Seven Questions with Lee Mather

Lee Mather lives in Manchester England with his wife and new baby. Similar to Edward M. Erdelac, (my last guest) Lee is in a few anthologies being considered for a Bram Stoker Award in June 2013. Lee is coming out swinging, here is the good stuff.

1) Hi Lee. If you had three words to define yourself, what would they be?

If I could describe myself in three words I’d be a better writer than I am.

I’d only mess it up and throw in an adverb or something…

 

2) My first ‘Lee Mather’ experience was through the short story Wrath from the anthology Fading Light. Tell us a little about that fine gem?

Wrath is pretty dark, even for me. Primarily, it’s an apocalyptic tale about the wrath of God but it’s also about the concept of whether it’s ever too late for a second chance. It was hard to write. We had our first child this year and I think some of my angst at being a father came out in Wrath.

 

3) I’ve got an anthology sitting here on my desk named Corrupts Absolutely. It is ready to be cracked open and read. Your contribution is Crooked. What can I expect from Crooked as well as in Corrupts Absolutely?

Corrupts Absolutely is about superheroes that aren’t necessarily heroes, and the notion of whether their powers would corrupt them. I know you enjoy Ed Erdelac’s writing and Ed has another cracker in Corrupts

As for me, I was excited about the concept of a play on power and that’s why I wrote a story specifically for the anthology. My effort, Crooked, is about Leon, a stroke victim who is also a thief. He’s on the run from an angry mob boss who assumes Leon is helpless. There’s a twist, and not the fact that Leon has a secret power (that’s kind of obvious).

 

4) Do you have any other writing projects to boast? Or scorn?

I have an urban fantasy novella out from Lyrical Press called First Kiss, Last Breath. It’s about a teenager who believes he has brought a demon into the world from a mural he has painted.

I wanted to write something where the reader can’t quite trust the viewpoint of the protagonist to create an ‘is it really happening vibe’. I hope I’ve managed that with First Kiss, Last Breath and, so far, reviews have been kind.

I also have a dystopian sci-fi short included in No Place Like Home, a forthcoming anthology from Angelic Knight Press. My contribution is Natural Selection and it’s about the response to a pandemic in an alternate Britain where the soul of a person is externalised in the form of a youthful twin.

 

5) Getting pissed in the US is a bad thing but in England it is fun ––are you a drinker? If so, what is your poison?

It’s a big rite of passage over here to go out drinking when you’re young / underage which means our town centres are full of drunken sixteen year olds. This is not always as fun as it sounds.

I am partial to a drink but not so much this last year due to my wife being pregnant and us subsequently having our first child. These days it isn’t a good idea to be drunk! If I do, it’s usually beer – Weissbeir or something like that…

 

6) A time machine travels back five years offering you a brief chance to meet yourself, what would you say?

I’d pull up in my Delorean and shout, “Mather, where we’re going, we don’t need roads!”

 

7) I’d recently read Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 for the third time. I love that book. If books were banned in the UK, which book (or books) would you protect at potential danger to your own livelihood? List as many books as you think you could smuggle safely, or would you agree that books are dangerous to the cohesiveness of a working society?

Yes, any art can be dangerous. You only need to look at what happened to the US Embassy staff in Libya following the release of the Innocence of Muslims film earlier this year. The film did not cause the underlying problems between the Arab world and the West, nor did its contents excuse the actions of the protestors. But let’s be honest. It lit the flame on the dynamite.

So I do think an element of censorship of our art is required. That might start with the artist (a la Kubrick and A Clockwork Orange – he withdrew the film from circulation in the UK) or it might be through governing bodies or transparent regulations.

I’m not envisaging the fascist states of Orwell or Bradbury here, either. Who in their right mind would want a government with that level of power? We still need enough freedom to challenge the establishment, as long as it’s in a constructive way…

As for a book I’d risk my life for, well, the pregnancy guide we bought has proven pretty useful…

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Find out more about Lee and his writing at www.leemather.org.uk

 

Or follow Lee on Twitter, where he moralises about all sorts of things.

 

First Kiss, Last Breath” is available now from Lyrical Press.

 

Bloody Parchment“, featuring Lee’s story, “Masks”, is available now from Amazon.

 

Fading Light“, featuring Lee’s story, “Wrath”, is available now from Angelic Knight Press.

