Saturday, August 12, 2017

Indie Author Interview: A. Martin

Indie Author Interview with A. Martin - Author of the Short Story Collection After Midnight.

A. Martin is from a small aboriginal community in the province of New Brunswick, Canada. He is the author of horror novels, Ouija, and Black October. His short stories and flash-fiction have appeared in such popular publications as, TwistedTongue Magazine, AlienSkin Magazine, Flashes In The Dark Magazine, and

Interview with A. Martin

Author A. Martin
Author A. Martin
Alan Kealey (Indie Author News): What is your (writing) background?
A. Martin: Well, my first fiction sale was way back in 2007; a flash fiction piece (usually under one thousand words) to a popular ezine back then, AlienSkin Magazine. I was my first acceptance, with any magazine. I’d accumulated a hefty rejection pile for a couple of years before working with an editor that could tell me a little more than just to quit and safe myself time and grief. We worked together every day for over a month, knocking literary knowledge into my brain like a bullet-train and eventually through trial and error, I’d gotten to learn just about everything I possibly could when it came to writing fiction and my strong points. Turns out; it’s what I always loved the most: Short stories. If it wasn’t for that vigorous learning experience, I know you and I wouldn’t be having this conversation. I owe more than I could ever give. I keep that in mind when writing my fiction.

Who are your favorite writers, your favorite books, and who or what are your writing influences?
There’s a good few. And by good; they’re great! Like Walter Mosley, Sidney Sheldon, Heather Graham, Jack Kecthum, Neil Gaiman, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Poe… I also watched a lot of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and loved every suspenseful minute! All of these writers are my influences; without their work, I probably wouldn’t even know if there was such readers for our kind of thing. Our horror; our suspense, our off-key imagery.

Funny enough, my favourite book of all time isn’t even what I write, or normally read. But it’s a book I read in high school and always struck a chord with me; check it out: The Journey Home by Michael J. McCarthy.

"I decided to try amusing myself with writing a fiction tale."

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
When I was seventeen. Out of boredom, being quite underprivileged in the socially popular-department… I decided to try amusing myself with writing a fiction tale. After a slow start and ten minutes into it, I found the weirdest thing taking place: I couldn’t stop. I’d get reprimanded by teachers because of it, and oddly enough, when they could and I wasn’t around, they’d read my fiction. And after class ask me what happens next and that I should finish the tale. But that’s why I suppose I couldn’t stop… I wanted to find out what happens next too!
It quickly became something I just had to do; even as a hobby—I had to do it. It was part me, and I couldn’t get away from it, after a while. I don’t even really give myself credit for the simple idea of trying out fiction writing—to me, the more I gave into writing, and the more it had me in its clutches. Call it a good thing or a curse, well… for me, it’s been both. There’s definitely sacrificing involved, but I only realize it later after the next story I’m working on ends with a period and then I can get back into the Real World.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Actually, I do. It was about a giant rabid python and my quest to get away from it before I became a human soup-bone. In the end, my father blasted its head off with a semi-automatic rifle. Heh, kids… what imaginations…

"Just get it done. And I did."

Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a writing routine?
Through my twenties I’d had a strict vigorous writing routine because I was writing a lot of short stories and sending them to every fiction magazine I could find. I’d get up and be ready at my computer by eight in the morning, sharp, churn out at least two stories by eleven or twelve and take the rest of the day off until after supper, where I’d read them over. If I figured they had any chance in hell, I’d edit one of them, or both, and have them signed and sealed and delivered by next morning first thing. By email or snail-mail—rain or shine, wind or snow. Just get it done. And I did.

Please, describe your desk/workplace.
The desk I have now is a lot smaller and confined compared to my first, which I’d had through my twenties. It was one of those simple but big one-piece hunks of metal where it could sit a home computer and a couple of printers; maybe a case of beer and your CD collection on it. I loved it; easy to clean, easy to find spare room for manuscripts and five to eight cups of coffee. Lifting it out of my room… not so much…

"[The Story] has me hostage until it’s told..."

