Matthew J. Pallamary's historical novel of first contact between shamans and Jesuits in 18th century South America, titled, Land Without Evil, was published in hard cover by Charles Publishing, and has received rave reviews along with a San Diego Book Award for mainstream fiction. It was chosen as a Reading Group Choices selection. Land Without Evil was also adapted into a full-length stage and sky show, co-written by Agent Red with Matt Pallamary, directed by Agent Red, and performed by Sky Candy, an Austin Texas aerial group. The making of the show was the subject of a PBS series, Arts in Context episode, which garnered an EMMY nomination. Land Without Evil is in development as a feature film.
Matt’s work has appeared in Oui, New Dimensions, The Iconoclast, Starbright, Infinity, Passport, The Short Story Digest, Redcat, The San Diego Writer's Monthly, Connotations, Phantasm, Essentially You, The Haven Journal, and many others. His fiction has been featured in The San Diego Union Tribune which he has also reviewed books for, and his work has been heard on KPBS-FM in San Diego, KUCI FM in Irvine, television Channel Three in Santa Barbara, and The Susan Cameron Block Show in Vancouver. He has been a guest on the following nationally syndicated talk shows; Paul Rodriguez, In The Light with Michelle Whitedove, Susun Weed, Medicine Woman, Inner Journey with Greg Friedman, and Environmental Directions Radio series. Matt has also appeared on the following television shows; Bridging Heaven and Earth, Elyssa's Raw and Wild Food Show, Things That Matter, Literary Gumbo, Indie Authors TV, and ECONEWS. He has also been a frequent guest on numerous podcasts, among them, The Psychedelic Salon, and C-Realm.
His first book The Small Dark Room Of The Soul was mentioned in The Year's Best Horror and Fantasy. His second short story collection, A Short Walk to the Other Side, published by Mystic-Ink Publishing was an Award Winning Finalist in the International Book Awards. Dreamland a novel about computer generated dreaming, written with Ken Reeth was also published as an e-book by Mystic-Ink and won the 2002 Independent e-Book Award in the Horror/Thriller category.
Eye of the Predator is a supernatural thriller about a zoologist who discovers that he can go into the minds of animals. His quest for the truth leads him into a murky world of magical plants and ancient shamanic rituals that ultimately bring him face to face with the enigmatic mystery of his past.
He has taught a fiction workshop at the Southern California Writers' Conference in San Diego, Palm Springs, and Los Angeles, and at the Santa Barbara Writers' Conference for twenty five years. He has lectured at the Greater Los Angeles Writer’s Conference, the Getting It Write conference in Oregon, the Saddleback Writers' Conference, the Rio Grande Writers' Seminar, the National Council of Teachers of English, The San Diego Writer's and Editor's Guild, The San Diego Book Publicists, The Pacific Institute for Professional Writing, and he has been a panelist at the World Fantasy Convention, Con-Dor, and Coppercon. He is presently Editor in Chief of Muse Harbor Publishing.
Matt also received the Man of the Year 2000 from San Diego Writer's Monthly Magazine. His memoir Spirit Matters detailing his journeys to Peru, working with shamanic plant medicines took first place in the San Diego Book Awards Spiritual Book Category, and was an Award-Winning Finalist in the autobiography/memoir category of the National Best Book Awards, sponsored by USA Book News. Spirit Matters is also available as an audio book.
Matt frequently visits the jungles, mountains, and deserts of North, Central, and South America pursuing his studies of shamanism and ancient cultures.
Today we are show-casing Matthew's latest novel: Eye of the Predator
- Book title: Eye of the Predator
- Genre: Supernatural Thriller (Horror, Paranormal, Shamanism)
- Synopsis: Erik Simpson is a brilliant young zoologist who has no memory of his life before the age of sixteen. Trained by his aging foster father, a world renowned zoologist, Erik astounds his colleagues with his insights into animal behavior. As his thirtieth birthday approaches, Erik has a recurring dream of stumbling through the Amazon jungle, hunted by a black jaguar. One night he dreams of the hunt, first as an observer, then as the jaguar itself on the prowl in California’s High Sierras where he comes upon campers and mauls them in a savage frenzy. The next day he receives a call from the National Park Service asking for assistance investigating a bizarre animal attack. When he goes to the camp site, he recognizes it from his dream and tells the authorities that it was a jaguar, and shows them precisely how it happened. His quest for the truth leads him into a murky world of magical plants and ancient shamanic rituals that ultimately bring him face to face with the enigmatic mystery of his past.
