Author Interview: Matthew Arnold Stern

I’m back for a new series of author interviews! First up, we have Matthew Arnold Stern. Without further ado…

Hello! So, first of all – tell me a little bit about yourself!

I’m a native Southern Californian and grew up in the San Fernando Valley. (I’ve never heard anyone there say, “Gag me with a spoon.”) Thirty-five years ago, I moved to Orange County where I met my wife and started a family. We have two adult children, a granddaughter, lots of cats, and a new puppy.

What’s the name of your book? Can you give a brief outline of the plot (spoiler-free, of course)?  

My latest novel, The Remainders, is about the broken relationship between a father and son.

The son, Dylan Glass, is an 18-year-old high school dropout who was kicked out of his mother and stepdad’s palatial house. Now homeless, he sleeps in his SUV behind an abandoned movie theater in Reseda. Although he has a job at a dollar store and support from the people he meets, he finds himself challenged by old temptations and a new woman, the alluring and enigmatic Pearl.

His estranged father, Dr. Oliver Glass, struggles with demons of his own. A private practice and a beautiful girlfriend with children of her own can’t make up for a past of tragedy and abuse. Memories of long-ago terrors constantly haunt Oliver.

Oliver seeks to reconnect with his son. Dylan seeks love and acceptance. Both father and son must overcome their self-destructive urges and painful histories before it’s too late.

That sounds great, and like it really explores some deep issues. Where can we get our hands on The Remainders?

The Remainders is available now in Kindle and Kindle Unlimited and in paperback wherever books are sold. You can learn more about the book and where to buy it on The Remainders page of my website.

Why do you write in your chosen genre? What’s your favourite thing about it?

I don’t think of a genre when I start writing. I create the story I want and find the genres that best fit it as it takes shape. My stories are character-driven. I enjoy getting inside characters’ heads and seeing the world from their point of view. It creates a better experience for readers. People may enjoy a certain plot point or witty dialogue, but they appreciate characters they can relate to and get invested in.

What got you into writing? What do you enjoy most about it?

It started at Reseda High School. I was going through typical teenage stuff, and I turned to writing to deal with it. My English teacher, Darlene Loiler, read my writing, told me I have talent, and encouraged me to develop it. I got involved with the school’s creative writing magazine and newspaper. I gained a love for writing that I’ve been developing ever since. What I love most about writing is the connection. I always appreciate feedback. Even if I don’t hear from readers, I know they are out there getting something from my writing.

What’s your go-to music for a writing session?

Music plays an important role in my writing because of my experience performing in musical theatre in high school. I put together a playlist of music related to my story. It provides me with a soundtrack while writing. You can find the playlist for The Remainders on Spotify.

Where do you find inspiration for your stories?

They say art comes from pain, and this is true for my writing. My stories usually come from a difficult situation or something I worry about. I write to work through these feelings and search for solutions. This was the case for The Remainders and my other novel with Black Rose Writing, Amiga. I wrote both in 2016 when we were going through some difficult family situations. My work-in-progress is about a murder that happened at my high school that I’ve been trying to write about for 45 years.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Since 2019, I’ve been working on my health. Over 25 months, I’ve dropped over 80 pounds (36.3 kilograms) through proper nutrition and exercise. My wife and I keep busy with our granddaughter and a new puppy.

What’s your favourite book from childhood? Has it influenced you as a writer?

The first book I remember reading is Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss. I enjoyed the humor and pacing. I like to include humor in my stories, even in more serious works. It keeps readers engaged and allows them to catch their breath during dramatic scenes.

Where can we learn more about you and your books?

You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and TikTok with the tag maswriter. To see my posts on a variety of topics and learn more about my books, visit matthewarnoldstern.com.  

Thank you for your time! 🙂

You’re welcome! Thank you for the opportunity to share my story with you.

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