Risingshadow has had the honour of interviewing the fantasy author Gail Z. Martin.
Gail Z. Martin is the author of The Chronicles of the Necromancer, The Fallen Kings Cycle and The Ascendant Kingdoms.
Click here to visit the author's official website.
AN INTERVIEW WITH GAIL Z. MARTIN
Could you tell us something about yourself in your own words?
I'm is the author of Ice Forged in the The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga and the upcoming Reign of Ash (Orbit Books, April 2014), plus The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven & Dark Lady's Chosen ) from Solaris Books and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn and The Dread) from Orbit Books. I also write two series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Series.
I'm excited to have stories in four new anthologies in 2014: "Clockwork Universe Steampunk vs. Aliens", "Athena's Daughters", the British Fantasy Society's anthology "Unexpected Journeys" and "With Great Power". Other US and UK anthologies include the "Magic" anthology (Solaris Books), "The Bitten Word" and "The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women." Find me at www.ChroniclesOfTheNecromancer.com, on Twitter @GailZMartin, on Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms, at DisquietingVisions.com blog and GhostInTheMachinePodcast.com.
Because everybody has their own favourite authors and books, could you tell what kind of books you normally read and what your favourite authors and books are?
I read 100 or so books a year, so I have a lot of favorite authors! (For a look at some of my more recent reads, please find me on Shelfari and Goodreads.) I read a lot of epic fantasy growing up, but less now since I don't want to be influenced by other authors, although I still see a lot of epic-style movies. Lately I've read a lot of urban fantasy and paranormal mystery, which has given me a good voice for those styles in my head. I probably follow 20 or 30 authors (at least) who are still doing new releases plus when time permits, try to get caught up on older titles that I missed.
Have any of these authors or books affected your writing style?
I don't know that any single author or book affected my writing style, although when I find myself being especially engrossed with a story, I try to figure out what it is that the author is doing well and learn from it. Having said that, if I read a lot of a certain type of book (urban fantasy, paranormal mystery, etc.) all in a gulp, it gives me a good feel for the structure and voice that works for that genre, which is helpful.
Have any movies or TV shows possibly been an inspiration to you?
As a kid, Star Trek (the original series), Space: 1999, Dark Shadows all inspired me. I don't get a lot of time to watch TV now, but I do love to watch Dr. Who, Supernatural, and a few other shows. I enjoy epic and superhero movies as well as almost anything sci-fi. I'm a fan first and a writer second, so I enjoy a chance to get my geek on!
Are there any specific authors, movies or TV shows that you would recommend to your readers?
On my "Winter Kingdoms" Facebook page and on Twitter.com/GailZMartin I share a lot of quotes, links and photos about books, movies and TV shows, especially Dr. Who and books from Orbit and Solaris, as well as books written by authors I know. There is such a rich variety of things to pick from, it's not so much an issue of recommending or reviewing as it is finding people who also enjoy the same things. And, as I mentioned, I share a lot of favorite and recently-read books on Shelfari and Goodreads.
Your career as a fantasy author began with The Summoner (the first book of Chronicles of the Necromancer). What motivated and inspired you to write it? Have you always been interested in fantasy stories?
The Summoner was a story I really wanted to read, and no one else had written it, so I had to. I had read a lot of fantasy, beginning with Lord of the Rings, and also have always had a love of medieval history. So writing epic fantasy just seemed a natural thing to do!
You've written two fantasy series set in the same world as The Summoner (Chronicles of the Necromancer and The Fallen Kings Cycle). Will you ever return to this fantasy world?
Actually, I write new short stories regularly in the Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures series, a prequel series to The Summoner. The short stories are available on Kindle, Kobo and Nook for .99 each, and form sort of a serialized novel that gives readers a good look at how Jonmarc became the man you meet in the beginning of The Summoner. And at some point, I do want to tell more stories that happen after The Dread--I've got about 6 more books in my head!
You've written three epic fantasy series (Chronicles of the Necromancer, The Fallen Kings Cycle and The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga), but your new fantasy series is something different, because it's urban fantasy. What inspired you to write urban fantasy instead of epic fantasy?
