What can you find here? Reviews of new and not quite so new Sherlock Holmes novels and collections. Interviews with authors, link to blogs worth following, links to where you can purchase my books and some reviews of my work garnered from Amazon sites. Plus a few scary pics of me and a link to various Lyme Regis videos on YouTube...see what we do here and how....and indeed why!!! Next to the Lyme Regis Video Bar is a Jeremy Brett as Holmes Video Bar and now a Ross K Video Bar. And stories and poems galore in the archives.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Killing Dr Watson!! An Interview with Matt Ferraz

Matheus Fernandes Ferraz Soares, and  a 25 year-old Brazilian from a industrial town called Contagem in the state of Minas Gerais. He never had English lessons outside regular school, and learned the language through movies and internet. He has always loved the mystery genre, from Agatha Christie to Dashiell Hammett and of course, Conan Doyle. His first Portuguese written book, Teorema de Mabel, was self published. After years of trying to publish a book in his mother tongue through a regular publishing house, he decided to write a book in English, and that was Killing Dr. Watson. He has just got his degree in Journalism and is about to move to England to take his Masters in Biography at the University of Buckingham.

Can you tell me about your background in your home town?

I was born and raised in Contagem, an industrial town in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Contagem is a developed town, but its only cultural spots are its two shopping malls. Every time I wanted to see a play, go to a library or watch a non-mainstream film on a theatre, I had to take an hour and a half bus ride to Belo Horizonte, the capital of the state. I had to take that same ride everyday for four years to take my degree in Journalism. So I'd always bring a book with me, and must have read a million words during these bus trips. They were a huge part of my education.

You learned English from reading. How difficult was that?         

It just came off naturally. We had English classes in school, but they just covered the basics. I didn't have internet at home until I was sixteen, so I liked to rent DVD's and watch English films without subtitles. After internet, it got much easier, as I could read websites and watch a ton of videos in English. Once I was confident enough, I started writing texts and sending them to websites. After a decade of practice, I guess I just got good.

Which authors did you concentrate on in those early days?

There was a wonderful series of books in Brazil called Coleção Vagalume ("Firefly Collection"). They had fun, adventurous novels for young teenagers that didn't treat us like fools. One of my favourite ones was "O caso da borboleta atiria" ("The case of the butterfly atiria"), a whodunit mystery with insects as protagonists. Another one was "Enigma na TV" ("Enigma on television"), which is a major influence for "Killing Dr. Watson".

A huge turning point for me was when I was nine and my teacher lent me Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Nile". I instantly became an Hercule Poirot aficionado, and wanted to read every single one Christie's books. That's when I actively started writing crime stories, trying to create my own detective. From her I went to Edgar Alan Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen King and many others. Another writer who was very important to me in my teens was Terry Pratchett. I simply loved his Discworld books!

Your first novel was written in your native Portuguese. Can you tell us more about it and how it came about?

My first book was "Teorema de Mabel" ("Mabel's Theorem"), a novella about a young girl, Mabel, who dreams of becoming a writer. She gets an invitation to work as a secretary for her favourite writer, Milton Dantas, but finds out that what he really wants is her typewriting machine, which holds a very dark secret. I've always been fascinated by typewriters, and wanted to write a book about them. "Teorema de Mabel" brought me a lot of joy and the chance to appear in local media. I have plans to translate it to English myself.     

Your new novel, 'Killing Dr. Watson' was written in English. That must have been a challenge?

My mother has a saying: when you don't know something is impossible, you may have a chance of succeeding on it. That's what I did. Writing in a different language is harsh as it is, but writing literature is simply insane! Plus, I was on my last year in college, doing my monograph on TV series Elementary, and applying for my Masters at the University of Buckingham. In the end it all worked up well: I got my degree, finished my book and was accepted at Buckingham. Only now I see how crazy that was.

Ah, Buckingham...I spent my teenage years there!! Briefly, without giving anything away, what is the novel about?

"Killing Dr. Watson" is a novel about fandom. My main character, Jerry Bellamy, is obsessed with a BBC series called "The Baker Street Sleuth", where Sir Bartholomew Neville played Sherlock Holmes. The book starts at a TV series convention, when Jerry is eager to meet his idol. But after a series of bizarre events, they find out there's a serial killer going after the actors who played Watson in the different seasons of the show. Neville and Jerry team up to solve the mystery, like modern Holmes and Watson, with one major difference: neither of them is that smart, which makes it even harder to catch the killer. 

Have you plans for another similar work?

I really enjoy writing crime novels, and will certainly return to the genre. Another thing I'd love to do is a spy thriller, but this isn't my next project yet. I have a great idea for a private detective character that I'll develop throughout 2016.

And what of the future, what are your immediate plans?

Right now I'll focus on my academic career, which is something I'm love with. I'm currently working for a crime fiction magazine, that gives me a unique chance to meet and interview other crime writers. I have lots of plans, some of them represent great challenge. I still don't know how people would react to the idea of a Brazilian writing a Cold War spy thriller, for example. I guess we'll have to find out.

Thanks Matt!

Killing Dr Watson is available on Amazon UK HERE

On Amazon USA  HERE

And at the Book Depository  HERE

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