Geraldton author at one with the universe

Headshot of Adam Poulsen
Adam PoulsenGeraldton Guardian
Matilda Scotney, 66, has written four science fiction novels in just a year.
Camera IconMatilda Scotney, 66, has written four science fiction novels in just a year. Credit: Adam Poulsen, The Geraldton Guardian

Matilda Scotney will read anything — including the back of a Corn Flakes box.

But more than anything, Ms Scotney loves to read science fiction novels: a genre in which she is fast becoming a prolific author.

In just a year, the 66-year-old Geraldton resident has written four books.

One of these — the first in a two-part time travel series called The Afterlife of Alice Watkins — cracked Amazon’s US Kindle books store bestseller list twice in a month.

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Coming in at number one and, later, number 22, it out-performed Douglas Adams’ classic Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy during that time.

“I can’t believe it,” Ms Scotney said. “When you get a lovely fan letter, it’s so humbling.

“You think to yourself: ‘Crumbs! I’ve inspired this person and they’ve really enjoyed what I’ve written. You feel good all over; you can’t help it’.”

Ms Scotney’s jubilation is more than warranted.

A theatre script writer and classical singer for many years, the South London-born wordsmith only began writing novels when she retired aged 65.

“I always wrote comedy, though I’ve always loved science fiction,” she said.

“But not the more mainstream sci-fi; I like speculative, which encompasses time travel and multiverses. That’s generally the way I go: the metaphysical and visionary science fiction.”

She said having free rein to cast aside “real world” limitations is one of the attractions of genre.

“I love creating worlds and universes where there are no rules, where I make the rules and space ships work because I say they do,” she said.

Yet, Ms Scotney is careful to ensure her inventions are believable, running ideas past her brother, whom she said was “knowledgeable about such things”.

She spends 40 to 50 hours a week writing, and is currently working on book three of The Soul Monger series.

But to call her work a “labour of love” would be incorrect.

“There’s no hardship,” she said. “Becoming an author has opened up an entire world of the most wonderful indie authors, and I’m thoroughly enjoying being part of that world.”

Scotney’s self-published works are available in paperback and digital formats on Amazon, Booktopia, Book Depository and Angus and Robertson online.

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