I’ve been writing since I was a kid, though we were so poor I had to write my first short stories on the back of overdue notices from the bank using pencil stubs we stole from a nearby mini-golf course.
Okay, not true, except for the “writing since a kid,” thing.
The filmmaking bug caught me in high school and I pushed myself in that direction for college and career. I’ve worked in the film industry in just about every position imaginable, though the photographic and lighting departments spoke to me the loudest.
I’ve shot a lot of documentary series for networks such as Discovery Channel and The History Channel. These gigs led to opportunities to actually write the shows. In addition I’ve written and sold dozens of feature screenplays. I even got into a niche business of writing screenplays for rich dudes who wanted to make a movie but didn’t have the time (or ability) to write the scripts themselves. None of these have ever been made, which is too damned bad as they were pretty good.
But script writing is a lonely business. A finished script is a blueprint, it isn’t something you can hand to your buddy to read, unless he’s a fellow script writer. So I thought, why not try a novel?
Having had all sorts of adventures during my shooting career, I decided to try to incorporate some of the places I’ve been and some of the absolutely crazy shit I’ve done (check out my website mindofmatthowe.com) into a novel. The idea for it hit me like a frying pan to the face while I was walking the streets of Columbus, Ohio after a long day shooting a fertilizer commercial. That became “Waypoint.”
Writing the book was one of the greatest pleasures of my life, and the response to it has been fantastic. I’m working hard on my follow up.
New York Times best-selling author Patrick Robinson says “Waypoint” is “absolutely gripping. Doesn’t let up until the final page is turned” while fellow Times bestseller Steven Hartov opines that “Waypoint” is “A brilliant debut. I’d suggest that once you pick it up, don’t plan on turning in early for bed.”
“Waypoint” is a frantic roller coaster ride of survival and conspiracy that takes the reader on a harrowing journey across the American heartland. More than just a thriller, Waypoint explores issues of terrorism and the growing surveillance state which have become so important in the post 9/11 world.
“Waypoint” is the story of Julie Leplant, a 30-something young woman who’s dreams have crashed and burned. Nursing her wounds, Julie lives a drab, unremarkable life as a barista at a hip coffee shop in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Her dull life takes a terrifying turn when John, a threatening stranger appears at the cafe. Having an instinctive ability to read people, Julie knows she is in the presence of a truly evil man.
Her instincts prove correct as, that evening, John breaks into her home and shoots her with a taser, knocking her unconscious.
Julie wakes the next morning in a strange hotel room to make a horrifying discovery: there’s a bomb strapped around her chest. Julie has twenty-four hours to travel 1,000 miles to find the code which disarms the device. If she doesn’t, she dies.
She’s being watched and can’t go to anyone for help.
She’s been left with nothing, no car, no wallet, no phone, no money, nothing but the clothes on her back and one other sinister object: a loaded gun.
Because, as her tormentor explains, this is all about answering one question: how much does she want to live?
But even as Julie is thrust into a nightmarish struggle for survival, she has no way of knowing that the trial she’s embarking on, one that will test her to the core of her being, is only a small part of something much larger and darker. A conspiracy that has the power to shake the very foundations of America.
A man stood in the doorway that separated the kitchen from the living room. The man from the coffee shop.
He’d changed. The skin he’d worn earlier, the handsome charm was gone. This man radiated dark and cold. His eyes sang of death.
“Hello again, Julie,” he said.
“How… how did you get in here?” she finally managed.
His mouth bent into a toothy grimace. “I picked the lock. Way too easy. You really should invest in a good deadbolt.”
“Who are you?”
“Call me… I don’t know, what? John?” He tasted the word, nodded in approval. “John. Average, ordinary, unmemorable John.”
“Get out.” Her voice sounded strange and choked, as if someone had broken into her body as well and hijacked her vocal cords.
“Or what?” he asked.
A good question, she realized. What could she do? Scream for help? She lived in the basement, had no idea if the woman who lived upstairs was home or would even hear her if she was.
Her mug of tea sat on the coffee table in front of the couch — hurl it at him, try and bolt for the door?
John shook his head as if she’d spoken her plan aloud. “Don’t do anything foolish, Julie. We don’t want this to get any uglier than it has to.”
He pulled his hand from his pocket. In it he held a pistol. No, not exactly a pistol. It was squarer than a gun would be, with a boxy front end in place of a barrel.
Julie stared at the device. “What do you want?”
“What do I want? That’s the wrong question. If you want my advice, if you want to play this smart, you won’t even waste the time thinking about that.”
The chill around her deepened. The object in his hand bobbed and weaved like a cobra’s head.
“In the coming hours, there will be a much more important question you’ll need to answer: how much do I want to live?”
He pulled the trigger. The gun puffed gas. Two probes shot out the square end and slammed into her chest like twin bee stings. She had an instant to note that the probes were connected to the device by thin wires before a blast of electricity tore through her.
The sensation that came with that blast was so enormous, so staggering it took her a moment to even process it. She went stiff, every muscle locking, and fell over onto the couch. The pain tearing through her was huge, yet worse because of how alien, how wrong it was, as if each muscle fiber in her body were being ripped in opposite directions at once.
Through her agony, she felt something heavy fall on her, pinning her to the couch. A cloth pressed against her face, doused in some sharp chemical. She sucked in a lungful, coughed and gagged. The room went soft.
He’s going to kill me. The thought echoed through her head as the light fled around her and she fell into a ringing darkness.