Q: Why did you decide to write a book Martin?
A: I always wanted to write a book, I always felt like I wanted to tell stories but never really thought I had it in me to write a full book. This is the first fiction story I ever completed.
Q: How long have you been writing?
A: I tried writing when I was in school but failed to have the patience as I hated building the story and wanted to get straight to the action. I tried again in my early twenties, but was too critical of my writing and failed to keep it going. I picked it up again about 5 or 6 years ago and have been consistently dipping in and out.
Q: How long did it take you to write this book?
A: I started this book about ten or so years ago, writing the preface only. I kept picking it up again and again over the next few years adding the first few chapters and re-writing them over and over again. I really started back into it about 4 years ago and decided to push forward and just write it all and forget re-writing until the story was complete. Unfortunately, as it’s not my full-time job it becomes hard to keep going on it as much as I would like.
Q: What do you use to write your books?
A: I favour my iPad it’s really good to take out to a café and just set up and write, but I do most of my re-writes on PC.
Q: What problems did you encounter?
A: I struggled initially with story building, as a lot of books have very little happened early on as they are introducing the characters. This bored me a little as I wanted to get into the main story and thought that was the only way to do it. When I came back to writing as I was older I thought ‘why wait for something good to happen?’ so I started putting something exciting in every chapter.
Time and motivation is still something I struggle with, having a full-time job and two children I don’t get a whole lot of time to myself and when I do I struggle to write as I feel I have to do it and that makes me less likely to do it. Which is frustrating as I have a head full of ideas and I hate myself for not doing it when I have the time.
Q: How do you think you’ve evolved as a writer since you’ve started?
A: I plan better, I don’t always follow it, but it provides a framework. I have learned not to go back until I have finished as that just delays ever finishing a project.
Q: Is there anything you wished you’d known when you started writing?
A: That I could it. My belief early on was that I would never be able to write a book, now I believe everyone can. They might not all be good, but we all have the ability to tell a story from start to finish.
Q: Do you structure your plots or just go with the flow?
A: I start out with what can only be described as chapter headings which should lead me to where I am going and a rough idea of how many chapters it will take to tell the story. However, I feel that the story evolves as I am writing it. In my latest novel, Retaliation I never would have seen it finished the way it did when I started writing it, but somehow it just made sense.
Q: Do you work on a set amount of words per day or does it change?
A: I try and give myself a target of how much I would like to write the time available, sometimes I beat that target and sometimes if there is a bit of research to do at the same time then I fall short.
Q: Do you do a lot of research when writing a book Martin?
A: I do very little research as I want to contain stories to my imagination if possible, however in Retaliation, I mentioned a naval vessel that had been decommissioned and felt it was important to check the dates on when that happened. In a story I am writing at the moment there is a cruise ship and I needed to check passenger capacity and tonnage from a similar sized vessel. It’s usually technical information that my brain doesn’t hold, however, if I do a historical book at any point then I would imagine I would need a lot of research.
Q: How would you describe your writing process?
A: A mixture of Frantic and planned, I plan when I will have the time to write, then frantically try and do as much as I can with the time allotted. I plan the order of my story but will get easily swept off on tangents that were never expected.
Q: What time of the day do you find is best to write?
A: The train when I have an hour to commute somewhere is very nice, other than that I do better in the morning. I tried late at night but ended up writing an entire paragraph that made no sense whatsoever.
Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
A: Anything and everything, something I see on TV, a song I hear or something my daughters say, it all becomes story fodder.
Q: What draws you to this genre?
A: I am writing in a mixture of genres at the moment but the main thing that draws me in is an adventure, something exciting has to be happening, I especially love to combine this with technological advancement such as outer space which is where my ERF series of books is set.
Q: Have you ever tried to write other genres?
A: I have written in three or four genres, as I said before I like adventure, but I also like characters, I like to make up a person and put them in a situation and see what happens to them.
Q: Which author/book would compare yours too?
A: I couldn’t compare my book to others nor me to other authors, but what I would hope is that like some great authors or big characters I am creating a universe that has infinite possibilities or characters that can develop and have readers care about what happens to them.
Q: Can you relate to any of your own stories Martin?
A: My lead characters are generally flawed heroes. They want to do good but don’t always know the right way to go about it. They also don’t do great with authority, this is also a little bit like me, I have always tried to cut my own path and I generally want to do good but I don’t necessarily always know what that is, but I will keep trying.
Q: How many books have you written?
A: Two non-fiction, three children’s books, 1 sci-fi book and I am just finishing up an adventure story.
Q: Have you ever written in collaboration with another author?
A: I haven’t yet been so fortunate.
Q: Who designed your front cover?
A: I have a preferred designer called Sophie Cornell. However, when she is unavailable I tend to make use of freelancers.
Q: Who was the first person you showed your novel too?
A: My wife
Q: Have you ever dedicated a book to someone?
A: Retaliation was dedicated to my wife and daughters. It is them who inspire me to keep pursuing this dream.
Q: How do you market your books?
A: I utilise Social Media heavily as that where my readers are, but I am always looking for other approaches.
Q: How do you deal with bad reviews?
A: If they are constructive then I will take the points into consideration because every day is a school day. If they aren’t then I push them to the side, no story is for everyone.
Q: Do you use an agent?
A: I don’t currently have an agent, I haven’t yet found one compatible with what I am trying to do. However, if the right offer came along I wouldn’t be closed down to it.
Q: How much time do you devote to marketing your books?
A: As much as I can, there is no point writing a book if no one ever reads it.
Q: How do you get your book reviews/reviewed?
A: I occasionally do free ebook offers in exchange for honest reviews! I also send the books to bloggers of podcasts.
Q: Do you do all your own proofreading and editing?
A: I do the first few proofs and edits then I put it out to beta readers. Then it goes through a final editing stage.
Q: How and where are you publishing this book?
A: I have done this a few ways in the past. My preferred way at the moment is through Amazon Createspace and Kindle Direct.
Q: What are the main benefits of being an independent author?
A: You can write the story the way you want to without outside influence or marketing appeal. Freedom to write is what I enjoy when I get the time.
Q: What are you reading at the moment? Which book do you have by your bed?
A: I set myself the task to work my way through all the Dirk Pitt Clive Cussler books. I am a little over halfway through them at the moment. Inca Gold is the one I have open at the moment.
Q: What was the first book you ever read?
A: The first one I properly remember reading is ‘Then again maybe I won’t’ by Judy Blume
Q: Who is your favourite author/book?
A: John Grisham is perhaps my favourite author of all time, there isn’t a book of his I haven’t enjoyed.
Q: What is your favourite book to film adaptation?
A: I love the way the Harry Potter books were translated to film! I especially liked how the small touches and magic of the earlier books like the Chamber of Secrets worked.
Q: Where are your favourite places to read?
A: Give me a comfortable couch any day.
Q: What books do you read to your children?
A: I have a couple of my own children’s books! Izzy Explores which I read to them along with the Little Miss and Mr Men Books.
Q: When you read do you prefer a book or a Kindle/tablet?
A: I like both.
Q: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors Martin?
A: Keep trying, the hardest thing to do is finish. Get to the end because you can always fix anything on the second go around.
Q: What can we expect from you next?
A: I have an adventure book I am finishing up at the moment! It will introduce a new character that I haven’t done before. Then will come another book in the ERF series, I have planned out about another 4 of these so far. So there will be a lot of writing ahead in this series.