Thursday, January 31, 2013

Please Welcome Mystery Author Matt Witten

Omnimystery News: Guest Author Post
by Matt Witten

We are delighted to welcome novelist Matt Witten as our guest.

Matt's first mystery, Breakfast at Madeline's, was the winner of the 1998 Malice Domestic Grant for an unpublished writer. It was subsequently published by Signet in 1999 and he has just released it as an ebook (November 2012, Kindle format).

Today Matt tells us more about how the book came about. And he is also giving two of our readers a chance to win a copy of Breakfast at Madeline's; details below.

— ♦ —

The main piece of advice I give to writers, both new and established, is: Write what you're passionate about. I followed that advice when I wrote Breakfast at Madeline's.

Matt Witten
Photo provided courtesy of
Matt Witten

For most of my life, ever since I got hooked on Sherlock Holmes in fourth grade, my favorite form of art was the murder mystery novel. I enjoy going to plays and movies, and seeing the odd folk music concert, and reading a good true crime book; but to me, there's nothing better than making a nice cup of tea and reading a murder mystery. When I hit my late twenties, it occurred to me: I've always enjoyed reading them. Why not try writing one?

For the main characters, I simply chose people based on myself, my wife, and our two sons. It made researching easy — I didn't have to do any!

Establishing the tone for the novel was a great deal trickier. I wanted something light and breezy, but with enough weight to carry a murder narrative. I wrote and rewrote the first four pages of the book for about four months, trying to establish the right tone. Once I was happy with the first four pages, the entire rest of the book took me maybe three months to write.

I always get a kick out of it when people tell me how much they like the breezy tone of Breakfast at Madeline's. Because I remember how hard I worked to make it seem breezy!

Breakfast at Madeline's is both a murder mystery and also a story about how hard it is to create art. The murder victim is a man who's spent his entire life trying to write a memoir. Several of the suspects are struggling artists and arts administrators. As someone who has both struggled and been successful creating art, I identify with everybody who has ever faced a blank page or canvass.

Breakfast at Madeline's is the first of four mystery novels that were published by Signet. They sold well but then went out of print, and this year I've decided to self-publish them on Amazon. So far I must say the book is selling quite well — much better than I expected. I'll be putting out the other three novels every three months.

My totally unsophisticated marketing strategy is: when I put out the books, I'll give them away for free for five days, to build word of mouth. That's what I did with Breakfast at Madeline's. If you'd like to receive an email when I offer the novels for free, you can shoot me a quick email at [email protected]

That's the story from here. Since writing my mystery novels, I've gone on to write for such TV shows as House, Law & Order, and Pretty Little Liars. But my favorite form of art is still the murder mystery. Happy reading to you all!

— ♦ —

Breakfast at Madeline's by Matt Witten

Breakfast at Madeline's
Matt Witten
A Jacob Burns Mystery (1st in series)

Jacob Burns — husband, father, and frustrated writer — has finally sold a screenplay. To a major Hollywood studio, no less. But success isn't all it's cracked up to be. Now he has writer's block and spends his days drinking coffee at his favorite cafe, Madeline's. That is, until one warm autumn morning when Donald Penn, an eccentric Madeline's regular, hands Jacob a key and drops dead at his feet.

Soon Jacob's home is burglarized and his family threatened, and he becomes involved in a puzzling mystery that exposes him to some of the finest families in Saratoga Springs, New York — and some of the worst in human behavior. Print and/or Kindle Edition

For a chance to win a Kindle ebook of Breakfast at Madeline's, courtesy of the author, visit Mystery Book Contests, click on the "Matt Witten: Breakfast at Madeline's" contest link, enter your name, e-mail address, and this code — 9027 — for a chance to win! (One entry per person, US residents only. Contest ends February 7th, 2013.)


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