Episode 357 Matt Scott Pathway into Writing Transcript

This transcript is from episode 357 with guest Matt Scott.

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Hey everybody. Welcome back to Drive On. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio. And today my guest is Matt Scott. Matt is the author of the Surviving the Lion’s Den series. And he’s here today to discuss, uh, some of the benefits of writing to the audience here. And, um, that it’s never too [00:02:00] late to start writing. So, uh, welcome to the show, Matt.

I’m really glad to have you here.

Matt Scott: Uh, Scott, thanks for having me on. I really appreciate it.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, you bet. Um, for the folks who might not be familiar with you and, uh, kind of what you write about, tell us a little bit about yourself, a little bit about your background and who you are.

Matt Scott: Okay. Well, I, uh, I was originally born in the Virginia Beach area, Virginia, but, uh, I went to college in a small liberal arts college just outside Virginia, or excuse me, outside of Richmond, Virginia, and at Hammond Sydney College. And I studied under the director, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, General Sam Wilson.

He was the president of the school at the time. And he kind of, you know, Learning from him, I got, I got my, my claws into the intelligence agency, started learning things a little bit, and I just never really let it go. And then, you know, I got into corporate world for a while, uh, almost 20 years actually.

And, uh, you know, eventually I just, you know, things were starting to get, you know, uh, starting to get complacent in the job, things weren’t going the way I [00:03:00] wanted. And I, uh, decided to go for broke and. You know, through a meeting with, uh, David Baldacci, along with some other, you know, fortuitous circumstances, I guess we’ll call it, I decided to, uh, write a, write a spy thriller.

Um, and, uh, my novels, uh, Surviving the Lion’s Den, The Iranian Deception, and The Ayatollah Takedown, all focused on the Iranian threat against the West. Um, first book. Surviving the Lion’s Den is kind of a two pronged story, but essentially it’s about a CIA agent that gets kidnapped and tortured for coveted information, and a friend of, or the grandson of one of his, um, let’s call him, Covers, I guess.

Uh, his grandfather ends up getting killed and he goes over there for, for revenge. He ends up getting captured and they have to, have to escape before a, a, a, uh, a senator, uh, tries to close a, um, a [00:04:00] U. S. base in the Middle East. So, it’s kind of a, an escape story. Uh, the second, uh, novel, The Iranian Deception, um, is about a, uh, the Ayatollah of Iran dies, uh, and he, there you go.

And his successor wants to rule the Middle East with a connection to the Nazis. And one of the protagonists from the, from the first book who is in it, but was not the main protagonist, uh, is, uh, takes the, takes the lead in that novel. And it’s kind of a, you know, let’s save the world from disaster type thing.

And the third novel, the Ayatollah Takedown picks up right where the Iranian deception left off, maybe about six months later. And it is about, uh, is, My creative take on regime change in Iran, which I think will happen in my lifetime, although I might be 97 when it happens, but I think their, I think their days are numbered.

So I tried to. Come up with something that was, uh, you know, I, I learned a lot from the second war in Iraq, uh, you know, [00:05:00] some of the mistakes that the, uh, that the government made during that. So I tried to take a lot of that and, uh, roll it into some, you know, some creative flavors into it to make it a little bit more fun.

So it’s not, you know, so rigid and structured and kind of play with a little bit. And, uh. That’s what you got at the end of that one. So the title kind of gives it away, but, um, it’s, it’s a, it’s a fun ride. It’s a fun ride. I’ve gotten some really good feedback on it.

Scott DeLuzio: Well, you know, for the listeners, uh, this show is typically focused on helping military veterans or service members or families and, and the general military community. Right. But we’re in this episode, I want to talk, so we just got a quick rundown description of each of these books. Um, The reason why I wanted to have Matt on is a couple of reasons.

One, I think his books are, um, the types of books that folks who are military connected might be interested in. Uh, they’re not, they’re not real, uh, you know, based on real events, but they’re, so they’re a good [00:06:00] escape, you know, from, uh, the doom and gloom of the media, but you can, you can dive into, you know, a good, good kind of, uh, action book if that’s your, your type of thing, you know, with all the, the, the escapes and all the, the things that, that go into it.

Um, that, that to me, I think is, uh, really kind of cool. But the other part, uh, of this story that I want to talk about, um, It’s kind of Matt’s journey to becoming a writer and how he got to even writing any of these books. Um, Matt is not a veteran, but as he is an author who got into writing a little bit later on in life, which is around the age that many people who might retire from the military looking for their second act might be getting out.

Uh, you know, and, and trying to figure out what, what’s next for me. And not only could writing be a great therapeutic outlet for some people or, you know, creative expression or, you know, whatever you want to call it. Um, [00:07:00] but it also could be, you know, uh. A second, uh, career, you know, you’re, you, you’re moving on from the military.

You can get into that. Right. So, um, so Matt, I’d love for you to share your journey from, you know, being a corporate office worker, nine to five type thing, um, to becoming a writer. Uh, you know, the way, the way you kind of went from, from A to B.

