By SAMANTHA SUNDLY/Montana State News
Jeremy Soldevilla is a Western writer living in Boston, Massachusetts. He’s a lover of alpacas, horseback riding and the powdery slopes Bridger Bowl, and his two thriller novels highlight the beauty and mysteriousness of the Rocky Mountains, where Soldevilla lived and worked for several years.
Soldevilla ran the Silver Forest Inn Bed and Breakfast on Bridger Canyon Road for two years, even though his initial desire in moving west was to work on a dude ranch. Soldevilla had been working for over thirty years with various publishing companies in Boston, and needed a change of pace in order to focus on writing his novel.
In Soldevilla’s time here in the Gallatin Valley, he has left a lasting legacy for writers and publishers. After the bed and breakfast proved unprofitable and he was struggling to publish his first book, Soldevilla and his wife moved to Belgrade where in 2011, he founded two publishing companies: Christopher Matthews Publishing and Soul Fire Press.
Today back in Boston, Soldevilla works with the two companies from his home office. It’s a quiet, well-lit room free of distractions, and a Richard Bach quote hangs from behind his desk reading, “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit,” bringing inspiration to himself as a writer and publisher.
Soldevilla’s publishing companies pride themselves on their hybrid publishing methods. According to the Christopher Matthews Publishing website, they “work with writers to create a professionally edited, produced and attractive book that will be promoted and distributed to the worldwide book trade.”
Soldevilla knows how difficult publishing a first novel is. While working to get “Thief Creek” published, Soldevilla couldn’t help but feel disappointment each time he received a Xeroxed rejection letter. He wondered, “How many good writers give up after rejection?” and he knew that he could help some of them.
Christopher Matthews Publishing and Soul Fire Press have published or are in production of about 70 fiction novels so far, encompassing not just Montana writers but rejected authors all around the nation and even the globe.
On his WordPress blog, Soldevilla explains, “What I enjoy most about publishing is bringing together writers who have something worthwhile to share with readers who want to experience it, learn from it, be moved by it, and grow as a person.”
Soldevilla lives for the sense of reflective glory that accompanies putting his hands on a good project. The pride that comes from helping along a piece of literature created by someone else is worth all of the rejection letters that Soldevilla must still unfortunately send out.
Christopher Matthews Publishing will always hold a special spot in Soldevilla’s heart as he named the company after his two sons, Christopher and Matthew. Soldevilla is also a proud grandfather of little CJ, and the owner of two Golden Retriever mixes.
Soldevilla has had many opportunities for love, having been married and divorced four times. He confesses, “I just love weddings!” and admits that his third ex-wife, Lisa, was the main motivation for his move back to Boston from Montana. One of the most difficult things Soldevilla had to leave behind on his migration back east was the mountains. He explains, “I do ski here, but I miss the powder snow of the Rockies in Montana.”
When he’s not working with his two publishing companies, skiing, or building and playing guitars, Soldevilla is working on his new novel, which is two-thirds of the way complete. Soldevilla says he can’t share too much about the plot, but does reveal that it’s about a military war dog in Afghanistan. He confesses that “it’s very different than other books,” and hopes to finish the text this summer.
Soldevilla has created a lasting legacy for Montana writers and aspiring publishers who may be intimidated by big city publishing companies. He has paved the way for writers of all genres to recognize their potential and to have hope in a sometimes depressing field of work.
– edited by Emily Schabacker