Welcome! Pull up a seat and enjoy a chat with Today’s Tease Martin Adil-Smith
Your Name or Pen Name you use: Martin Adil-Smith (Real name – I don’t use a pseudonym)
Title of the book you are promoting: A Gathering of Twine
Link to purchase your Book: http://www.amazon.com/Gathering-Twine-The-Spirals-Danu/dp/0992696402/
Welcome MAS….I, LH have some questions for you 😉
LH: I wanted to be a ballerina, race car driver and a private detective when I was little. What did you want to be when you grew up?
MAS: I was brought up on the likes of Star Trek: Next Generation, Flash Gordon, and Star Wars… all I kind dream about was being a space explorer, and discovering alien worlds filled with long abandoned technology… and, of course, malevolent spirits.
LH: I didn’t really have a literary influence, I just decided one day to start writing. Who influenced you in your writing career?
MAS: The first book that really made me go “WOW!” was ‘Mossflower’ by Brian Jacques… it was basically Narnia but without the human children and it sparked my love of fantasy. From there, I discovered my father’s collection of Graham Masterton, Stephen King, and HP Lovecraft. The rest, as they say, is history.
LH: I self published all of my books and was then “discovered” by a publisher. Are you an Indie or published author?
MAS: I’m traditionally published, albeit with a small press, but I have the utmost respect for indie’s. It takes A LOT of hard work to self-edit, polish, design the book cover, and then begin the hard slog of marketing. I tip my hat to you all.
LH: As an Indie Author, I was hesitant about being with a publishing company. If you are an Indie author, would you like to be published by a traditional publisher and if so, why or why not?
MAS: That’s a hard one. There are publishers and there are publishers, you know. It’s about finding the right company, the right editor – someone who really gets your vision. If a writer can’t get the break they, then sure, go for it… as long as it is well polished. The problem is that many publishers do not have a coherent digital strategy (including social marketing). I have sat in pitches where the marketing execs don’t know what a QR code is or how to use it. The whole industry is in such a state of flux that it makes sense for indies to forge their own path.
LH: This is easy for me…I’d invite Johnny Depp and I would not discuss movies! Who would you invite to dinner, living or dead, and what one topic would you NOT discuss with them?
MAS: Ha! This is going to be quite an obscure one; I would have dinner with Soma Shiro Yoshimoto. He lived during the 14th Century feudal Japan, during the seventy year long bloody civil war. Yoshimoto’s father was assassinated when he was five and he was forced to go on the run. He moved from monastery to monastery, becoming an expert swordsman and today is credited with being one of the first martial artists to codify his style. In addition to that, he is also considered to have introduced spirituality to the samurai classes… in essence, his teachings would shape Japan for the next five-hundred years, and by extension much of Asia-Pacific. I would love to share a meal with him… and I would not discuss how some of his teachings became corrupted.
LH: I personally think that there is way too much sex and violence everywhere in society these days and it’s everywhere but that Hollywood is one of the biggest contributors. Do you think that society as a whole is subjected to too much sex and violence and are you concerned about it? Ever feel conflicted and if so, why?
MAS: I couldn’t agree more. I have a two year old daughter, and the sexualization of children is everywhere. I studied Criminology at university and there have been numerous books and papers published on the link between on-screen sex and violence, and what transpires in the real world. It is scary, but at the same time we cannot shield our children completely, because otherwise they grow up naïve.
I wonder how our society would be if we became less obsessed with sex and more obsessed with love, and I don’t mean that in a hippy way. The message that is pumped out is that we only succeed by putting the other guy down. But we’re all human right? What would happen if we all put the guns down and tore up all the arbitrary borders? Perhaps the world really does just need a little love.
LH: I’m a huge softy and by no means a beauty queen… lol but, I truly would want world peace in the blink of an eye if I could make it happen…If you could change one thing in the world, in the blink of an eye, what would it be?
MAS: Change one thing? Like a genie wish? Oh that’s easy – I’m in charge and everyone has to do what I say. Seriously, we’ll have solved world hunger by the end of the week, we’d have a colony on Mars within ten years, and heavy metal would be pumped out by every radio station. It would be awesome.
