Hello, my lovelies, and happy new year! I had the opportunity to interview Debra Martin. She and co-author David Small have created two different series: The Rule of Otharia and Dark Future.
The Rule of Otharia series
The Quest for Nobility
The Crystal Facade
Dark Future series
The Right Path
Path to Destruction
Book Review: The Right Path
Two Ends of the Pen (author blog)
Facebook: Debra L. Martin
Debra L Martin and David W Small: authors of science fiction and fantasy
I was looking through your joint publications, and I have to say, I am mighty impressed – two series at the same time! What prompted you to start the second one?
My co-author, David W Small, and I were in the middle of writing our second novel when we felt we needed to step back from the world of Otharia. Most authors will tell you that sometimes a little bit of distance helps in the long run to get those ideas flowing again. It is much easier to plot out a 10,000-word story than a 94,000-word novel so that’s what we did. Both The Path to War and The Right Path were written within a month. That 4-week break was just what we needed to finish The Crystal Façade.
That certainly makes sense. A break can really freshen your perspective, and it looks like you two got right back on track. What is your favorite part of the writing process? What is your least favorite?
My favorite part of writing is when I get a scene or chapter back from Dave because even though we plot out a fairly detailed outline of the novel, the minute details have not been decided yet. His twist on a plot point can be totally different from what I was thinking and that keeps our writing exciting. Probably my least favorite is waiting for the file from Dave. We both work full-time and sometimes our writing must take a back seat to our day jobs.
Anticipation can definitely make you antsy! That actually leads into my next question: how do you and David work together on a book?
Like I mentioned in the previous question, we plot out a story with a fairly detailed outline, but there are many times when we change something. We communicate on email, Instant Messenger and Skype. We have found that editing in real time works the best for us. This means that when a major scene or chapter is finished, we will email it back to the other. Then we both have a chance to edit before the chapter is added into the main file. Dave and I both have similar writing styles so our writing easily becomes “one voice.” The process sounds so easy when I write this, but it evolved over the past 4 years. Our first drafts were nothing to write home about.
First drafts often aren't, but your final products have definitely come a long way! Now, different authors are plagued with different worries when it comes to their work. What is your greatest fear with writing, and how do you overcome it?
I think both Dave and I fear boring our readers. We both have lamented about authors who go on and on with descriptions and not much else happens. This is a major no-no for us. We prefer action and that’s how we write. Our readers expect that style from us now. When you write with a co-author, there is no such thing as rushing through a plot. We have great checks and balances with our unique writing situation and we both realize it helps us write the best book we can.
You mentioned day jobs, and it certainly sounds like you're busy. What is it that you and David do, and how do your occupations work their way into your books?
I am an administrator at a research university so when it came time to write scenes for the Otharian Institute of Paranormal Studies, I was right at home. Dave is a retired marine and served in the first Iraq war so the fight/battle scenes in our books come from his first-hand knowledge.
It seems like your experiences are really fleshing out your works. Speaking of "fleshing out", would you ever want to be any of the characters in your books? Which ones, and why?
That is an interesting question. While the Otharian books do have fairly happy endings, the things our characters have to endure to reach that point are certainly no picnic. I definitely would not want to be a character in either of our Dark Future stories – they struggle just to survive from day to day.
That does sound like an unpleasant existence. What about works that are not your own? Which character would you be, and why?
If I had a choice to be any character in a book, I would choose Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Elizabeth is an educated and spunky young woman who doesn't let the constraints of the society she lives get her down. She definitely has her problems and suffers emotional anguish, but in the end she gets the man she loves. Isn't that all that's really important? Either that or I'm a sucker for a happy ending.
Aren't we all? That's all the questions that I have for today. Thanks for participating
Thanks so much for the opportunity to be interviewed on your site.