Friday, January 10, 2014
SCHMOOZING WITH MIKE MARTIN
There are many people who have been a part of shaping me as a writer. I think I have always admired great writers, like Dickens or Hemingway but that has been more adoration than trying to model myself after them. I am inspired by all writers who manage to actually finish and publish a book. In mystery writing I also like the classics but my series started as trying to capture the same sense of food, culture and scenery as Donna Leon’s Inspector Brunetti’s series. Newfoundland is not Venice but we’re trying!
2. What are you working on now?
I am completed Book 3 of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series, Beneath the Surface. and it should be on the shelves this spring. So I will enjoy that book’s journey into the world. I am also thinking about Book 4 but I like those ideas to percolate, so I probably will not do any more major writing on that until later in the year. I think I may even write another book, not a Windflower, and maybe not even a mystery. But that too is still brewing on the back burner.
3. In what ways is your main protagonist like you? If at all?
I think that consciously or not we all put pieces of ourselves into our protagonists. It is really hard not to. So the parts I will acknowledge are that Windflower hates WalMart. That’s not him, that’s me. But on the other characteristics I think that Sgt. Windflower is more like the man I would like to be, rather than the one I am. He is much better than me in many, many ways right now.
4. Are you character driven or plot driven?
My first book, The Walker on the Cape, was all about the plot. I wanted the story to be so good so that’s what I focused on. The second book, The Body on the T, was almost completely character driven. My third book, Beneath the Surface, is hopefully a combination of the two. It felt like a natural progression, and I hope my readers agree.
5. Are you a pantser or a plotter?
I am a true-blue pantser. I cannot imagine sitting in front of the computer and trying to plot out the whole story from beginning to end. To me, that sounds like too much work. The fun of writing, IMHO, is in watching the story unfold from your imagination, just like the reader does. The characters come. They tell the story. I write it down. I get to say where the story begins, and where it ends. At least for now.
6. What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
I hope that people have fun when they read my books. If they learn a little more about Newfoundland or Windflower’s culture background, that’s a bonus. I want them to feel like they have visited my home island province, tasting the food, felt the strong wind in their hair. Maybe even imagined what it was like to just sit by the ocean and watch the waves.
7. Where do you see yourself as a writer in 10 years
I hope I’m still writing. That would be enough for me. And of course being famous and as rich as possible, lol.
8. What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
This is often the toughest question for me to answer. Most of the people that know me well would be and are very surprised to know that I am a writer, and that I write mystery novels. I have always been a social policy, serious, save the world type of writer. I’m still trying to figure out how I got here.
9. What do you like to read for pleasure?
I read everything from the back of the cereal box to the latest fiction. Some mysteries, always some Canadian, and whatever anyone gives me as a gift.
Usually I have two or three books happening at once. Every year I make a book list, a trick somebody showed me years ago. On the list you have to put 4 new books, 4 books by authors you have read before, 4 biographies, 4 science books, and 4 ‘classics’. That at least ensures I get a range of books throughout the year.
10. Give us a summary of your latest book in a Tweet (140 characters or less)
Beneath the Surface is about honour and betrayal. It's about crime and corruption. About fish, fog and freedom. A taste of life in Nfld.