Interview with Martin Roy Hill

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It's the act of writing itself. I find it very meditative. If the writing is going well, I become lost in the evolving story. Afterward, I feel refreshed, even happy.
Who are your favorite authors?
That's a difficult question to answer. Early in my life, I was very influenced by the Lost Generation writers like Hemingway, Dos Passos,and Remarque. But I also read a lot mystery and thriller writers like Raymond Chandler, Alistair MacLean, and Ian Fleming. I read a lot of H.G. Wells when I was young, and still do. The contemporary writers I like to read are David Morrell, James Rollins, and Bob Mayer. Surprisingly, I only recently discovered John D. MacDonald and I've been devouring his Travis McGee books.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My alarm clock. I have a day job as a Navy analyst in combat casualty care that pays the bills and puts food on the table.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
No. And I think it's better that way. Less embarrassing.
What is your writing process?
As I've said, I have a day job. But I try to write at least an hour a day, with a goal of 500 words. Since much of my time is taken up with my day job and family obligations, I have to grab the time to write as best as I can. I do most of my writing on a Kindle Fire tablet using a Bluetooth keyboard. I carry that in my rucksack everywhere I go. It's lighter than a laptop. When I get some free time, it comes out and I write. I often stop at coffee shops like Starbucks and write. I don't need solitude to write. When I was a newspaper reporter, I had to write in a busy newsroom surrounded by other people, phones ringing, etc. So, I can pretty much write anywhere.
How do you approach cover design?
When I first started, I did my own covers. I have a publishing background, and layout and design came second nature to me. Now, however, I am working with a designer to re-do my existing covers and design the covers for my future books.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I use social media, of course. But I also advertise. I run pay-per-click campaigns on Goodreads, Google, and Amazon, and occasionally do display advertising on websites.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I'm a native Californian and have lived in Southern California my whole life except for military service. I can't say my youth influenced my writing that much. My writing is more influenced by my journalism career and my military service.
When did you first start writing?
I high school. I had an English teacher who was impressed with my essays and suggested I consider becoming a writer of some kind. I started studying journalism in high school, graduated college with a journalism degree, and spent more than 20 years in that profession before changing careers and becoming a military analyst. All that time, I was writing short stories and, later, started writing novels.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The Butcher's Bill is the second book in my Linus Schag, NCIS, thrillers. It was inspired by the real life theft of nearly $9 billion in U.S. cash from Iraq during the war. It was the biggest heist in history, and it's never been properly investigated.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I started out in the traditional way. I had a couple agents, but they didn't do anything. One claimed she was too busy writing her own novel and hadn't time to sell my book. I dropped her. I signed with another agency, but the agency dissolved shortly afterward. Then the 9/11 attacks happened and I volunteered for active duty with my Coast Guard unit. After that, I got hired by the Navy as an analyst in combat casualty care and a few months later, we invaded Iraq. For nearly 10 years I was too busy with that work to do any writing. When things finally calmed down, I discovered independent publishing and decide to give it a try. My first book, DUTY, won an award and I've never looked back.
Published 2017-12-25.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Last Refuge
Series: The Peter Brandt Thrillers. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 66,290. Language: English. Published: February 19, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Amateur sleuth, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
A wartime tragedy leads to murder on the home front. Peter Brandt, the war-scarred journalist hero of Empty Places, returns in this story of greed, betrayal, and government secrets. Can Peter expose the truth without becoming another victim of the wartime tragedy?
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 29,040. Language: American English. Published: January 15, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
A collection of previously published and new short stories about military service and sacrifice by Martin Roy Hill.
Eden: A Sci-Fi Novella
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 23,950. Language: English. Published: February 1, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Military, Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
An American army patrol in Iraq discovers an ancient secret that threatens to destroy every belief about the beginnings of mankind—as well as modern civilization as we know it.
The Butcher's Bill
Series: The Linus Schag, NCIS, Thrillers. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 69,430. Language: English. Published: December 25, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Meet William Butcher, aka The Butcher. Those who stole $9 billion in cash want him dead. The cops want him for murder. Butcher's only hope is his former NCIS colleague and closest friend, Linus Schag. With a plot torn from today's headlines . . . The Butcher's Bill.
Empty Places
Series: The Peter Brandt Thrillers. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 87,790. Language: American English. Published: December 17, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
Mentally and physically scarred by war, a reporter returns to the U.S. to hunt the men who killed the woman he loved.
The Killing Depths
Series: The Linus Schag, NCIS, Thrillers. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 75,740. Language: English. Published: May 16, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
America's first attack submarine crewed by both men and women stalks a renegade Iranian sub. But another predator hides aboard the American sub, a murderer who has already left a trail of dead women behind on shore. While the two subs battle each other, NCIS agent Linus Schag must discover the murderer's identity before the killer's blood lust leads to the death of all onboard.