Matt Scott: Yeah. So for me, it was, uh, it’s, it was a long journey and I didn’t even know that I was going to end up as, as an author. Um, you know, for, you know, when I got into the, when I moved to Charlotte and I got to the corporate world, there were, uh, there were about four or five years there where I, uh, I really had, uh, just, you know, I wasn’t feeling well.

I was, uh, kind of depressed because my family had a tragedy. My, uh, my brother and my cousin died. within six weeks of each other, uh, in 2000 and, uh, 2009 crossing over into 2010. So it was a really, uh, low point for me. [00:08:00] And, you know, when you kind of battle that depression, you, you kind of go into a safe zone.

And my safe zone was, was reading and, you know, watching King of the Hill reruns on Cartoon Network. Um, but, you know, as I started reading, Um, you know, the novels of, you know, Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, Dan Brown, not only was I reading them and enjoying them, but what I didn’t realize is that, you know, as you read and the more you read, you’re really taking a class, uh, from the authors who are writing them and you’re taking They’re telling you, they’re showing you how they, you know, develop characters, you know, uh, develop story arcs, you know, how they can pull off, you know, uh, sudden changes and surprises, uh, in a novel.

So, I just kind of kept reading for years, and, you know, when I was working my job in corporate America Every single day, well just about every day, um, I made an effort to leave my desk, go down to my car in the parking lot, and read for an hour. [00:09:00] That was my time away from my desk to kind of get rejuvenated.

And I did that for years. Um, And as you start reading, you know, you start developing ideas. I always thought I had a knack for writing. Hampton City College is one of those liberal arts colleges that really stresses writing and developmental writing. You have to actually take a rhetoric class in order to graduate.

Um, so those skills never really left me. I just didn’t know how to Develop them. Um, and one year, you know, I, I started developing, I always wanted to do a story about Iran just simply because I thought it was a, uh, a country that was really unexplored from the literary aspect. I mean, you had the Argo movie that came along in, I think in 2012 or something like that, but by and large, you don’t hear a lot or read a lot of, uh, movies or books.

inside Iran in terms of what it looks like. So I always wanted to do something like that and do something about an escaped CI agent. [00:10:00] Then one winter, I was going back, it was right around Thanksgiving weekend, I think. I can’t remember before or after, but anyway, it was the weekend of the Army Navy game. I drove back to Williamsburg, Virginia through a snowstorm and met David Baldacci.

Up in Williamsburg, at the William Mary College, and I was getting ready to be 40 at the time, and he’s, I, it was my turn at the desk, I get my book signed, I said, Look, I’m getting ready to be 40, is that too old to write my first novel? And I kid you not, he stopped mid signature, you can see the dot where he stopped in the book that I still, that I have on the shelf over there, and he looks up at me, he says, Hell no, the industry could use some good young writers.

Now, I didn’t know if I should be happier that this guy thought 40 was young, or that he was telling me to kind of go forth with my destiny, but nonetheless, I, uh, I came home, I started working on the idea, um, and I think that was, you know, when I got home, I think I started it in February, actually writing it in February, and I had the first draft done by August or so.

Um, [00:11:00] And then I followed the usual process of, you know, querying an agent, you know, getting, getting a publisher. And, um, you know, Surviving the Lions Den, I think went one, went through one major, um, rework, uh, but it came out in, uh, October of, uh, of 2021. And it’s been, it’s been a ride since, but, um, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s never too late.

You know, I am proof that it’s never too late. And for the veterans listening out there, I actually think that, um, All of you have a, a better chance of becoming a writer than really I did, because I came from the corporate world. I did not have a whole lot of real life experiences to draw on. Um, you know, it’s kind of like, I don’t want to put myself in the same, same category as Tom Clancy, but Tom Clancy started out in insurance.

And he just, he was in Bethesda talking to people, you know, and that’s how he, he wrote Hunt for Red October, talking to people and doing research, and I was kind of in the same boat. Um, I was talking to people, I would read a lot, you [00:12:00] know, did my research on YouTube or, you know, nonfiction novels or whatever.

Um, but, you know, when Brad Taylor, uh, for those of you who know Brad Taylor, he lives in Charleston, he writes, uh, the Pike Logan novels. Uh, when he wrote his query novel, and I think he, or query letter to literary agents, he started out, he says, due to my experiences on Delta Force. or whatever it was. I think it was Delta.

He was on Delta. Um, you know, that’s, that’s something that can grab literary agents right away because, you know, they can say, see that this guy has real life experiences. So, um, I, based on real life experiences, I really think veterans have, uh, the best chance to get published as long as you, you know, you have You’re good at the craft and you can dedicate yourself to starting and finishing it, uh, and have, you know, the discipline to, you know, rework and delete where, where necessary.

Um, I definitely think, you know, veterans can, can get into the, into the business.

Scott DeLuzio: And I think one of the things, having written a book myself, I think one of the things that is, uh, important is having a little bit [00:13:00] of thick skin when it comes to the editing process and, uh, not, not, not holding your baby so close that you, you feel like any, anyone poking at it is, is, uh, you know, you know, a personal insult to you or, or anything like that, you know?

