Saturday, September 21, 2013

Kicking back with Henry Martin - An Author Interview

So we've been planning on sitting down with Author Henry Martin for an Author Interview for a while. We've featured him in a past guest post on Multiculturalism Fiction as well as offered a giveaway for his book Mad Days of Me:Escaping Barcelona and In the short time we've known him, he's become a really good friend and is always open to new exciting things. He's even opened up his blog to interview bloggers just like us because he doesn't feel like we bloggers get the recognition we deserve!

Any Bloggers interested in being featured on his blog, visit here .He'd love to dig deep inside your head about being a book blogger and he's really open minded about what genres you review in, after we've all had our fair share of conducting interviews, why not flip the role!

Henry, like us, has a passion for reading, writing and exploring the world one day at a time!

<--------That's him on his motorcycle!Doesn't he look bad-ass?

So let's take the time to get to know a very amazing author!

1. First, introductions are in order. For anyone that remembers our past guest post and giveaway, you may know him. But for those that don't, why don't you tell us more about yourself?

Let me begin by expressing my gratitude for interviewing me. Bloggers like you are a great resource. 
A bit about myself: I'm 37, male, and married. Other than my family, I have two great passions that keep me going: literature and motorcycles. I read as much as I can, ride whenever I can, and, at night when everyone's asleep, I sit in a dark room illuminated by the dim light of my laptop screen and try to silence the creative voices in my head. It doesn't always work, so I also woodwork, garden, and restore old bikes, which are all creative pastimes. I'm a hopeless romantic with pessimistic tendencies, I dream of living on every continent before I die, and I tend to stare at the horizon absentmindedly, either thinking of all the beauty that surrounds us or the next adventure I'd like to undertake.  

2. I hear you have an interesting story to tell on how you became a self published author. Can you tell us about the steps you took to reach the point you are now as a published author?

The story is not really all that interesting. I'd assume that a lot of the self-published authors came to be where they are because of similar reasons. My personal story started back in 2006 when I completed the first draft of Escaping Barcelona. Like most authors, I spent too much time researching publishers, agents, editors, and literary agencies, writing queries and waiting for the offer that never arrives. With over a hundred rejections under my belt, luck finally smiled at me. A start-up Canadian micropress accepted my novel for publication. We spent the next year editing the book. Just before the release date, the owner hinted that the press might not survive (for unrelated reasons), but I insisted that we should still go ahead. After all, I had a lot of time invested in the book, and, as all authors, I had high hopes. The press, unfortunately closed its doors a few weeks after the release. 

Well, while this was going on, I worked on Finding Eivissa, the sequel to Escaping Barcelona. After I got the rights to my first book back, I started querying again, only to learn that no one I contacted was interested in a second edition of a book that did not sell a million copies. I continued working and querying, but by the time I finished Eluding Reality, the third book in the trilogy, I had enough of rejections. Exhilaration turned into discouragement. I became quite demoralized about the whole thing, and abandoned the project altogether. In the mean time, I continued working on short stories and poetry, and once I get over the 'hurt-puppy' feeling, I picked myself up. Around the same time, a friend, who is an exceptional author, kept telling me to self-publish. 

While I originally resisted the idea of self-publishing (we all dream of being picked up by a major publisher), I researched the market and print option, and I realized that a lot has changed since 2006. There was a surge in e-books, more POD options, and a lot of new titles from independent authors. I dusted off the old files, and took a critical look at Escaping Barcelona. By the time I was done with the revisions, ninety percent of the book was rewritten. The general story line stayed the same, but the text had undergone significant changes. I spent another few months working on the interior layout (for the print edition) and the cover, and here I am today. Frankly, I owe a lot to one special person who provided me with a lot of support during this journey. 

3. Tell us more about you "Mad Days of Me" series. Did something in your life inspire you to write this story, or was it a product of your wild imagination?

Mad Days of Me is a trilogy that started out as a short story written while at work. If you were to ask me when I was writing it whether I would consider writing a novel, let alone a trilogy, I would have laughed at you. Yet, somehow, the protagonist found his way under my skin and took over. 
I believe all authors draw inspiration from real-life, and I must admit that I do the same. The original idea behind the story was inspired by a few different things, but mainly by observing homeless teenagers on my way to and from work. I would see the same people every day, hanging out in the same places. I always wondered why, so I imagined a scenario. As for the inspiration after the initial catalyst, I was fascinated by Barcelona and its culture; it was the ideal background for Rudy's journey. 

4. Do any of your main characters(or minor characters for that matter) reflect people you've met during your lifetime or experiences?

