Tuesday, March 6, 2012

10 Questions with Fantasy Writer Debra L. Martin (@dlmartin6)

This Author Spotlight features Boston-based fantasy writer Debra L. Martin. Debra is the first writer I've featured who is part of a writing team, along with David W. Small.

1. How did you get into writing?
I have been writing since I was a teenager. I’ve always loved to put pen to paper and share the stories in my head.  I wrote my first novel years ago and that was an excellent exercise in actually finishing a project.  Unfortunately, that novel will forever stay in a dusty desk drawer, but it taught me a lot about plotting and pacing within the story.

2. What do you like best (or least) about writing?
I love to write especially since I write with my co-author and brother, David W Small.  We both have similar tastes in books and have always traded books back and forth. When we started writing together in 2006, it was amazing how well our writing styles blended. That’s not to say, everything seamlessly flowed together, because it took us awhile to find our groove, but now it’s hard to pick out who wrote what part. That’s our goal, we want the reader to be invested in the story, not wondering which writer wrote this passage or that passage.

3. What is your writing process? IE do you outline? Do you stick to a daily word or page count, write 7 days a week, etc?
Because I write with a co-author, it is imperative that we outline a story before we ever begin putting words to the paper or computer as it is.  While we both strive to write as much as possible, our day jobs do not always allow us to write on any particular schedule.  We write when we can, send each other the scene or chapter and then the other one edits and adds to it.

4. Who are some other writers you read and admire, regardless of whether they are commercially “successful?”
In the past, I used to read the fantasy/science fiction author staples: Terry Brooks, Orson Scott Card, Tad Williams, Stephen R. Donaldson, but lately, I’ve read so many new authors including Brent Weeks, Peter Brett and Patrick Rothfuss.  I also read and review lots of indie books and have found some gems in the pile.

5. Should the question mark in the above question be inside or outside the quotes?
Should I look up this answer or just go with what I would write? I would say outside, but then again, that’s why I send all my manuscripts to my fabulous editor.  That allows Dave and me to do what we do best: write the story and leave the editing to a professional.

6. What’s your stance on the Oxford Comma?
I have a tendency not to use enough commas and once again, I’ll defer to my editor.  My strengths lie in creating the story and I’m not afraid to admit that I can’t do it all.  Being an indie author doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t enlist the help of professionals: editors, graphic artists, web designers. Use their expertise and concentrate on what you do best.

7. What is your book ASSASSIN’S CURSE about and how did it come to fruition?
Dave and I love assassins. Our two previous books in the Rule of Otharia series featured another nefarious assassin, Nils, and it was so much fun to write that part that we decided to base our next novel on an assassin.  In ASSASSIN’S CURSE, we have two assassins—Jeda and Mave—and their lives intersect throughout the book.  When Jeda fails to complete a mission, the assassin guild sends Mave to investigate and find out what happened.  In the meantime, Jeda has been put under a compelling spell by a powerful witch, and he now finds his life turned upside down. He has become the protector of two infant girls who are more than they seem—they are the twins of prophecy and different factions within the witch’s community want to use them to their own end.  Jeda must run from everything he’s known, and not only learn how to care for these babies, but to keep them safe from harm.

8. What’s your current writing project?
We are working on the sequel titled WITCH’S CURSE. This book continues the story of Jeda and the twins, Kara and Kala as they search for the Witch Stone of prophecy.

9. What book(s) are you currently reading?
I’m reading “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern in hardcover, and on my kindle I’m reading “Tracking Shadows” by Regan Black. I usually read 2 books at once. I review for Goldberg McDuffie, a marketing firm in NYC and they send me paperbacks, but I really enjoy reading on my Kindle. I am swamped with review requests so I’ve had to close to new submissions, but I try to read and review as many indie books as I can. I publish my reviews on my blog, Two Ends of the Pen, as well as on Amazon, shelfari, goodreads and Barnes & Noble.

10. Who or what inspires your writing?
Dave inspires my writing. It’s fantastic to write with someone who constantly surprises you with new scenes and chapters. I know that Dave feels the same way when I send him a scene/chapter and that keeps it fresh for both of us. We know the gist of the outline, but there’s always those little surprises that pop up to make you go, OMG!

Finally, is there anything you’d care to add? Please also include where people can read your published stories, buy your book, etc. 
Readers can find our full compliment of books listed on my blog, Two Ends of the Pen, http://twoendsofthepen.blogspot.com/ and at my amazon author page at https://www.amazon.com/author/debralmartin

My contact info is:

Thanks, Debra. I love the cover art for ASSASSIN'S CURSE and am looking forward to WITCH'S CURSE. Be sure to let us know when it is available.


  1. Thanks Ryan for the opportunity to talk about my writing. I appreciate it!

  2. You're very welcome, Debra. It was a pleasure!