What's it like to write science fiction? Matt Mayr, author of the sci fi novel Bad City, says it's all about the characters.
When I set out to write Bad City, I never really thought about it as a science fiction story. Rather, I thought of it as simply a story that happened to be set in the near future, after a major societal paradigm shift (funny, I know). But really, I wanted to write a story about lawlessness and survival. Bad City is as much a western as it is a dystopian. It's as literary as it is science fiction. The setting is stripped-down, bare-bones, violent and brutal, and the story is about the characters trying to make a go of it in this difficult world. For me, writing is about character, and everything else comes second.
I wrote the first draft, then went into the Humber program to write the second draft. I landed Joan Barfoot as a mentor (this was my second time in the program, my first was with the late Paul Quarrington), and she really helped me a lot with editing and paring things down, and going over the story again and again until it's as tight as it can possibly be. After a third draft I queried several literary agencies and landed The Rights Factory. It took another few months of rewrites and another year before I got a deal with EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing. The book was published in August 2015, and is currently available on just about every ebook platform. A print version is on its way soon. My experience with EDGE has been nothing short of fantastic. It's a tight-knit group that I'm proud to be a part of.
I'm currently working on the second draft of a literary fiction novel set in Northern Ontario (I grew up in a small mining community about 1,100 km north of Toronto, called Manitouwadge), and recently I received an Ontario Arts Council Emerging Writers Grant for this novel. I hope to have it finished sometime this year.
Matt Mayr grew up in a small mining community north of Lake Superior, where he learned to hunt and fish from a very young age. He holds an Honours English Degree from York University, and attended the Humber School for Writers mentorship program twice. He has traveled extensively in India, Nepal, and South America, trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp, and paddling deep into the Amazon Basin. He lives in Toronto with his wife and daughter.