Thoughts from a Book Tour

I’ve been traveling quite a bit, off and on, over the last month or so. I visited several cities, a few amazing bookstores, and numerous schools. The people I meet often wonder what a book tour is like. Some people assume it’s glamorous, and on occasion it does kind of feel that way. Some people assume it’s exhausting, and it can be. Some people figure it’s probably not all it’s cracked up to be, and that’s true, too. It’s all of those things, and I love it. But here is the important thing to remember: I am very, very lucky to be given the opportunity.

There are a lot of authors whose publishers don’t support them or their work in that way. Marketing budgets are limited, choices are made, and it is not always fair. I’ve been on both sides of those decisions. I’ve toured for some of my books, and I’ve had little to no publisher support for others, so I feel very fortunate and grateful when I’m given the opportunity to get out there and meet fans and readers. I try very hard not to take that for granted, because who knows when I’ll have that opportunity again. I try very hard to remember the times I didn’t travel anywhere, and I think about the writers I admire who should probably be out there on the road instead of me. When I visit bookstores on tour, I make a point to mention the books I love by other writers to the booksellers and readers. If I have room in my luggage, I buy books by other writers from those bookstores. I talk to kids about other writers and other books, because in the end, it’s all about turning young readers into life-long readers. It’s about making better humans, and books are perfect tools for that. If my being in a school, a library, or a bookstore can help build that excitement in young readers, then I’m honored to be given that chance, and I will always do my best.

P.S. A book tour wouldn’t be possible without the hard work and dedication of an amazing publicist. They work tirelessly behind the scenes (and after-hours) to make sure book tours are as successful as they can possibly be. I’ve been so lucky to work with Lauren Felsenstein Bonifacius and Emma Brockway. Now I work with Monica Palenzuela, and if you ever get the chance to make candles with her, don’t pass it up.

A Taste for Monsters Launch Event

taste-for-monsters-coverTwo weeks from today, I’ll be at the Provo Library to launch my newest YA novel!

A Taste for Monsters is a Victorian ghost story set in the London Hospital during the Ripper murders. If this sounds like your kind of book, then I hope to see you at the event.

The details:

When: Tuesday, September 27th at 7:00 PM

Where: The Provo Library (ballroom) – 550 North University Avenue in Provo, Utah


Last Descendants Launch Party!

In just a few weeks, the first of my YA Assassin’s Creed novels will be released into the wild. Last Descendants comes out on August 30th, and I’ll be having a launch party to celebrate. If you live in the Salt Lake City area, I’d love to see you. If you live elsewhere, I’ll be posting tour dates as they’re confirmed. I hope to host similar events in additional cities if I can make it work. Now, the details:

AC launch poster






Last Descendants giveaway!

AC_cover_412v3I’ve got a couple of signings coming up this Saturday, and I thought it might be cool to make them part of a giveaway. So come by either bookstore, say hi, and enter yourself for a chance to win an advance reader copy of Last Descendants, my Assassin’s Creed novel coming out this fall. Both events are on the same day – Saturday, June 11th – at different times and locations, so take your pick.

The first event:

3:00 pm

Barnes & Noble – Layton Market Center

1780 North Woodland Park Drive

Layton, UT

The second event:

7:00 pm

Barnes & Noble – Gateway Crossing

340 South 500 West

Bountiful, UT

Hope to see lots of you there!

Final Cover! Assassin’s Creed – Last Descendants

The final cover for Last Descendants, my Assassin’s Creed series, is here, and I think it looks really, really cool. I’ve also seen the interior layout and design, and I am so thrilled with how this book is turning out. I hope you’ll all enjoy it. It’s available for pre-order most everywhere now, including iBooks. August 28th can’t come soon enough!


Last Descendants release date!

AC_1_CoverIt looks like Last Descendants is now available for pre-order as both an ebook and a physical book, with a release date of August 30th!

Feel free to consult with your preferred purveyor. Or click the links below.

Indiebound | Amazon 

Assassin’s Creed!


So, the word is out now, and I can finally talk about something I’ve been up to since last year. I’ll be writing an original YA Assassin’s Creed series, which is incredible, and to help me out with everyone’s questions, I’ve asked the made-of-straw, ever-inquisitive FAQman to join us.

