Sunday, 3 May 2015

Q & A with Author Matthew Alan

What We Leave Behind
by Matthew Alan

What We Leave Behind - A story about struggle, a story of hope, and mostly, a story about love. A journey with a unique young girl who is so sure of what is out there waiting for her, that she never compromises her belief in finding it. Jane Rawley Solomon's humor, character, and passion for others, serve as a reminder that we choose our own path to happiness, regardless of the events that impact our lives.

Paperback, 226 pages
Published April 10th 2014 by Createspace (first published April 6th 2014)

Find it on Goodreads
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Read It & Reap: November 8, 2015

My name is Matthew Alan and I just finished publishing my first novel entitled "One Degree". One Degree is a work of fiction that I started writing about seven years ago. I've worked on three other books during that time period (and the next will be coming out later this fall), but this is the story I kept coming back to. I hope you like it!

I am a college swimming coach/teacher living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and writing on the side. As a coach and educator, I have been fascinated in teaching and balancing learning with humor. These goals have sparked the passion in my writing for some time, and I hope to share that passion with other readers as much as possible.

Q & A with Matthew Alan

Q:  Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
Jane Rawley Solomon –A wonderful girl/woman that maintains her perspective and hope for finding love, despite a difficult childhood and challenges (family, relationships, medical...)in her life. She is the single best person I have ever written. Kind and tough, honest to a fault, and holding out for true love, despite setback after setback, Jane is so much of who I strive to be.

Max Kincaid - Jane's adult boyfriend. He starts out a little awkward and uptight, but reveals his true nature as their love story unfolds. Equally honest and trusting as Jane, but with his own unique views on life and relationships.

Willa (Mrs. Solomon) - Jane's adoptive mother - strong-willed, kind, passionate and loving...she supports Jane and loves her from the moment they meet. She is Jane's biggest fan.

Jason (Mr. Solomon) - Jane's adoptive father - straight-talking, protective, and caring father. He challenges and supports her from the moment they meet. He also makes dating Jane a bit more challenging for any would be suitor.

Q:  Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
Soleil Phan - one of my former swimmers who graduated in 2014. A design student at Carnegie Mellon, Soleil was also one of the most talented, hard-working swimmers I have ever coached.

We talk about the theme of the book, and brainstorm about starter ideas. Then we tweak the final version until we're both happy. She's amazing and I have been so lucky to have her helping on these projects.

Q:  Describe your ideal writing spot.
My home office, with Roxy (my lab mix) on the bed behind me, and a glass of wine on the desk.

Or a local coffee shop 61 B - great coffee (Large triple shot, non-fat, vanilla latte), always a table, and such kind people that work there.

Q:  What is the best advice you have been given?
When my swim coach told me that I probably shouldn't be swimming in college (paraphrasing), because I didn’t have a great feel for the water. A short time later spent hours challenging me to work smarter, not harder and to use my individual strengths to reach new heights in my swimming. From that point on I realized there isn't "one" right way to do things, but you have to find "your" best way.

It left me motivated to succeed beyond anything I knew before, made me realize that "going through the motions" is never enough to guarantee that success, and inspired me to huge improvement and a fourth place finish at NCAA's my sophomore year in college.

Q:  As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A doctor for most of my life...and then a swim coach. So that worked out well so far for me. :)

Q:  Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
Paperbacks. I love just taking a book to a park bench, coffee shop or beach and bringing nothing else with me. It lets me detach from one world and attach to another.

Q:  If you could be any paranormal creature, what would you choose to be and why?
AMY SEDARIS! BECAUSE SHE CAN BE ANYONE. OR A shape-shifter. To be able to look like anyone or anything - that unique skill would be incredible. The ability to learn more about people and to see things from the viewpoint of other ages, races, genders...that would be a power and accomplishment I wish we could all achieve.

Q:  What book are you reading now?
Soon I Will Be Invincible - by Austin Grossma

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