LH: With the traditional bookstore becoming obsolete and everyone turning to buying books online, I don’t buy the hype that “the cover is everything”. How important do you think book covers are now that almost all shopping is done online?
MAS: It depends entirely on where you are in your career. If you’re starting out, then yeah, the cover sells. If you’re established, then perhaps the cover matters less because your name sells. At the end of the day, regardless of whether you are an indie or a traditionally published author, people are still paying their money, and they want to feel that they are getting a quality product… and the cover is a part of that.
LH: I can remember wanting to write as a kid. I got a really late start! Have you always wanted to write and when did you start?
MAS: Absolutely. I think I started around the age of four or five, creating little four frame graphic novels (they were stick drawings), and they were awful. It was mainly swords and monsters. But then around the age of eight I wrote a hundred word short story about a starship crew escaping alien-orc-things, and my mother passed it around some of her friends who made impressed noises. By the time I was fifteen I was writing 15,000 word pieces fairly regularly – don’t get me wrong, they were still bad, but my teachers were beginning to enter them into local competitions and from there I really started to polish my style. My first full length novel (120,000 words) was completed when I was in my early twenties – it wasn’t bad but, unsurprisingly, I didn’t get picked up, mainly because my style did not reflect enough world experience. Skip on ten years, and having traveled the world and enjoyed a successful career in asset management, my debut novel was the subject of a small auction… which surprised everyone.
LH: I love to see if I can see myself in a character. What interests you most about a story?
MAS: I love to see how far you can push a character. I don’t mean in the sense of physical torture, but rather the emotional kind. Can a character survive losing his job? Or the breakup of his marriage? Or the loss of a child? And that is all answered by the back-story. Some of my characters are weak, and fold easily. Others have a harder core and it takes more. I really enjoy finding out how much more it takes.
LH: For me, I just get hit with this whole movie in my head and start writing. How do you come up with your stories?
MAS: It can be a number of ways; a certain phrase or a word. Sometimes it’ll be a real life event that I’ll adapt. I’m kicking around a short story at the moment based on an event two years ago, where a stow-away fell out of a 747 as its landing gear came down on approach to Heathrow Airport. To this day, the police have never been able to identify him, and I’m fascinated by who he might have been, what he was escaping, and who told him he could survive a flight like that. It certainly makes you think.
LH: I can’t tell you or I’d have to…lol Are you working on anything now?
MAS: Oh my goodness, yes. We’re getting ready for the launch of my second full length novel next March. I’m editing my third book which will probably be out next September, and am about a third of the way through writing the fourth novel. I’m on the umpteenth edit of a novella which will be out at Christmas, and will be titled “The Call of The Black River”… and I have just started to plan out a three book eco-horror piece.
LH: I write for fun I don’t even dream of riches…Do you write for fun or money?
MAS: Yes to both. I have always found writing to be cathartic – the written word weaves a unique magic, and once I have put down a scene or conveyed a feeling, it is no longer in me, and that is wonderful. However, I have to recognize that I work in a commercial industry, and sadly I have a child to feed and a house to keep.
LH: I have never experienced writers block…I have experienced writers “don’t want to”… Have you ever experienced writers block and if so, how did you overcome it?
MAS: I’ve never experienced writers block. I tend to plan meticulously before beginning a work; key scenes, character biogs and arcs. The finished work may not follow the plan exactly, but it is a good guide and I always know what comes next.
LH: I get asked all the time “Do you have any advice for new writers?”… Do you?
MAS: If you want to write, then write – but understand that writing and publishing are very different disciplines. Just sit down, even if it is for just half an hour every day and compose. It can be anything; a scene, a song, a verse of poetry. Do what you enjoy. Understand that the Sistine Chapel was painted by masters who had practiced their craft over many years. Practice your craft – refine and polish, and understand you will have a long way to go. However, there will come a time when your idols will become your rivals, and it will all be worth it.
LH: I would not change one thing in my life as I would not be me if I did… If you could go back in time and change one thing in your life, what would it be?
