Thursday, March 31, 2011

Author Insides - Matthew Hamilton

Matthew Hamilton is a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines. After graduating from Belmont Abbey College in 1999, Matthew was clothed as a Benedictine Monk. After living a life of prayer, solitude, and study for four years, Matthew decided to leave the monastery. Born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, but raised in four other states, Matthew has a yearning for travel. When he is not teaching, Matthew reads, writes, and researches his next country to visit or his next story to write. After service, he plans on pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing.

Matthew's short story, "Death Watch," appeared in the Summer 2010 issue of The Battered Suitcase

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
It happened just after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. I was a Benedictine monk at the time. After the initial shock, I entered my study and wrote a poem about it. But I didn’t try to publish it. However, I continued to write, mostly nonfiction. And then in 2002 I won an essay contest for junior monks. The essay was eventually published in The American Benedictine Review (see below for details).

Why do you write?
Because it’s how I express my feelings and opinions. Also, I like sharing a good story.

Is being a writer/poet anything like you imagined it would be?
Yes, most definitely. Before I took up the pen, I knew it was going to be a lot of hard work and require a lot of patience.

What do you think makes a good story?
If the author can write something that the reader can relate to. I try to make my stories as real as possible, genuine. If a story has realistic characters, is full of emotion, if it forces the reader to think, then the author has done their job.

What's your favorite genre to read?
Historical Fiction.

Who is your favorite author or poet?
Favorite poet: Walt Whitman. For the fiction writer it’s a tossup between Ernest Hemingway and O. Henry.

What books or stories have most influenced you the most as a writer?
For stories, I’d have to say “The Killers” by Ernest Hemingway and “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry. There are others, of course, but I favor these two the most.

What books or stories have most influenced you as a person?
Hands down, “No Man is an Island” and New Seeds of Contemplation,” both books by the Trappist monk, Thomas Merton.

Where/how do you find the most inspiration?
Through real stories. I often pull ideas out of newspapers and history books.

What does your family think of your writing?
They enjoy it very much. They are anxiously awaiting for me to write a novel of collection of poems or short stories.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I prefer writing in the mornings, but because of my work schedule I often cannot write at this time, so I set a time in the evening after dinner and write for maybe two or three hours. If I’m full of inspiration my writing time is extended until I collapse from exhaustion.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Coming up with an original idea is always tough. I also have trouble with coming up with satisfying endings.

What are your current projects?
I’m working on a book of poems about the time I was a US Peace Corps Volunteer serving in Armenia (2006-2008). I’m also working on a novel about the Armenian Genocide that occurred during World War I.

What are you planning for future projects?

Anne Rice wrote to fans that a Christian vampire story cannot be done. I think a Christian vampire novel is possible. I hope to write it one day.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you want to improve your writing, you must read and write daily.

Where else can we find your work?
My work can be found all over the web and at

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