Interview with Author Anne Mattias

Anne Mattias

I am thrilled to have interviewed author Anne Mattias, who shared with us details of her writing life, her book ‘Kingsrise‘, which was released on 2nd April 2023, and answered a few fun questions. This post contains affiliate links.

Anne Mattias

Anne Mattias is a British author, who loves books, films, plays, and cats (oh, and also cake – lots and lots of cake!). She tried writing her very first novel at the age of eight, but the draft was sucked into another world when a portal opened in her great-grandmother’s haunted cellar.

These days, when she isn’t making stuff up, she also enjoys running, swimming, laughing at eighties movies with her brother, and catching the latest musical theatre shows.

interview picture 2023


1) Where did the inspiration for your book come from?

My initial idea was this: a body (or what appears to be a dead body) is discovered on a lakeshore. A criminal investigation is launched. The young detective inspector investigating the case soon realises that she has stumbled upon something that seemed impossible: the return of King Arthur. I don’t remember where the idea came from, but once I’d had it, I knew that was the story I wanted to tell.

I’m pretty sure the BBC’s Merlin – which I love to this day – had something to do with it. But then, I’ve always loved King Arthur stories, ever since I first watched Disney’s The Sword in the Stone as a child. (I think it’s one of the greatest Disney films of all time! Mad Madam Mim is my spirit animal).

Later, I read The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, which I loved. ​ T.H. White’s The Once and Future King is one of those books I’ve read more than once. The way in which White describes Mordred’s slow descent into madness is something I will always remember. The Idylls of the Queen by Phyllis Ann Karr, a murder mystery set in Arthurian times, is another one of my favourites.

While I was studying English literature at university, we read some of the old Middle English texts about King Arthur and his knights and I loved them. The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle is hilarious. I’ve got many more Arthurian texts up on my shelf for reference, too.

Unfortunately, I haven’t recently come across many Arthurian retellings that I enjoyed. Even with the ones I do enjoy, I find it somewhat annoying that a lot of the time, the same characters are cast as the villains – which they are, according to the classic texts. For some reason, I hold a torch for some of them, though, so there has always been a part of me that wanted to play around with these characters, stories, and tropes and see what I could do with them.

Apart from that, my inspiration comes from all sorts of places, and often it’s not for a whole book, but for certain elements of a story. For example, I read a lot about the history of lidos in the UK recently (which is a lot more fascinating than it sounds), and that inspired one of the locations in my next book, which is the sequel to Kingsrise.

2) How did you plan out the plot?

I like to plan some things out in advance, just to make sure I know where I am going with them, but I also find that, very often, plots can take surprising turns. Kingsrise is quite different from earlier versions, even though I wrote much of the plot down in advance. I do this either by hand on random pieces of paper (because, unlike pages in a notebook, you can move loose pages around) or on my computer (copy-paste is great for moving things around, too!)

More recently, as I was planning the sequel to Kingsrise, I stuck loads of post-it notes on the back of my bedroom door to keep track of the stories, plots, and subplots that make up individual instalments, as well as the whole series.​

I tend to plan my plots out in a linear, chronological way, as I then find it easier to write everything down scene by scene.

No matter how well I plan ahead, though, things will still veer off course on a regular basis, as I tend to realise only while I’m writing that some things work better if I do them differently. I’m sure a lot of authors can relate to this; writing fiction is always a bit of a journey, and this is a good thing. I think it shows that your characters and the world they live in are alive to you.

3) When did you choose the title for your book?

The title was one of the last things I came up with. I think it had at least two different titles before. Choosing titles is hard, at least for me. There’s so much to take into consideration; the title needs to sound good, it needs to fit the story and plot, it needs to grab a reader’s attention, and so on. And of course, it can’t be something that’s already out there, which – when your work is inspired by the Arthurian legends – is harder than it sounds.

With my recent novel, Kingsrise, the title plays on the return of King Arthur, but it’s also the name of one of the locations that are pivotal to the plot. I like that I managed to keep it to a single word; I hope it’s more memorable that way. So, while it’s been a challenge to come up with, I’m pretty happy with it now.

