Ana: Today we have Jason Matthews introducing his first novel, The Little Universe. I haven't read this book myself, but Jason was kind enough to agree to guest blog about his book to any readers who might be interested in the subject. Jason, how would you describe your novel to your prospective readers? In broad terms, what is your novel about?
Jason: This is a character driven story that gets into very deep issues in a fun and lighthearted way. The next sentence may scare some, but it's really an easy read. It's an alternative way of thinking about the universe, the creation and evolution of life on this planet as well as others, and our human experiences. Are we all (unknowingly) connected in a bigger picture?
Ana: What themes does your novel explore and what do you hope the reader will take away from the experience? Is there a particular feeling or experience that you hope to evoke in the reader? Essentially, what do you hope your novel will mean to a reader?
Jason: My first hope is that the readers will lose themselves in the story by getting caught up with the incredible series of events the characters experience. My second hope is the readers will reflect on their own amazing lifetimes and how their own experiences fit into the bigger picture. Overall, I hope readers have a lot of fun and pleasant surprises they'll want to share.
Ana: What prompted you to write this novel and did you have a specific inspiration in mind? Were you influenced by a certain author or work that inspired you to add your voice to this genre? Besides the boatloads of money and rockstar fame, what motivated you to write this book?
Jason: This idea came after years of frustration wondering about all the amazing life that must exist on distant planets in the universe. The problem with space is that it's so enormous, beyond comprehension, that our chance of connecting with those planets is very low. What if there was a way to bridge the gap and find a myriad of other worlds? This story solved the problem by creating a miniature self-enclosed universe that can be searched with powerful lenses. Imagine finding planets with life, thousands of them, and all the incredible societies and inventions that might be out there.
Ana: If you could compare your novel to any other existing works, which ones would it be and why? If the one thing you could say to a prospective reader was, "If you like X, you'll love my book!", which work would be invoked so that a reader could judge whether or not your novel is their cup of tea?
Jason: This story is hard to compare; many readers report comments like, "nothing I've read before" and "I usually stay clear of anything resembling sci-fi, but this was really different." Ultimately there are elements that might remind readers of Richard Bach and parts that feel like Carl Sagan since those authors influenced my thoughts on life and the universe. There are also elements Edgar Cayce fans should appreciate, people who enjoy psychic connections and strange wisdom coming from unexpected places.
Ana: Is this your first or only published work, or have you published other novels? If you have published other novels, how do they compare to this one? Do you have any more novels planned, either as a follow-up to this one, or as a completely different novel or genre?
Jason: This was my first novel, and there is also the sequel. I've published five titles, two novels and three how-to guides, which are all available as ebooks and paperbacks. I've also published short stories and two screenplays. The sequel to this story, Jim's Life, was a natural continuation of one of the characters from this story.
Ana: Where can readers obtain a copy of your novel for them to enjoy? How can they contact you with any thoughts or questions? And do you have a means by which they can "sign up" to be notified when your next novel comes available?
Jason: Five of my books are available as both ebooks and paperbacks at major retailers. "The Little Universe" can be found on Amazon in kindle and paperback format, on B&N in nookbook and paperback format, and on the Apple, Smashwords, Kobo, and Sony ebook stores.
I enjoy connecting with readers. Here is my contact and social media: email, website, Google Plus +1, Facebook, and Twitter.
Ana: Thank you, Jason. I understand you have the first chapter of your novel available as an excerpt for interested readers? And is there anything else you wish to add for our readers?
Jason: Yes, the first and other chapters of both The Little Universe and Jim's Life are freely available at my website. Specifically, the introduction and first chapters are here.
Thanks to you, Ana, for the opportunity to guest post today. Thanks to any readers who check out my books. I hope to hear from some of you.