By way of introduction, here is Matt Terry’s bio:
Matt Terry was born and raised in Nottingham, England, where he works as a Primary School Teacher.
He found his love of writing from the children’s literature he taught from, creating ideas for his own stories.
Inspired by the underlying morals and messages often found in children’s work and with a personal love of rhyme; his own writing style was born.
Matt is still teaching and thoroughly enjoys being able to reach out and impact children’s lives through his work.
Hello, Matt, welcome to Angel Kiss Publications. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.
Thank you for having me.
When did the writing bug ensnare you?
I’ve had the idea to write my own rhyming children’s book for years, probably since an early teenager.
My mum and I used to make silly poems up all the time to make each other laugh. I have used this love of rhyme to combine with my ideas for story writing.
Is writing your full-time profession?
No, I’m a full-time primary teacher currently, working with children aged 9-11.
How long have you been writing?
I suppose no longer than my first book officially, which was February 2020.
How many published books have you written?
Just the one, my first ever. It’s called ‘The Boastful Pansy’.
Which genre do you write?
I only write children’s books, and despite only having written the one, I will definitely ensure all of my published works will rhyme, I just love it!
What do you find most challenging writing for this genre?
With being a teacher, I can’t help but think about what I would want to teach from my books if I were to use them in a classroom.
The vocabulary, literary skills, necessary reading abilities for the techniques used, and wider comprehension are all aspects which prove challenging when writing a children’s book.
What are you working on now?
The Boastful Pansy has only recently been released so a lot of my time and energy is now being spent in promoting it further and gaining an interest from my target readers.
I do however have another story idea for my next work about a curious cow, but I don’t want to give too much away!
I’m very interested in making my next work more accessible to boys as I feel they would lack interest in The Boastful Pansy purely for having a main character as a flower.
Where do you find inspiration for your characters?
My characters are drawn from the storyline of my works, that’s where I begin. I find a situation that intrigues me and run with it to see if I can create an underlying moral or message from the story.
Once I have this, I use the scenario to best gauge what kind of characters I have in my books. For The Boastful Pansy, I was looking out into my garden one wintery morning whilst washing the dishes and I noticed that a pansy I had in my border of the garden was the only one getting any sunlight.
My imagination ran with me and I started to think how much it would think it was the best because it was the only flower in the sun; then equally how jealous the others would be of it.
The story grew from there and the characters naturally along with it.
What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?
I think the most rewarding experience has been the engagement with my work and seeing how it has impacted on other people.
For example, the first time my Godchildren heard The Boastful Pansy was when I read it to them before bed and they were so excited to hear it and engage with it knowing their Uncle Matt had written it. That was truly special.
What advice would you give to authors just starting out?
Don’t be afraid of being afraid!
As first-time authors, we enter a completely unknown world of contracts, publishing and marketing; all of which are extremely daunting and constantly make you question whether you’re doing the right thing or how to move forward.
I’d say this is a completely normal reaction to have and with thorough decision-making and taking the time to weigh up the options, it’s definitely worth taking the plunge!
Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?
The Boastful Pansy is dedicated to my wife’s Nana, who unfortunately passed away the week after I’d finished writing the book.
Although she wasn’t directly family, she was an incredible woman who lived to an astonishing 97 and someone who I held extremely close to my heart.
There was nothing she loved more than beautiful flowers and she had a magic touch with helping plants to grow in her home, which made the dedication all the more poignant.
What message are you sharing in your books?
I am an author who ensures there is a deep meaning or message throughout my work, especially as they are aimed at children, and I personally feel that books are a fantastic tool at helping children to realize their own morals and standards.
In The Boastful Pansy, the key messages are humility and forgiveness, both of which I think are obvious from the storyline when you read it!
What are your favorite books?
My absolute all-time favorite books, unsurprisingly a children’s book series, are the Rupert the Bear Series.
My mum used to read these to me as a child and she would always read the rhyming couplet version, which is possibly where my love for rhyme was born.
I used to love his adventures and all of the wonderfully mythical characters and friends he’d meet along the way. They’re just fantastic and I’d highly recommend them to anyone!
I also love anything by Julia Donaldson, again for her rhyming perfection! I think the Snail and the Whale would have to be my favorite of hers.
If you could create an author’s group with writers from any time period, who would you invite?
I’d have a lot of old school authors such as Enid Blyton, A. A. Milne, Dr. Seuss and Mary Tourtel. I think it’d be fascinating to hear their stories of how they became who they so famously are nowadays.
Who has influenced your writing the most?
I would have to say Julia Donaldson.
As a teacher, whenever I picked up any of her works, I’d immediately be captured in a world of rhyme and fun.
I love everything about her books, and she has definitely inspired my own writing style for sure.
When you’re not writing where can we find you?
I’m an incredibly social person, so if not writing or teaching, I’m usually socializing with friends, having them over for dinner or going for a drink at the local pub.
A movie producer wants to turn your book into a movie, and you get to make a cameo. What would you do in the movie?
I can imagine the movie of The Boastful Pansy would be an animated film, so I’d love to do the voice over for the Sunflower. It has a deep, booming voice and is what offers the pansy its most invaluable advice. I’d love to voice this character!
An elf named 12-25 approaches you. He’s sneezing, wheezing, coughing and there’s a strange tattoo of a snoring dog on his cheek. What do you do?
Invite him round for dinner! He sounds such an interesting elf, I’m sure I’d be able to get all sorts of wonderful ideas from him for a fun children’s book!
What are your most effective marketing strategies?
I’m finding a direct approach is proving the most useful. I have been directly contacting local newspapers and television stations to inform them of my new book and asking if they’d like to do a piece about it.
It’s worked well so far and I love the dialogue you can have with different industries surrounding the same topic.
Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc.?
I do! They’re as follows:
Instagram too: @mattterryauthor
Where can we find your books?
They’re available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones and WHSmiths (the latter two UK only)
Thank you, Matt, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!
Matt’s Featured Book
In a beautiful English country garden, all manner of plants and flowers grow peacefully in their flower beds. The winter sunshine beams brightly, but the tall, tall fence that surrounds the garden blocks almost every ray of light from reaching the ground – well, almost every ray.
One very proud golden winter pansy stands in the only sliver of light that reaches the flower bed, and oh, how it boasts to the others. This pansy needs to be taught a lesson in humility and the very seasons themselves help the pansy to realize the error of its ways.