Long Time No Talk with Ian Mathie

Greetings humans, half-breeds, and everything in between. Today I’m sharing a very special update from one of my dearest author friends, a trend I hope to develop more. It’s been a while since I’ve interviewed/hosted this special author or reviewed something of his, but that’s just me being disorganized and frazzled as usual. Ian is talented writer of non-fiction and memoirs that are just as captivating as fiction, if not more.

So here’s an update on what he’s been doing.

Toi: So Ian, tell me; how’s things?

Ian: It’s been a bitterly cold winter, although we haven’t had as much snow here in UK as you folks in the eastern US have. Here it’s just been cold and grey and wet, and it puts a damper on everything, including creative thought. That’s a bummer for a writer, even when you know what you want to write.

Still this is a new year and there are things to look forward to. One granddaughter will be two in May, and about the same time a new grandson is due to make his entry into the world. Even my old dog, who’s 11½, is getting excited about that. I have several more books planned too, so there’s lots to look forward to.

Toi: I can definitely relate to bitterly cold right about now, but I’m so happy to hear about your grandchildren. Family really does make it all worth it. Since my 2014 ended on a pretty sour note, I’m thinking 2015 has to better. Here’s another year of blogging, trying new things, and going with the flow. Oh and I’ll celebrate 10 of marriage this April.

Since you last visited The ToiBox of Words, I know I’ve seen you release at least one new work of fiction. Tell me all about the status of your books.

Ian: December saw the paperback release of my first novel, Chinese Take-out. It’s been selling in the US as an e-book for a few months, but in UK many readers still prefer paper books, so now they too can read it. Set in China and Washington at the time of the Democracy Wall in Tiananmen Square, it’s a convoluted international thriller after the style of Tom Clancy. There’s corruption in high places, a saxophone playing Chinese scientist, a crack team of CIA men, a daring rescue plan, a dramatic jazz festival in Bristol, and a gnarled old agent who tells stories about bears to small boys.

I’ve been to several events to talk about this book, and also some to talk about my African Memoir series. I always like meeting readers, or simply people who are interested and may become readers, and taking along artefacts I brought back from Africa which relate to the stories. Handling these can bring things to life in a new way for some readers.

I have several book projects in hand. One is an updated paperback and e-book edition of my very first book, The Man of Passage, which is due out this summer. I have another novel written – The Rorhart Inheritance – which is currently being edited, and another African memoir – Short Pants and No Shoes – which is about my earliest years in Africa during the waning years of the colonial era.

I’ve also written down some of the stories I told my daughter at bedtime when she was little. She used to giggle herself to sleep over the adventures of a remarkable hippopotamus and his brother. Now she has a daughter of her own, and has asked for them in print. That’s a couple of years down the line, but in hand.

ECGA coverToi: You never cease to amaze me. Your life and talent for story telling is so refreshing. I wish I had a paper copy of Chinese Take-out, but I should finish the digital copy I have and be content with that.

As for me, I’m kind of starting from scratch; self-publishing my Eternal Curse Series after ending my contract with my publisher. I conducted a cold launch of the newest EC: Giovanni’s Angel edition earlier this year. I guess I’m a full on indie now.

Well Ian, how do you see the rest of the year playing out for you?

Ian: I’m pleased to hear you’ve regained control of Giovanni’s Angel. It’s a book that has many intriguing facets and deserves to be widely read. Perhaps now, as an indie publication, it will become better known, although that will need a lot of hard work n your part. Good luck with it.

This year, besides doing lots of writing and playing with our grandchildren, my wife and I want to get out more and look at gardens. Our own large garden needs a lot of attention too. We have friends all over the place we don’t see enough of, so we’d like to go visiting and do some catching up. And then there are things like the theatre and concerts that it’s been too easy not to find time for. With the home of Shakespeare only twelve miles away, and several excellent venues in Oxford, which is just thirty miles down the road, we have plenty of choice, so it’s time we took advantage.

Whilst I’m supposed to have been retired for several years, I still do a little work both from my original career as a water engineer, offering advice on African development projects, and from my later career as an industrial psychologist. Recently I agreed to give a series of lectures this summer for trainees growing into the field of management development, so those need to be written. I’m half minded to extend that into writing a text book.

Somehow I have to fit all this in with regular visits to clinics aimed at keeping me going. Fifteen years ago I was lucky enough to receive a kidney transplant when my own packed up. It’s been marvelous treatment, but requires some attention to look after it and make sure it works well. But that’s a small price to pay for still being here and able to enjoy life and none of my books would ever have been written if I hadn’t had that transplant.

I’m also involved in several community activities in the village where we live. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a willing horse, or because I’m the last one standing and fit enough to do the work, but the load seems heavier each year.

So what about your plans, Toi? I can see from reading your blog that you are busy and productive, but does this include work on another book? Perhaps a continuation of Giovanni’s story, which I found particularly intriguing? I can easily see that story growing wings (no pun intended) and becoming a trilogy. Oh, and congratulations on your ten years married!

ECB coverToi: Are you ever busy! At least you’re happy, and thanks. Ten years was easier than I expected; guess it’s true love.

Since you asked, I am actually planning to release the sequel to Giovanni’s Angel, Eternal Curse: Battleground, in May of this year, but (no pun intended) it’s been quite the uphill battle. We’ll just have to see how that all works out. Also, I’m working on my first contemporary, a romance actually. Hopefully that work will see print sometime this fall.

Ian: You call me busy? What about yourself? You have a demanding job and a husband; a household to run, and yet you produce a frequent vibrant blog with lots to interest a wide spectrum of readers on many different topics. The work that must take to compile makes me feel idle by comparison, and yet you find time to write another complicated book and rearrange your publishing. I wish I had your energy! Good luck with the new book, too.


Well, wasn’t that a nice little update. Now don’t you want to take some time to visit Ian’s website and check out some of his books, reviews and interviews? You’ll be glad you did.

If you like this update of my dear friend Ian Mathie and are wondering about some of my other past guests, don’t worry; their updates are in the works. So, humans, half-breeds, and everything in between, that’s all I have for today.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

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Toi Thomas

I like reading, writing, cooking, dancing, movies, and music. I'm a big kid and choose to see the world in my own special way. Yes, I'm educated, but I haven't let that stop me from being who I want to be. I'm a wife, teacher, author, blogger, and more.