4) How did you come up with the names for your characters?

I usually come up with the names for my characters in many different ways; I wouldn’t say I have a go-to process for choosing them. I’ve always quite enjoyed the idea of telling names, and I’ve used that in the past. A lot of the names in Kingsrise play on names from the Arthurian legends. Some characters have been taken directly out of stories about King Arthur, and I’ve kept their original names, but many other characters also have first or last names that more or less obviously allude to the Arthurian legends (readers: how many knights of the Round Table can you spot?) Other names I chose simply because I liked the sound of them, or because I came across them somewhere and they got stuck in my head. For example, there’s a character in Kingsrise called Ashley Kaye. I chose his first name after I saw a play where the lead actors were called Ashley and Ashleigh (not the characters, mind you, but the actors). I thought that was funny, so I used the name in my book.

Then there are names that I chose to reveal something about the characters – where they come from, their family history, their ethnicity, or whether they are likeable or a bit obnoxious. It always depends on whether there’s something specific I’m trying to do or say. If there isn’t, it may be a name I read in the paper that day.

5) Can you give us a hint to any sections that you removed?

There’s always stuff in the first and subsequent drafts that gets removed in various edits. With Kingsrise, the plot and structure were quite different at first, and some of the subplots had additional scenes. Those ended up being cut because they weren’t strictly needed and the book was too long (some argue it still is), or because I realised that cutting them and restructuring the main plot actually worked better. Sometimes, cutting sections allowed me to hold back revelations until later.

I also have quite a few scenes lying around on my laptop that were never in the book in the first place, and which I wrote simply for background. For example, I wrote all the murders that my main character investigates as actual scenes to make sure I understood what the crime scenes would look like. Putting them in the book would have given the game away, though, so they were never meant to go in. I like having additional or cut material; more often than not, I end up using it later on.

6) What made you choose this genre?

Mainly, I think urban fantasy was just a natural fit for my idea of King Arthur’s return to the present day. At the same time, it’s also a genre I enjoy reading myself. I’m a big fan of V.E. Schwab’s work and I really enjoyed Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London. I also love C.K. McDonnell’s Stranger Times series. So, given the books I enjoy reading, it’s probably no surprise that I ended up writing in a similar genre.

However, there are elements of the book that belong in genres that I didn’t consciously choose. Kingsrise has been described as a mix of police procedural, Arthurian fantasy, and urban horror. Which is completely true, although horror wasn’t a genre I was aiming for, or particularly conscious of writing. And lot of it is pretty straightforward police procedural stuff, too, which I enjoy both as a reader and as a voracious consumer of TV drama. So, I guess, my book is a bit of a mash-up of the genres I enjoy.

7) How long did it take you to complete your book?

It took me about five to six years, I think. I can’t remember the exact date when I first started writing Kingsrise, but I have this very vivid memory of going on a work trip in October 2017 and a colleague asking me, what was the one thing in life that I really wanted to do. My immediate answer was: “Write a novel and publish it.” I’d been wanting to do that for a long time (I’ve got a lot of unpublished work lying around to show for it, too), but life kept getting in the way. And then, when my colleague asked me that question, I didn’t even have to think about the answer, which was a powerful reminder of this ambition I had lost sight of. So, then I decided to give it another go, and it took me five or six years. However, I can’t say how far the initial idea for Kingsrise goes back; I’m pretty sure that’s been around for longer.

8) Can you describe your book in three words?

Murder, myth, Merlin.

9) What’s the hardest part of being a writer?

For me, it’s sitting down and getting started. I’m an incurable procrastinator when it comes to writing. In every other area of my life, I like to tackle things head-on and get them over with. When it comes to writing, I tend to do the opposite. I don’t just mean the initial few words of a new book or the ‘horror of the blank page’ kind of experience that many authors describe (although I find that daunting too). I struggle to sit down and start writing every single day. I’m not sure why it costs me that much effort – especially because once I get going it’s usually fine – but I always struggle to get started, even if I have a very clear scene in mind that I want to write. I don’t know why it scares me, but it does. Then again, I’ve heard other authors say they enjoy editing a lot more than writing the first draft, so I think I’m maybe not alone in finding the writing process a bit of a pain sometimes.

