Conversations with the Bookless: Maria Clara Mattos

You can read the full introduction to the series here. In short The Conversations with the Bookless series is designed to raise the profile of and increase the exposure of some of the emerging writers we knew were out there.

In this installment we talk to Maria Clara Mattos

After the jump check out the full interview.

Where are you, right now, as you’re writing these answers?

Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Who are your influences and what is your unlikeliest influence?

I love Ian McEwan and his cruel words; Victor Hugo and his unbelievably round characters; Dennis Lehane and his smooth style and rough stories; Dostoyevsky for his cynicism; Will Self and his absurdities; Edgar Alan Poe for being one of the writers who made me stay up late reading when I was a kid; Thomas Mann and his Magic Mountain; Agatha Christie, the very first mystery I remember reading; Balzac, Balzac, Balzac; Nick Hornby and his sarcasm; recently discovered Allan Guthrie and his wry humored, twisted writing; Mickey Spilane; David Sedaris; Sidney Sheldon… And also: Stepheny Meyer and her lovely, tacky Twilight saga; Meg Cabot and her silliness; John Grogan and Marley and Me. In a nutshell, I can go from heaven to hell pretty easily. The unlikeliest influence would be all the cheesy things I read – and like! I mean, if I’m reading them – me, a person used to liking great authors and all -, there must be something there. So, I don’t necessarily classify things, tough I’m the pickiest of the picky, people say. Maybe I’m just nuts.

Why do you write?

Because I like it. And sometimes I feel like I have a story to tell.

What issues or ideas about fiction have been foremost in your mind of late?

Life is short. Good or bad, I think it’s mostly good. Fiction, good or bad, is always good. I don’t have a mission, I don’t want to say important things, I just want to do what I want to do. Since you can be dumped, despised, lose your job, people, get sick and suffer all the terrible things you can’t avoid, the rest must be fun. I always go for the fun; whatever that may be to me at any given point.

When did you start writing and what prompted you to do so?

I don’t remember anymore. I was young. But at first it was a necessity. There were things I felt I had to say, to exteriorize. Now, I don’t feel anything. Kidding. What happens is that today what’s most important is the writing being good to me. Nothing else matters. While I’m writing it’s got to be good. Fun, in some way. I like doing it, after all.

What do you most value in the fiction you love?

Entertainment. Intelligence. Humor.

How would you describe your style?

Entertaining, intelligent, humored. Lol.

Where can readers check out some of your work?

There’s something on my blog, though I haven’t posted much lately. There’s a short story called Drop Dead Stiff in issue 6 of Out Of The Gutter Magazine; here’s another short story; some lyrics I wrote in partnership with a friend musician; two articles I wrote for a Brazilian magazine, called Tempo da Sky (but they’re in Portuguese) and a TV series still running here. I’m hoping for a second season. The books I translated are also in Portuguese, so… If there’s anyone out there willing to publish a Brazilian girl in English… I have a manuscript.

What are you working on now?

I just finished writing a play and a screenplay. I’m also an actress, and I’m in a TV series that opens on April 12. My next book is all in my head. I just need time to sit down and write it.

How do you plan to rectify your booklessness?

I’m kind of shopping around here… just look at my answer two questions back. Anyone? In fact, my manuscript is being evaluated by a publishing house in Brazil.

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Brian Lindenmuth

Brian is the non-fiction editor of Spinetingler magazine and one of the fiction editors of Snubnose Press. In addition to Spinetingler his work has appeared in Crimespree magazine and at BSC Review, Galleycat and the Mulholland Books website. He also heads the Spinetingler Award committee.

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