Interview with writer Matt Bloom

Book cover for salt of the nationWriter Matt Bloom joins me today to chat about his literary fiction, Salt of the Nation.

Matt Bloom is an anti-money laundering investigator who lives in New York City with his wife, Shelley Simmons-Bloom, and their cat, Bunny. His three previous novels are Blue Paradise (1998), A Death in the Hamptons (2002), and The Last Romantic (2005). His children’s books are Hello, My Name is Bunny! (2016) and Hello, My Name is Bunny! London (2018)

Please tell us about your current release.
Briefly, Salt of the Nation is the story of an ordinary man on an extraordinary journey; a disillusioned gravel plant worker who impulsively slugs a presidential nominee during a campaign photo-op and instantly becomes America’s most famous fugitive and newest hero.

Harry’s vicious punch is caught on camera and immediately goes viral as he flees the scene of his crime and heads for Mexico. While being pursued across the country by a zealous born again private investigator, Harry is taunted via the airwaves by Grover Budd, a hyperbolic talk show radio host who doggedly portrays Harry as a subversive agent of the “socialist” Democratic Party.

Salt of the Nation is more than a road story; it’s a novel about a land riven by broken promises, thwarted dreams, and populism gone awry. It’s the story of a contemporary America equally divided and galvanized by an ordinary man’s rash act and desperate journey.

What inspired you to write this book?
The current political and social climate in America is what inspired me to write the novel. Although the germ of the idea actually came to me years before I started writing it. I was at a black-tie party in Manhattan. I’m not sure what I was doing there or how I’d been invited. But, as I stood on one side of the room, I noticed on the other side a highly revered, but also highly reviled elder statesman. And I thought, I could go right over and punch that man out. Nobody could stop me. Of course, I didn’t punch the elder statesman and I don’t advocate anyone ever doing anything like that, but Salt of the Nation flows from my musing about what would happen if someone did.

Excerpt from Salt of the Nation:
Harry killed the radio and eased out of the spot. He drove slowly through the parking lot, past Best Buy and Appleby’s and Home Depot, their familiarity stark reminders of the unfamiliar turn his life had taken. He braked at the mall exit, and while waiting for the light he considered heeding Grace’s advice; heading north to Hackettstown and surrendering to the authorities. He instead turned south when red went green, determined to drive all night without stopping, fast beyond reach of the nation and the long, grasping fingers of his own sorrow and fear.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on a novel about some American expats on an island off the Mexican coast. It’s a commentary on what’s going on in America today as much as Salt of the Nation is.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In the summer of 1989. I was bartending out in Montauk, Long Island, and living in a tiny yellow cabin by the beach. I woke one night with the notion of being a fiction writer in my head. It’s never left me, and I’m eternally thankful for that.

Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I’m an anti-money laundering investigator during the day. That’s what pays the bills for now. It’s a pretty intense and time-consuming job, so I get up extra early to do my writing.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Nothing really comes to mind. I’m pretty boring in that respect. I just do it every day, anywhere I happen to be.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Certainly not a writer! I actually didn’t have a clue what I wanted to be, which is probably why I became an author. Certainly the experiences I’ve had and the places I’ve lived over the years have fed my imagination. Over the years I’ve lived in basement apartments, run-down hotels, friends’ living rooms, and apartment shares. I’ve called Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Jersey City, Upstate New York, Ohio, and even Australia and Mexico home. I’ve had every type of job: bartending, driving trucks, being a less than handy handyman and, finally, an anti-money laundering investigator all paid the bills. Although not directly, my experiences and the people I have met along the way have influenced my writing.  The beauty of writing is that it allows you to be just about anything and go just about anywhere.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I’d like readers to know that each and every honest review is one that an author truly values. Taking the time to write a review provides an author with incredible insight into how their story and characters resonate with that reader. It feels good to know that someone cares enough to share their thoughts with others. I guess this is my roundabout way of saying if you read my book and enjoy it, please think leave a review on Goodreads, Amazon or my Facebook page (@mattbloomauthor)

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