LEOMINSTER — City native and prolific author Matt Serafini recently had his eighth novel published, a 212-page fiction page turner that delves into the dark world of vigilante Leo Holland titled “Graffiti Tombs.”
“If you had to put ‘Graffiti Tombs’ into a category, you would call it a haunted house story, as I haven’t done one of those yet, but inspiration-wise it’s a pretty distinct combination of my interests: revenge cinema of the 70s and 80s, bold and bloody Italian horror, and the hallucinatory fiction of writers like Bret Easton Ellis, Kathe Koja, and Brian Evenson,” Serafini said of the idea behind the plot of his latest offering.
Serafini, who is also a screenwriter, grew up in Leominster and got his “entire education in Central Mass.” He attended St. Anna School, graduated from Leominster High School, and earned a degree at Fitchburg State University while working full time at Market Basket on Sack Boulevard.
He moved up to New Hampshire several years ago but still has a lot of family and friends in Leominster.
“I’m back there all the time,” Serafini shared. “I’ll always love the Plastic City.”
He said with each of his books he’s “always looking to do something a bit differently than what I’ve done before,” and he nailed that ambition with “Graffiti Tombs.”
The book’s description states that the main character, Holland, tracks the source of a new street drug to the decrepit tower in the heart of Times Square. There among the graffiti-laden corridors, he discovers a world of sinister phenomena. Malevolent spirits haunt hotel rooms. Hidden floors reveal forgotten tragedies. A strange figure with a straight razor prowls the halls. Now, with the help of a young social worker, Holland must find a way to escape the supernatural engine that powers the city’s most haunted building. Or lose his soul trying.
Serafini said he’s been writing for about 15 years now and that “somewhere along the way I trained myself to write a little bit each day.”
“It’s just something I have to do at this point and if I don’t, I feel very unfocused and off for the rest of the day,” he said. “I work in my office, usually with music cranked, whatever best captures the spirit of my current project, just trying to move the ball forward a little with each session.”
His writing style has been described as “stylish, blood-soaked prose” and previous books include “Under the Blade” and “Scared to Death.” When asked what he enjoys most about the writing process and what are some of the challenges that come along with it, Serafini put into words how he feels.
“The most gratifying part of writing is when your project starts to take shape,” he said. “No book comes easily into existence and it’s often a struggle to find what it is you’re actually trying to say. Sometimes you begin with nothing more than a concept, or a feeling, but as you write and edit, you discover what that thing actually is. When that happens, it’s truly fascinating and rewarding.”
When it comes to shaping the subjects and characters for his books the author said he “always use my interests as a jumping off point.”
“But beyond that, each book always begins with the characters. Who are they? What are they saying about the world around us?” Serafini said. “In this book, which is set in New York City in the early 80s, we’re talking about a school teacher turned vigilante and the swirl of conflict and contradictions within him that actually define the human experience.”
The response to his books has been nothing short of positive, from his own village and beyond.
“I’m grateful to have a circle of supportive people, from longtime friends and family to other authors and filmmakers,” Serafini said. “It’s invaluable to have people to bounce ideas off. You can’t grow without that kind of support and feedback.”
He went on to say that the reaction to “Graffiti Tombs” from his hometown community “has been fantastic.”
“For some reason I never thought to advertise myself locally, but I decided to try that this time and I’ve had a steady stream of people contacting me through my website looking to buy signed books.”
He also appreciates the support that comes in the form of readership, which Serafini said is “invaluable.”
“I’m grateful to everybody who buys my books because, without them, I don’t get to keep doing this,” he stated. “In my personal life, support is even more important. As with many professions, being a writer means isolating yourself from everyone that you love for at least a chunk of each day. With deadlines sometimes that means nights and weekends, too. You never really turn it off. And like all professionals who keep fluid hours, it’s always easier if you have a supportive partner. My wife has never been anything but 100% supportive and understanding and I am grateful for that.”
Fans can purchase his books in print or digital wherever books are sold, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and Serafini encourages readers to request that local booksellers “stock my books.”