Today, I am home in the shadow of the great and powerful Amazon tower. Smokey and I are at Starbucks where I am blissfully sipping my decaf grande sugar-free caramel soy latte, double cupped and with one of those sleeve thingys. Smokey is on watchful guard for any drones that might hover above my head and shoot me, or other dogs that might threaten his territory. I am perusing the world wide web on my iPad which is connect to Starbucks free wifi. While I listen to Starbuck’s delightful free music, I wonder why they don’t offer free ebook selections as well. Perhaps, I have just hit on a brilliant idea. I will ponder how I might pass through the fortress like gates of Starbucks corporate offices to suggest this to them while I finish my coffee. Smokey has just started barking. I search the skies but thankfully, no drones are visibly present. However, Matt Weaver is approaching to talk about his book, The Lightness of Dust.
Naomi: Let’s start with just a brief synopsis of your book. In 20 words or less, tell me what it is about.
Matt: The Lightness of Dust follows one young woman’s search for belonging through ancient Anatolia, 1940 Seattle, and modern-day California.
Naomi: Well! This is indeed interesting as I am quite familiar with 1940 Seattle even though I didn’t appear until mid 1960’s Seattle. Actually, since this interview is based on fantasy, let’s say I didn’t appear until mid 1970’s Seattle.
Matt: Okay. Whatever you want, Naomi.
Naomi: Good. You are an agreeable fellow, Matt. Now, tell me, who is your favorite character and why?
Matt: Since I can pick only one character, I would have to go with Lily Ostendorf. She is more alone than anyone but Sam (another character) can understand—and even he doesn’t realize this until years have passed. Her nature, not just who she is but what, is such that a sense of belonging can only be fleeting. She knows this, yet still seeks for that feeling. I think that anyone who has ever fought a hopeless battle can identify with her in some way.
Naomi: So, you are saying that Lily is alone except for Sam, which would not make her actually alone, but if she didn’t acknowledge Sam, she would be alone but not really, as he’s doesn’t realize he’s being ignored. Do you by chance work alone? That might be a good thing if you did. If Lily called you up tomorrow and said, “Hey, let’s go do something.” What and where would you go with them?
Matt: I would love to walk the streets of Seattle and listen to her stories of the buildings and people she encountered in 1940.
Naomi: Did Lily ever hang around First Ave? I don’t mean to imply that she was the type to hang around First Ave in 1940 because we all know what that type of person that was, but just in case she needed to hock something, half my family owned pawnshops on that street. I’m curious if she has ever spoken of any of them.
Matt: Probably not.
Naomi: You’re right. Fantasy people generally don’t need to pawn things for quick cash, although that might make an interesting premise. Now, I’ve had two brilliant ideas, all in one morning. I must be on a roll. Back to you though, what’s the hardest part about writing your book?
Matt: The hardest part comes during the writing of the first draft—putting a period at the end of a sentence, knowing that the sentence is just not right, and hitting the space bar to begin the next sentence. I know I’ll be back to fix it when the draft is complete and that the draft will never be finished if I get hung up on every rough sentence, but it still nags at me.
Naomi: Don’t get me started on punctuation. Last week, I interviewed a guy who didn’t realize that the space bar produces those white blanks. He thought they appeared magically. It must be your high level of education that allows you to conceptualize better than him. What’s the easiest part about writing your book?
Matt: Knowing what motivates the characters. Each of them springs from a piece of me. I suppose you might say that each of my primary characters is one of my own demons.
Naomi: Okay. I’m not going to touch that one. If you had to pick one object to represent your story and one color to paint it in, what would it be and why?
Matt: A violin-colored violin! Stringed instruments are my absolute favorites; the sounds that talented musicians can coax from violins, cellos, and violas can be pure joy or mournful desolation. Lily Ostendorf is a goddess of the violin, and the story of Lily and Sam played like a symphony in my head while I wrote it.
Naomi: I have never heard anything described as violin colored. Is all your writing as imaginative as that? Do you do anything else besides write and if so what is it?
Matt: I am a formulations chemist in an agriculture-related industry and the managing member of Luna Risen LLC.
Naomi: So when you write up a lab report, do you describe the contents of your water filled test tube as water colored? What’s the ugliest thing in your closet?
Matt: I dress plainly, so nothing in my closet is particularly ugly or stylish. Maybe the t-shirts I’ve had for 10+ years? They’re pretty threadbare at this point, but soooo comfortable!
Naomi: You dress plainly in plain colored clothes? Sorry, but you stepped right into that one. What’s in the bottom of your purse, backpack, attaché or whatever you carry?
Matt: If I can’t fit it in a pocket, it stays home! So just my cellphone, wallet, and keys.
Naomi: You don’t carry around a microscopic or lab goggles with you everywhere? I’m disappointed. Name one character in your book that reminds you of a real person and tell us who it is and how they are similar.
Matt: Professor Jake Morgan reminds me of myself. He published papers in some of the same journals that I published in and has some of the same mannerisms. He basically is me, but with some negatives thrown in.
Naomi: Imagine that, negatives in such a likeable character as you. No, Smokey. Don’t chew on the nice man’s leg. What’s your favorite game? Would your favorite character play it and be any good at it?
Matt: My family loves to play Ten Thousand, and I like to believe that Lily would, as well. She’s great at anything that she can emotionally distance herself from.
Naomi: Ah, that ALONE thing again. Did you ever wonder if you were a little crazy for writing fantasy fiction?
Matt: No, though I think I might GO crazy if I couldn’t write to get the stories to stop whispering at me.
Naomi: Have you tried Xanax? Did your friends ever wonder the same thing?
Matt: The do wonder if I’m crazy sometimes, but it’s not because I write!
Naomi: Of couse not. Well, since the skies are still drone free at this time, Smokey and I are going to resume our walk back to our humble abobe. While we are doing that, you can find out more about Matt and his books at the following links: