Interview With Author Duane L. Martin
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I was a PC technician by profession, but when the work for PC techs dried up and they became undervalued, I sort of drifted for a while, trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.
In October of 2013, I decided that I would try once again to write a book. I had tried many times in the past, but I always ended up hitting that dreaded roadblock we call writer’s block, and then I would take a break, intending to return once I was past it, but I never returned to any of them. This time, I just sat there staring blankly at my screen as an idea formed in my mind, and then I started writing, and I didn’t stop writing until I published 21 books in the series, then a standalone, non-series book, and then what I thought was going to be the final series book in 2016.
Jump forward in time, and I decided I was going to re-edit the entire series, as well as the standalone book into enhanced 2nd edition versions, and I would also create paperback versions of them as well. This project took me years for various reasons, but just recently I not only finished the project and got all the books republished, but as I re-edited the final book in the series, it inspired me to not only write and publish a 22nd series book, but now I’m working on a 23rd as well, which may or may not be the last one, but I want to write at least one more standalone book after this one before I think about whether or not to do another series book.
On a personal level, I’ve been a musician since 1987, though thanks to a recent bout of carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands, not only can I no longer play bass or guitar, but I find it difficult to type without constantly having to fix typos. I’m really hoping to be able to get back to playing stringed instruments again at some point, but for now I’ve switched to hand percussion, since I can still play the djembe and other similar hand percussion instruments with my hands in the condition they’re currently in.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Aftermath is the name of the 22nd book in the Unseen Things series. Genesis, the 21st book, was originally written to be the final book, but once I did the 2nd edition re-edits on it, I felt inspired to write about what came next. As it turned out, I was more inspired than I thought, because Aftermath ended up becoming the longest book in the series.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
All of my books have 16 chapters, each with a 6,500 minimum word limit. Once I reach that limit, I can continue on however long I need to after to finish the chapter, but this chapter / word count thing helps me to get to the final word count I’m looking for in my books.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
For many years I was obsessed with the Forgotten Realms novels, from various authors such as R. A. Salvatore and Ed Greenwood. I was also completely obsessed with the MythAdventures Series from Robert Asprin, and then Jody Lynn Nye following his death.
What are you working on now?
The 23rd book in the Unseen Things series, which I believe is going to be called Wanderers.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’ve posted ads on Twitter with various hashtags, and in Facebook groups, but unfortunately I’ve had no luck in gaining any traction. I’m afraid promotion is one of my biggest shortcomings.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t get so excited about finishing your first book that you release it without making sure it’s properly edited. Your first book will be many people’s first impression of your work, so if it’s not properly edited, they probably won’t return for your subsequent books. Also, make sure you pay attention to the flow of your writing, so that it creates a comfortable flow for the reader. One particular thing I would recommend is to avoid breaking up dialog right in the middle of a sentence to insert some sort of action or expression. I see that frequently, and it just feels like you’re reading over speed bumps. Also, if your book is heavily dialog oriented I would highly suggest using block format rather than standard format, as it’s easier to read, and your pages won’t be full of constant indents.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
When you’re creating characters, consider all the aspects of their life, their habits, their likes and dislikes, etc…, whether any of it is mentioned in the story or not, because those things are what help to shape the personality and motivations of the character.
What are you reading now?
The only thing I’ve read since I started writing my first book was the Complete Sherlock Holmes. I didn’t want any outside influences to affect my writing once I got started.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I need to figure out the whole promotion thing, because I need to start getting some sales. My whole focus up to now has been on the writing.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
My standalone book, Cindy’s Story, just because it makes me laugh every time I read it. Aside from that, The Complete Sherlock Holmes, and The Complete Edgar Allan Poe.
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