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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

INTERVIEW: C.E. MARTIN

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Long and Short Reviews welcomes C.E. Martin whose debut novel Mythical is now available from Barnes and Nobel, Amazon, and Smashwords.

C.E.'s favorite author is Lester Dent, who wrote the Doc Savage novels in the 1930s.

"I love his fast writing style and the fact that he really knew a lot about what he was writing as folks back then had a variety of jobs before they started writing," he said."Plus, his books are clean, with little to no cursing or profanity, and totally suitable for my kids today. If only I could get them to read Doc."

"In your own writing, what comes first—the plot or characters," I asked.

"Depends on the story. For my first screenplay attempt, I liked the idea of a mailman who turned into a werewolf and fought zombies (I'm a B Movie fan). So then I had to come up with a plot where that would work. Alternatively, for Mythical I came up with a main character and then adventures for him to have. I realized that if it was going to be a YA, he needed to have partners that were teens, so I worked out some interesting teens that could have interesting character arcs. Finally, I had to come up with a great villain. You can't have a super-protagonist and not have an equally super-antagonist. Then I was ready to start writing."

C.E. was inspired to start writing by all the reading he did as a kid—it made him want to tell his own stories. He started out trying to write when he was about fifteen. He enjoys telling stories—especially to his two daughters who are ages six and twelve.

"Most of these stories are me messing with them," he admitted, "but it's still a lot of fun."

It's his kids who help him keep a pulse on the youth of today. He gets to hear about their days and sees their interactions with their friends. They also make him watch Nickleodean and the Disney Channel.

"My girls are glued to my side, like groupies. I enjoy their company, but there's only so much iCarly or Zack and Cody a grown man can take," he told me. "Still, all the tweenish TV I've been subjected to did come in handy when I decided to make the jump and try writing YA. But it is kind of sad I can name all the characters from Victorious and can sing the Adventure Time theme song- when I'm not quoting Spongebob."

"When did you first consider yourself a writer?" I asked.

"When I got my first rejection letter. I was 19, and had sent off what I considered to be a brilliant Vampires-on-Mars short story to a magazine. They didn't like it and at the time I was crushed. But looking back, seeing that I finished a project and submitted it and a professional reviewed it, that's when I think I could have start calling myself a writer- because I tried. However, in 2007, I got my first check for writing articles. At the time I considered that my right to call myself a writer. Because I got published and paid. But that's really a snobbish way to look at it. There are tons of great artists who never make a dime, but can create amazing paintings, photos, drawings etc. To be a writer, you just have to write, and finish what you're writing, and have the confidence to show it to others. Perfectly okay of they don't like it- everyone is entitled to their own opinion and tastes."

This was one of the reasons C.E. decided to self-publish his works.

"No one would publish me in paper (darn slushpiles), but I don't see this as a failing on my part as a writer," he told me. "Editors and agents pick what they like, or what they think someone else will like. It's all a gamble. I've read plenty of books that I had to put down they were so bad to me. Ebooks are so great because the reader can find exactly what they like and not be forced to read something they don't. EBooks are like a buffet for the brain."

"If you could spend a day with anyone from history, dead or alive, who would it be, and what would you do?" I wondered. "What would you ask them?"

"Jesus Christ. Not because I'm a religious zealout or anything. I appreciate Jesus' cleverness in the Bible. He's so calm, and level headed, and a great public speaker. He has so many witty lines and I bet he has a great sense of humor. I love that he likens us to sheep and he our shephard. People do indeed have a herd mentality, following along with the crowd. It's because we're sociable. We like to be around other people- we value family and friends. We pick our herds and are content being in them. As for what I'd ask him. Well, I'd have to ask for a super power, of course."

The super power he would choose would be either telekineses or cryokinesis. With telekineses, he wouldn't have to get up and get the remote control the kids are always leaving on the other side of the room. And he could become the world's greatest stage magician. With cryokinesis, he could keep all my food and drinks from getting warm, and save a bundle on air conditioning. And every Christmas would be a white Christmas.

C.E. began writing YA books because he wanted something clean, without sex in it, that his kids could read. He also realized that a lot of the stuff he read as a kid meets the definition of what's called YA today.

"I think kids today need the same kind of positive role models the books of my youth had: characters who served the common good, who weren't full of self doubt and questions about their image, but who enjoy the world we live in and work to make things better for others," he told me.

Some of these books were the Tarzan series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, especially the last few in the series. He also read Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir's action/political satire Destroyer series, Piers Anthony's Xanth series, Robert E. Howard's Conan series, Keith Laumer's Retief books—as well as the Doc Savage books he's already mentioned.

"I think the emphasis from heroes working toward a greater good has gone away. The novels from today suffer from a glut of reality-TV-like voyeurism," he said. "The reader is taken inside character's heads, and shown their innermost fears and doubts. Too many characters have self-doubts and flaws. It's like writers can't come up with interesting adventures and are instead filling their books with interesting, flawed characters they hope readers will identify with. I prefer escapism from the troubles of real life, rather than reading about someone else facing realistic problems."

Finally, I asked, "What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?"

"Prepare for failure. That is, luck seems to play a bigger role in being successful than skill as a writer. I've read plenty of terrible books, and often wondered why I couldn't even get past the slush piles. Of course, now with self publishing, that's all changing. But you still need luck- people have to find out about your writing to for them to read it. And unless you have a big wad of cash for self-marketing, you really need that word of mouth. "

About the Author: I'm 44, served 4 years in the USAF from 1990-94, and have for the past fifteen years been working as an investigator in the law enforcement profession. I have two daughters, ages 6 & 12, and am married with a wife, mortgage and insane dog. I'm a college dropout- bad mistake, couldn't afford to go back, so I enlisted instead. My first paying writing gig was in 2007, when I began a series of opinion articles for a local paper. Unfortunately, they went out of business and I only sold seven articles. Since then I've been blogging, and recently decided to try my hand at screenwriting which led me back to writing novels.

Find the author online at http://mythicaltheseries.blogspot.com.



A burned up boat in the middle of the desert is just the beginning of a mystery teenagers Josie Winters and Jimmy Kane discover on their summer vacation. The boat holds a violent mystery- the burnt, stone corpse of a man with half his head missing and his heart removed.

When the corpse turns back into a man and follows Josie and Jimmy back to their camp, the teens find out he is not a monster, but a fallen soldier who can barely remember his name, how he died, or who killed him.

The teens take the soldier out of the desert, intent on helping him recover. As he encounters the modern world, the soldier’s memories begin to return: He is Mark Kenslir, a super soldier, who formerly fought foreign, supernatural threats.

When the government tries to recover Kenslir, he finally remembers his last mission: stop a heart-eating shapeshifter intent on replacing the Vice President. Still suffering from partial amnesia, Kenslir decides that the only people he can trust are the kids who found him in the desert. But can a couple of normal kids help a super man complete his mission before it’s too late?

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