Matt Karlov

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Matt Karlov

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Influences
Steven Erikson, Janny Wurts, Joe Abercrombie, Daniel Abraham

Member Since
August 2014


Matt Karlov has been writing speculative fiction for more than ten years. He likes subtle, intricate plots, characters who keep you guessing, and stories that ask the big questions without telling you how to answer them.

Matt has been a software designer, a web developer, and a business analyst. He lives in Sydney, Australia. The Unbound Man is his first novel.

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Matt Karlov Hi Matthew. Those are great questions -- thanks for asking!

Believe it or not, the seeds of The Unbound Man came from the Iraq War in the mid-2000s. A…more
Hi Matthew. Those are great questions -- thanks for asking!

Believe it or not, the seeds of The Unbound Man came from the Iraq War in the mid-2000s. A lot of different countries sent soldiers to that war, and there was a period where the Iraqi resistance fighters started kidnapping foreign citizens and threatened to kill them unless the hostage's particular country withdrew its soldiers. Most governments refused on principle, which made sense: if you show that you can be coerced by someone threatening your citizens, that just turns all your other citizens into targets the next time someone doesn't like what you're doing. As a citizen, I'd want my government to reject demands like that. But I could also see it from the viewpoint of the kidnapped person's family and friends. They didn't care about the politics -- they just wanted the government to do whatever they could to get their loved ones home safely. It got me thinking: what if there was a person who responded to coercion the same way governments do? Someone who would refuse to deal with anyone threatening their family or friends on principle, even to the point of seeing their loved ones killed? What would that experience do to a person? And if this person was morally consistent and refused to coerce anyone else either, how would that complicate their life if they were hit with a fresh crisis? All of those thoughts stewed away in the back of my mind for a long time and eventually took shape in the form of Arandras, the main character in The Unbound Man.

My influences tend to come in the form of works which I think excel in particular areas. Two big authors for me are Daniel Abraham and Joe Abercrombie, both of whom I think write profoundly character-oriented fiction (albeit in very different ways). I really admire the way they write their fantasy, where the fate of the world may very well be at stake, but at the end of the book what you most care about is the individual fate of each character. I'm also a huge fan of Steven Erikson -- the scope and scale of his fantasy leaves me in awe, and I love the way he weaves philosophical examinations through his stories. (Abraham and Abercrombie both do this too, though not to as great an extent.) And I think Janny Wurts is a wonderful and underappreciated author. The thing I like most about her writing is the way she crafts her plots to build to these incredible peaks where everything comes together. Of course, there are lots of other writers who have influenced me too, but those would be the major ones.

As for tips, I guess the first thing I'd say would be: do whatever it takes to get your book written. For me that meant changing my day job to four days a week, which freed up enough time and energy for me to write consistently, and deciding that nobody would ever see my first drafts, which gave me the mental space to just write and not worry about how bad it might be to start with. Once those foundations are in place (and they might be different for you), and once you've learned what process works best for you (outline, discovery, etc), all you need is enough discipline to keep working at it until it's done -- or at least, done enough to start getting feedback on it. I'd also suggest keeping an eye on your nearest writer's centre for events that might interest you. I'm in Sydney, and last year the NSW Writers' Centre put on a Speculative Fiction Festival -- kind of like a boutique one-day convention focused exclusively on writing, with a stellar group of Australian SFF authors as panellists. Events like this are rare, and they're unlikely to be advertised as much as ordinary conventions, so you don't want to miss out on them when they happen!(less)
Average rating: 3.61 · 33 ratings · 14 reviews · 2 distinct worksSimilar authors
The Unbound Man

3.56 avg rating — 32 ratings — published 2014 — 4 editions
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It’s been a long time between updates. Almost a year, in fact. But while this blog has lain idle, I’ve been working away at a revised draft of The Lordless City, which I’m pleased to say is now complete. This draft is even now winging its electronic way to my alpha readers, who will read it and tell me how closely it resembles the story I want to tell.


The second draft of The Lordless City is sh...

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Published on October 15, 2017 00:36 • 9 views

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It’s been a long time between updates. Almost a year, in fact. But while this blog has lain idle, I’ve been working away at a revised draft of The... Read more of this blog post »
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