Author Interview with Gail Z. Martin
Author Interview with Gail Z. Martin
Gail Z. Martin writes epic and urban fantasy, steampunk and short stories. She is the author of the Chronicles of the Necromancer series, the Fallen Kings Cycle series and the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga series of epic fantasy books, as well as the Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy world and coming in 2015, Iron and Blood, a Steampunk novel, co-written with Larry N. Martin. Gail is a frequently contributor to US and UK anthologies. She also writes two series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Adventures.
Hi Gail, welcome over at The Book Plank and for taking your time to answer these few questions.
BP: First off, could you give us a short summary as to who Gail Z. Martin is? What are you hobbies, likes/dislikes?
GM: Well, I grew up in northern Pennsylvania, I majored in history in college and have an MBA in marketing. I worked in Corporate America for about 17 years before I left and started my own business, with the intent to have room in my schedule to write. I still own and run a marketing company. I’m married, have three children, two dogs and a cat. I like spending time with my family, traveling, cooking, reading and Yoga. I dislike grumpiness, cloudy days and okra.
BP: Do you still know when and where you decided that you wanted to become an author?
GM: I remember realizing when I was about 14 that at some point, new people had to become writers because eventually all the old ones would die off. That’s the first time it occurred to me that a person could choose to become a writer. I promptly did that, and spent the next 31 years telling everyone that was what I was going to be someday.
BP: The latest addition to your bibliography is Deadly Curiosities, and brand new urban fantasy series. Your other books fell into the epic fantasy genre, why did you decide to venture into the urban fantasy genre?
GM: I’ve really enjoyed reading urban fantasy, so that definitely played a role. A few years ago, Jon Oliver at Solaris asked me to contribute a short story to the Magic: Esoteric and Arcane anthology, and I wrote “Buttons” for that collection. I had been writing in the Deadly Curiosities universe, but with stories set in the past. “Buttons” was the first story in a modern setting. I had so much fun, I was ready to expand the concept when Jon asked for a novel.
BP: Was it difficult to change genres? Did you encounter any problems?
GM: I still write in both genres, so it’s actually nice to switch back and forth between them. Reign of Ash, my newest epic fantasy, came out in April from Orbit Books, and I’ve just turned in the third book in the Blaine McFadden series and am working on the fourth. All of that was going on while I was working on Deadly Curiosities. I really didn’t have any problems. It’s fun being able to use modern phrases and pop culture references in the Deadly Curiosities novel and short stories, and it’s fun smashing things with swords and axes in the epic fantasy stuff.
BP: Deadly Curiosities is set to be published July 3rd. If you would have to sell your book with a single sentence how would it go?
GM: Cassidy Kincaid can read the secrets of any object with her touch, and as owner of Trifles and Folly antique store in historic, haunted Charleston, it’s up to her team to get dangerous magical items off the market.
BP: Each month many books are published in every genre, where do you think Deadly Curiosities sets it self apart with?
GM: Charleston is a pretty fresh setting for urban fantasy, and considering it’s also one of the most haunted cities, and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the U.S., that’s a selling point. I think the chemistry between Cassidy, Teag and Sorren is special, and their respective supernatural/magical abilities make the team different. And I think the idea that that heirloom in your dining room just might really be a cursed magical object waiting for its chance to destroy the world is a lot of fun and leads to a whole lot of possible plots!
BP: What was the hardest part when you were writing Deadly Curiosities?
GM: Until now, I’ve always written in words that were entirely my own creation, so the history, religion, culture, geography were entirely in my head and I couldn’t actually be “wrong” (at least, not against an outside source). Working in a modern urban fantasy with an existing city, there’s a lot of verification that has to go on, and decisions about how and when to break with fact, and how to explain it if you do! After all, several hundred thousand people live there and can correct me!
BP: Besides the hardest part, which scene/chapter or character did you enjoy writing about the most?
GM: I enjoy the banter back and forth, but I especially like the big battle scenes. Blowing stuff up on paper is fun!
BP: If you would be given the chance to retract Deadly Curiosities from publishing and rewrite any specific scene would you do so? And if yes which part and why?
GM: No, not really. I’m pretty happy with everything—I had the time and opportunity to do it the way I wanted to. I’d let it stand.
BP: Deadly Curiosities kicks off a new series. The synopsis of the first book, which mentions an antique/curio shop allow a lot of possibilities for stories. Have you already thought about how many volumes it will run?
GM: I have some other ideas floating around in my head, but nothing as specific as mapping out future books! Charleston is such a great setting for a series like this because it has such a long and varied history and it’s been rather under-explored as urban fantasy goes. So I’m not worried about coming up with new ideas. All I have to do is go walk through an antique shop and I’ll have more options for haunted objects than I’ll know what to do with!
BP: Can you give us a sneak peak as to what is in store for us as the series progresses?
GM: Both Cassidy and Teag are pretty new in harnessing their magic, so I’m looking forward to exploring what they can do and what it costs them. Sorren has been operating in and around Charleston for over 300 years, so he has a history there to be explored. I’ve done other short stories in the Deadly Curiosities universe where we’ve met some more people that I hope to introduce in future books. Lots to look forward to!
BP: Besides the Deadly Curiosities series, do you have any other projects that you would like to pursue in the near future?
GM: I have a new steampunk book coming out with Solaris in 2015, “Iron and Blood: A Jake Desmet Adventure” and we’re in the process of signing one of my favourite cover artists, so that’s very exciting. And there are two more books in my Ascendant Kingdoms Saga epic fantasy series under contract with Orbit, which will come out in 2015 and 2016. Plus I’m in eight anthologies this year, and we bring out a new short story on ebook every month. And I’ve got an all-new novella set in the Deadly Curiosities universe that is free on Wattpad for a limited time. Something that I’d like to come back to someday is my Winter Kingdom universe from the Chronicles of the Necromancer books—I have about 6 more books in my head for that, so we’ll see….
BP: Everyone enjoys science fiction and fantasy in their own way. What do you like most about reading and writing it?
GM: What I enjoy most about fantasy—both reading and writing it—is the opportunity to color outside the lines and not be bound by “how we’ve always done things.” It’s fun to explore the “what ifs” in creating a whole new world/culture/political system/religious outlook, etc. As the author, you set up the rules, build the sandbox, put things in motion and then see where it takes you. As the reader, you buy in to the opportunity to step outside the world as it is and experience the world as it could be. Very freeing.
BP: And just lastly, if you would have to give your top 5 favourite books, which would they be?
GM: That’s always hard. There are so many, and I feel like I’m being disloyal to the other books if I single out a few! Certainly all three of the Lord of the Rings books, Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Chaim Potok’s My Name is Asher Lev, and Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology. But ask me tomorrow, and I would probably give you five completely different ones!
BP: Thank you for your time Gail and good luck with your future writing!
Find out more about Gail Z. Martin:
Find her at www.ChroniclesOfTheNecromancer.com, on Twitter @GailZMartin, on Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms, at DisquietingVisions.com blog and GhostInTheMachinePodcast.com. She leads monthly conversations on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartin and posts free excerpts of her work on Wattpad http://wattpad.com/GailZMartin.