Hey, FAQman!

Hey. Listen, I’ve got some questions.

I thought you might. So let’s get started.

Okay, so first thing, Assassin’s Creed?? HOLY CRAP

I know! Can you believe it?

No. Who are you?

I . . . I’m an author.

I know, but like, what have you written?

Well, if you look over in the sidebar of this blog, you’ll see some of my stuff. So far, it’s been mostly middle grade novels. But you’ll notice most of it takes place in different historical settings, and usually with some kind of speculative twist. I love playing with history. Especially secret histories. That’s why writing for Assassin’s Creed was such a perfect fit for me.

How did this whole thing happen?

Well, last year I got an email from an editor at Scholastic, my publisher. They had just partnered with Ubisoft, and they were looking for someone to write an original Assassin’s Creed series. They asked if I’d be interested, and I said YES WHERE DO I SIGN.

So why did they ask you?

Short answer, because I’m incredibly lucky. Longer answer, because the editor knew the kind of historical stuff I like to research and write, he knew I’m a gamer, and I can usually turn projects around pretty quickly.

You’re a gamer?

Yes, but nowadays, because I’m so busy, a pretty casual gamer. (Except for Skyrim – I spent a not-casual number of hours on that game.) I started gaming when I was a kid, playing the King’s Quest series, Quest for Glory series, and other Sierra games on my family’s Atari ST computer. (Remember those? The thing had amazing sound and graphics, but adorably, no hard drive.) I’m mostly into PC games these days as well, but I grew up playing all the Nintendo consoles. I’ve been drawn to the world of Assassin’s Creed from the first game, and Prince of Persia before that. But like I said, I’m pretty busy these days, so I’ve just watched my step-son play through the last two Assassin’s Creed games.

And now you’re writing an Assassin’s Creed series.

Yes. Like I said, I’m incredibly lucky.

Is your series tied to any of the games or the movie that’s coming out?

No, this is an all-new story, but fans of the games and graphic novels will notice some familiar names and connections.

So what’s your story about?

Here’s the official synopsis of the first book:

Nothing in Owen’s life has been right since his father died in prison, accused of a crime Owen is certain he didn’t commit. Monroe, the IT guy at school, might finally bring Owen the means to clear his father’s name by letting him use an Animus – a device that lets users explore the genetic memories buried within their own DNA. The experience brings Owen more than he bargained for. During a simulation, Owen uncovers the existence of an ancient and powerful relic long considered a legend – the Trident of Eden. Now two secret organizations will stop at nothing to take possession of this artifact – the Brotherhood of Assassins, and the Templar Order. It soon becomes clear the only way to save himself is to find the Trident first.

Under the guidance of Monroe, Owen and a group of other teenagers go into a memory they all share within their DNA: the 1863 Draft Riots in New York City. Owen and his companions will find themselves tested on the violent streets of New York, and their experiences in the past will have far-reaching consequences in the present.

AC LD logo and title

How has it been working with Ubisoft?

Honestly, it’s been an incredible experience so far. Everyone I’ve worked with has been so supportive and enthusiastic about what I wanted to do with this story.

How much freedom did they give you?

A lot, actually. We had a meeting where they discussed their vision for the story in really broad strokes, but after that I was basically allowed to come up with whatever I wanted. I was able to pick the time periods, create the characters, the plot, all of it. Then I sent it back to them, and the collaboration began, which again, has been amazing. Ubisoft Montreal has some really talented, creative people, and it has never felt like anything was imposed on me. We were all just part of a team working to create a series that would expand and enrich the world of Assassin’s Creed, which itself has almost endless storytelling possibilities.

What do you know about the movie?

A little. I know what I need to know to write my story. They actually asked if I wanted to read the script, but I said no, because I want to go into the theater and be surprised and blown away like everyone else. I think it’s going to be really, really good.

So, is it going to–

I really can’t tell you anything about the movie. Do you have any other questions?

Not at the moment. But if I think of any, I’ll come back and ask you.

Of course. Thanks, FAQman.

If you have any questions that he didn’t ask, feel free to drop them in the comments.


