A Reprise of my Talks with Authors

August is drawing to an end and I am preparing to resume my series of talks with authors.  I’m going to do them on a monthly basis, starting on the 31 August when I’m talking with Robyn Young, the historical novelist.

Before that I thought I’d give a reprise of one question and answer from each of the conversations with the writers who have already contributed.

I’m starting today with David Gaughran and Ty Johnston.

First my talk with David Gaughran about his book ‘A Storm Hits Valparaiso.’

Martin: The struggle for South American Independence was epic and full of heroic and dashing figures such as Simon Bolivar and Bernardo O’ Higgins.  Yet you chose to write about San Martin, a private man, less well-known, who spurned fame and heroics.  What attracted you to the challenge of writing about him?

David: The original plan was to write about both San Martin and Bolivar, but, as you have pointed out, Bolivar’s story was (relatively) more familiar, and half the fun (for me) is uncovering something less well known. On top of that, the scope of the story was already spiralling out of control and I needed to make some big decision early on regarding what to focus on and what would make a coherent story. I already had seven main characters, and I felt that was about the limit in terms of what a reader could keep fresh in their minds (and that I could keep track of).

Aside from that, there was something terribly seductive about focusing on the man who walked away when power was within his grasp. What would lead someone to do that? That question powered the whole novel.

Next, my talk with Ty Johnston who interviewed me a while ago on his blog.

Martin: You tried to get your books published by the traditional publishing market for many years before going along the self-published route.  Is self-publishing something you would recommend to new authors?

Ty: I would recommend self publishing to every new author, despite the fact a stigma against self publishing still remains in some circles. I’m not suggesting self publishing need to be an end goal in and of itself, though it can be, but that even writers who want to work within the traditional publishing industry should go ahead and self publish. Why? To build an audience. To show the traditional publishing folks what you can accomplish on your own. If you have success, the traditional publishers will come calling, including agents and editors. Instead of waiting and waiting and waiting for something to happen, be proactive and move ahead.

You can read the full interviews in the archives on my blog and by clicking on the links below:

The next reprise will feature some of my talk with SJA Turney and Lynn Shepherd.


About Martin Lake

Martin Lake lives in the French Riviera with his wife. After studying at the University of East Anglia he worked as a teacher, trainer and company director. A serious accident shattered his arm and meant that he had to rein back his work. He decided to concentrate on writing and is now writing full-time. He writes a wide range of fiction. His main interests are historical fiction, short stories and fiction for young adults. Martin has a series of novels 'The Lost King' which are set in the years following the Norman Invasion of England. They concern Edgar Atheling, last representative of the ancient English royal dynasty and his fight to regain the throne from William the Conqueror. Martin has also published 'Artful' the further adventures of the Dodger and 'Outcasts' a novel about fall of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. His latest novel, 'A Love Most Dangerous' is about a maid of honour who becomes the lover of Henry VIII. Martin’s work has been broadcast on radio. He won first prize in the Kenneth Grahame Society competition to write a story based on 'The Wind in the Willows.' You can get the collection, 'The Wind in the Willows Short Stories' from Amazon.
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3 Responses to A Reprise of my Talks with Authors

  1. Elaine Jeremiah says:

    Hi Martin. The comments Ty makes about self publishing are helpful and really encouraging to me. I hope to go down the indie pub route. Just the sort of advice I need! I hope your novel’s going well.

    • Martin Lake says:

      Thanks very much, Elaine. Ty’s a really good guy. I don’t regret going down the indie route either, in fact I think it’s by far the best option now. If you want any advice then just let me know. I’m no expert but I’ve learnt a lot over the last year. My novel’s going fine, 50K already written. How about your work? I’m looking forward to reading it once it’s published.

      • Thank you very much! I may well need some advice, so kind of you to offer! My writing’s going well. Nearing the end of the first draft of my story but I may well flesh it out as I go back and redraft it. I will definitely let you know when it’s finished, I’d appreciate your thoughts although I find the thought of lots of people reading my work daunting! (at the same time as being desperate to be published!!)

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