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Book Review–Echoes of the Past

I’d read Tim Marquitz’s novel, Echoes of the Past, in late spring 2012. It was an advance review copy for trusted reviewers only. I’d posted a review on Goodreads, but not here. It has bugged me for six months now. Tim has become one of my professional allies in this twisted business of books. The early reviews I’d done of the Demon Squad series were written as a fan, but that line has crossed closer to friend. I can still be honest.

Echoes of the Past is the fourth installment of the Demon Squad series. The greatest challenge is writing a review without giving too much back-story of the previous books and ruining the awesome revelations for those who have yet to read all three. So, here is a very elementary synopsis of the first three books so as to give scope to protagonist Frank’s twisted life.

Armageddon Bound was ground-breaking horror/comedy/urban fantasy. It was raw and flawed, and that is what made it all the more endearing to underdog author, Jake Elliot. The idea and world Tim has created is tremendous. Frank ‘Trig’ is a half-demon who lives with the rest of us sad-sacks here on earth, and he’s been quietly living in the city of El Paseo for a very long time.

Unlike the rest of us, Frank is privileged to know that Lucifer and God have abandoned the known universe to try and patch their own misgivings and hopefully avert the promised battle of Armageddon. Well, some demons and some angels aren’t too cool with the change of plans and think Armageddon should still happen. Poor Frank is stuck in the middle and might just be humanity’s greatest hope.

Resurrection was the second book. It is a story about shambling zombies and the necromancer who controls them. Sexy Lilith, mother of all Succubae, becomes a naughty fly in Frank’s ointment. The necromancer seeks to raise an early model for the Antichrist from the dead —that is of course, if Lilith is capable of telling the truth. Should I mention she is also Frank’s ex-mother-in-law?

At the Gates is the third in series. Heaven is besieged by an army of nephilim (mutant half-angels rejected by the Angelic Host) and a large group of werewolves led by Grawl the werebear. Inside the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Life is wounded by the violence that has disrupted the tranquility of Heaven, and reacts by causing death storms raining acid on the earth. The end of At the Gates captured deeper emotion than I thought Tim Marquitz being capable of delivering. This book really amazed me.

Whew….we made it. Now for Echoes of the Past.

Over the course of the last couple books, Frank has captured the interest of a foxy demonic girlfriend. High-five Frank! Her dad is the strongest potential Antichrist, for whom Lucifer deceived two-thousand years earlier. Frank, I’d suggest keeping your hands away from where your girlfriend’s swimming suit covers. Daddy might develop a bit of a grudge from somewhere in his demon-spawned soul.

Speaking of classic devilish deceptions, Frank also learns that Uncle Lou has pulled a fast one over him as well. It looks like Lucifer was getting a little back-door lovin’ from Frank’s mom, which turns out to be a direct reason why Frank’s mom died violently so many years ago.

Not knowing about Frank’s new found secret, Lucifer has sent message to Frank, the only half-demon Satan believes he can trust. The message is about extra-dimensional terrorists who are coming to lay waste to all of God’s creations. With God and Lucifer’s relationship mended, together they fight a new war, this time for the sake of all existence. Back on Earth stands a resentful Frank, now expected to save creation on the words of the world’s greatest liar.

There are many great things in this book.

The #1 great thing––the main villain can use the words of famous authors to manifest objects into real life; my particular favorite was the scene with Moby Dick. I still chuckle with the memory. ––Girls, get your minds out of the gutter, I’m talking literature, not fantasy––Sheesh.

Great thing #2––the new involvement of the US Government was also worth a deep laugh. Truly, they are as incompetent as most cities’ DMVs, but Uncle Sam is now fighting supernatural crime. Thank you, Team America. Frank screws up big time and becomes the enemy of the state. Government spooks wait at random places in El Paseo with sniper rifles, Frank is their target.

#3––Frank is truly alone to fix this extra-dimensional problem. Almost all his buddies, (save Katon and Rahim) have turned their backs on Frank. Even Falcor and Baalth have shunned him. (These are both demons, who in past books have indirectly given Frank a hand.)

This episode was the most imaginative and tightest writing I’ve seen in the series. However, I thought the punch-line was a little too predictable. Don’t take my word on it though, I am a writer and it is hard to trick writers with writing. The big punch-line, the title reason for Echoes of the Past was something I’d suspected since Resurrection. In defense of the story, I read very slowly and I’m a perceptive reader. The true mastery of Tim Marquitz is shown in his delicate plotting.

I eagerly await the next installment of his series. My greatest hope is that he takes his time and does it right––bring it like a baseball bat against the world’s head, just like he’s done with each book so far.