I am an author and publisher living and writing in beautiful Bozeman, Montana.
My first book, Thief Creek, was published in 2011. Murder in the Mountains came out in early 2013. I have several others in progress and work on them when I’m not busy with my two publishing companies, Christopher Matthews Publishing and its young adult imprint, Soul Fire Press. Which is almost all the time.
I love reading and books, whether they are old leather-bound tomes from my bookshelf, airport paperbacks or ebooks. Before I could read for myself, my parents would read me Christopher Robin, The Wind in the Willows and other magical books. Growing up in Evanston, Illinois, I read voraciously. I loved the adventure of traveling to imaginary worlds, helping the Hardy Boys solve another crime and floating down the river with Tom and Huck. Later I discovered Stephen King and the whole horror and thriller genre. I almost always had a book in my hand.
My decision to enter Boston University as an English Major was a result of my book-love. There I read the classics, poets, modern literature, all of it. I was devouring four or five complete books a week for my various courses. I even read novelists like Cervantes, Borge and Unamuno in Spanish.
Once I graduated college I got my first job as a direct mail copywriter in a textbook publishing house in Boston. That was the beginning of a long and extremely fulfilling career where I have been surrounded by those objects of my passion — books. For the next four decades I acquired, edited and marketed books of all types, textbooks, handbooks, novels, scholarly scientific texts and journals. What I enjoy most about publishing is bringing together writers who have something worthwhile to share with readers who want to experience it, learn from it, be moved by it and grow as a person.
My other early passion was writing. I love crafting words and having others read and enjoy my work. However, once I started my career and family I never seemed to find the time to write. As I entered my mid-50’s I got an itch to write that wouldn’t leave me alone. I knew if I kept working like I was, I wouldn’t write until I was retired; and I didn’t really picture myself waiting until I was in my 70’s to start. In 2004 my wife and two dogs moved from Massachusetts to Montana and bought a beautiful historic bed and breakfast high in the Rocky Mountains. I fell in love with Montana and its rich natural beauty and resources. I could see why writers like Tom McGuane and Ivan Doig and so many others lived in and used Montana as the inspiration for their writing. And so I began to write.
It took me three years to write my first book, and I was very proud of it. Those who read it liked it, and I got some excellent feedback from non-partisan readers. With that, I jumped into the nightmare of trying to get published. Even with my contacts and knowledge of the business, I discovered the lonely discouraging life of the new writer whose query letters either went unanswered or were dismissed with a Xeroxed letter of rejection.
I have a quote from Richard Bach pinned to my office wall. “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” I look at that every day and I keep going.
I started several other books that are still pacing the delivery room floor of my brain, but I managed to finish Thief Creek, a thriller that takes place in a remote Montana B&B. After getting back into the try-to-get published saddle again, I began to think about all the other excellent writers I know and don’t know who have spent years working on books that would probably never get published; not because they were poorly written, but because an agent or a publisher wouldn’t take a chance on them. I decided to create a publishing company that understands the trials and tribulations of writers and gives the good ones a chance.
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