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From Childhood Imagination to Epic Fantasy Worlds with Author Matt Avery

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Hey there! Today I am super excited to introduce you to Matt Avery, the incredible mind behind the epic fantasy world of “The Wretched Truth, a captivating debut novel that is just the beginning of his storytelling journey.

I hope you’ll enjoy this interview, as we explore his creative process, character secrets, and the adventure-filled path to bringing his stories to life! ✨

The Wretched Truth by Matt Avery

Can you share with us how your writing journey began? What inspired you to become an author, and how did you bring the world of Urothica to life?

Of course! I could go as far back to say I recall stapling together construction paper to make my own books when I could barely write out a coherent sentence.

As a kid, me and my friends were always imagining huge worlds, so much bigger than ourselves as we ran around the yard with sticks in hand to live out the fantasy stories we made up in our heads. And that was pretty typical, we were always up to something creative, from making our own comics, creating our own card game, recording ourselves and all sorts of things.

As I got a bit older, I found a pure joy in living inside’s another person’s world. I would read constantly of course but I was indiscriminate of how I consumed. It could be through video games, television, movies or whatever.

As a younger adult I tried freelance writing, creating a video game and even ran my own food blog for a bit. Somewhere along the line of all of those creative endeavors, I realized all of those things were just segues for me to do what I knew I always wanted to do: write a book.

I think the inspiration was less of an ‘aha moment’ and more of a realization that I was in my mid-twenties and still imagining this faceless world full of stories and if I actually wanted to accomplish it, I needed to sit down and do the work.

It was really a culmination of me loving to imagine and share stories and then realizing that writing was the best vehicle for my creativity. I also have my amazing wife who has become a successful wedding photographer and seeing her succeed from building a business off of nothing helped immensely with my motivation.

And really, the world of Urothica spilled out from there. We had some large sketch pads sitting around the house and one day, after a bad day at work, I just dove into this world and started to give it shape with just a pencil and myself.

Then I labeled some names, and then I left it for over a year. Sometime later, I wrote a three-page bit of lore on the very creation of Urothica and left it there for another year. Then, February of 2020, I purchased a new laptop, installed Evernote and began filling out the world properly.

A couple months later, to no one’s surprise now, I was stuck at home a lot more time than expected. Through it all, the biggest thing I wanted in Urothica as I built it out was, I needed it to be unique but familiar.

I want readers to feel at home in this fantasy world but also very frequently surprised at some of its more unique elements. And lastly, I wanted it big enough to hold a million stories.

As a self-taught writer, what were the most valuable lessons you learned during the process of crafting your debut novel?

I think most writers that haven’t finished a novel will say this, but it’s worth saying to anyone that hasn’t heard it: your first draft is not a complete novel. I could almost call them extended outlines in some cases.

A lot of folks feel their ideas were bigger than the written word and there is something to say about managing expectations but, in my case at least, I find that complexity is often driven by layers. It’s on the edits, the rereads, the feedback from beta readers and the final polish of grammar where you really start to feel the life of a story take its final shape.

When people finish a book and say, “How did they write that?” the truth is that you are seeing a finished product, and it was picked and prodded apart a dozen times before this beautiful piece of literature made it to you.

Don’t compare your first draft to that, compare your first draft to your outline, then your second draft to your first draft and so on.

And above all, get it done. Your writing will be broken on the first novel, but you must have a full picture before you go back in and fix it.

Developing intriguing characters is crucial to a captivating story. How do you approach character creation, and have any of your own traits or experiences influenced the characters in your book?

I don’t think I could believe someone if they said their experience didn’t influence characters in their work! All we have are ourselves and our lives and anything we create is intrinsically a reflection of that.

But there are certainly some traits I give my characters that are much more consciously planted than subconsciously. Deek in The Wretched Truth for example loves to cook, I knew I wanted a character to have that because I love to cook.

But when creating a character, I generally already have a sense of the type of story and situations I want to tell and then work on the characters from there. I think that helps because knowing the environment helps shape the character a lot.

