ECCC Coverage, Final: Interview with Matt Mcelroy
by Aisha Black
Hi, everyone! This is the last of my ECCC coverage, the part I was most excited about, a talk with Matt Mcelroy, of Onyx Path Publishing.
We’re planning to rope him into a show interview later, so for now I’ll just post up my notes from the interview:
- CWOD Ghost Hunters is his baby. He pitched it a year and a half ago, when he realized that Onyx hadn’t published any non-gameline-specific expansions for White Wolf.
- Ghost Hunters make really good contacts and adversaries and annoyances for vampires, and mages…
- Hunters doesn’t mean hunters as in Bloodborne or Van Helsing, it’s more like investigators.
- We’re in the second draft, where writers have turned everything in and Matt’s tweaking a lot of things, getting the voice right throughout the book, before sending it all off for editing.
- A lot of inspiration from X-files and Ghost Hunters, the TV shows like that.
- Matt tried hard to make it an international ghost book, with writers around the world exploring what ghosts and investigators look like in other cultures.
I know some people will be interested in how the whole thing of getting a book out there works. So I asked a little bit about it.
The process: (as explained to me)
1. Matt gathers up a basic project concept and pitches it to Rich.
2. Rich pitches it to White Wolf and handles that department of things.
3. Once the go-ahead is given, Matt picked up a bunch of writers and freelancers with experience, including actual ghost hunters
4. Matt hammers out an outline. None of the ghost hunters mysteriously vanished right after telling secrets, so I assume they didn’t tell us anything that could end the world.
- Pre-publishing, Matt plans to send the book around to a few more ghost hunters and see what they think
- New character types and how they’ll interact is featured, including corporate entities focused on investigations
- He’s avoiding covering the same material other books have already covered.
- Look forward to some spooky stories within the book – I won’t reveal the one I was told, but it’s really really good.
- Everyone needs to ask Matt for more, so he makes blog posts about the things that didn’t make it into the book.
Next I asked him a few questions I know people wanted.
“How did you, say, break into the industry?” “I was really annoying.” I couldn’t suppress a laugh.
“Follow Submission Guidelines. Not enough people do… That would be my #1 piece of advice.”
“The first two projects I was hired on for never came out. But it taught me a lot.”
“What’s your favorite setting?” “What’s my favorite setting? My answer will probably change tomorrow, but right now, Orpheus.”
He went on to talk about the skills he’d developed, even on projects that didn’t see the light of day.
Matt has two regular gaming groups, one in person and one on roll20. He games a lot at conventions, a little bit of everything, a lot of playtesting.