Matthew Pungitore is a lifelong Hingham resident and author of Gothic fiction. With two books currently published, Fiendilkfjeld Castle and Midnight's Eternal Prisoner: Waiting For The Summer, Matthew is preparing to release his third book in February. The book, The Report of Mr. Charles Aalmers and other stories is an anthology in the style and genres of Gothic Romance, Science-fiction Fantasy, Cosmic Horror, Weird Fiction, and supernatural horror. You can pre-order his book now on Amazon, BookBaby and Barnes and Noble.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself: about your background, where you're from, where you reside today, your family and/or pets, your passions and/or hobbies, etc.?
“Hingham, MA is my hometown, where my hardworking immediate family reared and pampered me, and still I live here. My father, mother, sister, and I—we have always been very loyal and loving towards one another. Sincerely am I most proud of them, their toil, and their own accomplishments. As for myself, dreadfully do I enjoy reading and writing, experiencing art in general; good food, drink, music; and much of aught that which mayhap could unite tranquility and the sublime to my senses.”
What inspired you to become a writer?
“In some small way, I believe one must call out to the art one wants and strive to be worthy of it. In other ways, I believe the craft itself chooses the artist, the writer, the vessel. Nevertheless, if one wants to be a writer, and they write, and they continue writing and trying to improve themselves despite anything, then what else are they but a writer? Strength: all great writers have it, and one day I hope I may be able to be half as strong as the masters who came before me, masters whose art must always be cherished and honored. The ways one has fun and wants others to have fun, the bravery to speak new words and create beauty: there is great strength in all those acts. I hope my readers know I am having fun when I write, and I want them to have fun reading my words too. Some will say my work is too hopeless or nihilistic, but there in that horror I conjure is sublimity, catharsis, and gifts of the uncanny that inspires greater dreams and exaltation for those who hear it summoning. Writing provides me a kind of work, a kind of labor, a kind of creation of beauty that is by me but, in some ways, higher than myself. I almost cannot explain it; expressing this unknowable feeling is part of my work.”
Where did you draw inspiration for your current book, "The Report of Mr. Charles Aalmers and other stories"?
“I have a passion for languages, history, antiquity, architecture, mystery, the classic pulps, the chivalric romances, Gothic literature, and old yarns of otherworldly adventure. I do so love the past and old things, in a kind of paradoxical manner. I wanted to speak to a type of reader who wants to dive into the unknown and share worlds of unearthly brooding. My work might attract a type of reader who, like me, shares a highly unique kind of interest and pull into ruminating on darker things whose mysteries haunt and howl, a reader who could resonate with the kind of stories and worlds and nightmares I have delivered in my style, a reader who could feel at home in my creations—possibly for escapism, curiosity, or affinity. Why do I do it? I want to bring cheer in my own way. Simple. I wanted to write something I had not seen before while also bringing back to life, and to honor, the atmosphere, the emotions, the power of the genres themselves that mean the most to me and have shaped the foundation of what I would consider to be good, superior art, good literature, the kind of art and writing that has, in my belief, elevated human life.”
Your books are thrillers that you hope will scare your reader. What scares you?
“Others knowing of what I am afraid. To be less coy, I think a lot of people feel the same; people fear vulnerability, fear losing faith, fear losing hope—losing themselves.”
What is your favorite book?
“Besides my own? Well, that certainly is scary: having to choose to openly say what is your one favorite book. That’s a bold commitment and statement to make. I feel like, after every time someone asks me this, the answer always changes. For today, I choose William Beckford’s masterstroke—Vathek.”
What do you most enjoy about your work with the Hingham Historical Society?
“I enjoy this honor and the privilege to contribute something to my local community. Through my volunteering, I am attaching myself to this town’s history, in a minute, humble fashion.”
What do you love most about the Town of Hingham?
“Hingham, MA is a town to which I know I am bonded. The unique history within, the beauty of its land, the voice of its zephyrs and gales: there is something undefinable, something positive, about a place like this. I feel it whenever I walk to church or through a cemetery here, when I visit its square, or when I’m looking at the bay. Being in Hingham so long has offered me much in the way of opportunity and adventure; one will never find another town like it. No matter where I go, I’ll be thinking of its providential charm.”
What's your favorite local spot around town?
“The Hingham Public Library.”
What's your favorite restaurant and meal in Hingham?
“The Snug. Easily. The Snug in Hingham square; great food, great people, great times. I’m there often enough, you might see me there. Their drinks are superb. Try their fries and burgers too.”
If you had a different career, what would it be?
“I would always be a writer. If I had a different life though? Wouldn’t it be nice to be royalty? I could go on imperial adventures through space and travel the other worlds.”
Do you have a hidden talent? If so, what is it?
“If I have one, I would sure appreciate help finding it!”
What's your favorite hobby?
“Reading and writing.”
What's one thing people may not know about you?
“I am generally a very curious person. However, I suppose I am asking questions so often because I am half deaf.”
What are your goals as an author?
“To unite people. To make a reader smile and feel an utter rapture. To generate all the best feelings that make people glad to be alive. To have fun. I have so many goals. What I do is give life to an art. It is alive. Horror is the art that teaches and creates profound thought, all while making us stronger and bringing us to new versions of ourselves. Gothic horror and fiction of the weird and uncanny does something different for everyone. It is the unnameable power that wakes us and takes us on journeys that are transformative. It is change, and it is tradition. I want people to feel this and to think wonderful, exciting things, to be better, to be stronger, to feel connected in this bond of terror and weirdness.”