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An Interview with Matthew Moody, author of The Mystery of the Red Sock, the Black Watch (and the Small Hippo)

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Matthew Moody is an imaginative storyteller and a passionate advocate for fostering a love of reading in young minds. With a flair for mystery and an understanding of the curious minds of children, he captivates young readers with an engaging detective book series designed specifically for children aged 7 to 11.

Born and raised in Yorkshire, United Kingdom, Matthew Moody developed a deep appreciation for literature from a young age. Growing up, he spent hours lost in the pages of adventure, fantasy and detective books, inspired by the thrilling narratives and the dynamic characters they contained. This love for reading naturally led to a desire to create stories of their own, and Matthew’s journey as an author began.

With a delightful blend of humour, suspense, and relatable characters, Matthew’s books create a world where adventure, mystery, and imagination coexist. With each new story, he hopes to ignite a lifelong love of reading and encourage young minds to explore the endless possibilities found within the pages of a book.

When Matthew is not crafting intriguing mysteries, he can be found enjoying outdoor adventures in the mountains, imagining new worlds, playing music and spending quality time with his family and cat.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

I’ve always written stories but I was inspired to start writing this book to entertain my children and create a sense of excitement and mystery around bedtime.

Tell us the story of your book’s current title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

It was quite easy to find because it was based around a true story. My son misplaced a red sock then his favourite black watch and it seemed only right that a small hippo make an appearance.

Describe your dream book cover.

Tough. I have always envisaged a colourful cover with a picture of my two main characters and some craziness going on in the background—maybe a hippo running down a hill or on a bike with the two main characters in the foreground. Lots of red and blue and a smattering of gold.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

It would be whimsical, silly but funny. Things like the Pink Panther theme, “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,” “Happy,” “What About Now,” “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing,” and then some classical suites.

What books are you reading (for research or comfort) as you continue the writing process?

Generally I try and avoid fiction so that I don’t assimilate any ideas so stick mainly to biographies and non-fiction. I’ve just finished Elton John’s Me biography and am now reading Winter Magic about Christmas festivities.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I’ve worked in the corporate and entrepreneurial world for over 27 years. I’ve worked in catering, retail, travel, leisure, education and most recently in property and seasonal letters from Christmas elves! A little-known fact is that I cycled the ‘Coast to Coast’ route there and back (350 miles) in the UK with my brother in 6 days and raised over £10,000 for SSAFA.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I was inspired by JK Rowling and her magical world of muggles and wizards. But I’ve always dabbled in writing things so going back in time, it would be Enid Blyton. I enjoyed many of her books especially The Faraway Tree, The Wishing Chair, and of course her endless mystery books such as The Famous Five, Secret Seven, and a more obscure series, The Five Finder-Outers with Fatty the main star who was a young kind and master of disguises that lived in a scrap yard in a trailer!

Where is your favorite place to write?

Anywhere where I can see some kind of view; mountains work best but sea or forest is equally good.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I wish and this is why my book is still not yet finished. I try and write a little every day but if I don’t, I don’t beat myself up but go again the next day. Coffee and a piece of chocolate are great motivators!

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

A sense of fun and excitement and anticipating the next book in the series. I think any child that is curious, open to excitement, has a vivid imagination and likes chuckling to themselves whilst reading is my perfect reader.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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Atmosphere Press is a selective hybrid publisher founded in 2015 on the principles of Honesty, Transparency, Professionalism, Kindness, and Making Your Book Awesome. Our books have won dozens of awards and sold tens of thousands of copies. If you’re interested in learning more, or seeking publication for your own work, please explore the links below.