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By Jake Chism (The Christian Manifesto) Matt Bronleewee is one of Christian music’s most sought after music producers. Within the last few years, he has tried his hand at a new discipline—writing. His first book, Illuminated, was met with critical praise and now he is back with his most recent title, House of Wolves. We recently caught up with the producer-turned-writer to ask him some candid questions about his writing, working in the music industry, and what’s coming over the horizon.
Your background is quite different than most novelists. How did a successful music producer become a successful novelist?
Wow! You make me sound cool! Ha! I’m a simple farm kid from Kansas. I can’t take credit for anything that’s happened. I’ve just tried to be diligent to work hard when God opens a door. As far as the jump to novels goes, it really came about because of a meeting I had with producer/genius/guru Charlie Peacock. I explained to him that I was starting to do some writing and he hooked me up with a remarkable agent/publisher named Don Pape. The rest, I guess, is history! And now I’m just racing to keep up with my ridiculous schedule!
A big congratulations on your success with the August Adams novels. Where did the idea for this series come from?
Like most characters, August is a mixture of things. Partially, I wanted to create a modern Indiana Jones. I loved those movies growing up, and wanted to throw a fresh spin on the idea of a true adventurer. Another influence was a story my manager Dave told me about a rare bookseller in New York. Apparently, he was a really quirky cool guy who went to elaborate parties and sold books to the ultra wealthy. He’d stand before a priceless painting and say to the host of the party, “What if I could get you that,” he’d point to the painting, “but in book form?” They’d take the bait and he’d make a mint! I loved the idea of this extravagant, over-the-top bookseller… and wha-laa!! August Adams was born.
House of Wolves is the second book in the series and just hit shelves. What a trip this story is! What can you tell our readers about it?
House of Wolves is a thriller that focuses on one of the most dangerous books in history – the Gospels of Henry the Lion – a book that was stolen by the Nazis during WWII, disappeared for fifty years, and then suddenly was purchased for nearly $12 million dollars! House of Wolves blends fact and fiction into a frenzy!
So far both novels have revolved around famous rare books (The Gutenberg Bible and The Gospels of Henry the Lion). Did you have a personal love or interest for rare books before you started this series?
I wanted to write books about books. Sounds a little boring, right? That’s why I took things to the next level…throwing rare books in the middle of worldwide conspiracies and secret societies and adventure-seekers and gun-wielding hitmen. I’m definitely learning a lot about rare books…and have had the opportunity to see many in Washington, DC, New York, and Paris. The research has become my own personal adventure!
Your books certainly have a DaVinci Code element to them and they are loaded with conspiracies and secret societies. While these are obviously works of fiction, I know a lot of your ideas are based on facts from your research. What are some of the most surprising revelations you’ve uncovered in your research? How real is this hidden world of conspiracy and secret societies?
One big surprise…secret societies are REAL, they’re not just fiction. And I’ve really focused on writing about secret societies that have a strong historical base. Maybe someday I’ll just make one up! But for now, I want my readers to be able to continue the adventure after they’ve finished my books. For example, just go to Google and type in “Order of the Dragon” or “Holy Vehm” and you’ll see what I mean! Some of the things I’ve learned have been baffling…unbelievable…and I’ve tried to cram a lot of that true history into the August Adams series!
Writing is often such a roller coaster experience. What has surprised you the most in the creation of this series? What has been the most challenging part?
The most challenging part is the schedule. I’m relentless in my pursuit of making every minute count…whether it’s writing a song or a book or hanging out with my family. As both the music and author sides of my life continue to progress and grow, I’m constantly faced with making wise decisions with my time. Luckily, I’ve got a great team of people around me that help make everything run smoothly!
Let’s go back to your background in music for a moment. How has your experience in music shaped you as a writer? Has it helped or hindered you?
It’s helped tremendously in every way. I’ve been able to look back at my songwriting and realize that I was a storyteller…and now that storytelling has just taken on a different shape. Although, let me tell you, a three-hundred page book takes a lot longer to create than a three-minute song!
I can’t imagine how busy you are with all of the music projects you are involved in. Not to mention the major book deal with Thomas Nelson. What is the writing process like for you? How do you find the time to write novels while you are making records?
I’m a bit of a madman. I jump back and forth between songwriting and producing and bookwriting constantly. Almost every day, I do a little of all three of my “careers”. Sometimes the jobs intersect. Many times they don’t. Most people stare at me like I’m crazy, and maybe I am, but I just can’t imagine not having a bunch of plates spinning all at once…it’s so much fun!
I assume that the next August Adams book will revolve around another famous rare manuscript. Any hints? What can you tell us about the next book and when can we expect it? How many August Adams novels are planned?
The next book is called The Deadly Hours and I promise it’s going to be another level up from the last two books! I’ve really worked hard on the research side. For the first time, I’ve visited every location August goes in this next book…from forgotten museums in New York City to mountaintop chateaus in southern France. It’s going to be a wild ride! The Deadly Hours will release August 2009. (And here’s a hint…every August you can expect a new August Adams adventure to hit shelves!)
What authors have inspired and encouraged you the most in your writing career?
I read a lot of Tolkien and Lewis and myths and legends and stuff like that growing up. I love BIG STORIES and that’s hopefully what I’m bringing people with Illuminated and House of Wolves. I also really like some of the newer authors who are pushing the boundaries of both style and genre…people like Michael Chabon and Jonathan Lethem and Dave Eggers…I think all three of them are amazing.
How has your walk with Christ shaped your writing?
“…the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” That says it all! Christ is the true author, the only author that matters, so I’m forced to recognize that no creative work is my own…it’s His.
What advice would you give to any aspiring novelists?
Forget “write what you know”. Write what you’re passionate about!
Where can people go online to find out more about you and your novels?
Join the Unsecret Society at www.mattbronleewe.com.
Any final thoughts?
This is an exciting season for me. Things are exploding for House of Wolves! The most fun part is connecting with readers from all over the globe…so if you pick up the book and check it out, make sure you let me know what you thought! My email: email@example.com. Thanks!!!
::This article appears in Backseat Writer courtesy of our friends over at The Christian Manifesto. Please visit TCM to for more interviews, book and music reviews, so much more!::