Matt Griffin - Author Picture

Matt Griffin - Author

Matt Griffin was born in Dublin in 1979 and grew up in Kells, Co. Meath. After a brief attempt at third level education he spent eight years in London working in the media, before moving home to Ireland in 2008 to pursue his dream of becoming a fulltime illustrator. Since then he has garnered a reputation as one of the most eclectic graphic artists in contemporary illustration, collecting awards and accolades for his work in publishing, advertising and, in particular, the field of poster art. His passion for visual design was always married to one for writing.

This is his first novel. Matthew lives in Ennis, Co. Clare, with his wife Orla and daughters Holly & Chloe.

A Q+A with Matt Griffin

Well, I was a huge fan of creative writing as a young kid up until my late teens (and I had a great teacher), but as I got older it fell by the wayside. In my 20s I worked as a music journalist for a while, and so kept my toe in the writing water. For my entire life, however, I have had stories buzzing in my mind, and when The O’Brien Press encouraged me to develop one, I fell in love with creative writing again. Now I’m sure not I’ll be able to stop…

No I didn’t give it to anyone! I am not someone who enjoys showing work-in-progress - I prefer to show the finished product, when I’m happy with it. So the only people who read it in it’s infant stages were the guys at O’Brien Press, and in particular my editor Susan, who helped me to hone my skills and produce something more than just an idea. I was extremely lucky in that I wasn’t writing it with the intention of sending it out in hope to publishers. The entire thing was created under their stewardship.

Q: Where did the idea come from for A Cage of Roots?

A walk in the woods! Well, there was a little more to it… Emma Byrne, the art director at O’Brien with whom I was working as a colorist on a graphic novel, asked me if I had any stories of my own - and could see that I might like to do something dark, and something that might involve Irish myth in some way. She had great foresight, because that was exactly the type of story I’d love! So I went for a walk (something I always do when I need to think) and in the woods at Lee’s Road in Ennis, came up with the idea that would become A Cage of Roots.

Q: Were you a fan of reading fantasy and horror books as a child?

Yes - I absolutely loved them. I was a voracious reader from a very young age, and pretty much all of it was dark fantasy. I have always had a penchant for the macabre. If I tried to create something light and fluffy, I would probably still scare people.

It was always on my bucket list, but it was pushed down the pecking order because it just seemed so unattainable. Instead, I concentrated on becoming a professional illustrator and let writing disappear from my life. I was incredibly lucky that O’Brien Press pushed me back in that direction. How they had the foresight to see me as a writer I’ll never know, but it must have involved some form of witchcraft. Q: What advice can you give would-be children's authors in getting published?

Make a gargantuan effort to hone your skills, learn your craft, improve. Getting there easily is the exception not the rule - it takes a vast amount of dedication and work.

So, in a nutshell - write. Draw. Make. No more thinking about it - just go for it! And realise that it takes time…

Q: Where and when do you write?

Now I have an office, so I’ll be writing the next book there. Even when I don’t feel like it.

Q: Favourite place in the world and why?

Q: If you could have any superpower for a day what would it be and why?

A tough one, and maybe a strange answer. But I’d love the ability to transport myself to other worlds. To click my fingers and be on Titan or Mars or another galaxy, and able to explore without a suit. I guess with the imagination, that power is not quite as unattainable as you might think. I am quite capable of disappearing off to other places in my head!

Q: Apart from writing and illustrating what are your passions?

In a hobby-sense, music and movies. I have always been very passionate about music, and I love a good movie just as much as I love a good book. In terms of life-passions - my wife and two daughters, my family and friends. I’m very lucky with all of them…

10 things you didn't know about Matt Griffin
• I spent the first 4 years of my life in America, and had an American accent until I was about 10. They called me Yankee Doodle in primary school as a result. Ayla shares the same beginnings (albeit as an orphan).
• My first love is music, and I was an avid guitar player and song-writer. But I suffer from huge stage fright when it comes to performing! So I’ve let that fall away too, much to my own disappointment.
• I wanted to follow my brother Luke into acting at one point. I won a couple of prizes in school. But I didn’t have the immense bottle it takes to be an actor. That profession is for the truly brave.
• I spent a year in Australia in 2001, and at one point hitched from Melbourne to Sydney. It took two days and was an absolutely insane adventure. Someday I may have to write about it.
• I used to work for Channel 4 Music, and interviewed a lot of famous musicians. My first was Shaun Ryder (lead singer from The Happy Mondays & Black Grape). It didn’t go well.
• I lived in London for 8 years, 3 of which were on a boat, in a scrapyard. During one particularly harsh winter, I had no running water. So for three months I showered with a 2 litre Coke bottle of ice-cold water from the tap outside (as long as it wasn’t frozen). I loved boat-life.
• I am a huge armchair sports fan. I support Meath in gaelic football, Clare in the hurling, Leinster in rugby and Chelsea in the Premier League (and always look out for Brentford too. It’s where the boat was). But I’m falling out of love with the soccer I must admit. Too much diving and cheating.
• I love swimming in the sea, with my Dad, no matter what the weather. We have gone out in some pretty blustery conditions, with a lot of bemused onlookers. Nothing else clears the cobwebs like it.
• I am never, ever, satisfied with my own work for longer than a minute or two. This drives me, and helps me to improve. But it drives those around me to distraction.

Featured Books, with extracts, by Matt Griffin

Storm Weaver
Matt Griffin
The magical adventure that began so explosively with A Cage of Roots continues in this equally gripping new episode. Four friends, Ayla, Finny Sean and Benvy are caught in a battle against powerful supernatural enemies led by the terrifying,...
Lovereading Price: £5.59 - Saving £1.40 (20%) Featured in: 9+ readers | 11+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 04/04/2016
Info Extract Wishlist Compare price Buy

Reader ReviewedA Cage of Roots
Matt Griffin
March 2015 Debut of the Month An astonishingly different and chillingly striking tale that envelops the pages in a cloak of darkness and mystery. The author hurls the reader straight into the middle of the story, waiting before making introductions...
Lovereading Price: £5.59 - Saving £1.40 (20%) Featured in: 11+ readers | 9+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 02/03/2015
Info Extract Wishlist Compare price Buy

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