Interview with Australian Author – John Martin
“Australian Authors” – Tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?
John – I’m the mysteriously funny writer bloke from Tasmania. I can’t decide whether I want to write mystery with a dollop of humour or humour with a dollop of mystery. So you decide what is it. I have two series of books going — Windy Mountain Tasmanian Tiger series and the Mad Bill series. The first book of each series is free on Amazon.
“Australian Authors” – What made you want to become a writer?
John – I was a newspaper journalist for 38 years. When that career ended prematurely I decided I was too young to retire to my rocking chair.
“Australian Authors” – What gives you inspiration for your book(s)?
John – I usually see the funny side of things.
“Australian Authors” – Now, the big question, are you working on another book?
John – Yes, it’s the fourth in my Windy Mountain Tasmanian Tiger series.
“Australian Authors” – What genres do you prefer to write in?
John – comedy, satire, black comedy, mystery.
“Australian Authors” – What do you think about the ebook revolution?
John – When I was growing up my father had two or three novel manuscripts that had done the rounds of publishers, and been rejected so many times he had given up trying. He eventually self published and so did I, first in 1994. I was lucky. Working as an editor on newspapers, I had learnt the skills to oversee the project.
Digital publishing has made things so much easier. I see no reason we can’t use the tools at our disposal, plus the outsourcing of editing and cover design, to make our books the equal of many produced by trad. publishers.
“Australian Authors” – Do you start a book with a definite plot, or do you just write?
John – I’m a pantster. I start with a vague idea. I only start plotting when I’ve got 10,000 or so words down on my first draft, I’ve established the key characters and I have an inkling where it is I want the story to go
“Australian Authors” – Pen or type writer or computer?
John – I started working life on typewriters, so I’m over the nostalgia. I’ve always chewed my pens and I’ve worked out it’s not a good thing to suck on ink. So it’s a computer for me. I haven’t been gamw to start eating it.
“Australian Authors” – Do your characters seem to hijack the story, or are you always in control?
John – They have to do what they are told because they know I have ways to make them die horribly.
“Australian Authors” – Are your characters based on real people or completely imagined?
John – They are all composites. In 38 years in journalism I built up a large data-base of character studies, people from all walks of life.
“Australian Authors” – Have you thought about joining with another author to write a book?
John – I’m putting together a group of humour writers of a certain age to compile a book of a short stories in mid 2019. We’re calling ourselves, initially at least, the Old Farts etc, and so far we have men and one woman from the US, Canada, UK and Australia. Feel free to contact me if you’re keen to join us. But you need to already have at least three books published and be old enough to call yourself an Old Fart. The aim of the project is promotion and cross promotion. I doubt we’ll make more than a $1 each
“Australian Authors” – Who are your favourite authors?
John – I’ve always enjoyed laughing at work by Joseph Heller, Tom Sharpe, Colin Bateman, Carl Hiassen, Derek Hansen, John Mortimer, Nino Culotti, Roddy Doyle and Elmore Leonard. I’ve recently discovered Jonas Johannson and Fredrik Backman.
I also like the darker stuff I get from Ian Rankin, John Steinbeck, John le Carre, Graham Greene, Adrian McKinty and Dennis Lehane.
“Australian Authors” – What’s your advice to Authors? On writing? Publishing? Marketing?
John – Read. Research. Listen.