Dust Jackets: Conversations with Authors

Interviewing M.L. "Matt" Buchman

March 22, 2021 Maggie Lynch / Matt Buchman Season 1 Episode 3
Dust Jackets: Conversations with Authors
Interviewing M.L. "Matt" Buchman
Show Notes Transcript

Interview with USA Today bestselling author, M. L. “Matt” Buchman. He has 60+ novels in action-adventure thrillers, and contemporary and military romance. Also a prolific short story writer, he’s published over 100 short stories and narrated a lot of his own audiobooks.

Publisher’s Weekly says about his Miranda Chase thrillers, “Tom Clancy fans open to a strong female lead will clamor for more.” Three times, Booklist chose one of Matt’s books for their  “Top 10 Romance of the Year” designation, and among “The 20 Best Romantic Suspense Novels: Modern Masterpieces.” NPR and B&N have chosen Matt’s books in the: “Best 5 Romance of the Year.”

A thirty-year project manager with a geophysics degree, he’s designed and built houses, flown and jumped out of planes, solo-sailed a 50’ sailboat, and bicycled solo around the world…and he quilts. I think of him as a renaissance man one rarely meets in today’s world.

Though we talk about his diverse career, we spend the most time on his Miranda Chase series and how he’s migrated from writing a contemporary romances to roantic suspense and now thrillers. But he’s not only writing thrillers. He’s still putting creating new stories in romance, mystery, and suspense. Learn more about Matt and his books at his website and at the Dust Jackets website with special pages for all of our interviews.

You can also catch him on Facebook and  Twitter. If you are interested in further information or interviews, Matt has done a number of interviews around both his fiction books and his nonfiction. He has them all linked here on his Interviews Page.

Maggie Lynch: Hi, everyone, welcome to dust jackets conversation with authors. My special guest today is Matt Buckman. I've been fortunate to know Matt for about 15 years. We met in a Writers Workshop on the Oregon coast, and I've kept in touch with him off and on over all this time, sometimes more off and sometimes more on. I've really watched his career take off and I'm so excited to have him here today. 

Let me just take a moment and share his official bio with you so you can see why he's such an amazing author. Matt is a USA today and Amazon number one best seller. He has more than 60 novels in action-adventure, thrillers, and  contemporary and military romance. He also has more than 100 short stories, and a lot of audio books. I've lost count how many audio books he has now.

Publishers Weekly declares: “Tom Clancy fans open to a strong female lead will clamor for more.” Booklist says: “Three times, top 10 Romance of the year, and among the 20 best Romantic Suspense novels, modern masterpieces. B&N say: “Best five Romance of the year.”

In other words, a lot of people really like him. And I do too. He was a 30-year project manager with a geophysics degree. He has designed and built houses, flown and jumped out of planes,  sailed a 50-foot sailboat, and bicycled solo around the world. Oh, and he quilts.  Sounds like the perfect romantic male character, doesn't it? 

 What I love about Matt's work, really, is his characters. He always features strong women, which I really love to see in literature. And they, as well as the men in the books, are complex. There's no cookie cutter personalities here. He also has a gift for setting that I personally envy. I've always been accused of writing in a white box. And, so, Matt is someone that you really do know where you are and why you're there. So, let's just kind of get into the questions so listeners can hear from you.

 Matt Buchman: Actually, there was a question right there, which is I'm actually terrible at settings. It’s been my bugaboo my whole life. My wife can't picture things. So, she's my first reader. And, so the reason you can see my setting is because my first draft manuscripts come back and bleeding with: Where are they? Oh, what's it look like? What are the trees? Oh, you're doing what? That's all her doing? 

 Maggie Lynch: Well, that's great. I am very much like her in that way, in that I don't see things. In fact, my husband always laughs when we go for a drive around the town here. And I say, “When did that building pop up?” now we've lived here for two-and-a-half years. He says: “Oh, it's been there the whole time.” I just don't see it. But yeah, it takes work. Well, I'm glad to know that you work well at doing it because it doesn't show that you had to work so hard. 

