Welcome to the Literary Library Lounge where I interview fellow authors. Today, I am chatting with Matt Ferraz from Brazil
Thanks for joining me, Matt. Please take a seat and make yourself comfortable.
I don’t believe I’ve had any authors from Brazil in my Author Spotlight before. Can you tell me more about your background?
I live in Contagem, an industrial town in central Brazil. Contagem is a nice place but it lacks cultural spots, so I spent a lot of time traveling to Belo Horizonte, the capital of the state, where there are more libraries and theaters.
I have spent the last year living in Buckingham, UK, taking my masters in biography at the town’s university. Whenever I had the chance, I would take the train to London and spend the day on bookshops and museums, or go to the theatre to see a play. It was an amazing experience, and I hope to come back there in the future.
That sounds very exciting.
How long have you been published? What titles have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.
My first book was Teorema de Mabel (Mabel’s Theorem) a Portuguese-written novella about a young girl named Mabel who gets a job as a typist for her favorite writer. However, when Mabel meets her new boss, she finds out he cannot write anything, so she decides to write the book herself, knowing that he will get the credit. I wrote this book due to my passion for typewriters, and am still very proud of it. It was self published, and I got to appear on local TV and newspapers with it.
After that I published Killing Dr. Watson, a thriller about a geek who teams up with an actor who played Sherlock Holmes on BBC to find out who’s the killer who’s eliminating actors who played Watson on TV. This book was released by MX Publishing, which only deals with Sherlock Holmes related material. It was later released as an audiobook, and it was an amazing thing to listen to it for the first time.
I’m now venturing into cozy mystery with the Grandma Bertha Solving Murders series. I always loved the genre, and decided to give it a try. The first volume, The Convenient Cadaver, was released on March 7 through Amazon.
Very nice. I’m hoping to review that book soon. It looks wonderful and is in a genre that I write.
Tell us a little more about your books.
I consider myself a crime writer, but like to venture into other genres once in a while. I created the Grandma Bertha Solving Murders series based on my experiences with my grandmothers Edite and Eva and with a elder friend named Silvia. My idea was to write about elderly people but not in a bitter way. Having an old person living with you can be harsh, but it can also be a wonderful and funny experience, and I wanted to write a book showing that.
Grandma Bertha is an old lady who loves horror movies and her dogs. Afraid that she’ll be lonely living by herself, her son Todd decides to make a bedroom for her on his garden shed so she can spend more time with the family. Todd’s wife Lydia doesn’t get along very well with Grandma Bertha, but their son Stu loves having his granny by his side.
One day, while they’re getting ready for a party, Lydia finds a dead body on the alley at the back of their house: a beautiful young woman shot three times on the back. They call the police immediately, but Grandma Bertha decides she’s going to find out who the killer is. You see, Grandma Bertha had an experience like that on the past, when she solved a murder but didn’t report to the police for not believing in her own deductions, and that haunted her for life. Now she wants to redeem herself by catching this one.
Sounds like great characters and a fun plot.
Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?
I want to entertain people and tell stories they can relate to. I do my best to be funny and endearing and clever and all that good stuff. My goal is to release at least three more books in this series in the next two years, and I believe people will love what I have in mind for Grandma Bertha’s next cases.
I’m also working in a completely different project at the moment, a sci-fi book called Know Thy Enemy. I always wanted to co-write a book with another author, and I met a wonderful writer named Dawn Chapman with whom I got along like we were old buddies. We are now halfway through this book, and as soon as we finished with it I’ll go back to Grandma Bertha.
Excellent. I’m also working on another project at the moment and taking a break before I continue my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series with #4.
What type of reader are you hoping to attract? Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?
Anyone who likes a good mystery with touches of humor can enjoy The Convenient Cadaver, but I think that people who has had a strong relationship with their grandparents will find this book special.
Unfortunately, I never knew my grandparents, but I do enjoy mysteries that include a bit of comedy.
What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?
You have to learn how the publishing industry works. That’s vital. Spend your money in books and courses about this industry. You can write the most amazing novel in the world, but if you’re clueless about how a book gets published, the odds are other people will make money out of your work. Sure, money is not the most important thing, but if you can write a good book and want to make an honest buck out of it, you should be informed about how to do it.
That’s an interesting insight. Although writing is an art, the business side of it is the publishing aspect.
What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?
Publishing a book in Brazil is a nightmare! I submited Teorema de Mabel to a Brazilian publishing house that took two years to answer me, and when they did, they wanted me to pay the equivalent of 5,000 dollars to publish my book. That’s more than a year of minimum wage in here, so I politely declined. These publishers don’t believe that your books is going to be successful, so they want you to pay in advance so if the book is a failure, only the author will lose money.
I only got to become a published author after I started writing in English and Italian. It’s much more effort to write a book in another tongue, but it’s amazingly easier to get it published in the UK or in Italy. Most publishers in Brazil are vanity presses, which is a shame, for that harms our own literature.
I agree. I paid to have my first book published, but I used an established self-publisher. I would not pay to publish a book with a vanity press, and I believe there aren’t too many still around in the U.S. for good reason.
Have you taken any writing or publishing classes? If so, please provide information about them and if you feel they helped you further your professional skills.
I took an online workshop of How to Get Published at Gotham Writers, and a live workshop called How to Make a Living (and a Life) out of your Writing when I was in London. They were vital for my career, and I advise every writer who wants to become a professional to take these kind of courses.
I’ve taken some online writing and publishing courses and also found them very helpful.
What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?
I mostly watch a lot of movies and read a lot of books. I also have a collection of porcelain penguins I’m really proud of. I also collect Italian comics and old VHS’s.
Interesting. I used to collect cat figurines and other collectibles.
What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?
The best thing by far is that I can write about anything I want to. That’s the most powerful feeling in the world, knowing that I can write any story that comes to my mind, and all it takes is the effort of sitting down and writing. The worst part is when people ask for free copies, not to read it but just to show their friends that they know a writer. The toughest challenge is that I’m building a career at a very long distance. My books are written in English and I’m living in Brazil, which feels very strange at times.
That must be challenging.
Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. and include some book cover graphics and author photos if possible.
Official site: https://mattferraz.com
The Convenient Cadaver: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34728968-the-convenient-cadaver?ac=1&from_search=true
Killing Dr. Watson: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26760441-killing-dr-watson
Thank you so much for the interview, Matt. I wish you the best with your mystery series as well as your co-authored science fiction title. I will keep an eye out for them.