Publishers Weekly did a write up here

As did IGN here

And Game Informer here

And Game Spot here


A video announcement of the series:



FAQman heard there was a great question in the comments, so he decided to come back and ask.

Yeah, I’m back. So when will the first book come out? When can I pre-order it?

The first book is scheduled to be released in September 2016, with the second to follow in January 2017. I don’t have firm release dates yet, but as soon as I do, I’ll post them here and on twitter. Same with the option to pre-order. Good question!

LastDescendants bookshot

A Taste for Monsters cover reveal!

Back in 2010, I was at the annual ALA conference in Washington D.C., and my editor, Lisa, and I had left the conference to do some exploring at the Smithsonian. As we walked along the National Mall, I told her about an idea for a book that featured the Elephant Man and Jack the Ripper, both of whom occupied a relatively small area of London’s East End, at the same time. As I talked, we both got the chills, (even though it was D.C. in the summer, and therefore uncomfortably hot and humid) and she said something like, “You have to write that book one day, when the time is right.”

That time came last year, and this year on September 27th, that book will be released. It’s called A Taste for Monsters, and I’m really excited to share the cover with you here:

TasteForMonsters-CCVR (1)

Here’s the official summary:

IT’S LONDON 1888, and Jack the Ripper is terrorizing the people of the city. Evelyn, a young woman disfigured by her dangerous work in a matchstick factory, who has nowhere to go, does not know what to make of her new position as a maid to the Elephant Man in the London Hospital. Evelyn wants to be locked away from the world, like he is, shut in from the filth and dangers of the streets. But in Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, she finds a gentle kindred who does not recoil from her and who understands her pain. When the murders begin, however, Joseph and Evelyn are haunted nightly by the ghosts of the Ripper’s dead, setting Evelyn on a path to facing her fears and uncovering humanity’s worst nightmares.

A Taste for Monsters is a terrifying and haunting tale of the monstrosity of men and the salvation one may find in the unlikeliest places, from Edgar Award–winning author Matthew J. Kirby.

YA Book Central is hosting a giveaway on their blog for an ARC, so if you’re interested in entering, click here.

Island of the Sun cover reveal!

A few weeks ago, Mr. Schu was kind enough to reveal the cover to my next novel on his site, but now I’d like to reveal it here. With much excitement, I present to you Island of the Sun, the sequel to The Arctic Code and the second book in The Dark Gravity Sequence!

IslandoftheSun hc (1)


Here’s the official synopsis:

Eleanor has shut down the mysterious Concentrator in the arctic, but her mission is far from over. The Earth is still spinning out of its orbit, and growing colder by the day. Their only chance is to find the other Concentrators imbedded around the world and deactivate them before it’s too late.

But doing so won’t be easy. The Global Energy Trust has branded Eleanor, her mom, and her friends international terrorists, and are tracking their every move. The G.E.T. will stop at nothing to harness the power of the Concentrators in order to preserve the select few people they deem worthy, and Eleanor is soon forced to ask herself whether it’s worth risking the lives of the entire human race for a slim chance to save them.

The second book in Matthew J. Kirby‘s Dark Gravity Sequence is a breathless race across a planet perilously close to extinction, one that will find Eleanor and her friends questioning their connections to it—and to each other.

The Arctic Code Book Launch!

photo (1)I have in my hands a new book that I wrote. The real thing, and it’s gorgeous. I think this is my 6th book to be published, which kind of blows me away when I stop to think about it, and so far, the thrill of holding a new book that I’ve written hasn’t diminished at all. Every book is its own thing, with its own creative challenges and rewards, so to hold each in its final form brings its own unique thrill. I hope people like this one. As I seem to say with all my books, I’m trying something new, stepping into uncharted story territory. I’m actually working on the sequel at the moment, and I can’t wait for you all to see where the story goes. But I’m getting ahead of myself. THIS book comes out later in the month, and I’ll be having a book launch party at The King’s English, my favorite independent bookstore in the world. Please join me.

What: a book launch party for The Arctic Code, Book 1 in The Dark Gravity Sequence

WhenApril 28th, 2015, at 7 PM

WhereThe King’s English Bookshop, located at 1511 South 1500 East in Salt Lake City