Publish date: 9/19/14
- Publisher: Mystic Ink Publishing
Hi Matthew and welcome to the FSFN interview throne. Lovely to have you here.
Your resume in the author bio is quite extensive. What led you into writing?
I initially wrote a piece about sky diving for a creative writing class and the teacher went nuts over it, which made me think that maybe I could be a writer. I started writing around 1980 or so and began writing
I'm so sorry for your loss. How incredible that this tragedy led to you being a professional author.
What other writing have you done?
I have written tons of nonfiction articles, a nonfiction book, short stories, novels, a memoir, a historical novel, screenplays, a play, and more.
How do you develop your characters?
I have been teaching dramatic writing for 25 years and I teach that character reveals itself through conflict. I love the phrase “character development” because that is how they come into being. At first there is an initial description, then as the story unfolds, the characters come more and more into focus the way photographic film used to develop. First you’d see the blurry outline of the head, then the details come into view like the eyes etc. The more time passes, the clearer the picture comes into focus. This is how characters develop over the length of a story.
You sound like a great teacher too.
What do you do when you have writers’ block?
The best thing to do is to get up and move, be it walking, physical labor, working out, gardening, or something else relatively mindless to move you out of your intellectual and emotional bodies into you moving body where you can temporarily forget about your “block” and allow your subconscious to do its thing below the surface. This is a tried and true method.
How did you go about developing your cover artwork?
This is an insider’s confession here, but after more than 30 years of writing and the issues I’ve had with incompetent publishers, agents, artists, etc., I got frustrated and decided that in addition to the writing and editing I would do the entire layout, including the cover art, giving me complete creative control. The first time I did this was for The Infinity Zone which had some fairly complex graphics.
Well done. You must have a good eye for covers.
Who are your favourite authors?
Ray Bradbury who was a major mentor of mine for over 20 years and blessed me with the blurb “Bravo! More!” for my first published book, a short story collection titled The Small Dark Room of the Soul.
Science fiction writer David Brin has also been an awesome friend and supporter.
I also love Tolstory, Carlos Castaneda, Tolkien, Heinlein, Frank Herbert, Stephen King, and many more.
What is your favourite quote?
Through the ages, countless spiritual disciplines have urged us to look within ourselves and seek the truth. Part of that truth resides in a small, dark room -- one we are afraid to enter.
(It’s mine from The Small Dark Room of the Soul.)
I like that.
Where do you like to travel to?
I frequently visit the jungles, mountains, and deserts of North, Central, and South America pursuing my studies of shamanism and ancient cultures. I have been going deep into the Amazon for the past 15 years doing extended plant diets with shamans.
Do you prefer ebook or hardcopy?
I have to say that I am a lover of tree books over ebooks, but my books are available in all formats.
Case in point, my first published novel Land Without Evil published by Charles Publishing is a beautiful book. Its design was even mentioned in a major review. It has a great hard cover binding with gold inlays and the artwork and layout are the best anyone could ever hope for. It’s real beautiful keepsake.
“Back in the day” I did lots of book signings. You can’t really do that with an ebook. The whole art and craft of book design, binding and printing is becoming more of a novelty than mainstream.
You've been a Fantasy Sci-Fi Network author for a while now. How do you rate it?
In the short time I have been with the fantasy sci-fi network, it has been amazing. The support from the group is one of the best ever and trust me I have been in many many groups in the 30 plus years I have been writing. Top notch!
On another note, most writers I know are pretty amazing in that we are all competing with each other, yet in the circles I run in the support we give each other is phenomenal.
Here is a sneak peek from Eye of the Predator:
The jungle rushed up to meet Erik as he fell face first into its tangled undergrowth. His breath came ragged, sweat stung his eyes, and his heart thundered in his ears. The sickening sweet rot of decay invaded his lungs, choking him. He held his breath for a moment, listening past the pounding in his ears.