Matt Scott: no, no. When I, when I, when I jumped from the first draft of Lion’s Den to the second, there were, I think I cut out the first 30, 000 words. Um, and then there was a section about the, um, originally it was about three characters that go to Iran and they, they were going inside the, uh, the old U. S. embassy in Tehran.

I, I did a lot of research in it. What does it look like? You know, what is this? What is that? And I mean, we’re talking another. 10 15, 000 words. I mean, so right there, I’ve cut My novel down into, you know, a hundred thousand words more or less, but it took away a lot of research and it was like, kind of, you kind of take a deep breath, maybe take a shot of Jack Daniels and say, okay, that was fun.

And you cut it because in the end, my, I think the, uh, the [00:14:00] philosophy you have to have is, you know, you do what you have to do to make your novel the best novel it can be. And it can’t be that, that kind of stuff, just the stuff that doesn’t work. Can’t be in there. It just can’t.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, and I, I kind of equate this to, uh, the teamwork that you might have in, well, any team, really. It could be a sports team, it could be the military, it could be anywhere. Um, but you, you’re going to take your strengths and you’re going to take somebody else’s strengths and you’re going to combine them and, and you’re going to, Come up with the best product that you can.

Um, in this case, it’s a book, you know, and you could be in business. You’d be in manufacturing or you could be in, you know, uh, a service business or whatever, you’re going to take the people with the best skill sets, and you’re going to combine those people together. And you’re going to, you’re going to come up with the best product service, whatever it is, uh, you know, just by utilizing those talents.

And so when you have a good editor or a good, you know, good people who are going through the book and reading over it and making sure that. The storyline makes sense and that, you know, it’s [00:15:00] entertaining that it’s doing what it’s supposed to do. Uh, yeah, you’re going to want to listen to those people because otherwise you’re, you’re just doing it on your own and you’re only going to be as good as you are.

Maybe you’re great at some things, but being great at everything is, is kind of difficult. So, so I definitely take that advice. Right.

Matt Scott: Absolutely.

Scott DeLuzio: So overcoming self doubt, um, I know. Coming, coming from a place where you’ve never written a book before, um, I got to imagine that there’s, there’s some self doubt in there, uh, imposter syndrome and that type of thing.

How did you navigate through that kind of uncertainty in, in your journey?

Matt Scott: Uh, well, let me start by just saying that, uh, self doubt is a burden to us all. It’s just one of those things everyone is born with, so it’s, uh, you know, anyone who feels that, you are not alone. You know, for me, um, you know, I kind of went into this business, I was totally [00:16:00] green, uh, didn’t know anything about publishing, didn’t know anyone in publishing, I just knew that I had an idea that I thought would work, and I wanted to write about it, and I kind of, you have to kind of just let the noise go, and just kind of focus on, for me, it was focusing on my craft, and at the time, the job that I was working at, Uh, at the time I started Lion’s Den, you know, I just, I just was not happy.

And, you know, I wasn’t moving up. I was, uh, I wasn’t happy with what I was doing. So for me, it was, it was a little liberating because I was now doing something and writing where I didn’t report to anyone but myself and I was going to live or die by the pen or the sword or whatever you want to call it.

And it was all up to me. Now, you know, that’s kind of, that’s the kind of good pressure. that you want. It’s pressure, but it’s, it’s good pressure. Um, so, you know, you just kind of, I think it’s really all about, you know, just, you know, tuning out all the noise and, and the things that now you can’t, you can’t do that.

I mean, and eventually it’s just [00:17:00] like, why not? You know, why, why, why can’t, why can’t I? There’s, there’s no reason why I can’t. And, you know, there’s You know, they’re, they’re the voices say, well, you know, you can do it and, you know, nobody’s going to read it. You know, you’re not going to be successful at it.

And, you know, maybe those things are true, you know, but, you know, you can’t, I don’t think you can go through life regretting being in deathbed and regretting something. And I listened, you know, before I started writing the novels, I was really big into, uh, hearing motivational speeches and, you know, um, something, you know.

Uh, Tom Bayou said, um, from Impact Theory, uh, he said, you know, he’s heard it said that hell is to meet the person you could have been at death and realize you’re not even a shadow of that person, and that heaven is to meet the person, uh, you could have been at death and see that person staring back at you.

And I mean, that, that really hit me hard. I [00:18:00] mean, that, that was like, whoa, you know, that, I mean. I just, at that point, I just got to the point where I said, you know, I’ve got to do this. I have to do this. I mean, I’m not going anywhere in this corporate world when, what did I have to lose? I mean, we’re, if nothing happens, you know, I’m going to be in the exact same place I am.

I mean, I’m not going to be living on the streets, you know, knock wood or anything like that. Um, so, there was no reason not to try it. So, self doubt, you know, you can, you can take a backseat. Right.

