Matthew Solo

Matthew Solo

Author

London, England

Member Since:
October 2014
Last online:
> 2 weeks ago
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About Matthew

I was born, at home, in London, England, on a May morning in 1970. Just in time for my older brother to meet me before he went to school. Growing up, I was always a dreamer, I loved writing and drawing and living in the fantasy world of comics and whatever I could imagine in the playground or garden. I don’t remember my first trip to the cinema, but I certainly recall memories of excitement as we entered the cavernous theatre auditoriums. I was in awe of the both the scale of the room, and everything that appeared on the screen.

Movies were my first love. They were an escape in which I loved to immerse myself. I can still clearly remember the star destroyer enveloping the opening shots of Star Wars and the excited pre-teen emotion felt at the thought of other worlds and lifeforms. I’ve never lost that excitement and writing was always a way for me to escape reality. At school, other interests also developed. I was a keen actor and even wrote short plays that my three best friends and I performed in front of the whole school. I won the Best Actor award for my role as the eponymous plumber from Arthur Miller’s, The Pussycat And The Expert Plumber Who Was A Man. The following year, I won the award again for my portrayal of Oliver, in Charles Dickens’, Oliver Twist. I wanted nothing more than be an actor; on stage; and ultimately on screen.

Thanks to the pessimistic guidance of the school careers officer, I soon ditched my thespian dreams in sake of something more credible and tangible. Not his words, but something along those lines. I needed to be creative, that was for sure. I didn’t focus too much attention on writing at school, and English Language and English Literature were intertwined at that point in my education, and ironically I didn’t find reading all that interesting. I excelled at anything creative always scoring straight A’s in art, graphic design, woodwork, metalwork and even pottery and spent hours drawing in my own time. It was in my teens that video was unleashed upon the public and I spent every waking hour watching films from all over the world. It was also around the time I discovered my own musical taste in music. This taste became broader following a few years of working in record shops.

Then I had a dream job running a video store. I watched every film that was released, good and bad. I had long been interested in horror and science fiction films, but the video store exposed me to thrillers. I watched every one I could. The horror genre had been brutalised by the “Video Nasty” period and had become watered down into horror comedies. Thrillers became my favourite type of film to watch.
During this time, I had started writing poetry. It was a casual affair that still continues today. I had an idea that captivated me about a man carrying a gun. It grew longer and longer and it no longer made sense for it to rhyme. There was an urgency in the emerging story. The man was desperately uncomfortable having to carry the weapon. His hands were sweating and he could not find any relief by wiping them on his trousers. I could visualise him trying, but the fabric was new, and his discomfort continued unabated. This was going to be a book, someday, I thought. It was, in actual fact, the beginning of the story of what would become, LOSER, around two decades later.

In those years, I did a lot of writing. I wrote several business plans with the intention of starting my own business. I started reviewing films. I launched a film club, screening films in a beautifully boutique preview cinema in Wardour Street, London and wrote all the press releases for the films I screened. I spring boarded from one opportunity to another. Next, I was running an independent record store in North London; from there I started managing some DJ’s; and from there, I started DJing. The following few years were crazy. I travelled a lot of the world, DJing in America, Canada, Japan, South Africa and most of Europe. I was having the time of my life, and then my mother died.

I felt destroyed. I felt completely alone. The invisible umbilical cord that had always been my lifeline was gone. I felt there was nowhere to call home. Joining my friend who’s work visa was about to expire, we travelled to her hometown of Melbourne, Australia, where I lived for three and a half years.

Australia was too slow for me and I felt restless. I was managing some nightclubs and DJing but needed to do something more. I needed to create something. I decided to fulfil a claim I’d made a few years previously and break the Guinness World Record for the Longest DJ Set. There was no attempting to break the record in my claim, I was always going to break it.

The record at that time stood at 84 hours. I hired a friend to help me write the proposal, press release, my biography and all the media strategy etc. I spent nine months training at the gym to increase my stamina in readiness for my big day, well big three and a bit days. During the process of setting up the event, which included designing and building a venue solely for the purpose, I came into contact with a small guerrilla TV station, Noise TV, who filmed all the highs and lows of my big adventure. After I broke the Guinness World Record in June 2006, finishing on 87 hours, Noise TV called me in for a meeting and offered me a role as a presenter for them. Suddenly I was in front of the camera and not in front of the screen.

I had complete creative control and thought it, wrote it, filmed it, spoke it and even got involved in the editing and created music for the shows. All of this, but still no "proper" writing. Eventually, my visa ran out and it was time for me to leave my home away from home, and head… home. Arriving back in London with an arsenal of stories and an Aussie twang, I took a job in a music / DVD store and then on to cinema. Managing a cinema that is

It was during this time, that a colleague, Steven Denant and I became “Film Buddies”. We went to see films regularly and spoke of writing our own TV show. He was studying creative writing and I listened to all his ideas without hearing anything that grabbed me. We began writing a formulaic TV sit-com and a few weeks in, he told me about his latest endeavour. I immediately challenged and berated him. His story was contrived, self-indulgent and lacked any body or gravitas. To support my comments, I recounted my story of the man and his gun and created the narrative in summary up until the conclusion of the story. Steven was stunned. He was a student, studying how to write, and struggling to formulate a complete story using the methods and mechanisms he was learning, and I had just told him an entire story with a start, middle and end, from memory, and it had been in my head for nearly twenty years.