So, I'd kind of like to talk about just starting with your tagline, Championing the Human Spirit. I love that line for me personally. Just because I do think that's what we should all be doing for ourselves and for each other. But the books of yours that I've read, and I admit I have not read all 60 novels...

 Matt Buchman: (feigns being hurt). How about the 100 short stories?

 Maggie Lynch: Um, no. But, you know, the ones I have read, I think that you really do that. That you really do champion the human spirit. It's a theme that goes through all of the books that I've read. So, I wonder, did you know that this was who you were from the start? Or did it take some time to kind of come to this realization?

 Matt Buchman: It took me a lot of time to figure out how to say it in so few words. But it actually started Earth Day 1986. Maybe somebody put up that big poster of, you know, the earth. Think globally. Act locally. And she was politically active. And she put it right across from my desk, because we had back-to-back desks. And she kept trying to push me to be politically active and all these things that an introvert can't do. But I started thinking, what can I do? How can I make a difference that counts? 

 When I started writing in the early 90s it was like…I came very late to writing…It was like, oh, here's a mechanism where I can put something forward. It was a conscious choice. Right from the very first story of, here's how I can say, look at how cool we can be. Look at how amazing people can be. And what can I do to exemplify that. And then, of course, I discovered romance in the 90s. And you can go, I mean, that's what romance is about. It’s about that character. And, so, I just wanted to tackle it and said, “Okay, I'm going to just push that for all it was worth.” And so yeah, I've known it way back. 

 I think in my current series, Miranda Chase, she's a high functioning autistic. And she's an aircraft investigator across an arc of books. And, for her, it's a more subtle choice of how I'm doing it. It's not look at how wonderful we can be. It's like, we're really flawed. I’ve become a more mature writer. She's really flawed, but she's trying when she's being the best that she can be with all her shortcomings. So that it still is that same theme carried through all these different iterations.

 Maggie Lynch: Exactly. What I was gonna say is that, even though she is a flawed character, you're still championing her, and her spirit. Because none of us are perfect. And, so, it's nice to know that, even with our flaws, we still have something really important to offer to the world. 

 I'd really like to follow up on that. As I've shared with you in the past, I don't know how many watching this podcast know it,  is that, you know, I have an autistic brother myself. And he's not as high functioning as Miranda Chase is in your novel.He is more along the moderate line. So, I'm always really interested when people are portrayed who are on the autism spectrum, which is really large. And, one of the things I love about Miranda is that, even though she's more high functioning than my brother, I can still see those characteristics in her that I see in him. And I think stories like that give us hope for those of us who love people who have different kinds of intellectual abilities and disabilities. Can you just kind of share what made you choose that particular ability for this character, and what kind of research you did in order to be able to really bring her to life?

 Matt Buchman: Well, some of it was easy. My kid is an autism therapist for kids in the three to six-year-old range. So she’s in it. The bug bit her early on. So, I've heard about that since she was in her teens. And it's like, so she brought that into the house. But I wasn't thinking about it as the character, Miranda. 

 I was looking for somebody who would be a challenge to write. I had written so many, you know, strong, capable characters who have, you know, they excel beyond normal humanity, if you will. Which these people do in real life. You get into the top tiers of military Special Operations, which I wrote a lot of those, and they are really exceptional people. They are the movie screen stars of a world we never hear about. I would have the top fashion designer in this series; and the top cook in that series; and the dog handler, you know. 

 Here, I wanted somebody who hadn't really had to face her herself and her challenges. And, so, I was brainstorming around and I've always liked airplanes. I've always been sorry that I didn't get to be a commercial pilot. My original dream was to fly. And, it turns out, I'm partly color blind. But we didn't figure that out until after I had 100 hours in the air. So, it's like, oh, I'd never get to fly commercial. I always wanted to fly the big jets. 

