Matthew Laube is the self-published author of the Ancient Trilogy, a captivating fantasy series involving demons and a fight for survival. We jumped at the chance to interview Laube and he definitely had a few things to say about his experience in diversity in the fantasy genre.
Phenom: When did you decide to eventually write a book of your own? What sort of experience did you have as a writer? Do you think writing in the fantasy genre made the process of writing, editing and finally getting
published any more difficult?
ML: I started writing my first novel after a friend challenged me to finish a
novel in 30 days. If you haven’t tried Nanowrimo (http://nanowrimo.org/)
I cannot recommend it enough. I gave up TV, family, and friends, and just wrote my heart out for the month of November and it really changed my life.
Phenom: What did it take for you to become published? What advice can you give to writers looking to get published? If possible, is there anything specific you might want to re-do in your history of writing or your whole process of getting published?
ML: I really can’t give any advice on how to get published and in this modernage of self-published success stores such as “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “The Martian” I’m not even sure it is the right way to go. I would
recommend putting your work out there, even if it’s in a rough state.
Good feedback can be a great thing and make you a much better writer.
Phenom: Is there any overall themes or messages apparent in your books that you would want readers to grasp?
ML: My stories always have a strong theme of the importance of family. Yes,even if your family is a gaggle of bloodthirsty demons, they are still your family and you need to love them anyway.
Phenom: Many of the main protagonists of books in the fantasy genre feature primarily white males, Including your own books, does this stand out to you at all? Do you have any opinions about the current state of diversity
in the fantasy genre?
ML: I would argue that my books are fairly diverse. My title character is
Hispanic. Ok to be fair, he is a reincarnated Scottish man from the
1800s, but before that he was a reincarnated black man from the Crusades. Yes, immortals are weird. I never really set out to have a diverse book, it was set in modern day Newark, New Jersey, so I was just going for realism. However I’ve had many, many people contact me excited for a Hispanic hero. I think it really helped the success of the series. So I’ve learned by accident that there is a real demand for heroes of different races. Writers take note!
I did try to write very strong female characters. The correct term is “try” as I don’t think I succeeded all the time. Ann was my first female lead and she started a little rough around the edges. She was a little whiny stalker of a character at first, but she grew and by the end of the series I got my strong female lead. She’s not exactly Buffy, but I’m proud of her.
Since writing the Ancient series there has been a literal explosion of
strong female characters in fantasy. I think the comic book world has
seen the biggest increase, but other series, like The Hunger Games have really caught fire (I apologize for the pun).
Phenom: What can we expect from you as an author in the future? Are you working on any new projects, and if so what can you tell us about them?
ML: I would love to do a classic fantasy book someday but I am not working on any new projects at the moment. And I would love to do more Ancient books, three is just not enough, but I don’t see myself putting anything out new for a few years.