Matthew Willis was born in the historic naval town of Harwich, Essex in 1976. He grew up in a nearby village, never far from the sea, becoming a keen racing dinghy sailor in his teens. A family connection with the 4th Dovercourt, a troop of Sea Scouts associated with the Royal Navy, helped foster a passion for the age of sail, and Nelson’s Navy in particular.
Matthew studied Literature and History of Science at the University of Kent, where he wrote an MA thesis on Joseph Conrad and sailed for the University in national competitions. He subsequently worked as a journalist for Autosport and F1 Racing magazines, before switching to a career with the National Health Service.
His first novel, Daedalus and the Deep, was published in 2013. It was based around the historical sighting of a sea-serpent by the Royal Navy corvette HMS Daedalus. He currently lives in Southampton, and writes both fiction and non-fiction for a living.
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There are various tests that every historical novel has to meet before it can be considered a success. The Last Roundhead by Jemahl Evans passes these with flying colours The historical world of the English Civil War is rendered so credibly it’s easy to imagine the author experienced the 1640s…
This week, Daedalus and the Deep is featured on Assaph Mehr’s fascinating ‘The Protagonist Speaks’ website. The premise of TPS is to interview fictional characters. The results are wonderfully illuminating. The website features an interview with Midshipman Colyer of HMS Daedalus, the main character (or one of them, at any…
The second Random Writers anthology of short stories, which I have co-edited with J.A. Ironside, is to be released soon – ‘Something Rich And Strange: The Past Is Prologue’ will be available for download on 12 December, and as a paperback shortly afterwards. ‘It started with the Zhar-ptitsa, the Firebird,…