Garvin Matthews is a storytelling, son of the soil with deep roots in the Campden Park community; who considers himself to have been academically unqualified before he became a novelist.
More than 11 years ago he immigrated to the United Kingdom in search of better socio-economic conditions and enlisted in the British armed forces.
Today, with his four-year-stint behind him; the 38 year-old, Bishop’s College Kingstown past student is a University graduate boasting a degree in business management with travel and tourism.
“It was a struggle at first, going back to school with hardly any qualifications, but I started reading more and more,” Matthews told Asbert News Network recently.
“During my studies, I started to enjoy something I never did before, and that’s reading. And the love for writing followed. I could’ve read properly.
Not confidently. But writing properly was a struggle,” he added.
The two-year-long labour of love was inspired by his mother’s “struggle bringing us up, even as my father was battling his own demons.
Through her struggles, she still emerged out of a dire situation to find love.
“It was also inspired by my ex-girlfriend, who is British born of Jamaican descent. She had a very horrible childhood, with an abusive mother and step fathers. Some of this book was also inspired by my own struggles in life, but put in a fictional form.”
Matthews’ book is called ‘The Moment I Found You,’ and is about a girl named Samantha. “She is convinced her father is still alive and not dead as her mother proclaimed. Finding him will be difficult as she has no idea who he is. At age ten, she meets a special boy, Darren. During all the abuse, he is there for her.
Unexpectedly, she finds out she’ll have to face it all – on her own – when Darren leaves Wolverhampton and moves to London.
“Samantha is forced to move out, but a loving grandmother will come in to pick up where Darren left off. Little do they know, their paths are destined to cross again and this special friendship will change their future,” the soldier turned author explained.
The novel also borrows real life spatial settings as it is based in England, between Wolverhampton and London. According to Matthews, it delves into such poignant issues as child abuse, domestic abuse, child neglect and dysfunctional families while exploring relationships and skin colour insecurities.
‘The Moment I found You’ is available on Amazon in paperback and kindle versions. And it’s also available on iBooks.
While managing his time between his job as a TESCO customer service assistant and his familial obligations with his daughter Parris and current girlfriend Una, Matthews was able to amass some sales in the intervening weeks since the novel was first published on April 10, 2020. “I’ve had great response from the English and black community so far. I have sold 50 copies in two weeks, even though I am doing all the marketing on my own.”
The young Vincentian writer is grateful for the six months novel writing course by publishers Faber and Faber where he horned his skills and the practical guidance and support of his “classmates and tutor who published several books” as well as the editorial oversight supplied by his longtime friend Alicia Allotey.
He is also quite satisfied with his chosen form of expression. “Although I love music, my heart wasn’t in that field. I enjoyed telling stories. I am not really good at telling them verbally, but I realised I was better at writing them down on paper.
And I wanted to tell a story that will inspire people.”
Theophilus Pompey, Matthews’ father is dead now. But he is happy that his mother, Violet DuPont who still lives in St. Vincent and siblings Lindel Matthews and Marsha Alves, are still able to enjoy this milestone.
“I feel very proud of him because I know he was trying with this book, he wrote one already and I guess he cancelled that one and he tried again with this one. I’m so happy for him and I think he could make it far with it. Nothing beats a trial,” Mrs. Dupont said in praise of her first born.
Keep up to date with the celebrated young author via his social media handles @garvin1236 on Twitter, @GarvinMatthewsAuthor on Facebook and on www.GarvinMatthews.com.