What do you find easiest about writing? What the hardest?

For me, it’s letting the story tell itself. If it keeps poking me in the ribs for me to write the darn thing; things go smooth. It has me hostage until it’s told; I am entranced through the whole process, and usually wake up from the fiction-world on cue in the end. Not before.
The hardest, I think, would be having a certain idea of how a certain story should be told, or sound, or how many characters would work it just right, and then actually writing and then being at the mercy of the story itself where all you can do, and should do, is just sit back and watch the circus. I’ve come to find things turn out a lot better than I first imagined.

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Just knowing, while I’m writing a story, that there is another someone out there that will probably enjoy it just as much as me, in reading it, or even more. There were times, even after having five stories published, that I almost hated everything I wrote. And then they would receive readers and editors’ praise and I’d have to just keep churning out more—because they liked me! They really really liked me!
I’m being humorous about it; but I am humbled by fans of my work. They do keep me going, and strive harder to give them the best of me.

After Midnight (A. Martin)
Click to Read an Excerpt

Please tell us a little about your Short Story Collection After Midnight.
It’s my complete short story collection. It’s the very best of me, and spans over a decade. Every short story I ever published is in it, as well as every short story I started and just never finished. There’s about fifty one tales in After Midnight, give or take a few. Thinking back, I think fifty three—not quite sure, it’s been a while since I sandwiched them all in… but, if you get yourself your own personal copy, you’d know for sure and you could tell me!
Hum. Sounds like a plug, doesn’t it?
But I wouldn’t say getting the book is worth it, if Kirkus Reviews and the Red City Review hadn’t gave it four stars and Amazon readers rated it a solid five in all five reviews for the book. I got lucky with this book—readers love it, and the best part is that my whole love of the craft is inside that book. Readers have let me know, that I didn’t waste my time, after all. It was all worth the pain.

"But I had to know… were more readers out there?"

What inspired you to write the book?
I wanted more eyes—more readers for my niche, other than just magazine and ezin readers and editors. I wanted more fans of the genre I write in to get to read the best of my own fiction in one book. I figured, just before I published After Midnight, that people will either hate it, find it boring, or too weird. But I had to know… were more readers out there? And… would they be expecting a book like this?

Who do you see as your target audience?
For After Midnight, I’d say teens and up. It’s still pretty soft in the horror for a young audience and yet can still pack a chilling bite for an older audience. I got lucky with this one… everybody can enjoy it.

What makes your book special?
I’ve been asked that before on a radio show; it confused me then. It still does. I know it’s special to ME—what about you? That’s what I’d really like to know, find out…what readers think, feel about this book. For me, the book is a quagmire of terrifying fun, that may just stand the test of time. After Midnight is a one hundred percent kick-off-your-shoes-and-enjoy-the-ride-kiddies! kinda trip. Not just one story, or two… the whole shebang.

"Readers have given me the Thumbs Up, and that’s more than I ever expected."

How would you describe the success of your self-published books so far?
The New York Times hasn’t called, but I never expected that kinda thing. I just wanted to write what I wanted, and hopefully find readers who enjoy it as much as I do. So far, readers have given me the Thumbs Up, and that’s more than I ever expected. I figured my work may get one here or there and maybe a snarl of disgust, but, so far so lucky. It keeps me going.

"Find out. Read. Write. Submit."

Can you give some advice for other Authors regarding the writing process?
Keep on with it; what else are you good at? Find out. Read. Write. Submit. If you don’t know it’s good, or worth your time; there sure is no better way of knowing than letting a magazine editor or a stranger read it. Let the story write itself, and read it over with a sceptical eye. Give writing the story a chance, thus, giving yourself a chance.

