Sunday, April 22, 2018

ROCCO welcomes thriller author Matthew Iden!

Meow! Today my guest is suspense author Matthew Iden!

Matthew Iden is the author of the suspense novel THE WINTER OVER, a half dozen books in the Marty Singer detective series, and several acclaimed stand-alone novels. His latest, BIRTHDAY GIRL, is a suspense novel featuring Elliott Nash, a former forensic psychologist who  is now homeless but is recruited to save a young girl from a serial kidnapper (March 2018). He has visited seven continents—and written on several of them—but lives in Alexandria, Virginia. Visit him at, on Facebook at, or on Twitter @CrimeRighter.

·       Hi Matthew! Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hello, ROCCO. My name is Matthew Iden. I’m probably best known for my Marty Singer detective series, six books (so far) featuring a retired DC homicide cop who is battling a series of personal health issues while simultaneously fighting crime. But I’ve also written several standalone novels including a thriller set at the South Pole (THE WINTER OVER), a cross-country caper about motorcycle theft (STEALING SWEETWATER), and was commissioned to write a Kindle Worlds novel set in Barry Eisler’s John Rain world (THE B-TEAM). My latest work is a psychological thriller (BIRTHDAY GIRL) set in and around Washington DC that just came out in March.

I wanted to write from an early age, but it took a while. My original education (BA and MA) was in English literature, but I stumbled into a technology career in the mid-90s. After a decade or so of working in cube farms, I told my wife I either needed to start robbing banks or start writing about robbing banks. She kindly suggested I take three months off to try my hand at a novel. That was nine years ago and I haven’t had to rob a bank since.

·       Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers?

There’s something indescribable about getting that first email or tweet or Facebook post from a complete stranger telling you, “I loved your book.” Some of my readers have been with me since the very first Marty Singer book and it’s hard to convey just how special it is to know I’m connecting with thousands of people.

And it’s the connection that counts. A book with no readers is a diary. My readers make my current life and dreams possible. “Thank you” doesn’t begin cover it.
·       Tell us about your newest release! 
BIRTHDAY GIRL is the story of Elliott Nash, a once-brilliant forensic psychologist who is homeless and living on the streets after a horrible family trauma. Amy Scowcroft, a single mom battling her own inner demons, turns to Elliott for help finding her kidnapped daughter after the police have given it up as a cold case. Working together, they discover that they have only short time before the worst will happen.

  • ·       What was the inspiration behind this story?

Both the homeless and the mentally ill inhabit our physical world, but experience a very different version of it than most of us. I wanted to explore how and why someone like Elliott would voluntarily leave a comfortable existence and how or why someone like Sister, the book’s antagonist, might do so involuntarily…and how both come to terms with that world being disrupted. When you read or hear the personal histories of those in either situation, you realize most have led, and continue to lead, complicated lives that are worth learning about. BIRTHDAY GIRL was an attempt to crack that nut, with a hopefully compelling mystery at its core.

  • ·       Tell us about your main character.

Although BIRTHDAY GIRL is an “Elliott Nash Thriller,” in some ways there are actually two main characters, Elliott and Amy Scowcroft, the single mom looking for her kidnapped daughter.

I love Amy because I saw her as a foil to Elliott who is, at times, humorless, logical, academic, and skeptical. Amy, on the other hand, is a neo-hippie, guided by “feelings,” intuition, star charts, and numerology. She manages to show Elliott that having a soft side is as valuable and useful as having a clinical detachment to life.

  • ·       Tell us something funny about one of your characters.

The name Elliott Nash came a bit out of the blue, but I realized the second I settled on his name that he a) had late-blooming hippie parents and b) like any self-respecting hippies, they would name their only child after a favorite band, so at one point in the novel, Elliott admits to Amy that his full name is actually “Elliott Crosby Stills Nash.”

She replies, “Thank God they didn’t like Neil Young.”

  • ·       Your character is at a bookstore. Which section is he/she shopping in? What book is in his/her hand right now?

Elliott is in the psychology section with a frown on his face, leafing through Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow.

Amy got stopped ten feet inside the door at the point-of-purchase display and has flipped to the end of The Celestine Prophecy.


·       What do you do when you are not writing?

I love to travel and I’ve been fortunate enough to indulge the passion—my wife and I have been to all seven continents (Antarctica was #4) and I was lucky enough to circumnavigate the globe by boat with the wonderful Semester at Sea program as the tour’s IT manager.

