Our literary journal, Orson's Review, has had the recent fortune of adding Matthew Edwards to its staff as Creative Nonfiction Editor. Not only does Matthew bring to the table an extensive background with the written word -- he brings a rare passion that's already beaming through his work.
We're so glad to have him on board, and, after checking out the brief interview below, we think it'll be easy to see why.
*This interview involves Orson's Publishing (OP) and Matthew Edwards (ME).
OP: What do you look for most in a submission?
ME: More than clever writing, I want heart in each story I read. Writing can be improved, but your story can never come to life unless you truly care about it. In the world of nonfiction, you need to show with your writing that you care deeply about this experience or story—and show me why I should care or be interested as well. Open your heart to your readers and you’ll see that we too have hearts.
OP: Favorite thing to do outside of writing and/or editing?
ME: Oh goodness. I have too many hobbies! I read a lot, game a lot, and watch a lot of movies. So a little bit of everything, I suppose.
OP: Tell us about where you’re from. Does where you're from impact your writing?
ME: I've spent my whole life in sunny Orange County, California. Disneyland has always been one car drive away. I’ve been on fishing trips where I went from standing in snow, fishing on an icy cold lake, to walking along a river in the blazing heat of the day - not only on the same day, but within two hours of each other. California’s a little bit of everything, and that has directly impacted my writing. I go to art exhibits, plays, movies, and play games not just because it’s wonderful, but because I know and can see how it all impacts my writing.
OP: Tell us about where you’re going. Where do you hope this writing/editing journey leads you?
ME: At the end of the day, I’m a novelist. My journey will lead me one day to being able to make novel writing my full-time career. But until then, I search for new opportunities not only to improve my writing, but to help others improve theirs as well.
OP: Orson’s Review is unable to pay its editors at this time. How do you pay your bills?
ME: Like many writers, I juggle a handful of odd jobs to pay my bills. Currently, I work as a copyeditor and game tester at NIS America, Inc, but I also keep up writing over at Storyforge Productions, and teach social media management from time-to-time on the side.
OP: Tell us about the biggest sacrifice you’ve made to be a writer and/or editor.
ME: It’s hard to tell what sacrifices are bigger for the writing field than for other careers, but for me I’d say the biggest sacrifice I’ve felt is stability. Chasing your dreams comes at a cost and there are months where my wife and I don’t know how we’ll pay the rent or the student loans or buy groceries. It can become scary and overwhelming. It’s so hard to keep at your own writing when you’re overwhelmed with that sort of stress.
OP: What do you want most out of your literary community?
ME: Honesty and encouragement. I believe the two go hand in hand, that you can’t truly encourage someone unless you’re willing to be honest with them. Likewise, comments that are honest but aren’t geared to be helpful in an encouraging way can only serve to hinder the community as a whole.
OP: What’s your all-time favorite work of creative nonfiction?
ME: David Foster Wallace’s “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’d Never Do Again” is my favorite piece of nonfiction. His attention to detail, phenomenal humor, and existential horror aboard a week long cruise was the first piece of creative nonfiction that really drew me into this type of writing. DFW is a standard I think all writers should hold to when trying to write about their own experiences.
OP: What’s your all-time favorite work outside of creative nonfiction?
ME: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson is remarkably breathtaking and soul comforting. I read it yearly and cannot recommend it strongly enough. When it comes to storytelling, heartfelt thought, and excellence in writing, it is truly a literary read.
OP: Any words of advice for writers out there looking to submit?
ME: Do it! Clean up your draft and double check for spelling / grammar mistakes before you submit, but most importantly, make sure your heart is in the piece. This should already be the case if you’re a writer, but I guess I’ll say it here to be clear: show us you care about what you have seen, thought, experienced, dwelled with and written. Show me that you care and why you care, and I’ll be thrilled to read your work.
More About Matthew Edwards
Matthew Edwards is a writer and editor living in Orange County, California, where he spends his free time despairing over his novel, reading Steinbeck, and watching movies with his wife. If given the chance, he'd love to talk your ears off about everything from American Sign Language to theology to the Godzilla movie franchise. His latest work is StoryForge Production's The Dracula Files, a three-season audio horror drama which reimagines Bram Stoker's classic work in the modern era.