Are you working on another book project? Can you tell us a little about it?
Always. Either inside my head or on paper, I’m always tinkering with the make-believe. I’m working on a novella, which will have my second short story collection attached at the end of the book. The novella is my homage to H.G. Wells—I’ll say that much, and leave it there. Wink.
The collection of stories will be just as twisted and weird and fun as those compiled in After Midnight. Maybe a little more personal, if anything…through the writing of the collection, I seemed to find more of me in it than anything else, but the tone stayed the same: Chilling. Haunting.
I’m calling the novella Pet Reader, and the story collection, A Darker Place. Because it brought me, to a much darker place…Just passing it along, dear readers.

Where do you see the book market in 5 or 10 years? Will there be only eBooks and will book stores disappear like record stores disappeared?
I hope not. Bookstores will always be my candy store. But I do fear they may vanish one day. I do know that the popularity of self-published books are on the rise, which is great, but I do fear I won’t be able to buy a copy of some of my favorite traditional published writers in the future. As far as eBooks go, as an author—I wish they never existed (laughs). They haven’t been too kind to me in the royalty-department, although my first book, Ouija, is still a hot seller in the eBook form three years after the fact. The hard copies which I’d found a local store to sell a bunch to had them sold within two months. Maybe it would have done the same if it wasn’t turned into an eBook; I’ll never be sure. I’m happy readers are snatching it up, but as the author I’d love to know just why. Who knows—maybe one day they’ll email me on how the book made them feel.

What is your e-reading device of choice?
My computer screen, really. I don’t own one of those tablets or anything of the kind. If I’m going to read a book—it’s gotta be in my hand, cover and all. And a paperback wouldn’t hurt if I dropped one on my foot!
I’m old school stubborn. It’s real books, or nothing.

Do you write full-time or do you have a day job? When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have a day job. But even if I wrote full time I’d still have to get out of the house, see people, hear things—be human. I do like the freedom of being able to do that daily and still write fiction. At one time, maybe I could have dealt with being cooped up writing ten hours a day and going for a walk one day a week or something outdoorsy—but now I am pretty sure I wouldn’t too smoothly. I like the fact I can write whenever I want and not be held to a deadline; chunky book-advances be darned. If I’m tired, no deadline is going to change my mind on going on a fishing trip for a week, or catching up on some Z’s.
And that’s how I spend my time, other than writing. I chill. Relax. Read books; listen to the Stones on YouTube, go for walks, go fishing, hiking, family time—the imaginative-world is fun to play in for awhile, but that’s only just what it is: Imaginative.

How can readers connect with you?
I have a twitter page:
It acts as an author webpage. I also have a Facebook page I use for the same. On both I give highlights of my books’ successes, or lack thereof; interviews, book-trailers, readers’ reviews—like any author page, the up-to-date’s. Through my twitter I can connect readers to my second author page on Facebook… but only if you’re a good cookie.

Thank you very much for the Interview.

About the Book After Midnight

After Midnight (A. Martin)
Click to Read an Excerpt
What’s on the mind of Canada’s No. #1 literary-boogieman? Cannibalism. The Men In Black. Psychotic cab-drivers. And vampires...that DON’T sparkle.

From the author of psychological and supernatural novels, Ouija and Black October, A. Martin serves up a feast of fear for dinner in After Midnight. Over 50 stories!

This massive collection includes twisted and bizarre brain-busting terrors as “Tequila Dreams,” “Elma’s Garbage Can,” “Among The Living,” “A Zombie Thing,” “Gypsy Blood,” “From My Cold Dead Hands” -- and many more! Let Stephen King be your friendly host in, “You’ve Won!” Have a brain-wich in, “Route66.” And cell-phone your dead pals in, “Dead Ringer.”

These twisted tales will keep you awake in bed...With one eye open...After midnight!

- "If you like things like Tales from the Crypt and The Twilight Zone, you'll love these stories and they'll make you want to watch for the next books and tales from this amazing supernatural author." - Reader Review

Link to the Book

Link to the Hardcover After Midnight on Amazon

Link to the Paperback After Midnight on Amazon

Link to the eBook After Midnight on Amazon

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