"Deadly Curiosities" the novel is a direct outgrowth of the short story, "Buttons" that I wrote for Solaris Book's "Magic" anthology. Solaris liked the story so much, they asked me to do a novel set in that universe. I'm having a lot of fun with it, because it is so different from my epic stuff--first person, modern setting, female main character (although I've really got 3 main characters, one female and two male). It's exciting to do something different. I'm also writing other short stories in this universe for several new anthologies, plus I publish my own original Deadly Curiosities Adventures short stories monthly on Kindle, Kobo and Nook. Some of those short stories are prequels to the novel (the universe spans 500 years, so there are plenty of tales to tell), and some will happen just before or around the time of the novel.
Could you tell us something about this new fantasy series and the characters in it?
Deadly Curiosities will take readers in an entirely new direction from my previous classic fantasies. Cassidy Kincaide is the proprietor of Trifles and Folly, an antique shop with a difference that continues a family tradition begun in 1670 - acquiring and neutralizing dangerous supernatural items. It's the perfect job for Cassidy, whose psychic gift lets her touch an object and know its history. Together with her business partners Sorren, a 500 year-old vampire and former jewel thief, and Teag, a Weaver-mage, Cassidy makes it her business to get infernal objects off the market.
Are any of the characters in this series based on real people? Have you ever based any characters on real people?
No, no one is based on real people (although I often threaten to do so). Writers are observers, and we file everything away for future use. So I draw on interactions I've had, people I've known or seen, things I've observed for inspiration--a mannerism here, a physical characteristic there, a speech pattern, a way of dressing....but the pieces all get recombined to create something totally new.
How did it feel to write urban fantasy after writing epic fantasy? Was it difficult to change the genre?
I'd been writing short stories in the Deadly Curiosities universe for anthologies, and then for my own set of Deadly Curiosities Adventure ebook short stories, so it was really very comfortable. I think switching between the two has boosted my creativity. I'm having a blast.
The second book of The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga will be published next year before Deadly Curiosities will be published. Will you continue to write more books that are set in the same world or will you concentrate on writing urban fantasy?
I just signed a contract with Orbit for two more books in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, and I have ideas for more in that world as well as in my Chronicles of the Necromancer world, so I'm definitely going to be writing more epic fantasy!
Have you ever thought of writing something else than fantasy - for example, science fiction, magical realism, alternate history or horror?
I have a steampunk concept for a series that I'm playing with...that would be fun. I'll also be doing a steampunk short story for the Steampunk Vs. Aliens anthology. They've both got something of an alternate history background. And I'm doing a superhero story for an upcoming anthology. As for other things....we'll see. I've had 6 non-fiction books published as well. Really, the story determines the genre for me. I come up with the story, and then figure out what people would categorize it as later.
You have written several novels, but only a few short stories. Have you ever thought of writing a short story collection?
Actually, I bring out a new original short story every month on Kindle, Kobo and Nook (just .99 each--shameless plug!), and I'll be in 4 new anthologies in 2014. The original ebook short stories are in my Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures series (a prequel series to The Summoner) and in my Deadly Curiosities Adventures series (a prequel series to the upcoming novel of the same name). The 2014 anthologies include Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens from Zombies Need Brains Publishing, Athena's Daughters from Silence in the Library Publishing, With Great Power, a superhero anthology (!?) and Unexpected Journeys from the British Fantasy Society.
How do you relax when you're not writing?
I read books (that I didn't write) or watch Dr. Who. Or walk my dogs. Or work out at the gym. Or actually spend time with my husband and teenagers.Or go to sci-fi conventions. Or read manuscript (oops, that's working, I guess.)
Is there anything you'd like to add?
Please connect with me on social media! I'm on Twitter @GailZMartin, on Facebook as Winter Kingdoms (and doing drawings for a free signed book for new "likes"), I'm also on Goodreads and Shelfari and after the first of the year, on Wattpad. Please come hang out with me! Thanks so much for reading!