me I was the wrong type of queer and dumping me and my book (later to be WILL) and as a general f***-you to them I wrote Spy Stuff because those kids were the wrong types of kids. (They were mean sometimes, *gasp!*) And recently someone asked me at a convention how aro-ace people get into relationships or could be in romance novels, and so I now have three aro-ace characters in the works, one of them in Sex in C Major, the others in Heartless and Things That Begin With A.

BBJ: Where can readers interact with you in person in 2017? Any cons lined up, either in the UK or abroad?

Matt: I'm going to Rainbow Con 2017 in Florida in July, and hopefully the proposed Northern UK Meet 2017 in Leeds in August. Nathan Burgoine is persuading me towards Naked Heart Festival which will probably be November 2017 in Toronto. I am very huggy despite my ink and shaved head so please do come and give me a cuddle! (I'm pocket-sized for hug convenience.)

BBJ: Who’s your rock? That one person who always has your back, who’s always there for you?

Matt: Nobody. I thought I had one but turned out, not so much. I have more a collection of rocks. Depending what's going down, there is always a rock that will be there. But it's not always the same one. A beach of friends, if you will. (Okay, metaphor going too far.)

BBJ: And now, the quick-fire round:

Buffy The Vampire Slayer or Malcolm In The Middle?

Slave to cats, BFF to a dog or something else entirely? Live-in butler to a monstrous black cat.

What about the UK makes you proudest? Our sense of humour.

A night out on the town or a night cuddling in front of the T.V.? Depends who I'm with.

Finally, can you be bribed, Matt, and if so, what with? *Purely for scientific research *snigger* Yes, with cuddles, cake, fruit cider, and money. (I am actually really bribeable but I have a tendency to make it known I was bribed and by whom, so watch out!)

Thanks for visiting, Matt. We hope you had fun!

Author Bio

Matthew J. Metzger is the front for a British-born author dragged up in the south of England as part of a typical nuclear family with three kids, a mortgage, and no dog because a dog would get hair on the carpet. A brief escape to the north to study focused his writing from daydreaming rambles to his first novel, Our Last Summer. It is unquestionably better than the dissertation he produced at the same time for his university degree, but probably not as inventive as the excuses he provided for missing classes so often.

Matthew has since returned to the London area, and therefore lives mostly on the public transport. He suspects that his next few pieces will probably involve homicidal characters on the London Underground.

For more information, please visit matthewjmetzger.wordpress.com.

I can be mainly found on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MatthewJMetzger. I am on Facebook but tend to use it less often these days so best stalking opportunities are Twitter-based, especially as I tend to post readable screenshots of what I'm working on!


  1. What a great interview/spotlight. Thank you! I have read & enjoyed many of Matt's books, most recently Spy Stuff.

  2. Thank you for the interview. I've read a few of Matt's stories and have enjoyed them. I like that you didn't give up and went on to write Spy Stuff.