Forbeck melds action, fantasy, and a love of the game into one incendiary writing career

Thanks to SF/fantasy writer MATT FORBECK for being with us today. First, would you tell us a bit about yourself? What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc.

I live in Beloit, Wisconsin, with my wife and five kids, including a set of 8-year-old quadruplets. Life is never boring.

Tell us about your most recent publication.

My latest book is called Amortals. It’s a science-fiction novel set in a near future in which the wealthy and powerful (and their key servants) can back up their minds to be restored into a clone body in the event of their death. The world’s oldest man, Secret Service Agent Ronan Dooley, is revived to watch a recording of his brutal murder and must now solve his own case.

What inspired you to write this story?

There’s a horrible kind of film made called snuff films, which feature real people being killed. I wondered what it might be like for someone to watch himself being killed and what that might lead him to do if he could return after that.

How would you best describe your books?

Fast paced and action packed with intriguing characters. I do my best to give my readers a lot of excitement for their money.

What is your favorite genre to write? To read?

I’ve written a lot of fantasy novels over the past several years, but as you might guess from Amortals, I’m not wedded to the genre. My next novel, due out this spring, is an urban fantasy called Vegas Knights, which is a whole new genre for me too.

I’ll read just about anything, including nonfiction. If you only stick to reading one kind of book, it’s easy to suffocate your own voice with that of others. Better to read widely so that you have something of your own to say.

What would you write if you could  write whatever you liked?

No one’s stopping me from writing whatever I like, but on the other hand, no one has to buy it if they don’t like it. I’m pitching around a number of different ideas to publishers right now, ranging from a YA fantasy series to a modern, high-tech thriller.

I also write and design tabletop games, computer games, and toys. I don’t tend to focus on any one thing. I like a wide variety in my work.
What do you most like about writing? Least like? When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I love the actual process of stringing words together to form sentences, paragraphs, and stories, and to fashion a compelling story out of them. I don’t like the fact that I can’t just dump the stories out of my brain and onto the paper. I write fast, but it still takes too long.

I decided to be a writer in 4th grade when I won a writing contest by concocting a food-based parody of Star Wars. Fortunately, this has long since been lost.

 Tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books have you published? How many books did you write before selling one?

I have a Creative Writing degree from the University of Michigan. After I got out of college, I started in as a freelance tabletop game designer, a job I still do from time to time. I didn’t start writing novels for publication until 2002 or so, and I’ve sold every one of them.

I owe that to the fact that I’ve been unable to take the time to write a novel on spec — on the chance that someone might buy it. My first 13 novels were tie-in books, and every one of them was contracted before I started writing it. Because of that, I was able to sell my first two original novels on pitches too.

I have countless games and game accessories in print. Amortals is my14th novel. Vegas Knights is my 15th. I’ve been contracted to write another three based on a board game called Dust too.

How did you find a publisher? How did you receive the Call?

My first publishers were gaming companies for which I’d already worked on gaming products. However, their novel departments didn’t want to talk to me until I’d finished a novel to show them. Fortunately, my friends at Reaper Miniatures trusted me enough to hire me to write a short novel based on their C.A.V. game, and I was able to use that to show the larger publishers that I could create the work.

For that book, Ed Pugh of Reaper and I just happened to be chatting at a convention, and he commissioned the book from me on the spot. I really do owe him for that.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?

 I love the style of Amortals, the kind of story it is. It’s just what I wanted to write. I actually pitched the book around 16 years ago, when I was not too long out of college, and I couldn’t find any takers. I put it away until I found a publisher with enough faith in me to commission it. That took a while, but it was worth it. I’m a much better writer than I was in my 20s.

Ironically, I met the publisher of Amortals — Marc Gascoigne — before all of that. When I was fresh out of college, I took a job with Games Workshop on a student work visa. Marc had been let go just before that, and I wound up meeting him through mutual friends in the pubs of Nottingham. He later took charge of the Black Library — Games Workshop’s fiction department — and hired me to write a series of novels based on their Blood Bowl game. And now he’s publishing Amortals and Vegas Knights as well.

 What are you writing now? What’s next for you—will you be making personal appearances anywhere our readers can find you?

 Next up, I’m writing the first of my trilogy of Dust novels, based on a game by my longtime friend, the artist Paolo Parente. In the middle of that, I’m writing Star Wars vs. Star Trek for Adams Media.

I just got back from the World Fantasy Convention. I’m not slated to be at another convention for a few months, but in the spring readers should be able to find me in a number of places. I keep an updated schedule of appearances on my website at

 What would you like to tell readers?

Buy my books! Please? Seriously, I’d like to keep doing this for the rest of my life, and if you take a chance on my work, I’ll work hard to make you feel like it was the best money you could have spent.

Amortals comes out tomorrow, November 4,  for Kindle and Nook. Don’t miss it! 

 Find out more about the prolific Mr. Forbeck at

One Comment

  1. Great website, keep up the hard word.

2 Trackbacks

  1. By Lyndi Interviews Me | on November 3, 2010 at 7:00 am

    [...] at her site, author Lyndi Alexander interviews me about how I got into writing novels and how Amortals came to be. Be sure to check it out and let me know what you [...]

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Matt Forbeck, Marc Gascoigne. Marc Gascoigne said: RT @mforbeck: New interview with me up on author Lyndi Alexander's site: [...]

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