In some ways, you are locked into certain considerations with that. For example, a character that has been told they will be the strongest warrior their whole life will have some issues with pride. But then, you can have these intrinsic character traits that hopefully contrast their upbringing or situational traits. Having these competing traits really leads to interesting internal conflict.

Take Alvera for example, in her heart, she is way more like her sarcastic, goofy friend Deek than the very hard, stubborn and prideful exterior we see at first. And of course, there are some big insecurities that develop from the conflict of what she feels like she ‘should’ be versus who she really is.

Relating back to the first part of your question, I think I often subconsciously insert a lot of myself into these intrinsic traits as I’ve dealt with a lot of anxiety and much of that stems with concerns of ‘acting how I should’ vs ‘who I am.’

“The Wretched Truth” showcases a unique fantasy world. What aspects of world-building do you find most enjoyable, and how do you ensure that your readers are immersed in the world you’ve created?

I think the best part of world-building in fantasy is the lack of restrictions. It really can be a playground where you set your own rules. You can even break the rules later if you want!

Of course, you have to be intentional and careful about that, but it can be done to great effect! I absolutely love the little details, the little bits of fantasy you can add in simple observations from characters.

That always soothes my soul to have neat little critters or interesting foliage be described. I always try to reread and find particularly interesting bits of lore and add more details later in the series or books.

It really could be as simple as renaming a totally normal thing with a fantasy name. In my next book I describe Spanish moss a few times, but it has a different name and a few different properties that really elevate how well it fits in the world.

Secondly, backstories and presumed knowledge is another fun one. Instead of saying out of the gate, “The blood wars were a long and daunting battle that lasted some centuries.” I’ve learned to just have a character off-handedly mention ‘The blood wars.‘ and let readers wonder about that for a little while before it comes back in a later chapter or book.

That can apply to character backstories and just about anything, I try to be intentional about how and when I deal out information to entice wonder from the readers.

Balancing writing with other interests and responsibilities can be challenging. How do you manage your time between writing, cooking, hiking, playing video games, and spending time with your family and Maui?

Bring your writing with you everywhere! In the modern era that’s easy enough. Word and Google Docs can be accessed from any device with a web browser with ease. I’ve written just about anywhere.

I think most of my books end up being about 30-40% written entirely on my phone! It’s certainly not the fastest but if that’s what I have on hand, I see it as that many words I wouldn’t have written otherwise.

And just having access to your work means you can find the precious minutes in a day to get your words on the page. I think people would be surprised to learn how, once you hit a rhythm, you can really pump out 1000 words in a short session.

“The Wretched Truth” is the first book in “The King of Crowns” series. Can you share your vision for the series as a whole and what readers can expect from future iterations?

Absolutely! I am happily across the 50% milestone of the second book for its first draft and excited as the last half is usually the easier bit for me. While The Wretched Truth is all about Alvera finding herself and deciding to take an active role in her life as to what she wants from the world, the next book is more so about finding that exact direction.

The same goes for the side characters (one of which will be elevated to a POV!). I want readers to follow Alvera and feel her feelings she feels scared, abandoned and lost but also empowered by herself as she makes the important decisions in life to really take charge of her own destiny.

And of course, there are some new and familiar enemies, some of which are larger than life and I just am really excited to pit against our main characters and share the story of how they succeed or fail at that. I like brutal, powerful moments and building to those/executing them is a delight.

I can’t wait to get to some of the ones I envision as I near the climax of this next book and the series as a whole! Big revelations and sweeping moments to change the characters forever are in store!

Beyond that, the world of Urothica is massive and I have so many stories that are either standalone or their own series or somewhere in between that I can’t wait to get to once Alvera’s portion here is done.

As an author, you must have faced various obstacles during your writing journey. How do you stay motivated and overcome challenges in the creative process?

Everyone hits a rut or writer’s block or whatever comes at you. And there are always the variables of life, good and bad, that can distract any writer from their goals. The important thing is to try and write every day and if nothing else, at least think about it.

