Meet the totally awesome Matt Pike


I'm delighted to be interviewing author Matt Pike today. Matt sent me his book trailer recently (for the YA Trailer Park) and I was so impressed that I just had to interview him! Here's what happened :)

Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
Apocalypse: Diary of a Survivor is the story of Jack, a suburban Aussie teen who happens to find out about a catastrophic comet headed toward Earth. The planet is days from disaster and Jack’s 12-hour head start on the general public allows him to prep (prepare food and supplies to survive) before societal mayhem kicks in.
With his parents on holidays and unable to return, Jack is left to his own devices to not only survive impact night but to live on as society crumbles around him. With utilities down, transport impossible and sunlight blocked by a global ash cloud, the world becomes a more sinister place. Jack is sitting on a stack of food and supplies but around him people find safety in numbers as competition becomes deadly over the dwindling food supplies.
The only things that will keep him alive are his resources and resourcefulness.

What inspired you to write it?
I have always been interested in the post-apocalyptic genre and have been drawn to write something in that space. In writing my first book, Kings of the World, I plotted the storyline and characters before I began, I also told the story in omnipotent third person. I wanted to try a completely different approach for Apocalypse, hence the journal format. I didn't really plan any of the story elements in advance either. I did a lot of research on what effects the catastrophe may have on society, community, infrastructure, weather etc and tried to transpose those elements into the lead character's life - how would event X impact Jack etc. The story grew out of that process.
I wanted the lead to be an everyday type of guy, someone who had the ingenuity and wherewithal for survival within him, but no real pre-prepared skill set or plan to cope with a survival situation. I wanted him to learn on the job. I was also very inspired for this story by my Great Grandfather's WWI war diaries - he experienced some horrendous situations including being gassed, shot and hit by shrapnel - but his diary was such a humble, engaging matter-of-fact read. One minute he was talking about the harshness of war, the next he was complaining about the food again! All told with an ample dose of humour.

How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
As a graphic designer as well as an author, I love the challenge of creating a visual face for my books. I started with a typographic treatment on the word Apocalypse. A friend of mine had illustrated the silhouette of the main character – and the shape of that image worked perfectly as a replacement for the middle “A” of apocalypse. Another main character in the book was the weather – it plays a significant part in the story as conditions grow harsher – it’s grimy and dark outside. I tried to recreate that feel with the texture around the title.

If it was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?

Such a hard question… can I phone a friend who’s a casting agent?

How did you make your AWESOME book trailers?

It helps having friends who do this kind of thing for a living! I’m a graphic/multimedia designer by day – I’ve been doing video production/filming/editing for years. It was fun to turn those skills to produce something for my own story. The special effects shots are well beyond my skill level though, a friend Tom Aldahn produced those. Another friend, Steve Grice created the 3D comet.

What is it about the genres you write that appeals to you so much?
There’s something about writing characters in the 16-17 year old range that appeals to me. I think it’s the fact people of this age are starting to make decisions that have a profound effect on the adults they will become. I think they are generally braver in their decision making too, they are less held back by previous life choices – just blank canvases (meant as a compliment) ready to make their mark on the world.

What made you want to become an author?

I’ve always wanted to write. When I was younger - way, way younger (let’s just call it the olden days), I started work (and failed dismally) on three different books. I guess it took me a while to get into the right space to do what I’ve always wanted to do.

How do you come up with character names?
Jack’s name was in part inspired by my Great Grandfather (the war diary one). As far as the other characters go, I start writing about them, then think of a name that feels right for their background, age, personality. It’s a ‘feel’ thing for me.

Name one of your all-time favourite books?
So many to choose from! As you are currently pinning my arm behind my back and forcing me to name one book only (it’s true and it really hurts) – I’ll select Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers – the first Red Dwarf book. Sci-fi comedy and a very big influence on my writing voice – especially for my Kings of the World series.

Who, or what, inspires you?
I see what you did there with the segue! Authors Grant Naylor (both of them), Douglas Adams and Ben Elton are very big influences. I’m also very much inspired by my youngest daughter Abby who has the neurological condition Rett Syndrome. She cannot walk, talk or use her hands in a meaningful way. Her mind is sharp but it lets her down when it comes to interacting or communicating with the outside world. Despite this she has such a loveable personality and a wicked sense of humour/humor J

Where is your favourite place to write?

Anywhere busy. I liked background noise and movement. I don’t ever want writing to feel like a serious duty, it’s something I do because I love it. Busy environments make the process feel like a more joyous experience.

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?

The Lord of the Rings, so good!

Name two of your favourite authors.
Douglas Adams and Grant Naylor (there, I found a way to sneakily get three in!)

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?
Douglas Adams would have to be there for sure. Carl Sagan and he would have some pretty interesting views on the universe I imagine. I’d invite William Shakespeare along so I could vent at all the hard yards studying his work put me through in high school.

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I used to dress in a kangaroo costume and perform song and dance routines for kids in a theme park. That’s right, that happened!

Who would play you in the movie about your life?

photo credit: csztova via photopin cc
I would probably request someone like George Clooney (if he can nail an Aussie accent), but the director would take one look at me and get in Gary Sinise.

Tell us an interesting fact about where you live.
I’m from Adelaide, Australia – the city (or what remains of it) where Apocalypse is based. Approximately one million people live there, it’s known for its festivals and wine growing districts.

What are your (writing) plans for the future?
Both of my books, Kings of the World and Apocalypse: Diary of a Survivor are the start of series’ – I am currently writing the second Kings book and will bounce back to the diary of a survivor series after that. I’m also writing a series of illustrated zombie novels for 8-12 year olds.

Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list.

To set foot on every continent (including Antarctica)

Favourite myth / fairytale?
Human kindness – I still believe

Who did you want to be when you were a kid?

Like the legendary R M Williams, Matt was born in Jamestown in rural South Australia. But that’s where the remarkable similarities between these two end. While Reginald went from bushman to world renowned millionaire outback clothing designer, Matt is a complete dag who was lured by the city lights of Adelaide. Kindergarten in the big smoke was a culture shock, but it is here he first discovered his love of storytelling.
In high school that love found an outlet in a series of completely unflattering cartoons about fellow students and teachers alike. He survived long enough to further his art into a successful career in multimedia design but, like a zombified leech, the lure of the written word gnawed at him, forcing him to pen his first novel, the award-winning sci-fi comedy epic, Kings of the World. It was followed the next year by Amazon Australia dystopian sci-fi best-seller Apocalypse: Diary of a Survivor.
Matt donates part-proceeds of each book sold to find a cure for Rett Syndrome, a neurological condition the youngest of his three children, Abby, has. As a gorgeous Rett angel, Abby cannot walk, talk or use her hands in a meaningful way. So, not only is each of your book purchases a ticket to fantastically rounded, character driven, hilarious and poignant sci-fi awesomeness, it wraps you in a warm feeling that you’ve made a difference to people who deserve your help the most. Like the zombified leech it’s a no-brainer.For more information about Matt and his books, visit

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