This past week has been surreal to say the least. I can't talk about anything in the open, but the one thing I can talk about is What Do Monsters Fear? Bram Stoker Award nomination for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. I never expected to make the Stokers -- most definitely not with my first novel. Yet here we are. And I have you to thank, reader, for that. Here's to 2018 -- let's kick open more doors, see what we see...
This Sunday (Feb 4th @ 6pm), I'll be on a panel at the Liquor Rooms in Dublin discussing all things horror and music. Tickets available HERE.
I'm very humbled to hear that Brian Keene picked WHAT DO MONSTERS FEAR? as his #10 novel of the year. Brian's one of the main reasons I ever started writing, so to say this is a high achievement for me is an understatement. I've pasted his write-up below, but be sure to check out the full list at briankeene.com as it's a stellar list, and most of my 'best of the year' picks are accounted for, too.
"If 2017 was Victor LaValle’s year for mainstream horror fiction, then it was Matt Hayward’s year in the horror fiction underground.
Like Josh Malerman, Hayward is primarily known as a musician — one of Ireland’s most renowned rock guitarists. in addition to his solo work, he has written and recorded with various bands and notable musicians, including Lace Weeper, former Nirvana drummer Chad Channing, My Sister’s Machine singer Nick Pollock, Clannad singer/bassist Ciaran Brennan, Edie Brickell, Malfunkshun guitarist Kevin Wood, and many others.
Burned out on the music business, Hayward looked up at his bookshelf full of novels by J.F Gonzalez, Bryan Smith, Alan M. Clark, and others, and decided to try his hand at writing horror fiction.
And we should all be glad he did.
2017 saw the release of his collection BRAIN DEAD BLUESand his novel WHAT DO MONSTERS FEAR. If this list had gone to twenty instead of fifteen, the former would have been at number sixteen (right before Amber Fallon’s TV DINNERS FROM HELL). It’s a remarkable showcase of a young author with plenty to prove. Simultaneously, WHAT DO MONSTERS FEAR is a solid debut novel that promises great things to come.
Back in 2005, in a novel called GHOUL, I asked the question “Who are the real monsters?” It’s an old question in horror fiction, but one that still provides fresh material in the right hands. Hayward does a commendable job of asking a variation of that question in WHAT DO MONSTERS FEAR, and his answer is much better than mine.
Like Malerman, Hayward bleeds onto the page in a brutal and blistering tale of madness and horror that hearkens back to the best of the Splatterpunk movement while also straddling the line between extreme horror and bizarro. Possessing an emotional depth and resonance, and expertly rendered characterization, it’s hard to believe this is his first novel. It doesn’t read like one, and I can’t wait to see what he does next."
Quick update: Next month, I'll be on a panel discussing music and horror in Dublin (Date and time TBA). The limited edition CLICKERS FOREVER hardbacks are expected to ship from Thunderstorm Books. According to Loud & Proud Records, the comic I wrote with the band Walking Papers, THIS IS HOW IT ENDS, ships soon from PledgeMusic (there are only 32 copies left). The new album I'm recording (hoping to release some details soon) is well underway, and sounding great. I'm working on edits for a new edition of an already released novel (a hint, huh?) and I'll announce that once the contract is signed. Lacey and I should start our edits for PRACTITIONERS soon enough, and I have another new novel announcement, but once again, need to wait for the contract. WELCOME TO THE SHOW, my first anthology, is moving along, and I should have a launch date later this year. Lastly, FROM UP HERE, my just-finished coming-of-age book, goes out to publishers later today, and Bryan Smith and I are hard at work on THE BILE LORDS. Have a good one.
The WALKING PAPERS comic I co-wrote with Jeff Angell and illustrated by Csaba Mester is finally up for pre-order. I've been hard-pressed keeping this under wraps (we've been working on it for over a year), but I couldn't be more proud of the end result. I've been a fan of Jeff's work since the POST STARDOM DEPRESSION days, and count myself lucky I call him a friend now. The new WALKING PAPERS album just launched preorders via PledgeMusic, and you can get both the comic and the album RIGHT HERE. The comic accompanies the single THIS IS HOW IT ENDS, and acts as a visual, extra dimension for the lyrics. It's also very limited. As far as we know, a concept like this has not been done before. I hope you enjoy it.
