This week I am honoured to be able to share a Q & A session that the very talented Hemmie Martin was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to complete, Hemmie is one of the authors I shall be joining at The Darker Side of Fiction signing event, next year in Peterborough and is and has an impressive array of work under her belt which can be found on Amazon here. For today however she has paused writing and agreed to answer a mix of questions that I hope will both entertain and let us get to know Hemmie a little better, so without further ado…
1) I did consider starting with when did you start writing, but I think most of us started at a fairly young age and carried on until we could string coherent sentences together. So instead I will ask it a different way, when did you realise you had stories you wanted to share with the world?
My English teacher at High school commented that I had written a book over the years about a World War 2 fighter pilot called Hayden Moss, due to using him as a character in every story I had written. I thought then how cool it would be to have a book published, but life took me in a totally different direction, and I didn’t consider this to be a realistic goal until 2004.
2) How did your nearest and dearest feel when you first announced you were publishing a book? Has their reaction changed as you have released more and become more successful?
When I first began writing, my husband thought getting published was a pipe dream, but he saw how happy writing made me, so he continued encouraging me. When I received news from a publisher that they wanted to work with me, my husband and daughters were very excited. I now have seven books published with Winter Goose Publishing, but I’m not sure it impresses my family much anymore. The first book was exciting, now it seems a normal event. In fact, my husband sees it as my job now, so no need for praise! I do wish more was made of my publication day by him (daughters are now at university), but I’ve accepted not to expect too much, or anything at all!
3) Have you ever been in public, maybe on a train or plane and seen anyone reading one of your books? If so had did you react, if not how do you think you would react?
I’ve not had the pleasure – although if someone was reading the kindle version, I wouldn’t know! If I did see someone reading my book I imagine I would feel ecstatic and embarrassed, and definitely far too shy to say anything.
4) Everyone has that one character that when they write him or her they fall in love with, mine is my bad guy from my as yet unpublished trilogy, who is yours and can you tell us a little bit about them?
Mine is DI Eva Wednesday, from my crime series. I originally wrote ‘In the Light of Madness’ as a stand-alone crime novel, but Eva touched me, and I found myself missing her and wanting to get to know her more – hence a four book series, with the next one due in September 2017.
I love the fact that she has an internal anxiety about becoming mentally ill, as her mother suffers with schizoaffective disorder. She has a half-sister who has always dominated Eva in the looks department, hence Scarlett always finds herself in a relationship, yet Eva struggles to even trust a man if he did pass her way.
5) If your books were going to be made into films do you have any ideas in your head who you would like to see play any of your characters?
Ruth Wilson would make a wonderful DI Eva Wednesday, as she has a hidden quality when she acts, that suits Eva’s persona. Ruth Wilson has the ability to be aloof, which Eva comes across as with strangers, and Ruth’s look is how I imagine Eva to be.
Interestingly, I would also cast Ruth Wilson in the part of Lilith Fields in ‘Attic of the Mind’, as she would play the role of a tormented, anorexic, hell-bent on seeking revenge on the charge nurse who abused her whilst she was in a psychiatric hospital, very well. As you may have noticed, I’m a huge fan of Ruth Wilson, since seeing her in ‘Luther’.
6) Now a bit of a silly one, as frequently seen on FB the zombie apocalypse has begun, stick your hands out and tell us which two items you grab and how you are going to use them to fight off the starving hordes.
Jelly babies – I would throw them into their mouths to stave off their need for my flesh.
Cuticle cream – I would smear it along the ground between us so they would slip over.
7) Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release, and as a bonus give us the name of the song that would be the perfect theme music to it?
My latest release is the fourth in the DI Wednesday series, called ‘What Happens After’, where a murder occurs during a Parting Ways weekend in a hotel in Cambridge. Four couples are attempting to divorce amicably, but when one person is found dead, DI Wednesday and DS Jacob Lennox are faced with a widow, sparring couples, the group facilitators, and the hotel staff, many of whom appear to hate the victim.
The case strengthens Wednesday’s negative views on marriage, and brings Lennox to a place of reflection as he analyses his past and contemplates his future.
The song would be ‘It’s Too Late’ by Carole King.
8) One of the hardest things to take as an author can be the reviews, have you ever had any negative ones, if so how did you deal with them and what advice would you give to people starting out?
Thus far, the only negative comment I have received said that the denouement of ‘Attic of the Mind’ was a little rushed, and I have to admit, I believe they are right. I was so keen to tie all the loose ends together that I rattled it all out with a rapid intensity, when I could have taken more time over it. It was only my second novel, and I still had – and have – much to learn. I’m aware of the comment in my head each time I write a denouement, so it has served me well.
For authors starting out I would say don’t take negative comments personally, and try to learn from what has been said. It’s important to see what the readers dislike so you can improve future novels.
9) Do you have any writing rituals, for example, I have one author friend who has a bowl of a certain type of sweets on her desk during edits as a reward for hitting her targets, do you have anything you like to have handy during any part of the process?
I always eat jelly beans or jelly babies when writing, but I’m now fearing for my waistline, so I’ve started nibbling on sweet and salty popcorn. Hopefully my body will appreciate the change! I also wear cotton fingerless gloves when I type in the warmer weather, and cashmere ones in the colder months.
10. What is the last sentence you wrote in your current WIP?
A text from Oliver interrupted her reverie.
11. Do you have a secret talent or claim to fame you are willing to share?
I speak fluent French after living in France for six years. In my youth I played the clarinet, classical guitar, and the piano, but I think those skills may be lost in the ether of time. I’ll happily sing Carly Simon songs at Karaoke events, after a couple of drinks!
12. Final question, if you had to choose between writing something really popular and making a fortune or writing a literary masterpiece that was highly acclaimed by academics and critics which would you pick?
I’d like to be able to say the latter, as I somehow think it would reflect a more altruistic side, but in today’s current climate, I would have to say the former. Money may not bring happiness and good health, but it would certainly make life easier in so many ways. It’s not a dream I cling to though, as so much luck is involved in being discovered.
Many thanks for interviewing me, Paula, I really enjoyed answering your diverse questions. The music question was great fun!
If you would like to find out more about Hemmie and her books here are the links…