The Matt Wells Novels
Aspiring novelists are often told to write
about what they know. I've never had much time for that - whence
my Edinburgh novels set in the future (oddly enough, I'm not the
owner of a time machine) and the scenes from World War Two in the
Greek books (I'm not that old).
The Nameless Dead
Still in the US, Matt finds himself being manipulated by the FBI, as well as driven by his own desire to get back at the people who brainwashed him. At the same time, Karen is about to give birth to their son. Cue more emotion than in the previous novels, as Matt’s world is turned upside down in the most terrible way. Now all he’s got left is revenge. But he isn’t the only one – his nemesis, the Soul Collector, is back on his trail and this time only one of them will walk away. Not only that, but Matt is at the epicentre of a conspiracy involving Neo-Nazis, the Antichurch of Lucifer Triumphant, a pair of ruthless assassins and a hypocritical arms contractor. Mayhem duly ensues.
I come clean about the series in this blog: http://www.elizabethawhite.com/2011/10/24/at-the-end-of-a-series-the-author-comes-clean-by-paul-johnston/
So how come I've started a series with
a crime novelist as protagonist? Well, for one thing readers seem
to be interested in the writer's life, and I wanted to share the
ups and the devastating downs with them. (I omitted the fact that
most writers' lives are less interesting than your average street
cleaner's - at least the latter get plenty of fresh air...) But
also I was setting myself a challenge. Could I make a writer, that
most shy and solitary of creatures, into a convincing hard-nosed
investigator? Readers will judge that for themselves, but I think
I pulled it off. It helps that Matt Wells is already a bit of a
hard man, having played rugby league for years - and that he has
a group of even tougher friends. But more significantly, he gets
personally involved when his loved ones are put in danger by taking
action and by using any means he can to save them - as any decent
human being would. In that, writers are no different from anybody
The Matt Wells series contains another self-imposed test. The plots
will all concern antagonists (baddies in common parlance) who either
make use of satanic names and images (like the White Devil in The
Death List) or actively worship the Devil. Now, I'm a confirmed
(so to speak) atheist and I've always scoffed at such beliefs. But
I'm also a devoted watcher of trashy horror movies and I've always
been fascinated by visions of the underworld (Homer, Virgil, Dante,
Bosch, Brueghel, even Wilfred Owen). So I wanted to see if I could
scare myself by writing these books. Answer -YES! Which means that
any readers out there who actually believe in the afterlife, demons
and the devil should be absolutely terrified...
The Soul Collector
Speak of the devil - Mephistopheles, or someone using his name, actually appears in The Soul Collector…be afraid.
Second novels in series are tricky and this one exercised my brain more than its predecessors. The main thing is character development and I hope Matt and his crew, plus his frequently deeply irritated new lover Detective Chief Inspector Karen Oaten, have become deeper. They have to face up to one of the worst possible experiences, the murder of a close friend. What do they do? Well, what would you do? Let the police do their job, of course. But Matt's a crime writer and he thinks he can do better.
Meanwhile, Mephistopheles and the hyper-determined Soul Collector have got plans for him…
(Will that do, Mephistopheles?)
Maps of Hell
Having written two novels set in London and surroundings, I decided to change everything. The action takes place in the US, Matt's friends do not appear, and the story is a combination of thriller and crime novel (anyone who's read or seen the films of The Manchurian Candidate and The Bourne Identity might spot some common themes). I wanted Matt to be forced to rely on his own survival instincts, rather than work with others, at least in the first half of the book. When he finds he's being framed for several violent murders, he has to find talents he never knew he possessed. But are they his own or has his brain been well and truly washed? The conspiracy he uncovers takes him to the highest levels of power in the US.