Matthew Edward Gustavsen is an American writer. Named for Mathias Koller, his Hungarian-immigrant great-grandfather -- who, as a young man, was mortally wounded in a truck-on-train collision (Mathias was on the truck end) -- Mr. Gustavsen was born and reared in the sprawl-caked swamps of Monmouth County, New Jersey. Growing up, the story of his progenitor’s random, tragic death kindled Mr. Gustavsen's passion for narrative. The painstaking process of crafting stories and characters gave the meaninglessness of the world a more manageable shape -- and his crowded, overdeveloped home state, with its perilous wealth gap and troubled cities, felt more like home when broken down on the page.

To this day, Mr. Gustavsen’s stories and characters are among his best allies in his struggle to stay mostly sane.