Friday, September 11, 2015

Eric Matheny ~ an interview and his novel ~ The Vicim

Eric Matheny

Eric Matheny was born in Los Angeles, California, where he lived until he went away to college at Arizona State University. At ASU he was president of Theta Chi Fraternity. He graduated with a degree in political science and moved to Miami, Florida, to attend law school at St. Thomas University. During his third year of law school, he interned for the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, where he worked as a prosecutor upon graduation. In 2009, he went into private practice as a criminal defense attorney. He is a solo practitioner representing clients in Miami-Dade County, Florida, and Broward County, Florida. He has handled everything from DUI to murder.

In his free time, Eric enjoys writing crime fiction, drawing from his experience working in the legal system. He published his debut novel Home in 2004, which centers around a successful drug dealer catering to the rich in Orange County. His second novel Lockdown, published in 2005, follows a law student trying to prove that an inmate serving a life sentence in one of California’s toughest prisons might actually be innocent. Eric’s latest novel The Victim, is a tense, fast-paced, legal thriller/psychological suspense novel that centers around a young defense attorney whose horrifying misdeed from his college days comes back to haunt him. It was published by Zharmae in August 2015 and is available for sale on Amazon.

Eric lives outside of Fort Lauderdale with his wife and two young sons.

Q: Tell me something you would like your readers (fans) to know about you.
A: I have trained extensively in submission grappling/jiu-jitsu and, at one point, was quite proficient.  It has been a few years since I have trained consistently but I find an hour of rolling on the mat to be one of the most relaxing and cathartic activities there is.

Q: What kind of music do you listen to? Do you have an all time favorite song?
A: I enjoy a variety of music.  My all-time favorite band is The Beach Boys.  I saw them in concert when I was eight.  I enjoy classic rock, soft rock, 80s-90s hair metal (Guns N’ Roses, Motley Crue, Night Ranger), and 80s-90s hip-hop (Tribe Called Quest, Souls of Mischief, Jurassic 5).  I’m also a pretty big Elvis fan.  At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man, I am not a huge fan of today’s music. 

My all-time favorite song is “Scenes From An Italian Restaurant” by Billy Joel.

Q: How do you feel about exercise?
A: I am a gym rat.  I try to work out at least 4-5 days a week.  I am an avid weightlifter and have been since I was 14.  In my prime I could bench press 365 pounds.  But now, at 33, I have real responsibilities.  But there was a time when nothing was more important than lifting weights.  Yes, I was that guy.

Q: Texting, love it or hate it?
A: I appreciate the convenience, especially when it saves you an unnecessary phone call.  But I think it’s partially to blame for a lack of interpersonal skills that has become almost an epidemic in today’s society.  I miss the analog days.

Q: Where do you get your ideas?
A: I get a lot of my ideas from news stories and events that have occurred in real life.  For THE VICTIM, I got the idea after learning about a fatal crash in Arizona where the driver tried to run from the scene.  

Q: How did you come to write your genre of choice?
A: I am not literary nor artsy nor poetic.  I am not looking to write the Great American Novel. But I love gritty crime stories and enjoy reading them.  L.A. Rex is the best example of a raw cop drama.  In film, I like Training Day and End of Watch.  On TV, I loved SouthLand.  There is just something about accurate crime stories where nothing is sugarcoated that I really find entertaining.  I work in a field that exposes me to a lot of ugliness in the world.  I appreciate fiction set against that backdrop.  It begs the question why do people do bad things?  It cuts to the core of humanity.

Q: What do you think is the hardest part of writing a book?
A: Finishing it.  I do not do much outlining or plotting so for me it is especially difficult.  This can be troublesome, especially if you find yourself 200 pages in and suddenly your plot stops working.  But I’ve been doing it this way for so long that I’m reluctant to sit down beforehand and outline.  The way I see it, sooner or later something works.  This is why I stress never deleting unfinished work.  You can reuse old scenes in subsequent stories.

Q: What is your favorite part of writing?
A: I love starting a book.  You can literally create anything you want.  Entire worlds, people with amazing abilities.  Once you start you are kind of locked into your story.  This is where the actual work of writing factors in.  When the story is brand new, there are no restrictions whatsoever.

Q: What are you working on now? Would you like to share anything about it?
A: I am working on something but given my proclivities, I will not mention anything about it until it is actually done.  At this early stage, who knows if it will get finished.  But in my opinion, the premise is pretty cool.  We shall see.

Q: Do you have a new book coming out soon? Tell us about it.
A: THE VICTIM has been released!  It is available in e-book and paperback formats.  THE VICTIM is a legal thriller that centers around a young Miami criminal defense attorney whose past misdeeds come back to haunt him when he least expects it.  The book has been praised as “an astounding legal thriller that is full of surprise, mystery and moral dilemma” with high tension, accurate courtroom scenes, and a completely unpredictable ending.  As a practicing criminal attorney in Miami, I poured a lot of my own knowledge and experience into these pages. 


Chapter 1
March 16, 2003
Payson, Arizona

He thought he was dead.

Steam hissed from the crumpled front end of the RV that had folded accordion-style against the guardrail. His face stung from the punch of the airbag. His lungs burned from that awful talcum powder that drifted through the cabin as the bag deflated. The chemical dust, suspended in the air, seemed to be frozen in time.

His nose was numb and swollen. He tasted blood trickling down the back of his throat like a cocaine drip. He peered through the cracked windshield, his eyes adjusting to the reddish glow of a desert sunrise. The crushed-in hood had jarred upward. The chassis was off balance. The whole vehicle wobbled as he shifted his weight in his seat.

Oh my God.

He cranked the door handle and heaved his shoulder into it to pop it off the jamb. He hopped down onto the highway. The winds were heavy and dry, rustling the sage and scrub oaks that dotted the rugged landscape along the Beeline Highway. A sliver of fiery light barely illuminated the peaks of the Mazatal Mountains, which rose and fell against the horizon. Giant saguaros stood like sentries.

The back half of a red two-door sedan lay beneath the shredded front tires of the RV. Flattened like an aluminum can. On impact the RV must have bucked forward, rolling up onto the rear bumper of the smaller car, coming to rest on its roof. The significant weight of the RV crushed the sedan into something you might see stacked in a junkyard.

The highway was quiet. Just the rush of hot wind crackling the delicate spines of the sagebrush. He got his bearings quickly, the initial shock of the crash having passed. A sobering experience. Literally. Half a handle of Jack Daniels coursing through his veins had been replaced by something stronger.


He saw long hair, a young female’s. How he could tell her age by the back of her head, he would never know. Maybe by its length and sheen—bright, yellow-blond. Slick with blood. Her forehead propped on the steering wheel. The driver-side window blown out. The windshield was a shattered web.

The man beside her—or boy, he was arguably young—was out cold, his body positioned in the passenger’s seat in a gimpy, off-kilter fashion. The passenger side had been thrust into the guardrail, which molded itself to the frame of the car. His head lolled against the door. Blood leaked from his ear and ran down his neck.

“Are you okay?” he screamed, although he knew he would get no reply. His voice resonated throughout the valley. “Hello?”

He braced himself against the ruined front end of the RV. He felt a surge of bile and whiskey come up in the back of his throat. He heaved forward but held it in. He was lightheaded.

Oh God, please let this be a dream. Oh God, please...this can’t be happening, this can’t be happening. This isn’t happening. This isn’t happening...

Q: How can we find you? Do you have a web page, FaceBook page or any buy links?
A: I have a website, You can also find me on Facebook at and on Twitter with the handle @emathenybooks.

I’m happy you could join me on Books and Banter.  I hope you had fun with the Q & A’s

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