Behind the Pen with Matt Ferraz

I am delighted to introduce Matt Ferraz to you all today. His novel, Sherlock Holmes and The Glad Game, combines two great classic characters that couldn’t be more different, into the one story. Welcome to Behind the Pen Matt!

What inspired you to write Sherlock Holmes and The Glad Game?

I’ve been a Sherlockian since my childhood, and wanted to write a book with the character for a while. But I didn’t want it to be just an ordinary case for the detective. There are so many book crossovers between classic characters out there, like Holmes and Captain Nemo, Holmes and War of the Worlds, Holmes and Jack the Ripper… But I wanted to bring something new to the table, so I pictured a character that, apparently has nothing to do with crime and adventure. So I went with Pollyanna Whittier, from the Glad Game novels by Eleanor H. Porter. I must say that, while I was working on this book, my friends and family thought it was an impossible idea to pull off. In the end, they agreed I did a great job.

What is your favourite character from this novel and why?

It was such a joy to write Pollyanna, a character who always sees the good side of life. She provided the funniest bits in the book. I also liked to write Holmes as a more humane and sympathetic character, instead of the arrogant douchebag that seems to be the norm in the movie and TV adaptations from the past few years.

What is your favourite scene from this novel and why?

There’s a scene at the climax of the book where Pollyanna saves the day by reciting a poem. It’s my favorite scene, because I think it’s where she proves to be tough without losing her tenderness.

How would you describe this novel if you could only use 5 words?

Detectives come in many forms.

How much planning do you do? Do you plan/plot the entire story from beginning to end, or let it evolve naturally as the writing progresses? In terms of characters, are they already a firm picture in your mind before you start writing or do they develop a personality of their own as the story progresses?

Planning the whole plot in advance is something that has never worked well for me. I prefer to write the first ten thousand words first. By that point I know the characters and story well enough, and then start planning the next steps.

These are mostly pre-existing characters, but I tried to give them a different vibe, especially after they start interacting. This is a more mature Pollyanna than the one from Pollyanna Grows Up, she’s been through a lot. Holmes and Watson also go through a few changes, while remaining mostly the same. The biggest difference is with Watson’s wife, Mary. I took a liberty with this character, because Watson had several wives in the Conan Doyle cannon, and for my book to work, I had to stick with Mary all along. I hope the Holmes fans will give me a pass on that.

Where do you draw your inspiration from? How do you fill up that creativity well?

Lots of reading, in the first place. It’s a cliche, I know, but you have to read a lot if you want to write well. Watching movies is also important. And I like to read narrative theory, it helps seeing the art of storytelling in a more analytical way, and later apply that to my own work.

How far has your writing career evolved from when you first began to write to what it is today? Is this in line with your initial expectations?

Now I know a lot more about the writing and publishing process, and it has become much easier to finish a book, and also to publish and market it. It’s not as scary as it used to be when I first started. I’m 28 years old now, so I think I’m in the right track.

Are you balancing a different career with your writing? How do you go about making time for your writing within limited hours?

I work with marketing, which is something I also apply to my literary endeavours. My spare time is mostly for reading and writing, and I have to be tough on myself, or else I’d never finish anything.

Where do you normally write? Is it in the same place every day or are you an all over the place writer?

I have a small desk with a computer, which is really all you need. It’s important to have a separate space for your writing, it helps with keeping the ideas together.

Do you have an all-time favourite book? Why is this book so significant to you?

Liev Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is, to me, the single greatest literary work ever written. But the most important book in my life is The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I was eleven the first time I read this novella, and have re-read it at least twenty times over the years. This book opened my mind to a new world, and I’m deeply grateful to Robert Louis Stevenson for having written it.

Sherlock Holmes and the Glad Game

British sleuth Sherlock Holmes can solve any mystery from a small clue. American traveler Pollyanna Whittier can only see the good side of every situation. The only thing they have in common is their friendship with Dr. John Watson. When Pollyanna shows up in London with a mystery for Holmes to solve, she decides to teach the detective the Glad Game: a way of remaining optimistic no matter what. A dangerous – and hilarious – clash of minds, where these two characters of classic literature need to learn how to work together in order to catch a dangerous criminal.

Released on 23rd November 2018

Twitter: @Matt_Ferraz

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