Interview with Matt Posner

Matt Posner

Interview Date: xxx


Matt Posner is a writer and teacher from New York City. Originally from Miami, FL, Matt lives in Queens with Julie, his wife of more than ten years, and works in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Matt is also the Dean of School of the Ages, America's greatest magic school, located on a secret island in New York Harbor, and is pleased to tell stories about its people in the five-book series School of the Ages, which will be published between 2010 and 2015. As the child of classically trained musicians, Matt is a performing poet and percussionist with The Exploration Project, New York's premier avant-garde multimedia club band, along with the painter Eric Henty and founding musician and empresario Scott Rifkin. (Look us up on Facebook and sample and buy our music here on amazon and in many places online.)
Matt teaches high school English, with a fondness for special education students, and teaches world civilizations at Metropolitan College of New York. His interests include magic and the paranormal, literature, movies, history and culture, visual arts, world music, religion, photography, and professional wrestling history.

When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?

I know that I started writing when I was in elementary school, writing for fun usually, comedy plays and some poetry, and made the decision to be a writer when I was in 7th grade. The triggering event was a gifted class in which I needed to do some sort of project, but I expect I would have come to it some other way anyway.

If you could have one superpower, what would it? (Assuming said power would be reasonably powerful.)

I have always wanted the power of telekinesis, the ability to lift and move objects around, like Jedi do in the Star Wars movies. I've had a lot of dreams in which I can do that, raising objects and moving them around at a distance with a hand gesture. If I could have a super-tool to use, I would like the Love Magnet, which the character Shaggy Man carried in the Oz books. Everyone who saw the Love Magnet automatically liked and wanted to help the person holding it.

Kev's response: I'd love to have telekinesis as well, it has some awesome potential for fun. This Love Magnet sounds intriguing...

Do you have a favorite superhero from novels, comics, or movies?

There are quite a few that I like, but none of them are written well anymore. The character with the most untapped potential, I think, is Luke Cage. I own a lot of the early issues, including Hero for Hire #1, and the 1970s version was just awesome. I also have read many other characters, including Hulk, Thor, Spider-Man, Superman, Batman, and Fantastic Four. The best superhero comics writers for me are Kurt Busiek (Astro City!) and Peter David. For non-superhero comics, I really like Neil Gaiman's Sandman. Kevin, did you used to play Champions/Hero System, or Villains and Viligantes? I loved those games systems.

Kev's response: I've played superhero RPGs for decades, they are one reason I write superhero novels now! Never tried V&V, but I've heard of it.

Where do you get your inspiration for writing? What motivates you?

My characters and their inner feelings are inspired by my inner emotional life. The externals are largely inspired by things that I read, in culture and history.

Do you pre-plan your stories, or are you a by-the-seat-of-the-pants style writer?

A little of each. I plan a starting place and a few incidents, and I find some music that triggers me to think about dramatic scenes, and I draft and plan at the same time. I think a broad outline is a good idea, but I have to leave room for ideas to come while writing.

Do you write only when inspired, or do you have a set schedule where you sit down to write?

Neither. I write whenever I can get an opportunity. Subway, toilet seat, bathtub, classroom while students are taking a test. At home on days off. Pretty much, I can always write if I have room and time. My belief about writer's block and inspiration is that the former is the result of a temporary confidence problem, and the latter is the normal state of mind of a properly energized artist.

Kev's response: I'm trying to envision how one would (safely) write while in a bathtub and using a laptop (or avoid wet paper if handwriting...).

Do you have a favorite genre to write in? To read?

I read a lot of heroic fantasy growing up, and I wrote that for a while. I wrote literary fiction while I was in graduate school. Now I am writing mostly YA fiction, but I write that by writing at an adult level on YA subjects. So my work is good for teens and adults, although my publisher in India is marketing it for ages 10 and up there. The unusual work in my oeuvre right now is Teen Guide to Sex and Relationships, which I co-wrote with Jess C. Scott. This is nonfiction and represents the best advice Jess and I have to give to young people about the topics mentioned in the title.
These days the fiction I read is almost always from indie writers that I meet, like you, Kevin. If I were to list any of them, I would be hurtful to the ones I didn't mention. But I will say that this fiction crosses genres, with a tendency to fantasy, science fiction, and suspense. I have read some fairly successful recent Big Six fantasists, most notably Lev Grossman's two Magicians books, which I think are excellent, despite all the flak Grossman has gotten from people who didn't understand what the books were trying to do. Oh, and despite the fact that being a Big Six guy, he probably wouldn't talk to me if I offered to pay him to do that.
I really like professional wrestling autobiographies, too.

What do you enjoy the most about writing?

I like having my Kindle read me the drafts. They say you should write the books you would like to read. Yep, I do that.

Is there any part of writing that you don't enjoy?

Cutting. I hate taking things out. I probably should edit out more than I do.

Can you tell me something odd about yourself?

I do accents and cartoon voices in the classroom. Some students like it a lot; others find it evidence that I am too much of a nerd for their stuck-up selves. I do a variety of Monty Python-inspired voices and some of the Warner Brothers characters.

Kev's response: They may claim they don't like it, but I bet away from the class they like you far more than someone dry and boring.

Do you write one story at a time, or do you have several novels in the works at one time?

I write many things at once. Until recently I was writing three School of the Ages books at once, but now I am only working on Book IV and doubt I will start Book V till IV is completely drafted. But I always have stories, interviews, and other books and projects going on.

Are you for, or against, evil plots to take over the world? (Not saying I'm doing that, but thought I'd ask, just in case....)

Same thing we do every day, Pinky…

Kev's response: Oh, great, thanks a lot. Now I have that theme song stuck in my head...!

Where do you see the future as far as paper books versus digital e-books?

Although American kids appear to read less, they are actually reading more. E-book readers help with that, as do smart phones and various tablets. The market for paper will diminish further in highly technological countries but remain steady for a while in less economically developed prices. The bookstore chains will go out of business, and the Big Six will consolidate and slowly get their act together digitally.

What are your current projects?

If this interview comes out when I intend, I will have just published The War Against Love, Book III in the School of the Ages series. I will them write a book called How to Write Dialogue, to which a group of really cool indie writers are contributing samples. Then a zombie book, and then a mystery co-written with Jess C. Scott. Then School of the Ages IV and V.

Do you have any advice for others about self-publishing?

Marketing skill is absolutely essential. I am still struggling to learn about that while doing many other things at the same time. You have to write what you care about and believe in. That being said, the best-selling genres appear to be thrillers, romance, and quickie erotica. So I hope you care and believe in those.

Kev's response: Darn it all! I knew I was in the wrong genre!

Do you have any online sites where readers can find out more about you (and your books)?

My website is
I also have a fan page on Facebook
My twitter feed is @schooloftheages. I don't promote myself that often there. It is mostly retweeting interesting content, and most of the book ads are my friends, not my own content.

To buy the main School of the Ages novels:
Matt Posner is a writer and teacher from New York City. Matt's books about Simon are the School of the Ages series of books available below.
Contact Matt: http// and twitter @schooloftheages
The Ghost in the Crystal
US: Amazon US
UK: Amazon UK
for Nook: Nook
India (
Level Three's Dream:
US: Amazon US
UK: Amazon UK
Nook: Nook
The War Against Love
US: Amazon US
UK: Amazon UK
Nook: Nook

Also, Matt and Jess C. Scott are co-authors of Teen Guide to Sex and Relationships, an advice book for teenagers about… sex and relationships.

Kev's response: Matt, thanks much for joining me, and good fortune with the variety of work you're involved in!

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