The Write Space is a monthly Q&A series from Creative Collective covering a local writer and a North Shore space(s) s/he associates with writing. Questions? Contact: email@example.com.
Give us your best writerly bio.
My name’s Matthew Phillion, and I write superhero novels. I’ve always written professionally in some capacity, as a journalist (I wrote for and was editor of a few different newspapers here on the North Shore, which has a wonderful amount of journalistic talent in the area, by the way), as a healthcare writer, a marketing writer, and even as screenwriter. It was that last part that led me to write my first novel, the Indestructibles, a Young Adult superhero story. I’d been writing moody stories and dark romantic comedies for years, and had just come off directing my first feature film. After directing a feature, I wanted to write something where only I would depend on the outcome (rather than dozens of cast and crew working alongside me). I also gave myself permission to write something light, fun, and not dependent on an indie film budget. I adored the experience of writing the book, but didn’t know what to expect of it. Turned out other people thought it was fun, too. Three sequels and two spinoff series later, I’m still writing in this “Indestructiverse,” as one of the readers named it. Haven’t looked back since. The series just recently changed publishers and received a second edition for all four books, which was crazy exciting (2nd Edition covers!). Most recently I’ve been working on a superhero-on-the-high-seas adventure series (the first of which is named Echo and the Sea; the sequel, Poseidon’s Scar, will be out in early 2019), and a comedy spinoff series called the Dungeon Crawlers, which is a bit of a Dungeons and Dragons parody and homage.
Tell us about a North Shore Write Space.
The first North Shore Write Space that jumps to mind is, of course, the Salem Athenaeum. I’m a part of the writers committee there and even worked with a team to write Stories of Substance, an opioid awareness/ education play, as a part of the committee.
When it comes to writing a manuscript, though, I really am a hermit. I live here in Salem but when I buckle down and get to work, it’s always at home in my office. The office used to be pretty blank slate, but I’ve been writing superhero stories for almost five years now and I sort of took that part of my career and ran with it. The office is now decked out in comic book-y collectibles (which I swear are there for inspiration–sometimes staring at a knickknack of a character I grew up reading about while working on my own really does push me to keep going), and I just recently ran out of wall space for art. I work a lot of comic conventions because of the overlap in subject matter, and early on I started picking up one piece of art at every show. It was only this summer I finally framed everything and decorated the office.
When I’m in North Shore, not writing, I’m …
Running or eating. That sounds terrible, doesn’t it? I’ve been a jogger all my adult life, and I will never get over the fact that I live in a place where I jog by historical places that are literally the subject of history books. I’m probably spotted out running more than I am doing anything else. But the thing I love about living in Salem is that it’s got everything you could want from a city while not feeling the crush of a big city. I love the downtown, the range of restaurants and bars and even great comic shops like Silver Moon and Harrison’s. One of my favorite things to do living here is coaxing out-of-towners to brave Route 114 and try a new place, or stop by an old favorite like Flying Saucer Pizza. This might also be why I run. I jog so I can enjoy my food, I guess.
What are you working on now?
As I mentioned, I just went through the relaunch for the Indestructibles series, and I completed the manuscript for Poseidon’s Scar just after Halloween, so it should be out very soon. Of course there’s no rest for the wicked, so I’m currently working on a fifth Indestructibles book, tentatively titled the Crimson Child, which is a bit overdue, and I’ll have a fourth Dungeon Crawlers novella out in the first quarter of 2019 I think. I’m really hoping to find time this year to work on a few side projects as well outside the Indestructiverse, if I can make it happen.
And finally –
This is the opening to the Indestructibles Doc Silence, an older hero and magician, has begun gathering a team of replacement heroes to pick up where his generation left off.
Doc Silence touched down in the cornfields behind the farm, dropping from the sky like a falling star. Dressed in street clothes, a long black coat, old boots, and a college tee shirt, he looked nothing like a hero, which suited him fine. Doc never wanted to be a hero in the first place.
He walked slowly through the cornstalks, pushed his rose-tinted glasses to rest better on the bridge of his nose, and surveyed the burned-out ruin of a storage shed behind the sun-bleached red farmhouse. It had been extinguished hurriedly and ungracefully, and still bore the blackened scars of a recent fire.
I waited too long, Doc thought. He had been mourning his lost friends, and this was never meant to be his responsibility. This wasn’t his role. But Doc was the only one left, and someone had to take responsibility.
Doc always stood by his obligations.
Old John Hawkins waited for him on the back steps, thick farmer’s arms folded across his chest like a pair of rawhide bones. He nodded when he reached the foot of the stairs.
“Been a while.”
“I know. Sorry.”
John shook his head. “No need to apologize. Hell, was hoping this day would never come. Doris and I started to think — “
” — That she might stay forever?”
“She’s a good kid. A wonderful girl.”
I’m sure she is, Doc thought. A child can’t help but turn out right, raised by John and Doris Hawkins. But nothing good lasts forever.
He followed John into the living room, where Doris sat primly on the sofa, wearing an apron. Who still wears aprons? He’d been away too long from here, spent too much time in dark places. It weighs on you after a while, and you start forgetting that places still exist where good people live ordinary lives.
Next to Doris sat a teenage girl. Her hair the color of late afternoon sunlight. She wasn’t much to look at, a slender little thing, sun-burned, hair falling in her eyes.
“Doris,” Doc said.
The older woman smiled, stood up, kissed him on the cheek.
“Jane, this is an old friend of ours,” John said. The girl didn’t look up. “He’s come to talk to you about what happened in the barn.”
Find out more about Matthew at —-
Purchase his books at Amazon
Or Check Out:
Twitter and Instagram: @mattphillion
Facebook author page: Where he talk shop about writing,
Or the series page Where he geeks out about pop culture