Scott DeLuzio: You know, and I, I, a couple of things there. I, uh, had a guest on not too long ago, maybe a couple months ago, and I, I’m drawing a blank on What conversation it was that we had, but, um, and what this was regarding, but, um, they said, think of your. Your day job as, you know, even if you, you don’t like the job, you don’t see yourself going anywhere or, you know, anything like that, think of it as [00:19:00] the thing that funds your passion or the thing that funds the hobby or the thing that funds that side thing.

Because until that first check comes in for, from writing a book, let’s face it, you know, it’s up in the air and you don’t really know, um, you know, what. I mean, you could take that leap of faith, uh, you know, leave the job and, and, and go write that, that novel if, if that’s, uh, you know, if that’s what you want to do, assuming you have the financial resources and stability to be able to do that, but a lot of people don’t, so.

Um, you know, just think of it that way. Think of it like I’m doing this so that I can go do that other thing. Uh, so I can go write that book, you know, um, you know, maybe you don’t get to devote as much time as you’d like to, to it, but you know, nights, weekends, you know, lunch breaks, things like that. Like you can, you can still devote some time to it.

Right. But.

Matt Scott: And it’s and all you have to tell yourself is, you know, like Les Brown said, it’s possible. It doesn’t mean it’s going to happen, but it’s, it’s, it’s [00:20:00] possible. And, you know, one of the greatest things that ever happened to me during this process was, um, you know, discovering just how organic the process was for me and how good it felt to do it.

Being able to tap into the talent that I didn’t even know that I had, you know, I decided that I was going to do it, you know, I had an idea and I started putting it on a paper and when things start to flow, you know, that’s where, that’s where confidence comes in. You know, a lot of people, you know, Get belief and confidence mixed up.

You know, belief is knowing you can do something because you haven’t done it. Confidence is knowing you can do something because you, you have done it. And, um, you know, sometimes the results don’t work out the same, don’t work out the way you want to either way, but You know, a lot of times they do, so there’s no reason not to.

And for a while, you know, when I was shelling out money for the editor and, you know, all these other things, it was tapping in into that organic [00:21:00] passion and that organic, uh, skill that it, you know, was, really kept me going because it’s, it, it felt so natural.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I guess one way to guarantee that you’re not going to be successful, just going back to the self doubt talk and, and, uh, things like that. One way to guarantee that you won’t be successful is you just never start. So you might as well, you might as well give it a try. If that’s something that you’re kind of feeling inside of you, there’s that, that itch that I want to do this.

Um, But, but you’re like, ah, gee, I don’t know. I can’t do it. Or someone else tells you even worse. Someone else tells you that you can’t do it. Um, like screw those people. Like, who cares what they have to say? Um, if you feel like you can do it, do it. Um, and, and just start, get, get

Matt Scott: you miss,

Scott DeLuzio: Right?

Matt Scott: yeah, exactly. Get started and commit yourself to doing it. I mean, you’re gonna miss 100 percent of the shots that you don’t take. Uh, and the shots that you do take, you know, you, you know, you can’t just, you know, if you’re shooting a basketball or, you know, lining up to hit a [00:22:00] golf shot, you just can’t, you know, step up and say, okay, well, let’s, let’s see how it goes.

You know, you’re, you’re gonna miss if that happens. But if you, you know, prepare yourself. To take that shot and, you know, you do your research, you know, in whatever field it, it, it is for me, it was, you know, on writing, it was doing my research and, you know, developing my characters beforehand and I did an outline and um, you know, you just kind of go from there.

I mean, you had the, the process has to take over, you know, or naturally, but when you go to take the shot and make sure you’re prepared it, prepare yourself as much as you can. I mean, there’s no. No such thing, I think, as being 100 percent prepared, but if you prepare yourself as much as you can, you’re giving yourself the best odds to succeed.

Scott DeLuzio: And in that preparation, you gain that confidence too, right? By, by knowing, knowing, Hey, I did my research and I. I know this subject inside and out. Um, yeah, sure. Maybe there’s one obscure fact that I, I don’t know about, but okay. Well, in the grand scheme of things that maybe doesn’t [00:23:00] matter,

Matt Scott: Right.

Scott DeLuzio: um, you, you know, enough of it that you’re, you’re like, okay, this is going to be solid.

I’m going to get these details, right. I’m going to get the, um, you know, the, the flow of this, right. And it’s just gonna. It’s going to be good because you’ve, like you said, you’ve prepared yourself. Um, you, you mentioned earlier that at that book signing, uh, David Baldacci, he kind of encouraged you to, uh, kind of take that leap and pursue writing.

Um, you know, how did that, that encounter influence your point of view on, uh, age? And success within the writing, uh, industry.

Matt Scott: Um, well, I didn’t really, I really didn’t like let age, you know, come into play for me at that point in time. I mean, yeah, I was getting ready to be 40, but it was, it was more about for me. Can I do it? Um, so I didn’t, I didn’t let age slow me down. Certainly. I mean, I want to commit myself to, to [00:24:00] doing this.