Steven became animated. He demanded I started writing the story immediately. I told him I would, one day. But Steven wasn’t having it. From memory, I recall him pretty much forcing me to sit down and thrusting my laptop onto my lap. He ordered me to start writing it as I had recounted it to him. And so, quite by accident, I began writing. A couple of hours later, I had written the first chapter of LOSER. Out of interest, besides some spelling and grammatical corrections, the first chapter is exactly as it was written that day.

I had no doubt in my mind that LOSER would be the title. Not, The Loser or, A Loser, just, LOSER. Certain friends warned me against it, but that had always been the title in my mind. As I wrote, my brain far outpaced my fingers, spitting out words quicker than I could type them. My imagination ran wild. It was on fire! I was creating characters, locations scenarios and visualising them all in a movie inside my head. I couldn’t stop writing, and I loved it. During the months I spent writing LOSER, I discovered a passion that had been hidden in me since my childhood. Every day I wrote and soon, one of the greatest experiences of my life occurred; I wrote the two most magical of words; The End.
I had finished. At least I thought I had. I had finished the very beginning part of the process. What came next was weeks of proof reading; editing; formatting; context; syntax; layout; design; and then, finally, I was ready to submit for printing. Shortly after that, I experienced another of the greatest experiences of my life; opening the box with the printed proofs of my first book.

The joy was sadly short lived. I was so unhappy with the layout of the book. I had got it all wrong. The text appeared completely differently from how I’d visualised it and looked awful in print. It had taken me an entire day to format for paperback, and I dreaded the thought of having to do it all again. But, that was exactly what I had to do. It was a heart-breaking low, after such an ecstatic high. The low was ultimately short-lived, and the cover got updated in the process. Finally, the paperback looked how I wanted it.

I took a short break from writing after that experience. Two days to be precise. A story came to me from nowhere. A wild and insatiable TV presenter from the future who reviewed drugs. A larger than life character in an adventure of hallucinogens, flying cars and mortal peril. FLYBOY.

I set myself the goal of writing 10,000 words per week, which was no easy challenge as I was working full time with two hours of commuting each day. I bore in mind a particular review of LOSER that described it as “one-dimensional”. I had written the book like a movie, and never thought of depth of characterisation. In fact, as someone who didn’t read fiction, I wasn’t even sure how to deepen someone’s character, but I was determined to improve on my first attempt.

I had so much fun writing FLYBOY. I would go to sleep with my laptop and start writing again as soon as I woke up. I would narrate the story to myself as I cycled to and from the cinema where I worked each day. Repeating and repeating scenes until they made sense. I would dream scenes I had yet to write and my dreams became ever more lucid.

It was an amazing experience. I was hooked. This is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Ideas for new stories flooded my brain. Characters who still haven’t been penned even, but entertained me on those lonely bike rides. Suddenly, I was approaching the end of FLYBOY. I was unable to sleep as I edged closer and closer to the final words that were now quite ancient to me. FLYBOY published in December of 2013 and as I neared the end of that process, I was already itching to write my next book, MY MONOLOGUES OF VENGEANCE.
FLYBOY was an adventure. A techno Indiana Jones. Blade Runner on drugs. MY MONOLOGUES OF VENGEANCE was an uncompromising and brutal revenge story. Fuelled by visceral carnage and the journey of a genuinely nice person, into the darkest depths of pure evil. I finished FLYBOY and the very same day, started writing MONOLOGUES.

I was absolutely clear that only the main character would speak in the book. Any other conversations would be discussed, but not inverted in comas. I was so excited about writing something as dark as I intended it, but had no idea how it would affect me personally. I became withdrawn. I was in a place as dark as that of the book. I found myself crying all the time. I could not speak with my friends or socialise.
MY MONOLOGUES OF VENGEANCE was an incredible experience to write, and not one I’d son wish to repeat. I know from the few friends that have dared to read it, that they could feel the darkness too. Near the end of the book, the tempo changes as I really wanted the whole MONOLOGUES experience to be over. I was worn out and needed a break. Finally, those two most beautiful words appeared on the page and had never felt so good before or since; “The End”.

I now focussed all my energy on my next book, PERFECT CHILD, starting writing within hours of finishing MONOLOGUES. As soon as I finished that, early in 2014, I returned to MONOLOGUES to prepare that to publish in spring. PERFECT CHILD followed a month later in April.
TIP TOE was an idea that I had whilst visiting the Royal Opera House and the interest of the team there leant irresistible force to the project. I was privileged to be invited to room with the Royal Ballet in Monte Carlo where they performed the ballet featured in the book, Manon. Whilst writing the story, my mind was filled with ideas for other books and soon I was writing three books at the same time (not literally if you pardon the pun). TIP TOE, and two books with working titles of THE COP TRILOGY and INSECT WOMAN.

