It feels like forever after completing The Matriarch Matrix. I started seriously considering attempting a novel in spring of 2016 when the good fortune of a more open schedule came my way. My writing proclivity started in primary school when I attempted to write an epic emulating the Hornblower series. I never finished, but the teacher was generous with my grade. I continued to write stories and plays through secondary school. Then that fateful moment comes when your parents ask “what do you want to be when you grow up.” Philosopher, historian, or writer as an answer does not play well in those conversations. So STEM I went until I completed a very successful STEM based career. And now, I am blessed with opportunity to be that philosopher, historian, and writer that I had once aspired to be.
What inspired you to start a writing career?
A number of years ago, I searched for ways to help high IQ analytical people work on their EQ as, among others, I managed many gifted people who fit this description. And to my surprise, reading fiction came to the top of the solution list. Not watching film, but reading which forces you to use your imagination, forces you to envision how people feel, think, and emote. So that I walk the new talk, I began to read fiction. Paperbacks at first, but I then dared to download the Kindle app onto my phone. And wow. Speed reading on steroids! I could polish off a novel every three to four days on top of a full and long executive work day.
I read an author say that if you are prolific reader, you already know how to write. He said you have subconsciously absorbed the writing styles and techniques of every book, of every author you have read. And in the spring of 2016 when the opportunity presented, I made the commitment many people do – to write a book. I spent two months reading and listening to every source I could find about writing novels as I simultaneously outlined a story in a daily writing journal. And finally after my brain overflowed with strands and clumps of varying advice, I ended the learning and just started writing the story I outlined. And what that author said came true. What came out of my fingers represented a synthesis of all the fiction, all the genres, all the authors I had been reading.
Is your book a stand-alone, or part of a series?
If you had asked me after the second of three rounds of beta-readers, I would have said a stand-alone. As I attended writers conference after writers conference over the past year, many told me to break up my manuscript into two books. Yes, it is long. Like a Dan Brown Robert Langdon series book or Mary Doria Russell’s Sparrow. I did an extensive re-write trying to make Part 1 stand on its own, but thought it would have been a weak stand-alone book without Part 2 which the third round of beta readers concurred with.
But I always thought there was a follow on story for which I have most of the synopsis underway now. The premise of ancient giants, of mysterious objects, of the origin of our faiths, permeates through cultures and myths around the world. I did not wrap up The Matriarch Matrix as tightly as some reviewers would have liked, which may have left some not fully fulfilled. But I left the threads open for the second book. And maybe a third.
Why did you choose this genre?
Another great question. What genre is this book? At a recent writers conference hosted by a chapter of the Romance Writers of America, I heard the best articulation of different genres definitions. It was there that I realized that I had pulled what I need from different genres to create this story. One lunch I sat with a well-published author and shared with her this story. And she affirmed that is what a debut author should do. Write the best story they can regardless of genre definitions.
Kindle lists the book as Religious Mystery and Metaphysical Fiction. Why? Originally it was listed as Science Fiction/Action-Adventure and Metaphysical Fiction. As I saw the first thirty reviews, I saw the words “suspense” and “mystery” come up often. So I asked Amazon for a change. Why Religious and Metaphysical? The origin of faith and the religious beliefs of the characters are foundations of the conflict created in the story. It is not “Inspirational Fiction” as I have heard it defined at RWA conferences, but it is a story about characters with deeply held religious background – a Sufi Kurdish woman, a Jesuit priest, and an alien believing atheist – and their need to overcome their differences to solve the problems in the storyline. Ironically, Amazon Books also lists this book as Romance/Science Fiction and Romance/Action-Adventure. Did what I learned from RWA shine through?
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
1. Write what you believe in. Over and over again, experienced authors espouse the importance of authenticity for readers. And if you don’t believe in what you are writing, how can it read authentic to the reader? After reading some of the more critical reviews last month, I broached to one my alpha readers drafting a new edition to soften some aspects of the book. And she said with all firmness, as only a strong matriarchal figure like her can, that I need to stand by what I believe. And I knew what she meant. I could have edited those sections differently, but chose not to. My message, my belief, my research into the tragedy of the oppression of different people and cultures throughout time, all needed to be prominent to decry the tragedy and terror of unchecked tyranny as contrasted to the heroic recovery of the story’s heroine.
2. Surround yourself with expertise. You need an editor. One who has the experience in the type of book you want yours to be or with working with an author like you. They are like your conscious. Think of your book like a loved one. Your love for them may impede your objectivity concerning their
health. Usually you bring your loved ones to a doctor, an expert who is dispassionate and who can make object recommendations on your loved one’s care. A good editor is like that doctor for your book.
If you can before the final edit, utilize beta-readers who you do not know, who are willing to say unfettered what they really are thinking. Reading their feedback is the ultimate in highs and lows, sometimes seriously painful, but I found real readers’ beta comments were 100% predictive of reviews I have seen once my book launched.
Finally, spend the resources you can in the editing process – go through each of the three recommended rounds. Each round makes your book that much better.
About the Book
Title: The Matriarch Matrix
Author: Maxime Trencavel
Genre: Science Fiction, Adventure
The Matriarch Matrix – A speculative fiction novel of origins, faith, passion, and the pursuit of peace.
It was always his destiny to save her. It was always her destiny to die. The fate of the world hangs on their choices…
The past foretells her future…
What does it take to change a loving child of peace into an assassin for a dangerous and powerful oligarch? Zara Khatum knows. Once a fighter for her Kurdish people, the memory of the atrocities inflicted by her captors has Zara seeking one thing: vengeance. But the voices of the ancients call to Zara. In the past, in another life, she knew the secrets of the artifact…
Twelve thousand years ago…
She is Nanshe, revered matriarch of the family she led away from the monsters of the north. In the land that would one day mark the treacherous border between Turkey and Syria, she created the temples at Gobleki Tepe and founded a dynasty, heirs to a powerful object. For millennia, Nanshe’s descendants have passed down the legend of the artifact: “The object can save. But only a man and woman together can guide the salvation of others.”
Heirs to destiny…
By fate or destiny, Zara is thrown in with Peter Gollinger, a quirky Californian from the other side of the world and the other side of everything she believes. But he, too, is heeding the voices of his ancestors. Joined by Jean-Paul, a former Jesuit priest, these three people—from wildly different religions and cultures—must find a way to work together to solve a twelve thousand-year-old mystery of the powerful object that spawned a faith. The world teeters on the precipice of war. The outcome depends on them. And one of them is living a lie.
The Matriarch Matrix is a rich and deeply layered epic story – a spiritual odyssey with a heartbeat of an action adventure. It may make you think, ponder, reflect upon where we came from and where we are going. It blends our past with a speculative future of things that are not so far-fetched. It blends the drama, the comedy, the romance, the tragedy of three protagonists with different cultures, traditions, and beliefs – a Sufi woman, a Jesuit priest, and an alien origin believing atheist. Their journeys separately and together will be a test of their respective faiths and their inner search for personal and family redemption.
Maxime has been scribbling stories since grade school from adventure epics to morality plays. Blessed with living in multicultural pluralistic settings and having earned degrees in science and marketing, Maxime has worked in business and sports, traveling to countries across five continents and learning about cultures, traditions, and the importance of tolerance and understanding. Maxime’s debut novel was written and edited in diﬀerent locations in Belgium, including the Turkish and Kurdish neighborhoods of Brussels, in South America, and on the two coasts of the United States.
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