 So, it's like, okay, I'd love to write about that chunk of big jets. I know about the NTSB and the crash investigators. I had this idea of a character who wasn't exactly complete. I didn't know she was autistic yet. And, so, I started reading and I started researching and I started talking to my kid about the different types of other skills, I think it's probably the best way to put it. And the more I look at autism, it fit. 

 Yeah, the moderate and low functioning have huge challenges. The high functioning are often geniuses in one area they are brilliant at. Temple Grandin, and slaughterhouses of all things. She is a genius at this. And we had read Temple Grandin books back when my kid was at first getting interested in this. It was part of what got her started. And, so, I started reading and I started looking at blogs. And I started talking to my kid and I went on to read more. And I started asking questions in autism groups. I've probably read 10 books, a couple 100 articles, and who knows how many blog posts and forums. So it got built over time. And I'm still researching actively. I've eight titles done, and I'm reading a book right now about how autistic women are in relationships with a neurotypical. It’s a book just about that. 

 And, so, it's like, what is she [Miranda] going to do in the next four books? Because she wants a relationship? She's just not good at them.

 Maggie Lynch: Right. Yes. My brother very much wants a relationship, too. That comes up in conversation at least weekly. So, I understand that. Well, and the other thing that you really portray well, which I think is true across the spectrum, no matter where you are, is that focus—extreme focus on something. I think that, for people who are higher on the spectrum, it helps them to be geniuses, or so amazing at one thing because they're able to do that. 

 Matt Buchman: Yeah, go to Silicon Valley and interview the programmers. And if they aren't autistic, they're really close.

 Maggie Lynch: Right? Yes. Exactly true. So, I just kind of like to step back a bit from when I first met you, which is that, as I've watched your career, you know, you've done a lot of military romance, a lot of things have to do with the military and flight and things like that which Miranda Chase, although not a romance, you know, continues that. But when I met you, you were actually doing historical mysteries.

 Matt Buchman: (chuckles) And they will never see the light of day. They had Sterling rejections. I mean, Sterling; like, please never show me this again. It was Snoopy level rejections.

 Maggie Lynch: Oh, come on, I don't believe you. 

Matt Buchman: Seriously! I got invited onto the desk of the Mills and Boon historical editor, the head editor, and I got it onto her desk. And she sent back a rejection note that said: This is very nicely written. Please send me your next contemporary romance. And she underlined contemporary three times. Just like, never show me a historical again, from the lead historical editor of Mills and Boon.

Maggie Lynch: Wow. That that is a bit debilitating.

 Matt Buchman: That is only one of the several rejections I had at the level of editor with exactly that kind of phrase. I do not have and what it. But what it taught me is: I don't have a historical voice. Right? I can't write it. I am a contemporary writer.

 Maggie Lynch: Well, thank goodness, you learned it early, because you've had a really stellar career with contemporary. Yeah? So, I kind of wanted to follow up on the really romance spirit of your early books. Because, when I met you again, I didn't really know you well at that time. But, as you started to move into romance and started to get some traction there, I distinctly remember seeing you at a Romance Writers of America conference, where I could literally count on one hand, the number of men who were there. What is it that made you stick with that? Because you had to have felt like an outcast. And yet, your stories seem to show that you really love women. I mean, you really champion women. It's not that they're just arm candy or that kind of thing.

 Matt Buchman: Well, how to shorten that answer. I was raised on MGM musicals and Broadway shows, and folk music. And, you know, women can be something amazing. A lot of those shows were an example of that. I was raised in a matriarchy. So, I had it [examples] there as well. My grandmother on my mother's side was very, was a powerful woman who came from a powerful line. And then my mom kind of screwed it up. But that's a different issue. My sister made up for it. And, so I, I never had this male concept of women who were that arm candy thing. 

 Then I sold my first book, which was a fantasy, Cookbook from Hell, to a romance editor. She wanted to prove that men wrote romance. So, she took five of us to our what, um 1996 National Conference. 1,800 women, seven men, and five of them were us. She had me get up in front of a room of 80 women and read this awful sex scene that she forced me to put into the book. I'm glad to say I've redrafted the book and the scene is gone. That's the conference where I actually read my first romance. Because they hand out a lot of free books at these conferences. So, I actually read three of them that night. And it was like, “Oh, I get this. I was raised on this.” 

