Interview with Martyn Taylor

Published 2014-09-10.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Sharing the experience of my characters and how they deal with the situations they face. The opportunity to escape through a door to somewhere new and explore ideas without boundaries. To take the strangest thing you can imagine and then play with it through the characters.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I usually start with a title, I tend to be looking for something and then allow myself to be distracted. I enjoy the late 19th and early 20th century thrillers and adventures so Project Gutenberg is a popular site, and recommendations from friends, suggestions from websites, (I have found some great writing here at smashwords), bloggers. A prompt from almost anywhere.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Not the first story I ever wrote, I do remember one of the first I had a positive reaction to. A creative writing piece for English at school. worked on it for hours as homework, feeling myself sucked into the action. I picked a storyline about a dog team in Alaska or Northern Canada, I had read an article about the Iditerod in Alaska and based my story on the journey. My English teacher stopped me in the corridor a couple of days after I had handed in the work in and talked about it, she was very complimentary about the style and the pace. I got a pretty good mark for that one.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Not the first I ever read, but the first one I actively sought out was the novelisation of a TV series called The Rat Patrol, about a bunch of soldiers in a couple of jeeps fighting behind enemy lines in North Africa. A mixed crew of Britsh and American lads, and the jeeps had jerry cans of fuel and water, gear and weapons strapped and bolted wherever they could. It was the first book I ever ordered, instead of picking it off the shelf. Eight or nine years old and I used my pocket money to pay for it.
What is your writing process?
I like the NaNoWriMo approach, I openly admit to being a pantser. Too much detail in the notes and I feel frustrated, itching to get the planning done with and get on with the story. I have a crumpled notebook I carry everywhere and a ballpoint - I feel lost without a pen in my pocket - to scribble down notes, jottings and simple ideas. Not always the most detailed notes, but when I have a start and a finish then it's time to tell the story; or allow the characters to tell their story through me.

Occasionally I'll work longhand, but generally I type straight on to some sort of device or other. I used to type on to a Palm T/X with a bluetooth keyboard, but recently I've worked with an Acer tablet, again with a bluetooth keyboard. My handwriting is not the tidiest you will ever see, I once had it described as a cross between Michaelangelo and a spider on acid - still trying to work that one out, I think it might have been a guarded compliment.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Thirty Nine Steps, by John Buchan: an absolute classic, a simple story simply told, not very long but crammed with action. The main character is a fairly ordinary bloke, in extraordinary cirumstances with only his wits and stamina to get him through.
Where Eagles Dare, by Alistair Maclean; a relatively short novel, about seventy seven thousand words, but not a single one is wasted. you have to wait to the end for the reveal, right to the last page and half of the time you are left wondering who is fighting who.
The Hound of the Baskerville's, Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle; a battle between science and the supernatural, or so it sems but underneath it all are the emotions that bind and break relationships.
Casino Royale, Ian Fleming, genuinely couldn't put it down, what else is there to say?
Whisky Galore, Compton Mackenzie; a small Scottish island where the whisky has run out, then a shipwreck abandoned by her crew leaving a large cargo of whisky to be salvaged, but the Customs and Excise have other ideas.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
A Kobo mini, because it literally is pocket sized and an Acer Ikonia tablet. My first e-reader was a Palm T/X PDA with mobipocket software. I tend to download software on to a device, so I have Kobo, FB Reader, Diesel, or whatever on a smartphone, tablets and netbook. It helps me keep an eye on how the books look on the different systems.
Who are your favorite authors?
John Buchan, especially for the Thirty Nine Steps, can't remember how many times I have read it. Ian Fleming, I read Casino Royale in one go and finished it about four thirty in the morning, literally could not put it down and then had to read the rest of the Bond series. Alistair Maclean, who wrote Ice Station Zebra, Where Eagles Dare, Puppet on a Chain and many others.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Curiosity, For a long time after I wrote it Iceline languished on the bookshelf. I never thought about publishing it, until I was "perusaded" it would be a good idea. A few friends had all tried to nudge me towards publishing but I wasn't sure Iceline would get past the gatekeepers. Then I discovered smashwords while looking for a title by the criminal profiler Pat Brown that had been withdrawn from Amazon but was still available on smashwords.
I read the story behind the company and I was curious, so after weighing up the options I signed up and published Iceline and Control Escape back to back.
What I have found since then is an amazing community of incredibly talented people who are open and supportive
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.

Books by This Author

The Obedience of Fools
Series: The Grange. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 108,930. Language: British English. Published: November 4, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
A secret long hidden, the record tucked away in a notebook, and someone thinks that it is the key to a valuable commodity. Hidden away, spirited away when steam disappeared and diesels took command of the rails. Alfred Burke knows the details and they are valuable, in his head or encrypted into his notebook is irrelevant. There are those who want them
What You Ask For
Series: The Grange. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 83,960. Language: British English. Published: November 2, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
(5.00 from 1 review)
A bit of tomfoolery on a hot summer afternoon, an uploaded video and an opportunity to apply pressure. Jessica was Michael Spear's weak spot and pressure was applied. There was more to this than meets the eye, who was the real target, Michael or Jessica, and why? Questions need answers and Steel and Josie Burke are in the vanguard of finding answers.
Series: The Grange. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 93,190. Language: British English. Published: August 19, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Traditional British
(5.00 from 1 review)
More than ten years had passed since Steve Arkwright jumped the firewall and found himself staring at a bleak future. The men in suits knocked on his door gave him a choice and with only one answer. Sign here and you are ours. He had chosen the gilded cage instead of the prison cell, but every cage has bars and when the gilding wears off, the bars are still there. Now he wants out!
Series: The Grange. Price: Free! Words: 106,780. Language: British English. Published: August 18, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Traditional British
Smuggling, skulduggery and scuba diving in Scotland. Steel disappeared and turned up weeks later bruised, bloody and alive, dumped high in the mountains. Relief is mixed with anger, confusion and a determination to uncover what he had stumbled upon. He had crossed a line, not his own, this time the line was his, and he was ready for whatever stepped over it.