Last night I participated in a live YouTube Q&A with authors Patrick Lacey, Chuck Buda, and Tim Meyer. We had a lot of fun answering questions, and things slowly got out of hand... you can watch it all right here. Also, tomorrow I'll be at Horror Expo Ireland in Dublin, and will have copies of both BRAIN DEAD BLUES and WHAT DO MONSTERS FEAR? available. I'll also be doing a reading at 7:45pm - hope to see you there.
Sinister Grin Press titles are on sale for the rest of the month. You can pick up BRAIN DEAD BLUES for 0.99c ($1.33) HERE, and I'll have physical copies at Horror Expo Ireland on the 29th. I'll also be doing a reading from the collection at some point in the evening, and hope to see some of you there.
Happy to announce I'll be at Horror Expo Ireland 2017 alongside Ramsey Campbell, David J Skal, Jake West and many more. Early bird tickets are already SOLD OUT, but standard tickets can be purchased here. I'll have copies of both BRAIN DEAD BLUES and WHAT DO MONSTERS FEAR? for sale at the event. See you there.
Some reviews and blurbs (so far) for BRAIN DEAD BLUES. Out now on Sinister Grin Press
"In BRAIN DEAD BLUES, Matt Hayward shows that he is one of horror's most distinctive new voices. This collection is full of evocative storytelling, vivid characterizations, and fresh takes on old tropes. Do yourself a favor and read it." - Bryan Smith
"Matt Hayward is a fresh, new voice in horror. With BRAIN DEAD BLUES, he’s put together a delightful assortment of chills, in some ways a sampler of his larger works in future publications." 5/5 - Alan M Clark
"Many writers can bring horror, but only the outstanding bring horror so subtle that the monster is hugging your shoulders or sitting on your chest before you've realized your spine is chilled or your hair stands on end. Mr. Hayward's horror is terrifying, implacable--and possibly the subtlest I've ever read." 5/5 - The Haunted Reading Room
"We need more voices like Matt Hayward's in the horror genre. I can't wait to read more of his work." 5/5 - Tim Meyer
"Grabbed me from the first page and didn't let go until the end. Can't wait to read more from Mr. Hayward." 5/5 - Steve Wynne
"As an accomplished musician, there is a palpable rhythm and pacing to Brain Dead Blues. It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it…until one of Hayward’s strange creations pops up and scares the shit out of you." 5/5 - Rob Errera
"... how many writers can say they have it? Well, I think Matt Hayward does." 5/5 - Unnerving Magazine
"It is clear that Matt will be one to watch in the horror genre, and I for one am looking forward to his future books." 5/5 - David Murphy
"This short story collection is amazing!" 5/5 - CedarhollowHorrorReviews
"Not content to conquer the rock music world via Lace Weeper and his own phenomenal solo work, Matt Hayward has now turned his attention to dark fiction, and how much richer we all are as a result. Brain Dead Blues is everything you’d expect from a rock star turned horror writer, documenting not only facets of the music world but also the darkness that can result from obsessions both creative and violent. I have long been a fan of both the music and the man behind it. Now I’m a fan of his writing too.” - Kealan Patrick Burke
"a terrific collection that all horror fans should take a stab at. Grab a copy, and get ready for a great ride." 4/5 - Glenn Rolfe
"I've read it, and recommend it very, very highly." - Brian Keene
"A tremendously entertaining collection." 5/5 - Russell Coy
PRACTITIONERS - a new novel by myself and Patrick Lacey, coming summer 2018 on Blood Shot Books
When Henry Stapleton's wife Julia is murdered, suspect Richard Prescott is arrested and tried for the killing. Except the answer isn't so simple. It seems Prescott was working for a man named Paul White, a real estate mogul who's recently opened up a Reiki Healing Center in Bellview, Henry's hometown. Experiencing hallucinations that are far more than simple grief, Henry, along with his partner George Patrick, embark on an investigation after more murders begin to occur around town. Despite his dislike of pseudoscience, desperate for answers, Henry takes lucid dreaming lessons through the healing center. The deeper he travels into his nightmares, the more he learns his reality may not be as concrete as he'd thought. He sees images of his late wife. Julia resembles her old self, before her murder, and she's hell bent on leading him in the direction of Paul White, who, it turns out, may not exist after all. Though his name appears on his properties, there is no evidence of his birth, no social security number, no means of tracing anything. White is a Practitioner, and Henry may be on his way to becoming one as well, but not without cost.
(Photo credit to backpackerverse -- not official artwork)