Push the story forward in your head and get it to where you want. This is where discipline often needs to take place of motivation because that really is a fickle emotion that isn’t always there. 

Now, I’m going to immediately throw in a ‘but’ to the above. And that’s when I feel burnout creeping up. When that happens, I have to acknowledge that I need a break for a couple days. I accept that, step away from the manuscript for a bit and let everything sit in the back of my mind for some time.

Making that decision intentionally means the break lasts a much shorter period than if I’d had let the burnout catch up and next thing I know it’s been a month before I’ve really touched anything.

Above all, take care and don’t beat yourself up if the words get away from you for a little bit.

You mentioned seeking the knowledge of editors, readers, and online resources. Could you elaborate on the role of feedback and community support in honing your writing skills?


So, when I reach my second draft or so, I find it’s time to reach out to beta readers. I find that a blend of volunteers and paid beta readers honestly do the best for me. Finding your casual reader in the world who simply just wants something to read and getting their feedback can give you a bit more of an authentic response from what a ‘real world’ reader may be.

I find that paid beta readers have a more critical lens on your piece, which can be equally helpful. I then generally compile all their notes, absolutely address recurring criticisms and then investigate anything else on a case-by-case basis.

I post to Reddit and Facebook groups occasionally to seek thoughts, feedback and more often than not, validation. The author community really is a great one if you find it in the write spots and you can find a lot of support.

Of course, I’ve ran into folks who perhaps didn’t have anyone but their own interests in mind but that’s a minority out of the vast pool of people out there willing to help. And another great thing about the author community I don’t think a lot of folks realize is that you can find some groups where successful authors are very active.

Being able to touch base and get feedback from successful people in the industry is something that a lot of creative arts folks struggle with elsewhere, but it really is possible in the world of writing!

Apart from “The Wretched Truth,” do you have any other writing projects in the works? Are there different genres or themes you’d like to explore in the future?

Right now, I am committed to finishing The King of Crowns. I have The Wretched Truth and its prequel (Compel the Blade) out now. What remains are two planned sequels to finish the series. I have outlines written and half of the second one in progress. 

Beyond that, I want to stay in the world of Urothica for a while as I have so much, I still want to tell. I think a standalone novel might follow the end of the series while I prepare for another full-blown series. I also think The King of Crowns may have some characters that could continue their stories beyond that series conclusion, if I find the interest from myself and readers!

As for other genres, I’m relatively committed to the fantasy world and its subgenres right now. That said, I think a modern contemporary piece, perhaps mystery or romance one day would be a lot of fun. I also get these crazy, experimental writings that may only ever see the light of day if I have the means (and skill set) to produce.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors who are just starting on their writing journey and wish to create their own fantastical worlds?

Keep writing. That’s the most cliche advice and it’s almost more cliche to say it’s cliche. But seriously, if you want to write, you have to write. Don’t worry about it being good, it will be later. Anything actually on paper is better than thinking about putting it on paper.

And, if you are creating your own fantastical world, build it one piece at a time. The amazing depth of some of our biggest fantasy worlds took years and many books to fill out, don’t worry if it isn’t there yet!

And lastly, be open to criticism, listen to it and always digest it a bit before you make any decisions on how and if it will change your writing.

Please feel free to include any additional information you’d like to share about yourself or your book.

Thanks so much for taking the time and effort to give me these questions! It was a blast to answer them. I’m happy to give back to the community what it’s given me. If you are a reader or a writer and want to discuss Urothica or your own world or anything you’ve read or are reading! I try to not be hard to find, so reach out and let’s have some fun!

If anyone is interested in The Wretched Truth, it’s a YA Fantasy book that is available on Kindle Unlimited, Ebook and paperback. It’s about Alvera, a sixteen-year-old mercenary who sets out to find those who are ambushing her guild’s encampments. Everything in her investigation gets overturned and she begins to question everything and everyone around her as she realizes who she is and what she wants from this world.

To connect with Matt, make sure to check out his website, or follow him on his social media.

I hope you enjoyed this interview with Matt! Happy reading! 📖