Hi! I managed to get Matt Garatti off of the Hyphema pages long enough to answer some questions that I thought would interest our readers, but, ssh… he doesn’t know that I am the one asking questions — he thought he was making time for some famous journalist. I hope you enjoy getting to know more about him.
What is the name of the book where we would meet you? What genre is it?
My story is in Hyphema; a hyphema is blood in the front chamber of the eye usually from an injury and the story’s title comes from a line in the book. English is my wife’s second language and she has trouble with some common American idioms; at one point she refers to the expression “an eye for an eye” and she comments that makes for bloody eyes. I actually was introduced in the book Final Sin, another Chelle Cordero novel. Both books are EMS-based thrillers.
What do you think of the author? You can tell us the truth.
Once you get past her ego, you realize she is very passionate about what she does. I have to say as one of her characters, she really loves us, we can feel that and I’m sure the readers can, too.
Tell us a little about yourself. How would you describe your appearance? Give us enough detail to get a clear idea of how you look.
I think I am sort of average, my wife thinks I am “handsome in my uniform” — I’m a flight paramedic so I wear a uniform every working day. I’m pretty fit, I have to be considering my line of work, and I’m trim, again I have to be as a flight medic. Other than that I have dark hair, I keep it cropped pretty short, I stand about five-eleven, and I’ve been told I look a little like that actor Justin Chambers… I think he’s on some TV medical show, I don’t see it.
What character are you in the book? Are you the hero, the best friend, the side kick, the hero/heroine’s child or someone else?
In Hyphema I’m the hero, in Final Sin I’m the best friend.
Who was your best friend in Final Sin? What brought you together as friends?
I was best friends with Julie Jennings, the female lead character in Final Sin. Julie and I were paramedic partners and we rode together for our job. When you spend a lot of time with someone in a job like that you learn to depend on each other while you work to save lives. It’s very high stress and your partner is the one who understands because they are there right alongside you. There’ve been a lot of jokes about your EMS partner being the equivalent of a work spouse.
Is there a specific reason why you’re in the story? Don’t give us any story spoilers, but you can share some teasers if you want.
By the end of Final Sin I had met and married my wife, Sudah. I was also looking for some kind of career advancement. When Hyphema opens, we’ve just moved to North Carolina and I have a job as a flight medic. Like the tagline indicates, I worry that I brought my family to a new place where we deal with unexpected prejudice and possible danger.
What time period do you live in?
It’s pretty much contemporary, that’s the kind of stories that Chelle writes, although I have a really ironic story about that. My wife was born in Pakistan and she’s a practicing Muslim; we run into quite a bit of prejudice because of 9/11. There’s a scene where my buddy’s wife yells at Sudah that the Pakistanis are hiding Osama Bin Laden; ironically the e-book came out the week before Bin Laden was finally found… in Pakistan.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in New York State, central New York to be exact.
Do you live in the same place now?
Nope. Sudah and I, and our son Aden, moved to North Carolina. We’re a bit inland from the Outer Banks. It’s a really nice area and I love to take them exploring.
What special skills or abilities do you have?
I’m a paramedic turned flight medic. Being a paramedic is never boring. I enjoy the excitement and I meet a lot of people in my work. I’m there for them when they need help; I use the skills I’ve been taught to save lives, offer reassurance and sometimes just offer comfort. I admit, I feel good when I get to help someone.
Are you happy with the story?
Yes I am. Chelle was a NYS Emergency Medical Technician for almost 30-years so she is really familiar with the type of things EMS responders do. The story is all very realistic. The way she deals with the cultural differences and prejudice is really down to earth and significant.
Do you have some ideas that the author should consider about the story? You can share them with us. We’re all friends here.
I know that Chelle is busy writing some other stories with other characters, they’re pretty good also, but I would love to see another EMS story. Maybe Julie and Jake could come down from New York and I could get to work with Julie again. That would be fun.
Tell us about your past. Can you share one really good experience and/or one really bad experience? I know that bad experience can be tough, but it would tell us more about what you’ve been through.
Well the bad part of my past, I used to not be able to talk about it, was that my father abandoned us when I was just a little kid. I was always afraid that I was going to grow up and be like him. I was really scared of having a family. When Sudah first told me that she was pregnant with our son I was really scared, but she showed me that I could be a good dad. She helped me to see that there is a difference in fathering a child biologically and being a dad who really loves his kid.
Who is the most important person in your life?
I’d have to say that my wife is the most important person. She really has opened up a whole new world to me. She taught me how to love, I know that probably sounds sappy, but, she has made me very happy.
What do you see in your future?
I love working as a flight medic, I dreamt of doing this kind of work ever since I rode in an ambulance for the first time. I also like the company I’m working for. Eventually I’d like it if Sudah and I had another child or two. I just want to provide for my family and watch our children grow with my wife.
Do you like being a character in a book?
You know, I really don’t think of myself as just a character in a book. My life, my job and my family feel real to me. When Chelle created each of us in her mind she didn’t just give us lives for the beginning and end of the manuscript — she came up with real histories for each of us. I feel like I existed long before Hyphema’s epilogue, even long before I first appeared in Final Sin.
If someone ever decides to make a movie based on your story, who should play you in the movie and why?
I guess we could give that actor Justin Chambers a crack at it, after all people think he and I resemble each other anyway, and I’ve seen a show or two he’s been in and he’s not too bad an actor either.
So much to say and so little room to write - Grew up in the Bronx, NYC and went to school at JHS80, HS of Art & Design, and Fordham U. Lincoln Ctr campus. I always had an overactive imagination and parents who encouraged creativity and individuality. I am married to a terrific guy and we raised two extraordinary kids. My sister and I are real close. And I've always tried to give back to my community.
Oh, by the way, I like to write.