 For a longtime my tagline was “strong women and the men they deserve.” I've seen women pushed back into a corner so many times, and it makes me so angry every time. So that became a theme for me. I start with the strong women. And part of it's also because women terrify me. I mean, they scare the living daylights out of me. Maybe it's because of the matriarchy or something. But it’s very hard for me to talk to a woman. Even now. If I don't know already know them, I go from introvert to enclosed (hands at side of his face acting like blinders). But, on the page, I get to spend my time thinking about who they are, who they can be, the challenges that male society has perpetrated on their heads, and what they did to triumph over each of those things. And that's what got me hooked on the romance trope as an overall theme.

 Maggie Lynch: Wow, man, I… yeah. When you bring up that line, “the strong women and the men they deserve,” I do remember that tagline. I'd forgotten about it with your new one.

 Matt Buchman: Actually, this is my old one. But then [when I was writing primarily romance]  I went to the strong women line. But now that I'm not writing romance, I had to go back to the original core, which was “championing the human spirit.”

 Maggie Lynch: Well, I like championing the human spirit even better, because I think it ties across all the books that you write. So, now that it seems that your core books, at least at the moment, that are doing really well, are your Miranda Chase books. But you still have and still occasionally write in some of those other romance series. Is that right?

Matt Buchman: Yes. At one point, not all that long ago, I had eleven open series. 

Maggie Lynch: Oh my gosh!

 Matt Buchman: Yeah, exactly. So, there are so many problems with doing that. One is keeping track of anything. But the other one is: You like this one series as a reader, right? Great. It'll be three years before you get the next book because I have to write 12 out of 10 other books [for other series] before I can get back to that one.

Maggie Lynch: Right. Not good for readers.

 Matt Buchman: So I started consciously, in 2017, closing series. And I just started writing the final book in each series until I finally got down to where I really have two main open series. I also have two others that are way in the background being ignored. So, I have the Miranda Chase main series. And then I have a series called White House Protection Force, which is a romantic suspense series about the dog handlers of the Secret Service and the people they fall in love with. And I've got to go back to that this Fall and do another trilogy. Because the White House has gotten to Looney Tunes from when I originated this series, I'll probably change it to the Dog Force series. But, because it is going to stay about the dogs and the war dogs and service dogs and retired service dogs, I wanted to broaden the scope of that a bit. But it's gonna stay in romantic suspense because I love it. I wrote 50 books. I have my little pin from RWA showing I wrote 50 novels in romance. And I just love that genre. 

Maggie Lynch: So, you don't have a plan to return to some of your earlier contemporary romances, like small town like the Henderson Ranch, or the Where Dreams series that takes place in Seattle?

Matt Buchman: Well, “intend to” and “get to” is two different things. Where Dreams is a five novel and three short story arc that I finished in 2015. Then, suddenly, I had a Christmas story in 2020. It was the kids from the fourth book who said: “No, no. We are now old enough. We want our story.” Yeah. And so, they got a short story that gave you the story of the two kids. I have no idea when that will happen. Their characters, we writers don't control them. They control us. 

 As far as my main romantic suspense series: 35 novels and 12 short story series all fit in this thing called the Emily Beale universe. And it's because she was the first character I created who broke me out. It's her fault that I have a career writing. Thank you. But the first 13 books belong to a traditional publisher. And, so, I'm not doing anything there until those rights come back. And when I have all those rights back, then I will definitely go back and revisit the Emily Beale universe. Given, you know, there are three major series that they have the rights to. And I'll just happily add another book to each of those series once I'm the one who benefits from it.

Maggie Lynch: Right. I know a lot of authors who have made that switch from traditional to independent publishing and have that problem of, you know, having to wait to do that. Yeah, completely understandable. Well, one of the other things you've done that I find really impressive is you have a lot of audiobooks, and you actually narrate them yourself. Not that you need more work to do

Matt Buchman: (chuckles) I always find more to do.

