Title: The Forest Beyond the Earth
Author: Matthew S Cox
Genre: Young Adult, Post-Apocalyptic
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Under the watchful eye of the Mother Shrine, twelve-year-old Wisp ekes out a simple, but challenging life with Dad, foraging for food and losing herself in old books from the world that came before. She loves the Endless Forest ― except when the Tree Walkers come for her.
In ages past, the great rain of fire and ash destroyed the Earth, wiping out the ancients and everything they had made. Nature has reclaimed much since then, spreading out in a vast forest full of wonder and dread. Ever in fear of being taken away, she follows Dad’s rules without question while learning to survive off the land.
No longer a small child, she accompanies Dad on one of his treks, her first time more than a few steps away from the cabin. A day exploring with him is the happiest time of her life, but joy is short-lived.
A monster follows them home.
Safe in her Haven, she hides while Dad goes outside to confront the beast. She wakes alone the next morning, and waits. Alas, her hope of his return fades with the daylight. Desperate, she breaks his strictest rule and goes outside alone. Not far from the cabin, she discovers his rifle abandoned next to the monster’s strange footprints.
Afraid but determined, Wisp sets off on her own into the Endless Forest to find Dad ― before the Tree Walkers catch her.
What is the biggest influence/interest that brought you to this genre?
I’ve had a fondness for the post-apocalyptic genre ever since I was maybe eleven years old and got my hands on a computer game: Wasteland. Obviously, being around 1984, the graphics were quite crude, but the game included a paragraph book that essentially made it a combination of a novella with a game. Something about that setting clicked with me and I’ve been a fan of the post-apoc genre ever since.
When writing a book, what is your favorite part of the creative process(outline, plot, character names, editing, etc)?
Hmm. I’d have to say the editing phase. During the initial draft, I have this annoying drive to finish the book. Like every waking minute simply must go toward finishing that manuscript. During the edit, that pressure is gone and I find going back over already-written stuff to be more fun.
When reading a book, what genre do you find most interesting/intriguing?
I love cyberpunk, science fiction, and post apocalyptic stories the most. I’m not the biggest fan of zombies though. And, any story with child characters being killed is one I avoid.
If you could co-author with any author, past or present, who would you choose?
Either William Gibson, Philip K. Dick, or J.R.R. Tolkien. (Though I have a feeling being a co-author with Tolkien would be a maddening endeavor.)
Have you always wanted to write or did it come to you "later in life"?
The most accurate response to this I think is that I always wanted to write but it took me quite a few years to realize it. An urge to create has always been present, and it took several different outlets on the way until I finally decided to try writing seriously in my late thirties. If I regret anything, it’s not doing this twenty years sooner. (Of course, twenty years ago, it was quite a bit more difficult to get books out there so perhaps things came together as they should have. Who knows?)
Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.
Hobbies and Interests:
Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it.
He is also fond of cats.