Matt Cost, the New Kid on the Block

Hello all, Matt Cost here. I’m the new kid on the block and am going to start off my introduction with a confession. I’m not actually a Mainer. I did not move here until I was eight years old. That was also the year that I decided I wanted to be a writer. Coincidence? I think not. There’s something about this state of ours that creates, molds, and develops authors. Even up in mill town Madison, Maine, where I grew up.

The natural artistry of Maine was aided by the Hardy Boys in my decision to become a writer at age eight. Along with Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, and the Great Brain. These early mysteries would be replaced for a time by the westerns of Louis L’Amour, which were little more than PI stories set in the west. The protagonist rides into town, becomes enmeshed in local wrongdoing, and fixes the situation. Think Jack Reacher.

But then I became a history major at Trinity College and one particular professor got me excited to write about the past. For the first time I realized that history was really the greatest story ever told. I decided to give a try at historical fiction and chose as my topic the charismatic Fidel Castro and the time of the Cuban Revolution of 1953-1959. I finished a first draft of this novel in 1990, my first year out of college, and immediately realized three things. I was a terrible writer, I needed to do more research, and I needed to visit Cuba to write more sincerely about that island nation.

In the meantime, I had to make a living, especially when the kids started popping up, so I opened a video store. And then a health club. And, perhaps the reason I’m now a blogger for Maine Crime Writers, a mystery bookshop, The Coffee Dog Bookstore. During those years, I wrote a couple of mysteries about a PI who also owned this very same business, as well the namesake Coffee Dog. The bones were good, but my craft still needed work.

In 2015 I wrote a historical about Joshua Chamberlain. I thought this was pretty good, but I was unable to find a publisher, so I self-published it. The following year, I got the opportunity visit Cuba and follow the revolutionary war trail of Fidel and his band of bearded guerrillas. This allowed me to return and rewrite that novel, originally written some twenty-five years earlier. And in March of 2021, Encircle Publications, published it, right at the start of a pandemic.

Between finishing that novel and the publication of it, I was attending various writing conferences, mostly historical in nature. I did not feel like I fit in. And then I attended Crime Wave in Portland and my life changed. I’d met my people. My tribe. This was confirmed by going to ThrillerFest in New York City and then Crime Bake outside of Boston.

Trapped at home along with most of the rest of the world, I got down to the brass tacks of writing. Every day, all day. I rewrote those early Mainely Mysteries, based in Brunswick, with a PI who also owned a mystery bookstore. The first one, Mainely Power, was recommended by Gerry Boyle and selected by the Maine Humanities Council as the Read ME fiction book of the year. The fourth one, Mainely Angst, is due out in January of 2022.

Looking for some variety, I began a new series as well, about a fictional coastal Maine town named Port Essex. Clay Wolfe is a former Boston homicide detective returned to his hometown. He sets out his PI shingle while taking care of his elderly grandpops. Wolfe Trap and Mind Trap have been published, while Mouse Trap and Cosmic Trap are due out next year.

I am still a lover of the past, though, so I penned a historical novel about the fight for social equality in New Orleans after the Civil War. Love in a Time of Hate also involves the hunt for a serial killer, Voodoo, politics, street fighting, and racial unrest. It is a powerful book that in many ways mirrors what is going on today in our country.

My latest work in progress, of which I just finished the first draft of on Thanksgiving day, blends my love of histories and mysteries. Eight Ballo is a PI in 1923 Brooklyn who is given the case of finding a missing young lady. This is also due out in 2022.

That is me. Not a true Mainer, but forty-six years toward that goal, with children who were indeed born here. I’ve owned local businesses, taught history at the junior high in Brunswick, and have coached just about every sport imaginable at one level or another. And now I write.

My website is:

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14 Responses to Matt Cost, the New Kid on the Block

  1. kaitlynkathy says:

    Welcome, Matt.

  2. Welcome, Matt! I am so pleased that you’ve joined us!

  3. Ayuh, had a good time with Matt at this year’s Crime Bake. I also had a checkered career and a long path to publication. Currently reading his book on Chamberlain- the guy can write! Will move on to his other stuff when finished.

  4. John Clark says:

    Welcome to the tribe, very glad to have you join us.

  5. kaitcarson says:

    Welcome Matt, looking forward to getting to know you better and reading more blogs!

  6. susanvaughan says:

    Quite the journey to find your voice and tribe! Welcome, Matt!

  7. Rosemary says:

    Hi Matt – I live in Florida, but read these posts every day and am keeping a running list of new authors and books to try. You are now on my “research to read” list.

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