Welcome Matt Ferraz, author of the Grandma Bertha Solving Mysteries series!
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Any day day where I manage to read, write, work, be useful and spend time with my family and pets. If I can watch a play or a movie, even better!
Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase/expression, or meal?
I’m crazy about typewriters! My first stories were written in an old portable Oliveti Lettera that belonged to my mother, so a lot of people associate me with these machines. I have plans to tattoo one in my arm.
Which books/authors inspired or influenced you the most?
No author has encouraged me as much as Stephen King. When you’re an awkward teenager who’s bad at sports and with the girls, and your only solace is writing horror stories in your typewriter, it takes a guy like King to come to you and say: “don’t give up, what you’re doing is right, and I believe in you!”. Reading It and The Body over and over again during my teenage years is what made me persist with my writing.
Do you listen to music when you write?
Yes, mostly old jazz and blues. I can write with Billie Holiday for hours! I also like to listen to classics, especially Paganini.
If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
The Convenient Cadaver is like M&Ms. Fun, colorful and so tasty that, before you realize it, you ate the whole bag!
What made you interested in writing this particular story?
I wanted to do a book as an homage to my grandmothers and to my friend Silvia, who are so quirky they had to be turned into a cozy novel! Thankfully, the three of them loved the idea.
What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
I have a healthy obsession with old people. Partly because I’m very attached to my grandmothers, but also because I think they are often overlooked by the society. So I love writing about them. Also, I like to write about people who are either completely losers or have been important during most of their lives but ended up poor and/or lonely. I don’t know what that tells about me as a person.
Tell us about your main character.
Grandma Bertha is an old lady who lives in a remodeled garden shed in the background of her son Todd’s house. She spend most of her times drinking beer and watching horror films. Her life isn’t bad, just boring. She has so much energy in her, and she’s not ready to give up, despite her age. There are things Grandma Bertha wants to do while she’s still on this Earth, and all she need is an opportunity. And that opportunity comes in the form of a mysterious murder involving her family, which she decides to solve by herself.
Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
That’s a tough one! This may sound weird, Grandma Bertha has a bit of Chrissie Hynde, leader of The Pretenders, in the sense she’s deep and enjoys assisting those in peril, but has a lot of fun doing it. She also has a touch of Stephen Fry, with his witty charm and likability. Add a dose of Angela Lansbury, for being so adorable and captivating, and you’ll have Grandma Bertha.
If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
My first invitation would be to my beloved Agatha Christie, just in case a dead body was found. Eoin Colfer and Terry Pratchett, for I grew up reading Artemis Fowl and Discworld. Robert Louis Stevenson and Giacomo Casanova, so I could listen about their travels again from their own mouths. And our guest of honor would be Giovani Boccaccio, for no-one is better to tell a good story after supper than him.
What’s next for you?
Right now I’m finishing a completely different book called Know Thy Enemy, a LitRPG novel that I’m writing together with a very talented author named Dawn Chapman. As soon as I finish this, I’m doing the sequel to The Convenient Cadaver. People ask me how many books Grandma Bertha will appear in, and I say: for as long as she wants me to. I’m sure it’ll be a fun ride!
Author of all trades, Matt Ferraz has written thrillers, sci-fi, cozy mysteries and a lot of witty e-mails that sadly can’t be published. With a degree in journalism and a masters in biography, Matt has works published in English, Italian and Portuguese, and loves trying out new genres.