Matthew Dunn: Signs copies of his latest book during the Arts and Crafts Festival this weekend. MICHAEL DAVIS PHOTO.
Visit with Dunn yourself when he makes an appearance at this year’s Syracuse Arts and Crafts Festival, signing copies of Erased, along with his other novels, including The Good Silver,
involving the history of the utopian Oneida Community. Growing up in
Sherrill, where the polygamist “free-love” society formed in 1848, Dunn
was highly educated on the group from the stories he often heard to the
piles of books on them his family had collected.
Based on the old saying, “you write what
you know,” Dunn concocted a modern-day murder mystery occurring in the
Oneida Community Mansion House. The National Historic Landmark,
formerly the residence of the community, is now a museum open to the
public for visits and overnight stays. Throughout the novel, the reader
is not only entertained by the mystery, but educated on the history of
the Oneida Community, whose industry eventually became the
silversmithing business Oneida Ltd.
However, Dunn wasn’t always the thriller
writer he is today. He began as a fraud investigator, eventually
establishing a business as an accountant until one day when he was
asked to write an article on the new millennium for The Central New York Business Journal in Syracuse, where he now resides. That was the spark Dunn needed to ignite his dream.
“I always had fiction ideas in my head;
there was always an interest,” he says. Dunn then became serious about
professional writing, and committed himself to writing every day, even
reading two books per week to help hone the craft. After several drafts
and some help from a friend, Dunn was ready to conquer the literary
world. However, there was one small problem: no publishers were biting.
“You get more negative than positive feedback,” admits Dunn, but he
claims the key is to be persistent and develop thick skin.
Instead of throwing in the towel, Dunn
began self-publishing, although he’s still hopeful that a major
publisher will sign him. Being a self-publisher comes with positives
and negatives. On the one hand, he says, there is no editor chasing him
down about deadlines. “I have full power over my creativity.” However,
a lack of representation also results in a lack of publicity and
promotion, Dunn explains, making it difficult to sell books.
Dunn’s novels may be more challenging to
sell, but certainly not to achieve acclaim. In addition to the IPPY
award, Dunn was accepted into the International Thriller Writers
Organization as their first self-published author; it’s an organization
that includes some of the best and biggest names in the genre such as
Sandra Brown and James Patterson. Knowing the organization only took
authors from a certain list of publishers, Dunn was aware of the
obstacle ahead of him, but forged ahead anyway. Eventually, the ITWO
allowed him to submit a book. The group liked Erased so much that he was accepted into the prestigious group despite the usual protocol.
Dunn will be appearing, Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Syracuse
University book fair tent at East Jefferson and Montgomery streets. For
more information on the author, visit www.matthewdunn.net; for
information on the Syracuse Arts & Crafts Festival, call the
Downtown Committee of Syracuse, 422-8284.