MAS: Change one thing in my life? You know I don’t think I would. I might go back and observe humanity; I’d love to see how the pyramids were constructed, or who really killed Kennedy… but change something? Actually, you know what there is one thing I can think of – I’d go back to the moment the Cain was about to kill Abel and say; “Boys, pack it in, or it’s naughty step for both of you.”
LH: If I could go back in time and tell someone something, I’d go back and tell the founding fathers they were doing a few things wrong…If you could go back in time and tell someone something, who would you tell and what would you tell them?
MAS: Tell someone something… wow. You know, I’d probably go back and tell Archduke Franz Ferdinand to duck. No First World War. No Second World War… ok, the moon landings would get delayed by a few decades, but there might not be atomic bombs. Which would mean no Three Mile, no Chernobyl and no Fukushima. Oh, and no Cold War either. Which would also mean no Vietnam War. Yeah, let’s go with that; Arch Duke Ferdinand – “Duck.”
LH: I would freak out if someone contacted me and said they wanted to make one of my books or my series of book into a movie as I am really very shy in person and I’d probably go into hiding. I don’t think I could handle it. How would you handle it? Who would be the first person you told?
MAS: That’s already happened, and it was surreal. My third novel has been optioned. Don’t get me wrong, it takes YEARS to pull a script together, and then MORE YEARS to get funding, and then EVEN MORE YEARS to get a cast… you get the idea. In all likelihood it is more likely to not happen (seriously, the number of options that never come to anything is just phenomenal)… but the cheque cleared, so I’m happy.
Thank you for that awesome interview MAS…Now… for the fun stuff!
Favorite Beverage? Ginger beer over ice on a hot summer’s day.
Exercise or Bubble Bath? Probably exercise at the gym as long I can have my MP3 player.
Favorite Color? Purple. I even know the web number for it: 990066 – that purple. I love it.
Take out or Dine in? You know, I’m going for dine in. I’m not a great chef, but I really enjoy cooking. I can do a demon steamed lime sea bass on a bed of chorizo, garlic and red onion. And I’ve recently discovered the joy of slow cooking.
Camping or Hotel? Camping. I love the smell of the forest. I used to live in a house on the edge of a forest… and it is my spiritual home. The sounds of the woods – the animals and trees – it is just so relaxing.
Sports or Chocolate? I used to be a semi-pro martial artists, so definitely sports. But not soccer. I can’t stand it.
Dogs or Cats? Definitely dogs. Cats are the most sarcastic creatures on the Earth. Dogs are stupid and loyal. Cats think that they are superior to us… and they just might be.
Favorite Food? My wife’s prawn cocktail, followed by her EPIC lasagna.
Favorite Song? This changes. I have a top ten but they change in order depending on my mood. Today I’ve been listening to Johnny Cash’s “I see a darkness”, Iron Maiden’s “Fear of The Dark”, and Paradise Lost’s “Tragic Idol”. Every single one of those are a belter.
Favorite Movie? I have two; “The Crow” starring the late great Brandon Lee. I’m obsessed with that film, and can recite most of the script… much to the annoyance of anyone watching it with me. And “Gattaca” starring Jude Law, Uma Thurman, and Ethan Hawke
Favorite Car? You know, my wife is the rivet head in the family, not me – I prefer guitars and books. But we do both like the VW Camper Vans… preferably the older type 2, split screen.
And now for the essay part of the interview 😉
LH: If you could go anywhere for a week, with anyone you wanted and no one would ever find out about it…where would you go, what would you do and who would you take?
MAS: I would go with my wife and we would explore somewhere in Asia-Pacific. I was fortunate to live and work out there, but my wife has never been. She is hands down the most interesting person I’ve ever met, and even after all these years of marriage we will still frequently be up until four or five in the morning discussing life the universe and everything.
We’d probably do something in Vietnam or Cambodia – there are some great jungles to explore and some amazing ruins. The idea of just me and her for a week, completely disconnected from our phones and emails… yeah, I’d sign up for that.
Thank you for spending this time with us. Make sure to pick up your copy of Martin Adil-Smith’s
A Gathering of Twine