Surprisingly I found writing multiple storylines at the same time, intoxicating. A random idea led to the fourth book I was writing concurrently, OLD BOYS CLUB. Switching between the storylines was fun, and kept me on my edge. I was extremely careful to ensure no themes, styles or even key words were duplicated within the four books.

Some rather major changes to my life occurred causing me to change jobs and move home where I had lived since returning to the UK, and all four books fell onto the back burner. A whole two years passed by without writing a word. And then, by complete accident, whilst travelling to Poland, I came up with an idea for a new book. Aptly named, WRITER’S BLOCK, although it hadn’t been the reason for my stagnation, I started writing this book on my cell phone! In late 2017, I completed it, having written it entirely on my phone.

Even though TIP TOE had been scheduled as my fifth book, my sixth book had been finished first. Now, more than anything, I wanted to write again. 2018, however, had different plans for me. I occasionally revisited THE COP TRILOGY, INSECT WOMAN and OLD BOYS CLUB, but TIP TOE and WRITER’S BLOCK lay dormant and completely untouched. It was not until half way through the year that I updated my website and started the first read through of WRITER’S BLOCK. In August I designed the cover and that kind of brings me up to date.

The first read through of WRITER’S BLOCK will be completed soon and then it will be submitted for proof reading. Then its context; syntax; layout; design; and print. Next I will pick one of the unfinished works, most likely TIP TOE, and you can expect INSECT WOMAN to follow, although I was never happy with that title, maybe, LADY BUG. I have plenty of ideas for the succession from there, including a sequel to LOSER, and a prequel and sequel to FLYBOY. But for now, I’ll keep that all in my head. My first three books are on the shelves of The British Library and all four books (so far) are available on paperback and Kindle.

So, thank you for taking the time to read this. Please do read my books, and watch this space for updates.

LOSER – a thriller about a young man who makes a decision that backfires and leaves him upset, confused and feeling alone. On the advice of his boss, he takes a holiday to San Diego where he encounters girls and a lot of money and all the trouble the two can bring. Waking up in jail, he is badly beaten and bruised. Recapping his tragic adventure to his cell mate, he is all the time wondering what the cops know and what fate has in store for him. A fast paced story about betrayal and murder.
—- available on Kindle, paperback and Large-Print paperback.

FLYBOY – is a futuristic thriller set in a world that has changed from the one we know. The petro-chemical industry has collapsed and drugs have been legalised to replace the short-fall in tax revenue. Our hero, Jayson Flayne aka Flyboy, is a mega-star drug reviewer and with his pals; Johnnie Been-Good and Crystal Beth, try and review everything before it hits the streets. When they are presented with what promises to end the global drought in hallucinogens, they jump at the opportunity to trial it. However, the trial doesn’t go according to plan, and soon, Flyboy is running for his life in this sci-fi-action-adventure where nothing is as it seems!
—- available on Kindle, paperback and Large-Print paperback.

MY MONOLOGUES OF VENGEANCE – is about love, loss and retribution. Ten years after the senseless murder of his brother, sister-in-law and their unborn baby, it is time to take revenge: An awful, brutal revenge, involving savage torture and sustained terrorisation. This is not for the weak hearted or stomached, and contains graphic descriptions of the most sadistic torture. As he delivers his revenge, he recaps his life to the bound and gagged recipient and you will struggle to wonder whether he has gone too far, or not far enough!
—- available on Kindle and paperback.

PERFECT CHILD – is the story of Anthony. 16 years old. He is super smart, fit, and amazing at everything he undertakes. He is also falling in love for the first time. Present at a road accident, he rushes to help the injured victim. Desperately he tries to save her life, but fails. Saddened by her death, he starts to see people he believes are following him. His parents and friends grow increasingly concerned that Anthony is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, as slowly his paranoia plagues him. Is he being followed, or is he losing his mind? Read it and find out, but be prepared for the devastating ending that will tear you apart!
—- available on Kindle and paperback.

TIP TOE – will be my fifth book. It is the story of a ballet dancer, who becomes obsessed by performing on stage in Manon, the same role where his parents met. He believes it is his destiny to fall in love with the principal female, just as his father did all those years ago. The problem is, Rosario isn’t cast as the principal male, so he has to find a way to take that role from the man who was.
—- coming soon on Kindle and paperback.

WRITERS BLOCK – will be my sixth book but most likely published before Tip Toe. It revolves around an author of horror stories, under pressure to meet the print deadline for a Halloween release. As he struggles to even start the book, his agent recommends he takes some time to stay at a secluded cabin in the woods in the home it will jar his creative juices. What it does, is plunge him into a downward spiral of drunken paranoia that can only end badly.
—- coming soon on Kindle and paperback.

I ‘see’ my stories as dreams and daydreams, movies in my mind’s eye and simply recount the scenes as I have seen them. I already know the stories I intend to write. Many of them in intimate detail, like a movie I’ve watched again and again in my head. In most cases I know them right up to the very last words and I hope you will enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.

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