So, um. You know, I established a routine that would allow me to do it, but I just, I wanted to make sure that I saw it, I saw it through, because, you know, for me, when I hit, when I hit the end, you know, that last keystroke, uh, on the first book, you know, before it goes to, really goes to publication, um, Minor adjustments aside, uh, you know, uh, there’s a great deal of satisfaction knowing, you know, I can look down at the corner of the computer and see, you know, 103, 000 words and it’s, you know, there’s an amount of success that goes with it.

So, um, You know, I, I was fortunate enough to, to meet Baldacchi and, you know, when I got to shake his hand, it was kind of like, you know, I feel like you’ve just touched greatness, you know, that kind of, that kind of thing. Um, he was here in, he was actually here in Charlotte, uh, this past year, this past Memorial Day and, uh, I, I brought him the picture, um, that we took that day and I told him the story and it was, it was, it was a really cool moment.

Uh, and then I saw him again at San Diego for VoucherCon. Uh, so that was a [00:25:00] really surreal moment. You know, it felt like things kind of, kind of came full circle. Um. I was, uh, fortunate enough to give him a copy of the book. I don’t know if he’s read it or not, but it, to me, at that point, it really didn’t matter because it felt like, you know, things had come full circle.

So it was, uh, so with regards to age, I didn’t, I didn’t let it factor in too much. I just wanted to make sure that, um, I set myself on the path and I saw it through.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Yeah. And in that sense of, uh, accomplishment or achievement, whatever you want to call it after that, that final keystroke, like you said, um, thinking back to. That original blank screen or blank page, whatever you started off with. Right. That where there, there’s nothing on that page. And now looking down, there’s a hundred plus thousand words, uh, sitting there.

It, and it’s like, wow, I, I, I did that. Like that many words came, came out of me like, Holy

Matt Scott: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. It’s a [00:26:00] big sense of accomplishment. It really is. At that point, you know, I didn’t know whether I was going to be self published or traditionally published or hybrid published. I had no idea. But it reassured me that You know, at least I felt like, you know, I had the skill set to do what it needed, what needed to be done, and, and I, I, one of the things that I do when I’m writing is I always reread the section that I wrote the day before, the chapter that I wrote before.

It’s a way, it’s a good way to warm up, but for me, it’s, it’s also a way of You know, when you report to yourself, you have to be honest with yourself. You can’t write, you have to, you can’t write something and say, well, hopefully the readers are going to get it. No, that doesn’t cut it. You know, so, you know, when I finished that last keystroke, I took an honest look at it, as honest as I could, I mean, cause it’s my baby, you know, it’s only, that’s going to be so honest, but, um, you have to have to know that, you know, what you just wrote wasn’t, wasn’t [00:27:00] crap and it wasn’t something that’s going to, you know. put in a leaflet or something like that. You have to have confidence in what you wrote, and I did, and that was a very, very good feeling.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, one of the things that I did with my book is I, I just gave it to people that I know, like, you know, even just family members, just read this. Does it make sense? You know, does it flow right? You know, just, and hit me with some honest feedback. And some of it I took, some of it, some of it was, you know, just opinion type, type thing.

And I, I really enjoyed it. Maybe I disagreed. Maybe I, you know, maybe I didn’t, but, um, you know, sometimes, sometimes that’s a good way to do it because I found anyways, for me, when I’ve read the same thing over and over and over again, it just like, yeah, I get it because it came out of my head. So, so sometimes you might want to have that other, uh, you know, another set of eyes who, who gets, uh.

Take a look at it too.

Matt Scott: Yeah, beta reading is important. Yeah, for me, I let my, for me, I let my, [00:28:00] there’s, I let a handful of people read it. One of them was my uncle, and just, I let him read it because he’s just a A voracious reader. I mean, he can read a book in a sitting of two days at most. So I was like, well, this is a good way to get, you know, uh, quick feedback.

Scott DeLuzio: that’s, that’s, uh, uh, that’s a great way to do it. And then, and then, then you have even more confidence I think afterwards too, because it’s not just you who’s like, yeah, this is the best I could do. And then, uh, you know, there’s, there’s somebody out there who’s, who’s taking another look at it and was able to give you a little more feedback.

Matt Scott: Right. Right.

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so. Any advice that you might have [00:30:00] for folks who are, uh, you know, thinking about getting started in, in writing in, in their writing career, uh, maybe never wrote anything before. Um, you know, anything of any sort of significance anyways, um, you know, what would you give them for advice, uh, to, to kind of help them get started?

Matt Scott: Um, well, I think there’s, there’s really two pieces of it. There’s the writing craft itself, and then there’s the publishing business. So, uh, the first thing I would know, want anyone, anyone to do is, you know, go on YouTube and, you know, read up on, you know, how to write a query letter. Um, you know, know what the publish, the publishing process is, you know, before you decide you want to jump into it, uh, because there’s a lot of steps along the way.

And, you know, the best way to get discouraged after you’ve written a book is trying to navigate your way through the publishing process. Um, so it [00:31:00] By doing that research, you at least have, you know, a clear path. And, you know, one of the things when I did, when I, uh, when I wrote Lion’s Den, and as I started, you know, with a, um, I don’t know what, uh, what you call it, but it’s, you know, it was a, basically a journey wall, I guess.

