Inkshares Interview - Matthew Poat & SQUIDS IN

CoverArt

When the world’s best online gamer turns out to be an octopus, it’s not long before he goes missing...

Who is Matthew Poat and what's SQUIDS IN all about?

Squids In is an adult oriented story about a guy called Toby and an octopus which gets stolen from a military animal testing lab by activists and dumped into Toby’s pool. It turns out that the octopus is a demon at playing video-games and so Toby creates an online account for the creature, who he calls Hendrix and they take part in an assortment of player versus player death matches for cash prizes, with Toby amassing quite a wealth and becoming an online gaming celebrity. This all comes back to bite him however when Hendrix gets stolen from him AND the military animal testing lab pull him in for intense interrogation over the animal lab break in. The last portion of the book revolves around Toby’s search to get Hendrix back. It’s very much written in a “Pineapple Express” style so if you like that kind of thing, this is definitely the book for you.

From my side, I’m a qualified Motorsport Engineer who currently works as Technical Sales and Marketing Manager at a company called Race-Keeper and is based at Silverstone race circuit in the UK. I write as a means to switch off my race car brain and can generally find solace in the weird and wonderful stories I frequently come up with. Everyone needs a form of stress relief and this is mine.

Where did you get this idea, and what made it worth developing for you?

My seven month old son was given a “Hank” cuddly orange octopus that stars in the upcoming Finding Nemo sequel “Finding Dory”. When the topic for the Nerdist June writing competition was announced on Inkshares as being video-game related, I just sat on my sofa looking around for inspiration and Hank caught my eye. It was as simple as that. I drafted my idea really early after the contest was announced and it started gaining traction with people. At this time I began thinking that I had a pretty unique story concept compared to the other entrants and this I believe is the books greatest strength. That and of course the wonderful illustrations and front cover created by Eugene Karasz over on DeviantArt.

Why Inkshares?

I was first introduced to Inkshares via the Geek and Sundry website, when they announced they were running a writing competition for hard sci-fi novels. I don’t write hard sci-fi and rarely read anything that fits into that genre but I followed the link anyway and discovered this wonderful community of writers who were helping each other to achieve their goals, offered support and motivation. I think that was something I needed in order to get on and write and probably the reason I stuck around. There are some truly great people on Inkshares. I may have underestimated the shear amount of time and effort it requires to have a truly successful crowdfunding campaign, but if I finish in the contests top 3, it will all have been worth it. If I don’t, its great experience for next time.

What books have captured your attention lately?

Wow, there are so many but I will list a few from Inkshares that have really captured my attention. First it is my fellow Nerdist contest entrant Regina McMenomy and her book “Mothering: The Game”. Just like Squids In, it is such a different take on the whole “write a book around the theme of video games” and it is all the more awesome for it. Second it would have to be “Monkey Business” by Landon Crutcher, a book that is now in full publication. It’s an absolute riot to read and if you like a book with a good injection of comedy, you should pick up a copy of this one. Finally “Tantalus Depths” by Evan Graham caught my attention enough to place an order, even though it is in the hard sci-fi genre and I mentioned before that this isn’t something I’m all that in to. The thing “Tantalus Depths” has going for it is an extremely engaging tale told by a highly skilled writer.

Who are your greatest influences?

I guess the biggest influences on both my writing style and choice of topics have got to be Hunter S. Thompson, Walter Moers and Ben Aaronovitch, however I must say that I am an extremely avid audiobook fan. Since I do a lot of travelling, for long flights or car journeys, there is nothing better than putting on a good audiobook and listening to a great story. I actually created a list of my favourite Audiobooks and posted it on my LinkedIn profile. Feel free to go check it out - https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/audiobookbook-recommendations-those-long-journeys-we-all-matthew-poat?trk=hp-feed-article-title-publish

What's next for you as a writer?

My ultimate short-term goal is to finish in the top 3 in the Nerdist video-game contest with Squids In, which would guarantee publication. If the book does not finish that high, I’m not sure if I really want to limp on to quill. That’s something I need to figure out in a few weeks depending on how things go. I would love to publish the book properly however, just so that everyone gets a chance to enjoy this silly story and the wonderful illustrations by Eugene. I have also been toying around with writing something about a guy who comes to consciousness on the floor of a music festival tent. A series of flashbacks would propel the tale forward and explain who he was and why he passed out. Some of the story will be autobiographical, like the bit where he takes magic mushrooms, gets tangled up in the ropes of someone’s tent and then when that person pops out to see what’s going on, he hallucinates a spider coming to eat him after trapping him in its web. That’s something that actually happened to me a number of years ago at the Reading music festival. We will see if that tale ever makes it onto the page. Maybe some things are better left to memory.

You can read a sample & pre-order SQUIDS IN on Inkshares.