Our newest Night Beats feature is author interviews on our blog. Every Tuesday, get to know a bit about the stories behind the books you love, and discover your next favourite novel.
Sabitha: Our first author interview comes to us from Jeffrey Matucha, the author of A Long Slow Aftermath. Jeffrey, can you tell us a little about your book?
Jeffrey: A Long Slow Aftermath is the story of Preston who has just come out of drug rehab, a man trying to get his life together after a long bout of meth and alcohol addiction.
Living in the quickly gentrifying city of Oakland, California, Preston finds himself caught between his tech professional friend, his curious and adventurous new friend Toshi, as well as Miranda, the six-foot-tall queen of the punk scene, also newly clean and sober, as he tries to navigate through new and old worlds and the quickly changing urban landscape without the gauze of drugs and alcohol.
Sabitha: What inspired you to write this book?
Jeffrey: Preston has been a character in my writing for years. He originally appeared as one of an ensemble cast in my first book Gutter Folklore. He was the main character in my book The Falling Circle, a book about being poor in the big city. He was also a major supporting character in my book about addiction, Crash Shadow, where he was a big-time meth dealer.
I’ve written about working poor struggles and also about addiction. I decided I needed to write a book about the process of getting clean, of getting out of the endless cycle of addiction. Preston was the perfect character for this story.
Preston continues to evolve, and he continues to be a major player in my upcoming books.
Sabitha: What was your favourite thing to write in the book?
Jeffrey: I would say working on my new character Toshi. Toshi is what you might call an inclusive hat trick: she’s Asian, she’s gay, and she’s blind. Usually when someone has a character like that in their story the point of their presence has something to do with them personally, that they aren’t white, or they’re gay, or their disability, but that’s not why Toshi is in this story.
Toshi comes from a comfortable background. She was born into privilege and she knows it. But as a product of the progressive Bay Area she also keeps an open mind. She befriends Preston as Preston takes her to meet her working class neighbors, and introduces her to the exotic Miranda who has been through trials and tribulations Toshi has never known and can barely imagine. Their friendship culminates when Preston takes Toshi to her first ever punk show. Their friendship is one of a have and a have-not, but in the spirit of cooperation, exploration, and adventure, rather than a culture clash.
Miranda is also another character I loved working with in this story. A six-foot tall scene queen absolutely covered with tattoos and scars, her character has come alive to the point where she’s going to get her own book. She’s a woman of the world plus, someone who has lived far more life than most people ever will, even among the hardcore rocker community. There’s too much of her to just leave her as a supporting character.
Sabitha: If you could pick any author to read your book, who would you want to read it? Why them?
Jeffrey: I sometimes say I write punk literature, and that field is kind of a wasteland. For a tribe that is so invested in music, art, and activism, the realm of punk literature is sadly lacking. Where are our scribes? One of the bright spots of that sub-genre is Dani Dassler, who wrote an excellent novel called PR.
She’s not only read this book, she’s read many other of my novels. She’s beta read and vetted many of my scenes, including scenes of my upcoming work, The Rise and Fall of Skye Wright. So yeah, she’s not only a writer I would want to read my books, she already has!
Sabitha: What do you most want your readers to take away from reading your book?
Jeffrey: To get an insight into what someone struggling with addiction is going through. Many of my friends do not need any insight into such a thing, but I want those who haven’t experienced it to get an idea of what it’s like.
Preston is in the early stages of his recovery, when he’s still quite close to his using addiction. That’s when the struggle is all too real.
Sabitha: Thanks so much for doing this interview with us, Jeffrey. We’re looking forward to reading! Where can the Night Beats community find you and your book?
Jeffrey: You can find A Long Slow Aftermath here. You can find me on Twitter and on Facebook.