John Matsui’s writing: Blurred genre genius or messed up S.O.B.?
Police catch a vampire-like creature who’s been snacking on Toronto citizens. Down-on-his luck lawyer Al Hamblyn gets tagged to defend Dragul Mangorian. All the usual defenders come down with the flu at the sight of the six foot, six man-thing with the complexion of corpse, glowing yellow eyes and razor-sharp claws and fangs. In a world where Donald Trump can be president, the accused’s popularity soars as the ultimate bad boy, grabbing headlines around the world and attracting millions of social media followers. Hamblyn gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to redeem his career and win back the love of his life. But first he has to overcome his fears to mount a winning defense for a creature that’s walked out of a nightmare.
“Original, well-written and just a lot of fun”
“Completely new take on vampires”
“Creative and seamless”
“Completely unsuspected twist”
Nathan Sherlock is a rich and famous celebrity chef and wine expert who’s known around the world as Nate The Nose. His incredible sense of smell helps him create dining experiences that defy description. That ability has given him and best friend / business partner Bonnie the perfect life until Homeland Security discovers Nate can sniff out murder and mayhem.
“Haven’t had this much fun with antigravity in… um… EVER!”
“Overflowing with fresh ideas”
“A mind-boggling narrative”
“[Nate The Nose] A great and lasting character”
How did I end up writing genre-blurring mashup novels?
As a kid I’d demand four scoops of ice cream, mashing blueberry ripple with moose tracks and stacking on a dollop of pistachio before topping it off with a mound of orange sherbert. “Get real,” said scoop wielder #50. Inevitably, I settled for three
My high school guidance counsellor stared blankly at my chart – you know the one that’s supposed to put you on the right career path. Butcher, baker, candlestick maker, or their choices: teacher, scientist, bean counter, cop, sanitation engineer, astronaut, NFL quarterback.
The chart depicted me as a tiny dot in the centre. Based on my answers to a lengthy questionnaire, my dot was to fire lines in the direction of my interests, ergo a pathway to career success. The only trouble was, there was no pathway, not even a farm field-wide bulge tilting to the arts or the sciences or manual labour.
The counsellor turned the chart for me to see, and something like a supernova appeared to explode equally in all directions.
Cool, I thought.
Not cool, suggested the worried look on the guidance counsellor’s face. She gave me a look that expressed a preference not to be the bearer of this bad news to my parents: Another unfocused lamb heading to the work-a-day meatgrinder.
As luck would have it, my third choice of career after astronaut [marks and dedication lacking] and engineering [shadowing session proved a bore], placed me, without any memory of me registering for it, on a tour of a big Toronto newspaper.
Wizened geezers smoked cigarette after cigarette. The younger ones dashed about. Everyone shouted. A dozen ‘yeah-yeahed’ on phones. My designated mentor, a codger who hammered the keyboard with the index finger of each hand, offered some advice. “Don’t get into this business. It’s a boneyard of broken dreams.”
I was sold.
Did my J-school stint followed by 20 years of writing about crime, courts, education, business, and entertainment. I covered blizzards, tornadoes, shootouts, and the birth of the Internet. I interviewed the great, near great and just plain grating. To me, I was paid to have fun. The blur of assignments following the Pope one day and, on another, standing on tip toes (and a bench) to look Sir Edmund Hillary in the eye was the perfect career for someone blessed with ADHD.
Then came the Internet. The mainstream media reported on it and used it, but missed its point entirely. That’s when the party ended. Simultaneously, we heard of Google workers playing ping-pong and breakdancing during work hours and cashing huge paycheques. Lesson learned too late: when there’s a knowledge/power transfer, fun and money hitch a ride.
All of this is a long explanation for my predisposition to non-formula, whacked story plots and bizarre characters including a joke-cracking vampirish [Late Bite] dude, Dragul Mangorian, who becomes a social media darling and the star of his own late night TV show. What can I say? My reVamped MC gets millions of followers as the ultimate bad boy.
Next came Gravity Games where a half-dozen ideas floated across as many genres introduced my MC, Nate the Nose. Nate’s super sense of smell makes him an unparalleled chef and ace terrorist hunter. The recipe includes foodie elements, international intrigue, business twists, superheroes, sci-fi, mad scientists, horror, and a few laughs. One reviewer said he was pleasantly surprised the plot and characters worked. He half expected something like the Expendables vs Sharknado with walk-ons by the cast of Cheers and Stan Lee.
Any advice on clarifying my scenarios into something that will cause lit agents to give me a sniff will be gratefully accepted.
Watch for my upcoming third urban fantasy thriller, Lycanthrope Rising, which picks up where Late Bite leaves off. Folks who think and act like werewolves go at it with my pseudo vamp.
Streams tugging at the plot include church politics, right-wing militants, the penal system, mental health, backroom politics, the Mafia, special forces, and of course climate change. Main characters are my vampire-in-denial Dragul Mangorian vs a playboy and his stripper girlfriend. At stake, the fate of humanity.