Um, you know, write the book, do edits. You know, send it to a beta reader, re edit, um, work on marketing, get, you know, query letter, you know, get published, you know, all those things, you know, put them on a list. I mean, that way, you know, it’s a, what do they call it? A vision board. Sorry, a vision board. Um, you know, that way you can, you can see, you know, your path to, to get where you want to go.

So, um, that’s a way to, to get confidence. In terms of the writing craft itself, um, you know, the number one thing I would do is recommend is, um, Read, you know, you have to be a good, uh, reader, uh, and involved in the type of, uh, novel, uh, whether it be [00:32:00] horror, or, you know, thriller, or, you know, whatever the case may be, uh, because, you know, whatever style or whatever genre it is that you like, um, chances are that’s where you’re gonna doing the majority of your writing, just because you’re gonna write about what you know, and, um, it’s, it’s the best way to, um, you know, To get the audience to listen.

And then, you know, you start working on your, working on your characters. Always start with the characters. Uh, make them, you know, as as possible and plan on throwing as many roadblocks in front of them as possible. Um, and then, you know, you start with your outline and, uh, it can be as Simple and easy or as thorough as you want.

You know, I think one of the crazy, you know, one of the craziest things I thought I heard was that Kyle Mills, the guy who used to write the, the, the, uh, Mitterrand novels, um, after Vince Flynn passed, the way he does it is he writes an outline and the [00:33:00] outline could be, you know. I don’t know, just call it a page, or three or four paragraphs, something like that, and he basically outlines the whole book that way.

And then when it comes time to actually write the chapters, you know, he wakes up in the morning and says, Uh, I think I’ll write chapter 37 today.

Scott DeLuzio: Oh, wow.

Matt Scott: mean, that’s crazy. That takes some skill. Um, you know, Dan Brown, you know, he’s very thorough in his outlines. Brad Thor, he says he writes by the seat of his pants, and that’s what works for him.

So, do what works for you. I mean, for me personally, I kind of outlined it. Um, you know, chapter by chapter, and it would say something as simple as, you know, Scott goes to the grocery store, or something like that. And I knew where, you know, the character was gonna go and what was gonna happen, but I didn’t know how I was going to type it out.

All I knew was the direction, you know, head north, and by the time I finished outlining, I had probably two thirds of it outlined and like, oh my god, how am I going to do this? I got another, you know, third of the book that I got to write, but what happens, what always happens is as you start writing, you know, other things [00:34:00] come up and you can add chapters, subtract chapters, take a character in a different direction that you’ve planned, um, and then, you know, before you know it, you have a book, but, um, you know, So, um, yeah.

Dedicate, dedicate yourself to the craft, you know, establish a routine, uh, like I said, my routine is I get up, um, you know, I was working my 8 to 5 job, I would come downstairs, have lunch or dinner with my wife, she would go to sleep, you know, fall asleep early, I come back upstairs, re read the chapter I wrote before.

Uh, and then I write the next chapter. And the chapter for me is anywhere, usually anywhere between 1, 500 words. That’s usually my number. Um, if, if it works for somebody else that it’s 500 words and you know, it’s 500 words, do what works, just do what works for you. It is your process. There is no, there are no limitations as to, to what you can do.

So just establish what works for you and just, and just stick to it. And then just make sure you do it consistently.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Um, that’s great [00:35:00] advice. Um, I think especially the first thing that you were talking about as far as the, um, knowing the process, um, with what do you need to submit to an agent, publishers, uh, you know, all of those types of things, or do you want to be self published? What do you need to do if you’re going to be self published?

Because pretty much like we were saying before in, um, In a lot of cases, you are working with a team of people who can help you with, with stuff. So if you have a publisher, there might be some marketing involved that they can help with and getting the books into stores and all that kind of stuff. If you’re self published, how are you doing all that stuff?

Because there’s nobody else that’s helping you, right? So have a plan for that. Maybe, maybe it means you got to go find somebody who can help market the book or who can, you know, help with other Areas of, of writing the book, editing and, uh, you know, the cover design and, and all of these other things, maybe, maybe getting it into stores.

You know, I don’t know exactly, uh, you know, what all is [00:36:00] involved with, with that, um, that you might need. Um, but. You got to make a plan for all of that. You can’t just, uh, you know, wing it once when the book’s done and just be like, here it is world and hope that people come because it’s like the field of dreams just because you build it doesn’t mean that they’re going to come.

Matt Scott: exactly. Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, there’s more to it than just writing the book. It’s, it’s a complete process.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. It’s in some ways after writing the book is done. That’s when the real, like the, the hard work actually, uh, starts. Right.

Matt Scott: I think any independent writer like myself can, can, can attest to that, you know.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And just, I mean,

Matt Scott: if you’re fortunate enough to get to the big five, you have less of a problem, but when you’re independently published, yeah, it’s, uh, you know, writing is, ends up being the easy, easier part. Uh, you know, marketing and, you know, rubbing elbows with people and getting the word out.

