Q&A with John Mathews, writer of “She’s Out There”

Now that my debut short story She’s Out There has been out for over a week now, I decided to answer some questions I received from readers! If you haven’t read it yet, know that a spoiler is referenced in response to a question down below, so I recommend giving it a read before proceeding! You can read it for yourself right here. With that out of the way, let’s answer some questions!

What inspired you to write She’s Out There?

I came up with the idea of writing this story a couple of months after going through a breakup. It had been the first relationship I’d been in. Prior to that, I had been striking out on inquiring in person and wasn’t having any luck on dating sites. I decided to write a story to express the doubts I was starting to feel, but I wanted to present it through the eyes of a fictional character. I hoped writing this story candidly would be a cathartic experience for me, and I wanted to share it with the world in hopes that it’d maybe resonate with some people also feeling lost.

What has been your experience with online dating apps?

That aforementioned relationship I was in was blossomed through matching on OkCupid. I’ve also tried POF, Tinder, Bumble and Coffee Meets Bagel. I’ve had matches on some of these services, but they’d usually result in the match unmatching me after I introduce myself, or we’d actually get talking, but the match would suddenly go AWOL on me.

What are your past experiences with short stories? Were there any short stories that inspired you?

To be honest, I’m not a real big reader. Most of what I have read are novels and not short stories. But I felt like She’s Out There was something that would flow much better as a concise short story than a stretched 40,000+ word novel, so that’s why I made the decision to make it a short story.

Did any films inspire She’s Out There?

While the real inspiration for the story came from my heart and personal experience, (500) Days of Summer was a film that I definitely drew some inspiration from. The final scene of that film where Tom meets Autumn was something that inspired She’s Out There‘s epilogue, where Kyle meets Emma through random circumstance.

Is She’s Out There the full story, or the first part of something you’re planning?

This is likely the full story. I could see where one could think I was setting up a sequel with the epilogue, but I instead wanted to leave the story letting the reader choose how it ends. Was Emma just a really friendly stranger doing her good deed for the day? Or was this the start of something between the two of them? I wouldn’t completely rule out the possibility of Kyle’s story continuing down the line, but I felt wrapping up She’s Out There the way I did, appropriate.

“She’s Out There” – A Short Story by John Mathews

Writing is something that I’ve always enjoyed doing. When I was little, I used to handwrite fictional sports stories. That was before I was on social media. I’d share my creation exclusively with my family, who’d always compliment me on how good of a writer I was. As I grew up, I stopped writing my own stories, and instead shifted my writing talents towards another passion of mine; movies. I started out writing comic book movie news for ComicBookMovie.com and wrote movie reviews for (the new defunct) Not Yet Rated. These days, I’ll make the occasional contribution to WOBAM! Entertainment, where I currently serve as an editor.

Back in January, I didn’t just create this site you are currently reading this text on to be a place where I could write about whatever I felt like writing about at a given time, but to also be the home to short stories I’d write. That’s right, my childhood hobby resurfaced as I hit my mid-20’s. But this time, I’m sharing those stories with the world.

I am excited to share with you all my first short story. It is titled “She’s Out There”. It’s a story about Kyle, a 24 year-old who is starting to have doubts about finding “the one”. This is a rather personal story for me and I found the experience writing it to be cathartic. Though Kyle is a fictional character, a lot of my struggles and personal feelings in regards to relationships are expressed through his voice. It’s a story that I hope will resonate with people that are going through, or have gone through, those similar doubts.

If you’d like to read it, I attached a link to the Google Document where you can read it for free! If you do read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Tweet them to me at @johnmath95! I’ll be updating this post with testimonials as I get them. Here’s a few so far:

Lastly, you can read She’s Out There HERE!