CEMartin

Interview C.E. Martin

CEMartinC.E. Martin began his career in the U.S. Air Force as a Law Enforcement Specialist.  After serving his country, he returned home and became a criminal investigator for the local prosecuting attorney–a position he held for two decades before retiring to pursue his passion for writing. In his free time, C.E. enjoys catching up on B-Movies with his daughters and battling virtual evildoers on X-Box.

1.   Can you tell a bit more about yourself? 

I’m a retired criminal investigator and USAF veteran, as well as a father of two. I’ve been self-publishing since 2012, primarily in the supernatural military thriller sub-sub-sub-genre.

 

2.   What inspired you to write? 
Back in the 1980s, I was a big fan of classic pulp and men’s adventure books, e.g. Tarzan, The Destroyer, and Doc Savage. It was then that I learned about ghost writers and monthly releases of series novels and decided that was what I wanted to do for a career. After ending up on a different path, I discovered self-publishing in 2012, and began working on a novel using characters from my attempts over the previous two decades to get published. I shortly became hooked on writing, and in particular portraying the military positively in fiction–something I’d always found to be in short supply.

 

3.   What is your latest book about? 
Shadow Raiders is a kind of mashup of Stargate and Hellboy, with a modern military unit of supersoldiers traveling to an alternate reality to take the fight to the doorstep of evil. It’s actually the culmination of eleven previous novels I’ve done since 2012, bringing together a lot of elements from my series as well as new things. I wrote it as a kind of homage to the Stargate franchise, which was supposed to have a reboot/revival this year.

 

4.   Where and how do you write
My preferred place of creation is my recliner–I outfitted it with an articulated clamp/arm to hold my tablet at eye level while I hammer away on a wireless keyboard. My recliner is in my basement, in what I call my “Dadcave” so I’m surrounded by movie posters, props, and geek paraphernalia, keeping me motivated while I work. I can also fire up the TV for documentaries or special programs as research if I hit a snag in my writing.

 

5.   Did you plot and how does your plotting process work?
I do tend to plot, but not overly so. I start out working on a project like it’s a movie treatment, getting fairly detailed in Act 1. As Act 2 and Act 3 pan out, I ease off on the detail, as I’ve found that a lot of times, as writing, I’ve changed direction/thought of something better. My final plotting is part treatment, par outline, and page after page of notes and ideas for specific scenes. It’s a mess, but by the time I start writing something, I’ve gone over it in my head a dozen times.

 

41uDJbdmzLL._UY250_6.   Do you have an editing strategy and what is it?
I prefer to hammer out a rough draft without stopping as much as possible. I leave mistakes intact. When I take a break from writing or run out of writing time, I stop and walk away. When I return, I go back and review what I’ve done, making corrections and changes. As I only write on the weekends/holidays, there’s a lot of these sessions before I finish. When I am done, I do one final go over and hope for the best. I don’t like to over-polish anything, as I feel it detracts from the haphazard feel that pulps had in the 1930s. After all, if you’re cranking out a monthly book, there wasn’t time for redoing it over and over.

 

7.   What does your family think of your writing?
I’m encouraged, and sometimes given the space I need, but after five years now, they are getting pretty tired of the huge time investment it takes. They’d rather I spend that time with them. But I keep on writing, because if I ever can get out of the nichey corner of the reading internet, I might be able to make this a full-time gig and then would have more time for writing, which would mean more time for my family, and more money to spend on them. In particular, I’d really like to boost my sales to start putting extra money away for my daughters–you can never save too much for your kids.

 

8.   How hard was it to get your book out there?
Out there isn’t hard. Out there and seen is the hard part. I’ve tried a lot of strategies over the past five years. Things changed the most when Kindle added their Select problem a few years ago–it’s hard to compete with free. After several attempts at different methods this year, I’ve decided to stop worrying about finding new readers and concentrate on the ones I’ve got. Hopefully, this means more content for those that have stuck with me. I’ll just have to cross my fingers that if I write it, they will read.

 

9.   What do you think is the hardest part of writing a novel?
Finding the time to do so. I work in an office by day now–my retirement was short-lived. I’m at a computer all day, so when I get home, my eyes and wrists just aren’t up to more computer time. I have to wait for the weekend. That of course means that I’m cutting into time with my wife and kids. It’s rough balancing all this. There isn’t a day that goes by that I wish I just had more readers so I could write full time–or that all the ideas I get for new stories would stop coming. It’s kind of maddening to want to create so much, and not being able to.

 

10.   What do you think makes a great story?
I think that depends on the story and the story teller. Sometimes a mystery is a great story. Sometimes the interaction between characters is. For me, I’ve always leaned towards good vs evil, with good winning and evil getting its butt good and thoroughly kicked.

 

11.   Looking back, what would you have done differently or why wouldn’t you?
I wasted a lot of writing time attending local comic book and scifi conventions trying to reach new readers. I also tried writing other things, podcasting, and new advertising advenues–all of these cut into my free time, which meant putting my series aside far too often. I’m afraid I’ve lost momentum, and a good deal of my readers I had in 2014 by chasing after a bigger following. This year I’m going back to basics and focusing on those readers still with me.

 

12.   Where do you get your inspiration
I write over-the-top, action-filled supernatural fiction, so a lot of my ideas come from fringe-type websites; stories of UFOs, ghosts, lost civilizations, etc. Thankfully, a lot of people like that kind of thing, so there’s plenty of great source material to spur me on. Mixing the mysterious with traditional action has worked really well, and been great fun to write. I’m also pleaded to see I’m not the only one to see this as a potential market. More than a dozen other authors have also come out with pro-military, supernatural-themed modern fantasy in the past few years. It’s a great sub-genre that has no limit in storytelling potential, because there’s nothing you can’t find in these settings.

 

519NyqKVZQL13.   How do you handle writer’s block?
That’s very easy. I either pop in a video game or watch a move/TV series similar to the plot I want to write. I know a lot of pros say there’s no such thing as writer’s block, that you write even if you don’t want to. But I understand feeling distant or unmotivated in your project, particularly in the indie, self-published world where we didn’t get any advances and may be working on something that won’t earn us any money. I find film and video games can get m liking a concept again, and make me excited to work on it, despite the gamble I’m taking with my time by doing it as an indie.

 

14.   Your top 3 tips for people who want to start writing.
Don’t worry about sales or readers. Stressing over that, or spending too much time on promotion and not creating may hurt you in the long run.
Write something you enjoy–don’t chase a trend unless you like it. No matter how good your work is, how appealing it is, or how much money you throw into writing it, if you aren’t having fun, your craft is going to suffer.

 

Don’t worry about money. That is, don’t let someone tell you that you MUST have professional covers, professional editing, and expensive advertising. That isn’t always true–some folks have succeeded by sheer luck. Others have thrown mountains of cash into their writing and still failed. Don’t spend yourself into a corner on the chance you might succeed. Write because you want to tell a story, and then hope it appeals to others. If you treat your writing as a “business” and not an art, you could very well end up broke and angry. Treat success as a business once your art brings it.

 

15.   Where would people be able to find you online?
My main series/writing page is www.StoneSoldiers.info; it links to my expanded supernatural military universe of novels and short stories. I occasionally tweet as @Troglodad, and I have a sporadically-updated blog at www.Troglodad.info. I do have an author Facebook page, that you can link to from my writing pages, but to b honest. I spend more time on non-writing stuff on Facebook. On Amazon, my author page is C.E Martin but I don’t exclusively publish there. You’ll also find some of my work on iTunes, Kobo, Nook, Smashwords, etc.

 

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