 Maggie Lynch: Was your decision to do that a financial decision? Because, you know, certainly paying narrators is an expensive proposition. Or do you actually love, you know, doing that kind of thing in terms of narration or making your characters come to life in another venue?

 Matt Buchman: I'm actually gonna blame this on two things. One is somebody told me that I actually have a really nice voice. I had no idea I had a nice deep male voice. It’s my voice, what do I know? And the rest of it is Stephen King's fault. And the reason is, if you ever listened to Stephen King read one of his books—and I highly recommend it because it's an experience—he just reads it. He opens it and he starts on the first line. He reads it, like, sotto voce [under the voice, lowering his tone for emphasis]. But I will always listen to Stephen King read an audiobook, because he's the master of punctuation. I mean, he's won the pen award a couple years ago. He's probably the best living writer today. And you get to hear every breath the way he intended it as he's reading it aloud. No characterization, no drama, dictation, no nuance, but you get every breath exactly the way the master of the breath. He controls how you breathe. He controls your heart rate, just with his words. And I'm a huge fan of read by author for that reason.

 And I've had a number of fans saying when they've listened to one of my books, I'm no professional actor, they say: “Oh, now I get how that book was supposed to sound. You know, there it is. That's what I wanted. And then, I was just sound geek for live theater for five or six years, professionally. So, microphones, preamps, sound editing, I know all that stuff. And the fact that it's now digital and you can do it on your laptop is cool. And so, for me, it was apparently easy stuff. And then I finally just wrote the book on it. I wrote the book called:  Narrate and Record Your Own Audiobook. And it's a simplified guide.

 Maggie Lynch: Oh, that's wonderful. Actually, listening to you has made me reconsider doing some narration myself. 

 Matt Buchman:  It's a lot of work. It takes a lot of putting yourself aside. You will hate your own voice. That's a given. Because about 50 to 60% of your voice is coming up these two bones toward your ear. (Traces his fingers on each side of face from jaw to ear) Well, when you record out here (hands in front of him), you don't get any of these tones coming to your ear, you get only this. And, so, [when you record] you don't sound like you, but you kind of do, just enough to be wrong. And you just have to set all those things aside. It’s about the performance of the character, even if it's a nonfiction piece, because I also record my nonfiction. It's like I'm teaching a class. I'm trying to engage and trying to bring that energy. And that goes into the narration.

 Maggie Lynch: Yeah, I think I can see myself doing nonfiction because I have taught classes. For me, it's harder for me to see myself doing fiction. I think because the professional narrators who have done my books are, in fact, actresses, who do have all of the drama and the nuance and can do a different accent and everything. And, so, I compare myself to that. But I do know that people do like author read books. And, so, I'm going to try one. And then if it goes well, I'll thank you. And if it doesn't, I'll blame you.

 Matt Buchman: (laughs) Fair enough.

 Maggie Lynch: So, because we still have a few minutes left, I would like to just briefly talk about your nonfiction books, because I know that some of the people who are watching this podcast are authors, or are wanting to be published authors. And you mentioned your audiobook one, which I think is really good. Another one that I really love, particularly for people who are a bit along in their career, is the one about preparing for your death. 

 Matt Buchman: Oh, the estate planning.

 Maggie Lynch: Yeah, right. Can you just kind of talk a little bit about why that is so important. And what got you to write that book

 Matt Buchman: That came out of my wife coming up to me one day and saying: “You know, our kid is terrified of the day you die?” I’m like, that's not a bad thing. Yeah? Well, that's kind of cool. But she tells me: “No. It's because she's going to inherit all this stuff you've created, and she has no idea what to do with it.” She's in autism therapy, she's not in publishing, right. And, she knows from hanging out with around me, that what I've created, my rights survive me by 70 years, death plus 70 the copyrights are mine. And that's potential income that can get flushed down the drain. 

