Interview with Michael R. Martin

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Lancashire in North West England. I left home at eighteen to study and spent twenty years away, but I returned in 2000 and I'm fully grounded back here. My stories are based in this area....write about what you know, I keep getting told...but the supernatural input is purely imagination!
When did you first start writing?
I loved writing at school and was encouraged by a teacher to develop my skills. But I ignored the advice and went on to study engineering and work as a design engineer for many years. I tried my hand at short stories on numerous occasions but never felt confident enough to pursue an agent or publisher. I started writing SCREAMS IN THE WOODS in 2009. I have been writing ever since.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have been published, but the publisher went bust without paying out any royalties. Once bitten, twice shy.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has been invaluable in reaching an audience I could never have done on my own.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The act of creating something is, in itself, an incredibly rewarding experience. The thought that a person I've never met will read my story and, hopefully, be affected by it in a positive way is a great motivator, too.
What do your fans mean to you?
I'm not sure if I have any "fans" as such. But all feedback, critical or otherwise, is gratefully accepted.
What are you working on next?
A collection of supernatural short stories.
Who are your favorite authors?
H P Lovercraft, M R James, R Chetwynd-Hayes, Arthur C Clarke, Nigel Kneale, John Wyndham, J G Ballard and Alan Garner on the science fiction/supernatural side. I also enjoy Martin Amis, Saul Bellow, Irvine Welsh, Joseph Conrad and Ernest Hemingway to name but a few.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life in general and, of course, writing.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm also a self-employed 3D Modeller, Animator and Graphic Designer.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Friends and family, and the internet.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
No.
What is your writing process?
Get an idea and mull it over, sketch out some scenes....if it excites me, I start writing. The characters slot into place quite quickly, but where the narrative is going to take me is anybody's guess when I start.
How do you approach cover design?
I design my own covers, so the idea grows as I write. That said, it takes quite a bit of time to settle on a final design.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Area 62 is about an everyday sort of bloke confronted by the evidence of something truly bizarre in a derelict shop he's purchased to expand his internet-based business. It leads him on a quest for answers to some deep questions about the nature of reality and the destiny of the human race.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The Enid Blyton books were the first proper stories I read from start to finish and truly enjoyed the experience of being taken somewhere else entirely. My junior school headmaster always read A Christmas Carol to the senior class every December. The very nature of Christmas, for me, was changed forever by this story, and it made me realise just how powerful the written word could be. When I started Grammar School at eleven, we were issued with a recommended reading list. My father bought me two at random which had a huge effect on me: The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien and The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner. A couple of years later, a friend introduced me to the Pan Horror Story series of short stories, which led my imagination into darker places. Without doubt, these four literary events shaped the writer I am today.
Published 2016-04-14.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.