Today I got to interview an amazing (and successful) author, Matt Mikalatos. Geeks, you’re gonna love this guy! Be sure to comment below and let him know.
Brad: Good morning, Matt… thanks for joining me. I’m pumped to spend a few minutes getting to know you and your ministry.
Matt: My pleasure. I’m looking forward to the conversation. I’ve enjoyed reading your website.
Brad: Thank you!… Matt, before we get too far I need to ask you—what are your “qualifications” as a geek?
Matt: Well, I suppose the fact that I was raised on a steady diet of golden age science fiction by my dad. We would watch the “Monster Movie” on Saturdays starting when I was about three. The first movie I remember seeing was “Them!” And he used to get me up at 11 on Friday nights to watch Dr. Who with him. I was geek long before geek was cool. I also worked at a comic book store for three years. So of course I am superior to everyone else who pretends to know things about comic books. 🙂 I also almost got a job working for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But that’s another story.
Brad: Whew. Now I feel like a Geek wannabe. I’m glad we connected! And… say what—?! Buffy? Do tell!
Matt: Oh, it’s not that big a deal. When I was in college one of my professors liked my screen plays and said she was going to suggest getting a job with this new TV show based on a movie. I was excited and asked her what movie and she said “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and I started laughing and said that was the worst movie of all time. Which offended her, so she decided not to pass my name along… I always tell my wife that it’s probably for the best because if I had written for Buffy I’d probably be married to Sarah Michelle Gellar now.
Brad: Ha! Good advice… and I’m happy for your wife. Now: You obviously have a vivid imagination. How does that factor into your faith in Christ?
Matt: Christian culture is hopefully coming out of a cycle where we think that imagination is evil. We spend a lot of time talking about the negative effects of imagination. But the way I figure it, the imagination is something that God created in us, and it can be made holy in the same way any other part of us can be. For me, my imagination really helps me to understand scripture better (for instance, imagining how different people felt as they heard Jesus’s teachings). It’s also helpful in trying to make associations between every day life and spiritual things.
Brad: Wow, are we ever on the same page. Your writing is highly imaginative, and also seems to lean pretty heavily into geekdom: Night of the Living Dead Christian, and The Sword of Six Worlds in particular. Who are you writing for?
Matt: “Night” was an excuse to use a lot of things I love (the traditional movie monsters) to talk about spiritual transformation. Since monster mythology is largely grounded in our fears about human nature, it’s a great place to explore human nature. Obviously, the big one I’m dealing with in Night is, “Why am I not able to control myself? Why do I keep doing what I don’t want to do?” which is a natrual fit for the werewolf. My audience for Night and my first book, “My Imaginary Jesus” is definitely people who want to talk about spiritual things and grow in their understanding of theology but would like to do it in a fun and engaging way. They’re comedy novels. I always say, “Imagine Stephen Colbert doing theology.” Theology is the study of God — the most interesting person in the universe — so talking about him should be interesting, too.
Matt: With Sword, my daughters didn’t like the Narnia books as much as I wanted them to (I probably introduced them too soon) and they were always asking, “Why don’t you write a book for us?” I wouldn’t allow them to read my other books at first. So I wanted to write a more modern take on the spiritual fantasy, with a more subtle spiritual bent to them than Narnia. In other words, no Jesus lion. But the book still deals with questions of compassion, courage, doing the right thing and listening to the Holy Spirit. At the same time it’s a book you could hand to literally anyone without offending them or making them feel like you’re trying to convert them. Even if you are trying to convert them, ha ha ha.
Brad: I totally agree… Now, for a really important question: If you could choose one superpower, what would it be and why?
Matt: Man. Now you’re asking the hard questions. I think teleporting. I’d like to be able to go grab lunch in China, or visit any of my friends whenever I feel like it. I’ve travelled a lot overseas so I have friends all over. Also I could never get locked out of my house. How about you?
Brad: I think flying. Which is good because then you could teleport to a cool spot and I could join you there in an hour or two. Whadd’ya say, Brussels for coffee, tomorrow at nine?
Matt: That would be awesome. Also, we could start a super team. We just need a good name.
Brad: Totally. Avengers is taken though. Giant green guy defending copyright on that one.
Matt: I don’t know if I have anything good to avenge, either.
Brad: Bummer. Hey, as we close, could you tell us about your websites/ministry so we can connect with you online? I’ve enjoyed hanging out with you and I’m sure some of my readers will want to check you out. Your stuff, I mean.
Matt: Sure! Here’s my blog, which is just where I hang out and post things I think are funny or whatever. It’s purely self-indulgent. None of the excellent spiritual content you might expect given my books. 🙂 Http://www.mikalatos.com. http://www.sixworlds.com has a bit of information about Sword of Six Worlds particularly. I’m on Twitter if you want to know the minutiae of my daily life: @mattmikalatos. And facebook, too, which is where Brad and I first hung out.
Brad: Excellent. Well Matt, thank you so much for your time and your ministry. Great to know there are committed Christ followers out there who are using their geekhood to help others connect with the transformational power of Jesus.
Matt: Thanks, Brad. I enjoyed hanging out. For all of you out there, I love connecting with people, so feel free to give me a shout. Brad, keep up the great work. Live long and prosper.
Okay, geeks! Send Matt Mikalatos some love! Comment below…