So I started trying to figure out how to set it up and how to explain it to her. And it took me about a year of research and reading other people's books on estate planning that were insane. And things on estates that have gone wrong. And how authors gave away all their rights. 

 Octavia Butler, one of the greatest science fiction writers—probably the number one female science fiction writer—is basically out of print. At her death, her estate agent controlled the rights. He will not: A) talk to anyone who's female, i.e. most of the editors in New York, or B) if the offer is less than a movie deal. Oh my god, her stories are going out of print. Her novels are going out of print. Her name is being forgotten. She's been dead 15 years. It's just terrifying. 

 So, what I did was I ended up writing a letter to my kid. Here's the language of publishing. Here's where stuff is stored on my computer. And it wasn't rocket science, but it was encapsulating that and stuff and writing it down and saying: here are listed at the top, the three phone numbers you call because, and I say right in the letter, the call is: Hi, Dad said to call you. He has all this stuff on his computer and he's dead. Can you take care of it for me? And each of these people either can take care of it or can call someone who can. Very simple, as long as you set up and actually talk about it. 

 And one of the things we did was we sat down and we read through the letter together. And she went, I don't get this. Great. I wrote another half page. And we went through until she finally understood everything I wrote in the letter. It was like, by the time I was done with that I had a book. So, I started working on the book. And that got me a friendship with Suzanne Brockmann, who created military romantic suspense. Somebody put something online, and it was so wrong about your estate. And it was so wrong in so many ways. That, you know, I almost didn't answer. But I did. I probably said, well try thinking of it like this. And suddenly Suzanne pops up in my email inbox and asks: Is there more to this? And we went back and forth, and she helped me turn it into the book it is, and started a friendship. We did talk together to RWA on part of the reason she went indie. Yeah, that that was a really cool side benefit from that.

 Maggie Lynch: And that is exactly the thing I like about that book, and any of the books you write for authors, is that thy’re practical. You don't spend all the time in what I call lawyer talk,  which most people cannot decipher, including myself who has read many contracts over my career. But you just make it practical, because most of us, when we die, our estates do go to people who know nothing about publishing and didn't really want to know anything about publishing during our life. And yeah, they should have the benefits of it. And so, I love your idea about like putting some names at the top of your letter. You know, call this person for this. Call this person for that. Yep. So, I really appreciate that. And your audiobook one is very much the same. It's just very practical. Here's the equipment you need. Here's what it takes.

Matt Buchman: And what that comes out of is years ago I spent 30 years as a project manager in corporate; and I had a boss I could not get a proposal across his desk. For the life of me, he hired me to build them a $1.3 million computer system, but I could not get a $10,000 proposal across his desk. And so, one night after he went home, I went and I sat in his chair. And I must have sat there for three, four hours. Just looking at how does he see the firm? What would it be like to sit here and think about who comes in and who goes out. And I realized that I was writing my proposals for an IT geek. I was not writing them for his chair. And from that day on, every single thing I put in front of him went through. 

So that's the way I write my nonfiction. And actually, it's the way I write my fiction too. You have to come from the reader’s chair. And that's part of how the setting gets in there. And the emotional curve gets in there. It's like, Oh, no, the reader isn't going to follow that lead, because I'll make the leap. It's my character. It's my world. It's my nonfiction book. No, I watch the reader’s chair and I ask what's the next step? Give me step by step. If it's an emotional arc or an escape plan, what's the next step? And that has been a real…it's been a really key guide to how I write and how I approach all writing.

 Maggie Lynch: I agree with you 100%. And that's why I still use a developmental editor. Because I think, by the time I finished the book and edit it, I think everything's on the page. But every time it comes back, there is something. Sometimes it's not a lot. Sometimes it's only three or four little things that can be fixed with a paragraph or a chapter. But it makes a huge difference. When the person comes back and says, I didn't, I didn't go there with you. Or more often, she says: you need a whole lot more emotion here, because this is huge. Well, it felt huge to me. Sadly, not as she was reading it. So. I think that it's just so critical.