That’s, that’s tough. And that’s where a lot of real creativity has to come in.

Scott DeLuzio: yeah, that’s [00:37:00] true. Um, and if. You know, if you have that passion or that, that spark in your, your background and you can, uh, you got ways of, of, uh, rubbing elbows and meeting people and, uh, getting your name out there and all that kind of stuff, hey, more power to you, but if you don’t. Again, have a plan. So, so yeah, a lot of good advice there.

Um, a lot of stuff to think about, especially for aspiring new writers, um, who might feel like after that, that book is finished, that they’re just kind of being tossed into the deep end. Like, what do I do now? Like that’s, that’s a lot of stuff to have to worry about. So, um. Like I said, have a plan, make sure that you know, um, what it is that you’re going to need to do next and how to do it.

Um, you know, writing, writing those things, unless you have somebody already who is committed that they’re going to, you know, help you, you know, along the way. [00:38:00] Um. You know, know how to write some of the, these, these letters and, uh, you know, that, that type of stuff, it, it’s not like you’re just going to write a, uh, you know, just like a letter home, you know, the way you write a mail letter, just to, Hey, how’s it going?

This is what’s going on. Although that’s kind of a lost art now too, but, you know, um,

Matt Scott: Yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: it’s not like writing an email, let’s put it that way.

Matt Scott: No, no, it’s, it’s, it’s all business. Yeah. And you gotta know how to do it. So, yeah, I think that’s, and again, I think that’s where, you know, I think we’re, we’re, our veterans can, um, Can really excel because, you know, any veteran is going to tell you that, you know, you have to have a plan of attack. So.

Scott DeLuzio: yeah, plan of attack, attention to detail, all that kind of stuff all goes into that, and I think

Matt Scott: Yeah,

Scott DeLuzio: important stuff to take away from this, so I know you mentioned a little bit about your books earlier. Um, [00:39:00] for the listeners again, could you tell us just, uh, kind of just real quick overview of the series again, just in case anyone, uh, you know, missed it in the beginning, uh, and where, where people can, uh, find your books.

Matt Scott: sure. The Surviving the Lion’s Den series, uh, uh, all surrounds the, the, the, the threat of the, of Iran to the West. Um, the first novel, Surviving the Lion’s Den, is really about a CIA agent that gets kidnapped and taken to Iran and tortured for, uh, coveted information. And the story is really about an escape.

Um, but the real You know, underlying story there is I wanted to explore Iran. So what you’ll find in all three novels really is I’m taking people on a tour of Iran. Now I, one of the things that I had to do is I had to do a lot of research and thankfully, you know, with YouTube, you know, these days everybody’s got a camera or a, or a dash cam.

So it made it easy to, to do that with people because, [00:40:00] uh, you know, even if I wanted to go to Iran, which I don’t, uh, my wife’s not going to pay the ransom.

Scott DeLuzio: Right.

Matt Scott: not, I’m, I’m, I’m not coming back. So, um, so you’ll, you’ll see that in all three novels. You’ll see a lot of, uh, locations that, you know, are worth.

People knowing about, and you get an idea, a sense of, you know, the Iranian people who, you know, don’t work for the Revolutionary Guard and what it’s like for them to live under the fist of the Ayatollah. So, um, you know, that’s some good feedback that I’ve gotten on the novels. Um, the second novel, like I said, the Ayatollah dies, um, his successor comes in and he wants to rule the Middle East using a secret connection to the Nazis.

Um, that was my go for broke novel, really, because I You know, I had only intended to write, you know, one, but when I got my publisher, he’s like, well, I like it, but, you know, I don’t want one, I want a series. So what are your other two ideas? So I had to come up with something really like that on the phone.

And, uh, I said, well, let’s take the two worst regimes in modern [00:41:00] history, you know, the Nazis and the Iranians, and let’s put it together and let’s, let’s see what kind of fun we can have. And it’s a pretty action packed novel. Um. Ben Thrasher, who is in Surviving the Lion’s Den, but is not the protagonist. I kind of let him take over as the main protagonist, just because I thought that, uh, my main protagonist from Surviving the Lion’s Den, I can’t give it away, but I just didn’t feel like there was a whole lot more I could do with him.

Thrasher, to me, had a very unique personality that I just really liked playing with. So he’s, he’s my lead guy in book, in books two and three. Um, And then the kidnapped CIA agent, Tom DeLange, he’s gonna be, he’s in all three, so I couldn’t leave it without him. Um, uh, he’s kind of like, uh, my Tom Selleck from, from Blue Bloods, you know, the, the books can exist, but, you know, they’re not really going very far without the Tom DeLange character, so, um.

You know, and then the third novel is about, uh, you know, like I said, it comes on the heels of the second novel, and it is my creative take on regime change in [00:42:00] Iran. And there is, I think it’s chapter 37, I think, where, um, the big surprise comes in, um, that, you know, shows something that people didn’t really expect to happen, but, um, It’s far fetched, but it’s somewhat, I think it’s somewhat believable.