An eerie silence held the forest in its spell.
Struggling to his feet on trembling legs, he heard a low growl behind him. Looking back, he saw two orbs of yellow. For an infinite moment, neither he nor the cat moved, then it crouched and snarled. The hairs on the back of Erik’s neck raised in unison with the animal's cry. He could no longer run.
His body went cold, accepting the inevitability of death, then something sparked and new resolve filled him. Hot anger washed cold fear from him and strength returned to his legs. His breath grew low and controlled and his senses peaked, tuned to every nuance of the jaguar's movement. A low growl issued from deep within his own body, his legs bent, and he braced himself for the cat's onslaught.
Man and animal snarled and launched themselves at each other, claws extended, teeth bared, fist meeting fur, flesh meeting fang as Erik and the black jaguar embraced in a savage ballet of death.
The moment languished and Erik had the sensation of floating outside of himself until his awareness shifted and he became one with the cat, sharing its perceptions.
Fully aware, he held on to consciousness, drifting with the jaguar as though tethered like a helium balloon. The world, filtered through the heightened perceptions of his host came to him with a richness and immediacy he had never thought possible.
His surroundings shifted, then came into focus with astounding clarity. Sunshine turned into darkness. Gone were the heavy scents of rotting plants, the palpable humidity, and the riotous jungle growth. The cool night air and rocky terrain he knew from his backpacking trips with Phineas flooded his senses.
The High Sierras.
Together, he and the jaguar loped through pine-scented wilderness sniffing the air in search of prey. Though fully aware of his environment, the cat's instincts enslaved Erik, forcing him to participate in the experience as a passive observer.
Together they moved through the night, stopping every few minutes to listen and sniff before resuming the hunt. A light breeze kicked up, carrying with it smells and sounds. Voices. They moved swiftly through the darkness. Except for nocturnal species too small and too terrified to remain within range of a lethal hunter, their passage went undetected.
The voices came louder. Two of them. And the smells. Stronger. A man and a woman.
"Oh," she moaned. "Honey. Uhh." She sucked in her breath with a hiss. "Feels so good."
The man didn't answer, but his grunts rumbled clear and audible. And the smell... Musky. Tangy.
Erik smelled and felt it along with the jaguar and fought to resist, but the beast's excitement drew him helplessly along until they came to a huge boulder overlooking a small clearing.
A moonless, star-filled sky hung over the mountain like a pin-pricked shroud. A small fire had burned down to coals. At the corner of the clearing a tent moved with the sounds and smells of uninhibited sex. The acrid smell of the dying campfire drifted up to them, paling in comparison to the thrill of the carnal scents from the tent.
"Ooh, ooh, ooh." The woman moaned in unison with the man's grunts. The flesh of their bodies slapped together, adding to the rhythm, now frantic.
The cat leaped off the boulder and landed without a sound in the middle of the clearing. Crouching low, it crept toward the tent on its belly. Its hunting lust filled Erik with savage excitement. He knew what was about to happen and wanted to stop, but the overflow of sensory input held him suspended like a fly in the web of a spider.
"Oh, baby," the man said, his voice low and breathless. "It's -- it's coming."
The jaguar paused at the side of the tent.
When the woman's moans turned into a high mewl of pleasure, the cat's ears stood up, then it leaped and snarled, slashing the side of the tent with its claws. Screams filled the night as the jaguar bit and clawed at the tattered, shaking ball of nylon.
Removed, yet part of the scene, Erik witnessed the attack with fascinated horror. Helpless to act, equally helpless to turn away, he felt as though something forced him to witness the carnage. Dying, agonized screams filled him with icy fear while the smell of fresh blood and ebbing life paralyzed him with a lust he had never imagined possible.
Blood soaked through the canvas. Tiny droplets spattered with each swipe of the cat's massive paw. An arm poked through a tear in the tent. The jaguar bit into it and ripped it from its socket. Shredded flesh and bare bone glistened through a gaping hole in the canvas.
The high-pitched screams continued.
Erik groaned and shut his eyes, trying to make the horror go away until his mind filled with bright red and something shook him.
Here are Matthew's links. Please check them out:
Barnes & Noble:
- Fantasy Sci-Fi Network:
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