 Matt Buchman: Yeah. And that's why I have two beta readers, only two. They're the only two I trust. The only two who get to see the book after the first draft is done. One is my wife, who she does a copy edit. And she says all of the: I can't see this, I don't get this. Why did you do that? And the other [beta reader] one is a big picture guy. And he says: Why in the world should I buy this? You know, why would I believe that? Wouldn't it be cool if they… And they each only take a couple days. And they bleed on the manuscripts. And a lot of times, it's okay. You know, go through and fix all the little notes. And it's a great book and do a little tweak here and a tweak here. 

As I told you offline, last week they handed me back a manuscript and I had to throw out a third of the book. I had tried to do something new; and I had it so clear in my head. And I went there. I took the character there. And I broke the story. And they said: I don't get it. You broke the story. Wow. And that's what those kind of editors do for me. That was it was a really cool idea. I twisted this one character so hard that she'd done something. And it turned out it was too far out of character. Yeah. And, of course, I had set that up all the way back in the beginning. So, I had to go all the way through the book and rewrite. Then about a third of the way in, I just had to cut off the book and redraft. 

 Maggie Lynch: Oh, wow. 

Matt Buchman: But I had the story then. And it's such a better book than I could have thought up on my own because that outside input. You can't edit yourself. That outside person came in and went right there. That's where you went went wrong.

 Maggie Lynch: And finding the right people is invaluable for that. It sounds like you've really done that. 

 Matt Buchman: Well, I married one of them. I lucked into it. I didn't, I didn't know that about her when I fell in love.

 Maggie Lynch: Well, and I’d like to close our questioning with that thought: which is that you and your wife are truly partners in your business. Not only partners in life. I don't know a lot of people who can work with their spouses and still stay married. Do you have any tips to anyone who might be considering that or maybe struggling a bit with that as to as to what can make that work?

Matt Buchman: We're very unusual in that we are both introverts. And we're both givers by nature. So, we're always trying to help each other and others. That's just sort of our basis. She tried writing. It didn't take; but she loves the written word. She's a former librarian, retired now. And I think probably the biggest thing is we don't bring ego into it. If she slashes up a book, I know there's a reason she slashed up the book. It may hurt, but I wouldn't think to blame her on it. She's giving me her best feedback. We'll brainstorm together. But then she says: “Go do that.” (his hands do a pushing away motion) That's her gesture. Go do that. So, we come up with this cool idea to say and she says, “Go do that.” Because she isn't trying to step into the creative process. 

A lot of what she does is clerical. She takes care of the money. She takes care of uploading things. But she also tells me when I've lost the track. I would have quit two or three times over the years and she said, “No, no, no. This is you.” 

Maggie Lynch: Wow.

Matt Buchman: There were times…one when we were in the middle of the last recession and I’d lost…I’d been fired twice during the recession. And they weren't hiring back middle managers. We were bleeding money out every pore and we got this one indie book that took off and a couple of traditional books. This one indie book, Daniels Christmas, popped and sold like 400 copies. And it did it again the next month. And it was like, why is it doing that? And she said, “This is your chance!” We'd bet a third of our savings, and I took a year to make it happen. And at the end of the year we’d used up a third of our savings and I broke even for the year. Then I paid it back by the 30 months out. 

But that’s because she believed in me that much. And I worked my ass off.

Maggie Lynch: Well, that is really a love story for the ages. 

Matt Buchman: Yes. It’s been a collaboration like that. And I think the key is ego. Neither of us has brought ego into this.

Maggie Lynch: Wow. Well, thanks for spending time with me today, Matt.

Matt Buchman: My pleasure.

Maggie Lynch: I want everyone to know that I’ve put Matt’s website address in the show notes. So please go visit him at mlbuchman.com 

Matt Buchman: One “n” and that’s Facebook, Twitter, which I rarely use. They are all mlbuchman.

Maggie Lynch: And I’ll add your social media into the show notes as well.  Thanks again.

Matt Buchman: Thanks, Maggie. Have fun.