Happy New Year and Author Interview (Jeremy Martin)

Hi, everyone! I hope you had a great holiday season and a very happy new year! I know I’m excited for the upcoming year and all the amazing books that are being released.

Today, I’m pleased to welcome my friend and fellow writer Jeremy Martin to the blog to talk about his upcoming debut FOREIGN TO YOU. Jeremy and I first met at a Madcap workshop back in 2016. How time flies!

41732287The harmony between humans and fianna, a species of shape-shifting deer, begins to wither as racial tensions and deeply rooted resentment turns violent.

Ruthless hunter Finn Hail and prophesied liberator Adelaide may be heroes to their own species, but they are enemies to each other. With war on the horizon, the reluctant pair must team up to find the most elusive of prey: the god of the Forest.

As enemies press in from all sides, true intentions begin to show. For Finn to save the boy he cares for most, he might need to aim his gun at the very god he seeks. And Adelaide, with her festering hatred for mankind, will have to determine if peace holds true salvation for her people.


Q: Welcome, Jeremy, and thanks for joining me on the blog today! Can you tell my readers a little bit about yourself?

A: *waves* Hello! I am 24 years old and living in Pennsylvania. I work full-time as a residential and commercial estimator and I get to use highlighters a lot. Which is fun. When I’m not working, I’m normally playing an obscene amount of video games, rewatching the Office for the millionth time, or writing about people dying and sadness.

Q: Your upcoming release, FOREIGN TO YOU, has a darkly whimsical feel to it. What was your inspiration for the story?

A: FOREIGN TO YOU was birthed from this darker theory that sometimes ‘fate’ or ‘destiny’ can’t be broken or rewritten. I’ve read plenty of stories that have the main characters battling the gods, higher powers, etc, to change the world around them and defying everything. I’ve always wondered, ‘Well…what if that didn’t work out? What if fate is set up for a reason?’

Another large part of FOREIGN TO YOU is my perception of the world and my own battles with certain viewpoints or ideas. While there might be shape-shifting deer in the story, there are some real-world issues being snuck in there.

Q : Yeah, those shape-shifting deer really surprised me. I’m used to shifters usually being werewolves, so this was really different and unique. How did you come up with having deer shifters?

A: I grew up in a family of hunters. Every November they’d go to our cabin during rifle season. I used to go, when I was younger, but didn’t find much joy in actually killing the deer. I used to love sitting in the tree stands and watching as the deer came and went, almost mystically.

One time, my grandpa had told me, “Deer come and go through the forest like magic. One second they’re there and the next they’re gone,” and that has always stuck with me. I love the duality of animal and human residing in one form, but I didn’t want to use shifters that I felt like were overdone or already mapped out. I liked the idea of exploring a new species and, hopefully, adding a breath of fresh air to the shifter genre!

Q: It definitely is a breath of fresh air! I’m about 5 chapters into the ARC I received, and I’ve been enjoying how different it is.
Can you talk a little about your journey to being published?

A: As a writer, there are a million drafts of various stories and ideas chilling on my flash drive. FOREIGN TO YOU is an accumulation of all those ideas that didn’t work out, that just weren’t ready yet. Each time one idea doesn’t work, the plot doesn’t feel right, or you get a rejection from an agent you take it mega personal. You doubt your worth as a creator, as a story teller. You think, ‘what’s the point?’

But there is always hope. I’m literally getting a book about deer becoming humans published. If I can succeed, your chances are that much greater.

I participated in PitMad on Twitter and then queried Nine Star Press who later offered me a publishing deal. I had actually never considered going with a small publisher before. The stigma that the writing/reading world has about small presses is suffocating and scary at times, but I don’t think I would change a single thing that has happened in this journey.

I’m also TERRIBLE at being patient and waiting. And from my experience so far, it’s a lot of hurry up and then waitttt.

Q: What is your writing process like? Any favorite snacks or drinks for writing?

A: My writing process is a lot like a flamingo that wasn’t born with good balance and thinks it can run. I often joke that I’m a part-time writer and a full-time mess, because really I am. I want to be able to look someone in the eyes and tell them I map out every single action my characters take and each plot point, but I just don’t. It kind of scares me how each time I edited FOREIGN TO YOU, I added something new and crucial to the story.

My biggest ‘writing tool’ is probably Pinterest. I create a board for each idea and get visuals on characters, places, aesthetics, etc.

So, I drink coffee when I’m drafting because I think it makes me look smart and sophisticated. When I’m editing, I drink wine so I can slowly stop feeling the pain of fixing how many times I used “you ass” in my story.

