Interview with E. S. Martell

What's the story behind your latest book?
"Heart of Fire Time of Ice" is my first foray into time-travel, and contains a heavy romantic element. I'd been wanting to write something based in the Pleistocene for a long time, and once I finished my Gaea Ascendant trilogy, I set myself to work on that project. My biggest concern was to make the time-travel aspect believable. I read a lot of popular treatments of quantum physics and related subjects, so it was natural to turn to Fred Alan Wolf's "The Yoga of Time Travel". He was kind enough to provide emailed advice and the story makes use of his concept of "extraordinary time travel" as a result. The MC, Kathleen Whitby, more or less defined herself. Her personal history leads her to be timid and suffer from a sense of not being deserving. This starting position provides her with plenty of room to grow. The second MC, Cadeyrin -- a Clovis culture hunter, came more naturally for me, since I enjoy the outdoors and am an interested observer of animal behavior. Their romance, while filled with lots of doubt due to Kathleen's concerns, developed as the story unfolded. The climactic scenes of the book almost wrote themselves. I didn't know what was going to happen until I actually wrote it down. It was lots of fun for me, and, I think, for readers also, since it's been selling steadily. Note: the story tends to polarize readers. Some are offended by the violence, murder, revenge, attempted rape, hunting, mercy killing, war, etc. However, those actions are elements of human behavior, whether we want to acknowledge them or not -- so, they're part of the story.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I've wanted to write a book for a long time. When I worked in the publishing industry as director of technology for a major publishing house, I recognized the traditional publishing model was geared towards promoting a few, best-selling authors. Breaking into that world was the equivalent of becoming a rock star. Only a few people made the leap. My writing style is still developing, and while my early stories are entertaining, they aren't on the level of say, Stephen King. It was obvious to me that I'd garner a lot of rejection slips with them. The decision to self-publish was an easy one as a result. Now that I'm an indie author, I find that the major aspect of success is marketing. There is no clear-cut winning technique in the marketing aspect, only continual effort that takes me away from creating a new story. Even so, I've gotten lots of positive feedback, so I'm happy that my stories are being enjoyed.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
That's easy. Creating a new character and watching him or her develop and grow throughout the course of the story.
What do your fans mean to you?
Another easy one. My fans are why I write. I want my stories to be entertaining and I enjoy hearing from those who have liked them.
Who are your favorite authors?
C. J. Cherryh, Jack Vance, and many, many others. Basically, whoever I'm currently reading. I'm in awe of Christopher Nuttall. Not only is he a good writer, he's incredibly prolific.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Hunger? My wife yelling at me? The need to make money? Basically, I get up because I'm done sleeping:-)
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Working out, playing the guitar, working at jobs that actually generate money. (Don't get me wrong. I make money at writing, but most of my income is generated by helping people with their housing issues.)
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
That's a real problem. There are now so many ebooks available that finding one becomes a matter of reducing the signal to noise ratio. Marketing is important, but a poorly written book can have great marketing and exposure and sell well as a result. Witness some of the recent best sellers. There needs to be a better way to find quality books that one can enjoy. Right now, it's basically random.
What is your writing process?
I use a fusion of planning and going by the seat of my pants. I normally get an idea, flesh it out in my mind, then write the story in about five pages of single-spaced text without worrying about spelling or grammar. I push those notes ahead of me in the doc file as I write, deleting scenes from the notes as I flesh them out. My characters often tell me that they're going a different direction from what I'd originally planned. That's fine. They often know better what needs to happen than I do.
How do you approach cover design?
I've got a couple of great cover designers that I use. By coincidence they're both located in Eastern Europe. Both are talented and deliver the artwork that I need without much prompting. I'm of the opinion that a great cover is required and all of my stories have original artwork. I've even released an illustrated version of "Heart of Fire Time of Ice" which has chapter head illustrations on many of the chapters.
What are you working on next?
At the moment, I'm developing a sequel to "Heart of Fire Time of Ice". I took a break to write another time travel novel, "Paradox: On the Sharp Edge of the Blade" that is in editing. It will be released in July. Now, I'm on to another story about Kathleen and Cadeyrin. After that? I'm thinking a post-apocalyptic story based on a short story I wrote for an upcoming anthology. The short story is titled, "One Candle from Dark" and is currently available on my blog for free. It might develop into a full-length novel.
Published 2016-06-13.
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