Knowingly, no. However, it is impossible to tell. After all, everything we see, do, and experience leaves a mark. Since all inspiration comes from life, I would assume that all my characters are a combination of all the people I ever met, saw on TV, and read about. I would also have to assume that, after spending six years with him in my head, there is a lot of me in Rudy (hopefully the good parts). 

5. Do you feel particularly loyal to the genre(s) you currently write in? Do you ever consider writing outside of your comfort zone?

It is very hard to classify one's own work. While I'd like to think I write literary fiction, my writing crosses into many other genres. For example, in the Mad Days of Me, trilogy, each books has a slightly different feel to it. You've read book one, but in book two there is an element of romance, and in book three an element of drama. 

I chose to write character-driven stories where the character's psychological state is more important than the setting itself. This is not because it is my comfort zone, quite the contrary. The human psyche is a very challenging field to explore. My short story collection, Coffee, Cigarettes, and Murderous thoughts, for example, is comprised of stories I was very uncomfortable writing. It was sort of a challenge I took upon myself to delve into the obscure, dark human behaviors that I cannot relate to on a personal level.   

6. We talk about diversity and multiculturalism on our blog more than anything else. Your book required your main character "Rudy" to encounter different types of multiculturalism through his journey. Do you feel as if incorporating diversity or multiculturalism is important in literature. If so, why? If not, why?

Absolutely. I believe we, as humans, have a lot to learn from one another. The world is so diverse, there are countless cultures and subcultures we are not exposed to in our daily lives, and the more we learn the richer our lives become. As you noted in your review, Rudy interacts with quite a diverse crowd, although I left his own identity a mystery. I feel that a reader should be able to make his/her own mental image of Rudy based on his actions and interactions, so I left his ethnic and cultural background blank. After all, this was a story about human psyche and humanity itself. 
That being said, I'm a firm believer that diversity should be embraced, not feared.

7. Describe your journey as a writer in five words or less.

 Sleepless nights finally yield accomplishment. 

8. What is the best advice as a published writer, to an unpublished writer looking to publish their work?

My advice would be: Read, read, and read. Well-rounded readers make good writers. Don't rush things, and, when you are ready to proceed, make your book the best it can be. You will never be able to please everyone, but make sure you can be proud of what you put out there.   

9. We've talked about this recently, but you mentioned having a strong desire to bridge a gap between Authors and Book Bloggers. You've already begun interviewing Book Bloggers on your blog and plan to strictly interview Book Bloggers through this series of interviews. What prompted this response in you? And where do you plan to take this journey?

Actually, the plan is to review some authors as well, on the condition that they are interviewed as reviewers with absolutely zero self-promotion. Many authors read and review books, and many reviewers write books, so the line gets to be a bit blurry. 

What prompted this idea: too much masturbatory behavior by some authors, This is not to discredit anyone in particular, but looking at social networking sites, there seems to be too much of "like swaps", "review swaps", "buy my book I buy yours", et cetera types of behavior. Just yesterday I exchanged a few emails with an author who responded to a post on my blog. We both feel that behaviors as these do not do anything to advance the craft, or to gain new readership. Authors need reviewers to tell the world about their books, plain and simple. Without reviewers, my own books would be sitting at the bottom of some list somewhere, and no one would ever know I exist.

I realize that my response may cause some backlash, but so be it. This is not about egos, this is about right and wrong. I refuse to "like" an author whose work I haven't read. After all, recommending something or someone I have no knowledge of, would be wrong.

I feel reviewers should be recognized for the hard work they do, and they should be able to tell their side of the story as well. Even on your own blog, you once posted about having  a hard time telling an author that you did not like his/her work. Yet, some authors feel they can discredit a negative review. It should not be this way. 

10. And lastly, what is next for Henry Martin?

What's next is that by the time you post this interview I'll be on my motorcycle exploring the backroads of Vermont. But you probably mean writing-wise. Well, I started working on a story I've had on my mind for a few years now. I'll stick with the first-person narrative and lean towards literary fiction. This story will follow a male character locked up in a detention center for illegal immigrants, where he lands after an overzealous border guard confuses his identity. I'm currently calling it 36 days, and the goal is to explore the mental deterioration the protagonist undergoes before his release 36 days later.  



  1. Thanks for listing your blog :)
    Em from Book Blogger's Of Goodreads

  2. Good interview, I hadn't heard of this author before. I am over from Goodreads and your newest follower.


  3. Hi hi,

    This has nothing to do with your post lol.. But I nominated you for the LIEBSTER AWARD!!!!! I hope you will accept it :) check the post here:

    Irene @ Ice Queen's Bookshelf


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