interview by Joe Vaz

From Issue 12 (August 2011)


What does the M stand for?

The M, is actually for Matthew. Years ago, when I was in college. I worked at the campus radio station and the music director dubbed me with my writing name: M. Scott. It stuck and I’ve used it since.


Where is home?

Home is the central part of Oklahoma in the United States. We call it the land of red dirt.


How did Bayside come about?

Bayside came about as the result of a class assignment at the University of Oklahoma. I’d returned there to complete my masters degree (still working on it) in creative writing. One of my assignments was to write a horror story. Oklahoma prides itself on being a very religious state and, on more than one occasion, I’ve had church leaders and others tell me how “evil just waits for good people to come along then strikes.”

It was that idea, plus a deep love of trees, that helped spawn Bayside.


There is a great scope to the town and characters? How hard was it to piece the story together and to flesh out the histories?

The story took a little while to plot. I knew the direction I wanted to go and I had a pretty good idea who some of the main characters would be, but it wasn’t until I started writing that all the characters were formed.


Your characters feel really developed, how do you go about creating such realistic characters?

I’ve worked as a newspaper reporter for more than 30 years (I got my first newspaper job at the age of 13, today I’m 48). In that time I’ve met thousands of unique and interesting people. The characters from Bayside are drawn from those people. Neil the newspaper editor is based on a good friend of mine who operated a small newspaper for years.

Pete Jacobs is based on a policeman I knew in Stillwater, Oklahoma. (Home of Oklahoma State University), as are other characters. I’ve spent so many years writing about those people that they stay in my head waiting to show up in another story. I try to channel those people in my fiction. But that’s where my characters come from, the people I interact with as a newspaper reporter.


What writers inspire you?

I love King’s early stuff. Deep, well written and spooky. I also love Edgar Allen Poe for the dark, menacing undertones in his work and Arthur Conan Doyle for the unique way he killed people off.


You have YA Novel coming out in October. Tell us about it.

My YA novel is called Stealing Kevin’s Heart and it’s a love story (with a hint of the supernatural) about two boys who have been friends since childhood. One of the boys is killed in a motorcycle wreck and the other is blamed for the death. The book is in first person, from the viewpoint of the accused friend. He ends up being sent to a treatment center for troubled youths and finally comes to terms with his friend’s death. But it takes a collection of bizarre friends and a girl with a huge secret to bring the story full circle.

The book is being published by The RoadRunner Press of Ponca City, Oklahoma. It’s set to be released in October.


Are you working on anything right now?

Yes, I’m working on a third YA novel about a girl who accidentally clones 19-year-old Ludwig Van Beethoven. I also working on several new horror stories.


Where can we find more of your work?

Readers can find out more about my novel at Or if they want to read essays (and the occasional short story) they can visit my blog at



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Joe Vaz

Joe Vaz is the founder and editor of Something Wicked, which occasionally affords him the honour and good fortune to hang out with really cool people.
In his other life he is a film and television actor who gets small parts in big movies, most recently in Dredd 3D, due to be released in September 2012.

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