Favorite international destinations/experiences include: fixing Arch-bishop Desmond Tutu’s email on the way to Capetown, South Africa; exploring Kyoto, Japan on foot; and a nighttime gondola ride through Venice…when the only illumination was the moon and the occasional lamp from a canal-side villa.

·       Where can we purchase this book?

BIRTHDAY GIRL is available through Amazon in Kindle, paperback, and audio versions (the last narrated by the very talented James Anderson Foster) at

·       Are you reading anything interesting at the moment? If so, what is it?

I just finished David F. Dodge’s classic To Catch A Thief and loved it for a number of reasons. For one thing, aside from a bit of generational if cringeworthy chauvinism (although there are two very strong women in it), it holds up very well almost seventy years after its 1952 release. The book is tightly plotted, the dialogue is crisp and fun, the coincidences are kept to a minimum, and there’s a surprising amount of deeper thoughts about the recently-ended war, the nature of friendship, and fate.

I also loved it because Dodge was a seasoned and observant traveler—he describes with delight a Cote d’Azur that my father saw as a young Navy seaman in the 60’s and that I visited in the 2000’s, once with my wife and again with my father.

·       Do you think you may ever go into another genre?  If so, which one?

My first love is actually fantasy, but my early attempts were pretty much failures. Constructing a world from scratch (while not burying your reader in its details) is insanely difficult. But I’ve got a notebook full of ideas that I may tackle one of these days.

·       Would you ever write a screenplay?

I’d love to. I’m  fascinated by how sparse the writing is, yet how much can be conveyed (a good example: Taylor Sheridan’s screenplay of Wind River).

·       How do you “get to know” your characters before and while you’re writing the books?

I write long letters from the characters themselves, written in the first person and framed as though speaking to an off-camera interviewer. Loads of stuff comes out in this way, things you simply wouldn’t think of while trying to invent a well-rounded character in a vacuum. It’s also a lot of fun.

·       Where can we learn more about you and your books?

My Amazon author page ( has all of my writing. My website (of course): I also announce things through a newsletter and I’m active on Facebook at I have a Twitter account, but don’t know how to use it.

o   Random Quickies!

·       Pepsi or Coke? Cappuccino
·       Favorite kind of chocolate? Dark
·       Cats or dogs? Dogs
·       Do you read more than you write? Yes
·       Favorite movie? The Third Man
·       Favorite book to movie? The Quiet American (for Michael Caine only)
·       Favorite book or author? Yeah we know it can be hard to choose! ;)
Elmore Leonard
·       Hardback/Paperback or eReader? eReader
·       Favorite color? Blue
·       How many paperback/hardcover books do you own? <Gulp> 2,000?
·       Do you own a laptop or desktop computer? Both
·       What book are you reading today? Whiz Mob: A Correlation of the Technical Argot of Pickpockets with Their Behavior Pattern. It’s for research, I swear.
·       If you could live anywhere in the world it would be: the south of France: Eze, Antibes, Nice, Villefranche, Provence…anywhere in the region. I’m not picky.

 Thanks for a great interview, Matthew!

Now, kiddies....It’s Giveaway time!!!!!!

Matthew will give one lucky commenter their choice of BIRTHDAY GIRL in either audio (physical or download), signed paperback or Kindle!

To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:

* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link:
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link:!/
* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)

Winner will be chosen at random using  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck! Contest ends midnight, April 28!


  1. One of your best interviews ever, Rocco. Looks like Matthew and I have a bit in common, including the fact that I grew up near where he lives and I have at least 2,000 books. He just moved way up on my TBR list, and I'd love to add an autographed copy of Birthday Girl to my numbers.
    I follow the blog
    I am a friend on FB
    I shared on FB
    I follow on Twitter
    I tweeted

  2. Another great interview from a new-to-me author, ROCCO. I have a friend who has also been to all seven continents. She hasn't circumnavigated the globe though (yet)! Marla Bradeen:

  3. Happy to meet Matthew here today. BIRTHDAY GIRL has such a creepy cover. I love it.


    Mary Preston

  4. Birthday Girl sounds very thrilling. I love that Matthew writes letters to get to know/develop his characters.
    Jana - turtle6422(at)gmail(dot)com
    Following yhour blog
    Following on Twitter
    Tweeted about the contest
    Friends on Facebook
    Mentioned the contest on Facebook

  5. That was nine years ago and I haven’t had to rob a bank since." But does that mean you robbed one once? LOL. I love all your books. I'm ready for another Marty Singer. The Winter Over was amazing! and Birthday!