I don’t eat much though. If I do, I try to reward myself. Oh, you finished a paragraph? Eat a cookie!

Q: Cookies are always a good reward!
What media (tv/books/podcast/etc) are you enjoying right now?

A: I am always looking for stories and strong narratives in all forms of media. I love playing video games for that reason. Sure, they are entertaining as heck, but some of the plots and characters that come out of games these days is wild. Play the Last of Us. That game tore me open and left me broken. Oh, and I started watching the Great British Baking Show and my life hasn’t been the same ever since.

PS: I will marry Steven one day.

Q :Where can people find you online?

A: Probably on America’s Most Wanted.

But if not there, I frequent Instagram so I can share photos of my dogs and feel only slightly judged for my lack of life. I also have Twitter (have a twitter?) where I take a full day to craft up something witty and funny that ends up getting 1 like (shout out to Sabina for those pity likes.)


You can find FOREIGN TO YOU at Nine Star Press on February 4, 2019! I know it feels far away, but the book will be released before you know it! Thanks for joining us today!

 

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Writing is Hard, but Keep Going

It’s been about 2 months since the Madcap Aspiring Writers Workshop I attended. I left the workshop in high spirits, really riding the excitement I felt while there.

However, in the time since then, I have run the gamut of “my work is terrible, I should stop writing” to “I can do this! It’s my dream and I will get there!”

Writing is hard. It takes a lot of self-confidence, which fluctuates for me from day to day. It takes commitment and self-discipline. And when I have a stack of books come into the library for me, it’s easy to not write for a couple weeks.

But, there’s always the pull back to the page. Now that I’ve started on this journey, I feel like I can’t give up now. I feel like the finish line is just around the corner and quitting isn’t in my genes.

If I stop writing, nothing is going to happen. No one is going to knock on my door demanding to see my work. No one is going to call me up and scold me for not finishing my book. And yet, I don’t want to fail.

Sure, I might have oodles of rejection letters sitting in an email folder marked “Lit Agent Rejections.” Sure, I might not have heard back at all from a handful of other agents. But I don’t see that as failure.

Failure is me saying “I’m done” for no other reason than it’s “too hard.” There are plenty of good reasons for someone to give up on this journey, but for me, being hard isn’t one of them.

So, I’m going to keep plugging along. And one of these days, my dreams will come true. Then, I’ll be faced with the onerous task of choosing a new dream to fulfill. But that’s the exciting thing about life. You never know what’s around the next corner.

Madcap Aspiring Writers Workshop

Last week, I attended the 2016 Aspiring Writers Workshop hosted by Madcap Retreats. The event brought 42 aspiring writers together in a big house in the middle of nowhere, TN for three days of learning, listening, and being.

I drove from NY to TN. On the way down, I broke up my trip into two days and stopped at Luray Caverns in VA. I love caves so much and I felt like visiting one before the workshop was an auspicious way to start the trip.

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The reflective underground lake in Luray Caverns.

When I arrived at the retreat house, a giant wall of windows greeted me inside. The space was light and airy. A perfect place to host the workshop.

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It was incredibly soul-feeding to be among people going through the same journey I am. There was no explaining necessary because everyone just got it. The number of times in my life when I’ve felt this way can be counted on one hand.

I laughed with my new friends and cried with them. In the space of three days, I felt like I found family. And I learned so much. There was an incredible amount of information thrown our way during those long days of workshops. I think the important parts stuck the most, so I’m not worried about the parts that are lost to me now.

Maggie Stiefvater spent a lot of time ingraining the idea that we are idea-makers, creative people, not just writers. This is a concept that I’ll carry with me because it helps me see the world differently.

Courtney Stevens’ words are mostly lost to me now, but her infectious zeal for life and improving oneself stayed with me. Of everyone at the retreat, she gave me the courage and desire to be better.

And I’d like to give a huge shout-out to Natalie Parker who organizes Madcap retreats. She invests huge amounts of time and energy into organizing and her efforts are evident in how wonderful the workshop was. It was life-changing. And soul-feeding. And everything I wanted it to be.

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The last night there, we had a bonfire where we all burned boxes we’d been decorating with ideas for the past several days. We had the chance to write one last thing on the box before we burned it. I burned my fear and self-doubt, letting them rise into the night with the burning embers.

This workshop has not only given me tools to improve my craft but the love and support of everyone who attended. I can face the hard path of a writer because I have my tribe behind me. And I am so incredibly grateful that I was able to experience this with everyone there.