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Matt & Harrison Query: On a Story’s Evolution

Matt & Harrison Query discuss the short story origins that led to their new horror novel, Old Country.

Harrison Query is a Colorado native whose work as a writer has spanned multiple genres. He has sold projects to Lionsgate, Netflix, Amazon, and SONY developing screenplays with Ridley Scott, Chris Columbus, Robert Zemeckis and Andrew Dominik. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Harrison and Matt Query: On a Story’s Evolution

Harrison Query

Matt Query, born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, is a litigator who focuses on legal issues related to water rights, natural resources, public lands, and fish and wildlife management. Matt and his wife Sonya have a little ranch in Southern Oregon, where they live with their dog, sheep, chickens, and bees.

Harrison and Matt Query: On a Story’s Evolution

Matt Query

In this post, Harrison and Matt discuss the short story origins that led to their new horror novel, Old Country, their advice for other writers, and more!

Name: Matt & Harrison Query
Literary agent: Liz Parker, Verve
Book title: Old Country
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release date: July 26, 2022
Genre/category: Horror/Thriller
Elevator pitch for the book: When a young married couple purchase their first home, a remote ranch in the Idaho Tetons, they get more than they bargained for when they discover the property is haunted by a malevolent spirit that presents itself in new and terrifying ways each season.

Harrison and Matt Query: On a Story’s Evolution

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What prompted you to write this book?

Matt originally wrote it as a short story which gained enormous popularity online, leading to aggressive interest from movie studios and publishers.

How long did it take to go from idea to publication? And did the idea change during the process?

About two years. The spirit of the story and the general conceptual conceit remained the same, but our publishers and editors were enormously helpful in expanding everything about the story.

Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title?

We were pleasantly surprised by how much respect was offered to us in terms of maintaining our own vision for the story and characters. We were given many very valuable notes and suggestions, but it was always in a spirit of collaboration rather than prescriptive mandates.

Matt & Harrison Query: On a Story’s Evolution

Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?

With Harrison coming from the film side, we at first felt like the novel format offered so much real estate to explore (no pun intended) but quickly discovered that it was, as always, a matter of not having enough room to include everything we wanted.

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

We hope it scares them, surprises them, and if we’re really lucky—makes them think a little bit about their close personal relationships.

If you could share one piece of advice with other writers, what would it be?

Write what you think is cool, engaging, and thought provoking. You have to trust your own instincts, or it’ll never work. If you think something is awesome, chances are someone else will also.

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