10) Why should our readers pick your book up?

To quote one of the reviews for Kingsrise: “How can you read that blurb and *not* want to read this?” (Psst, readers: check out the blurb!)

If you’re like me, and you’ve been waiting for King Arthur to return, then have a look at Kingsrise 😊

On a more serious note, one of the aspects of the story that is most important to me – and which readers have also picked up on – is the relationship between my main character, Niamh, and her brother, Lance. To me, it’s one of the key elements of the book and one of the things that I like best about it. Readers have remarked on this as well, which I’ve found very encouraging. It clearly isn’t just something that stands out to me, but to others, too.

So, if you like stories in which the main relationship is between siblings, rather than a love interest (although it has that, too), and if you like fantasy set in rural England, police procedurals, the Arthurian legends, a bit of horror, myth, and magic, then do have a look; I think you’ll find something to enjoy.

Kingsrise by Anne Mattias


Author – Anne Mattias
Release Date – 2nd April 2023
Pages – 562
ISBN 13 – 978-3982518633
Format – ebook, Paperback


A sleepy town on the west coast of England. Nothing really happens here. Until now…

Two stabbings. The victims: a man named Arthur and a mysterious knight. Detective Inspector Niamh Khalid finds herself drawn into a world of myth, magic, and betrayal. Can she solve an impossible case and keep her brother safe?

Things aren’t looking too great for DI Niamh Khalid. Her brother Lance has been arrested, her superior officer is breathing down her neck, and she is investigating an attempted murder, with no suspects and no clues to the identity of the victim.

Then, Lance and his friends discover another dead body: a young man, dressed as a knight.

Soon, a series of terrifying incidents threaten to derail Niamh’s investigation. Lance is clearly hiding something, and Niamh’s journalist ex-fiancé is back in her life, asking awkward questions.

When criminal barrister Merlin Rhys seeks her out with a stunning revelation, Niamh begins to appreciate just how strange and frightening a mystery she and Lance have become involved in.

Can myth and magic be real? Can they help Niamh solve her case, and save both her brother and her world?

A gripping urban fantasy mystery by British novelist Anne Mattias, Kingsrise is perfect for fans of Rivers of London and women detectives.

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Fun Questions

Talking Owl Interview Pic 2023

1) Do you have a writing buddy (i.e. a pet)?

I have two feline co-authors. Just now, one of them is curled up next to my feet, while the other is exploring the garden. They can be both very supportive and very harsh critics. Here is a picture of them monitoring my progress:

Anne Mattias Writing Buddies

2) Do you have any writing quirks?

I wouldn’t say that I have a particular quirk or ritual (maybe I should develop one; it might help me get started every day?) What I have noticed is that I prefer different ways of writing things down on different days.

Some days, I just use my phone (although it makes my thumbs hurt). On other days, I need to sit at my desk with my laptop and shut the door to my study to be able to concentrate. Sometimes, I will go through whole periods when I write things down by hand (and then have to type it up later, so I end up doing twice the amount of work – duh). I have no idea why this happens, but it helps me to start writing, so I usually go with my gut on this.

3) Where do you write?

It depends. I wrote a lot of Kingsrise on my phone during my daily commute, mostly because being on a train gave me an hour of uninterrupted writing time (unless the train was packed). I do have a desk, but I don’t sit there any more often than I do in the kitchen or the living room. It very much depends on my mood.

4) Your book has been made into a movie, you’ve been offered a cameo role, what will you be doing?

There’s a scene in Kingsrise when two of the characters are having fish and chips by the sea one evening and a jogger runs past. I’ll be that jogger.

5) A talking owl has just finished reading your book, what’s the first thing he says to you?

‘That was a hoot! Where’s the next one?’

Author Links:

A big thank you to Anne Mattias for sharing her writing life with us and for a wonderful interview.

The above links are affiliate links. I receive a very small percentage from each item you purchase via these link, which is at no extra cost to you. If you are thinking about purchasing the book, please think about using one of the links above. Thank you.

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