I first came across MG Herron’s book Scrivener Superpowers before I discovered his science fiction. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, Shelly, and his dog, Elsa.
How did you decide to become an author?
I’ve always been a reader and fan of science fiction and fantasy novels, but in high school I became obsessed with web development, taught myself how to code, and then made the mistake of entering college as a Computer Science major.
Once I realized my error, I switched to an English major, and got to study something I love for the next three years—old books.
It was only a matter of time until I tried my own hand at writing fiction. I wrote some short stories, then spent a couple years drifting in and out of writing critique groups as I figured out what I wanted to write.
Eventually, I wrote a science fiction novel, and discovered self-publishing. My first novel was published in 2015.
How does your professional background help with your writing?
In my day job, I’m a freelance copywriter and content strategist. I also spent a few years as a project manager for a web design agency. That background has given me a leg up when it comes to marketing my books, especially when it comes to audience building and brand.
But the biggest thing I’ve taken away from my professional work is the ability to break down large projects into manageable chunks. A novel only becomes possible once you realize it’s a series of chapters. And that chapters are a sequence of scenes. And that scenes are a number of pages. And that pages are made up of sentences, which are made up of words. It’s simple, really (but not easy). Your job as a writer is to put one word after another, and then organize the scenes into a book. That’s all. Simple, but not easy.
The other skill I learned when I was young was how to take feedback. My first job ever was refereeing soccer games, and that taught me to have a thick skin. I’ve had angry parents scream in my face and threaten violence when their kid was fouled in a soccer game. After that experience, few things could phase me in the long term.
Can you tell us more about why you wrote your latest books?
The most recent project I completed is called the Translocator Trilogy, three science fiction adventure novels.
Travel often inspires my stories. The story was originally conceived when I visited the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza. I wondered what would happen if we found ancient Mayans on another planet. And it went from there.
If you want to read the story of that trip to Chichen Itza, with photos, you can find it on my blog: How Chichen Itza Inspired a Sci-Fi Novel.
The trilogy took 3 years to complete, but I’m proud of how it turned out. It’s a fast-paced, fun, sci-fi adventure with ancient aliens and teleportation accidents. If you want to give it a try, start with The Auriga Project.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Finish your stories.
Everyone writes differently, but if you want to be a writer, the best thing you can do is start stories, and most importantly, finish what you start.
It helps if you start with short work, too. Short stories, or flash fiction if a short story isn’t manageable.
Once you complete a couple cycles, you will wonder what you were making such a fuss about.
And then you’ll write another. And another. And that’s what being a writer is all about.
What are some upcoming publishing projects you are working on?
The Ares Initiative is my latest book—that’s the third novel of the Translocator Trilogy.
I’m working on a new science fiction mystery series right now. If you’re interested in what I’m up to, be sure to join M.G. Herron’s SFF Book Club, where I share my new books and the other fun science fiction adventure that I’m reading.
Visit Matt Herron’s author page