I think it, I think it is believable, and the feedback that I’ve gotten is that, oh, that makes so much sense, you know, that, you know, that can, I could see that happening. So it’s just kind of like, whoo, okay. Um, because at that point, you know, I was, I was writing the third one. It’s like, you know, I’m, you know, there’s no reason for me not to try this.

So, um, but I mean, it has, all three books have, you know, they have action, they have, uh, you know, some, Aspects of it that are definitely relatable to, you know, everyday life. There’s, there’s, you know, such a romance in it. I was once told that, you know, book, can’t really have a book without romance. And I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I think it, you know, when you sprinkle it in from time to time, especially on action novels, [00:43:00] it certainly helps.

And I’ve gotten some really good feedback from my female readers. So, uh, it tells me that I’m doing, doing something right, but, um, yeah, it, it, you know, it. Focuses on the Iranian threat. All three books focus on the Iranian threat to the West. But it’s, uh, the underlying theme there is really exploring Iran and let’s see, uh, let, it lets people know what’s gonna happen because, because of the West is so shut off from Iran, especially the us.

Nobody knows what it looks like. Nobody know what it’s, knows what it’s like to be there because everybody that was there before when the Shah was there, I mean, they’re either really. You know, they’re up there in age right now. Uh, nobody in their twenties, thirties and forties really, you know, knows what it’s like.

So it was, it was fun to revisit that.

Scott DeLuzio: Awesome. Well, and we’ll have a link to, uh, the, the books in the show notes for the folks who, uh, are interested in taking a look at those books who want to want to get a copy and read those books. So, um, check out the show notes for [00:44:00] that. Um,

Matt Scott: You can, uh, sorry, can I, yeah, you can get them on Amazon. They’re available on Amazon. That’s my main. Uh, main link, uh, in e reader formats everywhere. And, uh, you can reach out to me on social media at Matt Scott Books. If you would like a, uh, a signed copy, uh, and we can just work out something by way of Venmo or PayPal and I’ll, I go to the, I go to the post office most Fridays to, to deliver books.

So we can, we can always work something out.

Scott DeLuzio: Sounds good. And, and again, uh, links to those books will be in the show notes. I’ll put your social media, uh, handles in there as well. Uh, so folks can reach out, uh, you know, wherever, wherever they’re, uh, whatever social media platform of choice they are using. Um, and, uh, and grab a copy of the books.

Um, great. Great way to, um, just kind of unwind at the end of the day, reading, uh, reading a book and kind of just getting lost in it. I think that that’s, uh, kind of a cool thing. So, um, so awesome. Um, [00:45:00] typically before, uh, we wrap up this episode, I, I like to end each episode with a little bit of humor, uh, either joke or watching a funny video or something just to make people laugh.

Um, usually whenever I tell a joke, it’s kind of corny, but this one I think is actually not too bad. So, um, So, if you’ll indulge me just for a second for, uh, for this joke. It has to do with, uh, with an author, uh, so

Matt Scott: Okay. Okay. All right.

Scott DeLuzio: that, that might, might be, uh, you know, of interest to you.

So, um, so, a writer receives a parrot for his birthday. And the bird’s fully grown, uh, but it has a bad attitude, and it has an even worse vocabulary. Every other word out of the beak is a swear word, and the writer tries to change the parrot’s behavior. He says polite words around the parrot, he plays soft music, anything you can think of to set a good example, but nothing works.

So he yells at the bird, the [00:46:00] bird yells back. He shakes the bird, but the bird just becomes even more angry and more rude towards the guy. And finally, in a moment of desperation, he takes the bird and he throws it in the freezer. And for a few minutes, he hears the bird squawk, swear, scream. There’s all sorts of ruckus going on.

And suddenly there’s just. Deathly quiet. And the guy’s frightened, thinking that he might have injured the bird, or even killed the bird. So he quickly opens the freezer door, and the parrot calmly steps out into the writer’s extended arm and says, I believe I’ve offended you with my rude language and behavior.

I will correct this problem at once. I am truly sorry and beg your forgiveness. And the writer is like, astonished at the bird’s Change of attitude, like all of a sudden, just a few seconds, you just astonished at how quickly, um, but before you can say anything to the bird, the parrot continues. Now, might I inquire as to what the chicken did?

Matt Scott: That’s [00:47:00] good. That’s good. . I like that. I like that.

Scott DeLuzio: Anyways, thank you again for taking the time to join us and sharing, uh, you know, your journey. Going from, you know, your, your corporate, uh, job into the writing career. Um, you know, I, I feel like this is, uh, you know, just a, a good, uh, good way for, for folks to kind of make that transition, um, you know, especially leaving the military where a lot of times we’re like, I don’t know what, I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up, you know, that

Matt Scott: Right, right, right.

Scott DeLuzio: so it was great that you were able to share this and, um, I guess the message is it’s never really, uh, too late to get started. So thank you.

Matt Scott: It’s never too late. It’s never too late, and it’s always possible.

Scott DeLuzio: Excellent.

Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You [00:48:00] can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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