Interview with Matt Decene, a main character in Soltice High
What songs are most played on your Ipod?
The song that is being played right now on my Ipod, and has been playing on repeat for quite some time is ‘Someone Like You’ by Adele. I’ve gone to bed listening to that song and finding it still playing the next morning and realizing there’s a ridiculously high play count on my iTunes (I’ve almost reached four digits). I’m also a big fan of Lana del Rey and Florence and the Machine. For some reason I immerse myself completely in the music of any solo female powerful singer, but if I want something spicier I can always rely on Muse, or if I’m in the mood for something edgier I turn to Marilyn Manson (apologies for the emo music J ).
What would you consider to be the best book you have ever read?
Anything by Oscar Wilde will always be a plus with me, but my favourite novel has to be Wuthering Heights. I’ll never forget going to an English Literature class and a bunch of girls complaining that they were misled and it wasn’t actually the romance everyone told them it would be but a complete downer. I’ve never been so inclined towards physical violence (motivated by literature) than in that moment. These girls thought that ‘love’ meant a box of chocolates and dinner and a movie, but I was able to get a grip on myself. I knew that love could be overwhelming, that it could be just as destructive as it was constructive, and that is why I love the book; because it fights the cliché of ‘happily ever after’ for many characters. Life is so much more than ‘I love you’, and sometimes that just isn’t enough. That’s something I learned when I was a young teenager from the book and realized it was completely true (though it did shatter my Disney-fuelled dreams of a Prince Charming sweeping you off your feet and making everything okay).
What was the scariest moment of your life?
This might sound like a tired cliché, but I think the scariest moment in my life was when I was around fifteen and I ‘realized’ I was but a grain of sand in the beach that makes up the world. I couldn’t see how I mattered, how I was any worth, how my existence meant anything other than another sack of meat consuming oxygen. The feeling came suddenly but when I looked around in school I felt like a sheep in some sort of slaughter-house and thought ‘how does one life make a difference in the bigger picture?’.
Do you play any sports?
I hate sports and I try very hard to hate most people who play them (except for my friends of course; I might be a hypocrite, but at least I save those who dislike me from saying it behind my back because I can say it openly and honestly). My school might embrace sports and team spirit but I feel I am more of an individual free-thinker by abstaining… Also I can’t be bothered to move unless absolutely necessary. J
Morning Person? Or Night Person? How do you know?
Definitely a night person. How do I know? If you talk to me when I drag my ass out of bed you’ll get a black eye. Okay, maybe not a black eye, but I will try to kick your shin or cause some sort of damage to your physical person. It’s actually quite easy to tell if you’re into the mornings or into the nights, I think, I mean, personally, as soon as the sun goes down that’s when I feel the day has truly started (please don’t compare me to a vampire; people have done it before, and it’s become such a tired cliché). I simply enjoy the darkness because in my case it also means silence, and in the silent dark, in a way, you can reinvent yourself to whatever you want to be.
What group did you hang out with in high school?
I never really had a group per se. I mean, I’m still in high school, but I while I can see other people in my year group acting like sheep and only answering to their self-appointed shepherd, I consider myself a ‘social butterfly’ J. That might sound terribly gay but it doesn’t matter because I am gay, so… Here, queer, yadda yadda. Anyways, I guess my point is that I never really formed a group or had a proper group of friends until I came out when I was sixteen, and that made everything so much easier. When the jocks used to tease me before that I’d get mad or lash out, but now I can answer their verbal abuse with abuse of my own. Okay, I might not be the best role model, because any sort of abuse should not be endorsed, but in my case for some reason being able to counter the homophobic jokes of the jocks allowed me to grow and even weirder than that, I was actually accepted by them. Say someone came up to me and said they screwed my mother, I’d just smile and tell them what a good night I had with their father, and that just shut them up instantly. I realized it was never about revenge; deep down they didn’t really care, but as soon as I matched their banter it not only made me feel a lot better about myself, but it also allowed others to accept me. It’s probably some screwed up testosterone thing, but anyways, it worked for me. Okay, maybe I didn’t really answer that question directly, so I guess the people I hang out with in high school are my friends Rochelle, Jonas and Daphne. Before I really knew Rochelle I only hung out with her because she was the most popular girl in school. Jonas I’ve known all my life and is like an older brother with him, and he introduced me to Daphne, so I guess in a way Daphne might be like an older sister? Being an only child and having only my mother as a blood relative I’m not sure how the lines of friendship and family blur but I do know that I consider all three of them now as part of my family.
Category: Urban Fantasy/Sci Fi/Young Adult
Tour Date: July- Early August, 2013
Available in: eBook and Print, 360 Pages
Publisher: Strategic Book Group (October 22, 2012)
Matt, Rochelle, Daphne and Jonas are four students starting their senior year of high school, but suffer a freak-accident the very first day and start to realize that they are developing superhuman abilities. They quickly realize that the school principal, Mr. Devlin, has in fact more than just education on his agenda, and is using the school for his own purposes.
Not only must the four friends try to figure out what Devlin’s plans are, but when he will strike, and seeing as how they cannot turn to grown-ups for help without exposing themselves, must themselves grow-up in order to stop him. As well as learning to cope with these developing powers, the four teenagers must deal with the day-to-day muddles of being a teenager, such as volatile emotions, infatuations and family issues.
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Praise for Solstice High:
“This novel is a mix of teenage drama and fantasy. I was surprised that Mr. Vartparonian combined them so seamlessly. Each chapter changes between the four main character’s perspectives. It is fairly easy to tell who’s eyes you are viewing the world of Solstice High through once you get to know the characters. I loved this aspect of Solstice High because I didn’t have to ponder what each character was feeling. I was never bored because all four characters have such different and interesting personalities. The character development is fabulous!
The author really pulls the reader into Matt’s mind. I traveled with Matt up and down his emotional rollercoaster. Out of all the characters, I sympathized the most with Matt because he has the most volatile power.
There is TONS of humour in this book along with the more serious feelings of depression, anger, vengeance, and grief. Solstice High is an amazing novel where I groaned about homework (which I already do), battled evil principals, and squealed in delight about being a “superhero” with the characters. It’s so easy to live through each character in this novel.
All together, Solstice High is a very good book. What made me love this book is the character development. Each character’s personality is so unique and complex. As a teenager, I especially enjoyed it because I could relate to the trials and tribulations of being a high schooler. Even if you’re not a teenager, I think that you will enjoy this novel because you will time travel back to when you were a teenager! And maybe you adults will sympathize with us teenagers more when we complain about our lives.”- Dani, A Walk On Words
“I suppose what I enjoyed most about this book was that it reminded me of what being in school was like. It’s clearly tongue-in-cheek humour completely self-aware of its own narrative, but that just gives the novel a refreshing attitude since it doesn’t take itself too seriously. I liked the fact that every chapter was narrated by one of the four main characters; it showed you how unreliable narrators can be, since mostly you have to judge them by what they do instead of what they say. All in all I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a casual yet highly entertaining read.”-Adrienne, Amazon.com Reviewer
“An imaginative and captivating first novel by talented young writer, Ardash Vartparonian. Very hard (if not impossible!) to put down and I look forward with great anticipation to reading his future works.”- H. Sarian, Amazon.com Reviewer
“It is extremely catchy, can’t put it down!! I love how it is written, it has multiple narrators and that makes it interesting. Great narrative, you never know what is going to happen next.
I highly recommend this book if you are looking to read something entertaining. If you are not much of a reader, I can assure you this book is definitely going to grab your attention.”- Maria, Amazon.com Reviewer
About Ardash Vartparonian:
Ardash Vartparonian was born in London but raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At the age of 18 he began his debut novel, Solstice High, and continued writing throughout his last year of school and first year of university, where he moved back to the UK to study English Literature at Edinburgh University. Now a fourth year student, Ardash enjoys going out with his friends, watching horror movies and reading fantasy book while trying to keep up with his university work. Find out more at
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