N.P. Martin Author Interview

N.P. Martin Author Interview

By Neal Martin/ August 1, 2022
Last Updated August 1, 2022

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?

I grew up in Northern Ireland, a place that has seen more than its fair share of bloody violence over the years. Yet the people have always still maintained a strong sense of humor, albeit an often dark and morbid one. My books contain a lot of violence, which is down to the type of characters I write—antiheroes—and the genre I write in. But the violence is always balanced out by my particular brand of humor, which I developed from growing up in a place that was constantly overshadowed by the specter of violence for many decades.

Fellow Northern Irish writer, Garth Ennis, displays this same sense of dark humor in his work. His comic writing is full of darkly crazy characters and even darker, twisted humor, as evidenced in The Boys and Preacher, especially. In my novel, Dark Solstice, which is set in Northern Ireland, I embraced this dark humor to its fullest extent, going all out with it… and I loved writing every word.

So I guess all this proves there is a flip-side to growing up in a dangerous place where violence was ever present—you develop a wicked sense of humor, almost as a coping mechanism. I love the Northern Irish sense of humor, and I believe it has made my books more fun to read, so they aren’t just dark and violent, but funny as well… albeit in a sickly twisted way.

When did you first start writing?

I first began writing when I was a teenager, inspired by the horror and dark fantasy novels I couldn’t get enough of. Books by Stephen King (Salem’s Lot got me into horror), Clive Barker, Shaun Hutson, Joe R. Landsdale, and a whole slew of others. Later, I read a lot of psychological thrillers, and also literary fiction. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis was another tremendous influence on me.

When I was nineteen, I wrote a complete novel, though it wasn’t very good. Back then (I’m showing my age here), I wrote on an ancient typewriter that my dad got for me. My fingertips became like steel from having to hit those keys so damn hard. Later, I graduated to a Windows computer. It didn’t really matter, though, because I didn’t write very much at all over the next ten years. In that time, I lived my life and got some experience, because that’s what I needed to do.

In around 2008/9, I started writing again. I wrote articles for martial arts magazines, then later for a blog that I maintained for several years. In that time, I wrote a few hundred articles, which really helped sharpen my skills as a writer. More importantly, I learned discipline, cultivating a professional mindset.

In 2012, I wrote another novel, completing the first draft in just a few weeks. The book was Hell Is Coming, my first urban fantasy novel, which has since been republished as Hunter’s Legacy. It wasn’t a great book by any means, but I was proud of it, and it got me started on my indie publishing journey.

Since that first book, I have written thirty more novels. Today, I am a full-time author, having achieved what my younger self could only dream about as I battered away on that old typewriter…

What motivated you to become an indie author?

Honestly, I just always loved stories. I loved getting caught up in them—losing myself in them—either through watching movies and TV, or through reading books. When I was a kid, the idea of being an author fascinated me. Then, when I started reading voraciously as a teenager, I just knew I had to be an author. Deep down, writing books was all I wanted to do.

It took me many years to achieve my goal of becoming an author. But even while I suffered through the countless jobs I held until I was in my thirties, I never let go of that desire to be an author. Writing for me has always been a compulsion. If it wasn’t, I would never have carried that goal of being a writer with me through years of doing shitty jobs.

Creating is a necessity for me. If I don’t do it, my demons come out and take over. Writing for me is as much a coping mechanism as anything else. And as hard as writing can be sometimes, there is never a moment when I don’t love it deep down. Even after more than a decade of being a professional author, I still feel privileged I can do what I love every day.

And as for being an indie author. Well, that was just a no-brainer. The indie scene helped writers like me get their work out there, something that was almost impossible to do before. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity.

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?

The greatest joy of writing for me is in creating worlds out of nothing, and filling those worlds with characters and stories that I get to experience unfolding every time I sit down to write. Though perhaps the greatest joy is the satisfaction of having actually written. The entire process of writing I find to be extremely rewarding, even when it doesn’t feel that way sometimes. Writing scratches an itch in me that nothing else can.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?

The desire to continue creating, to continue writing whatever story I’m working on. That, and the need to earn a living by developing my author business.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

Mostly, I spend time with family and walk my dog (a Red Fox Lab). I live in the country, so I enjoy just walking around, sitting by the lake, being with nature as I listen to music on my headphones. Music is my single biggest passion, next to writing. Mostly, I listen to death metal, but also a lot of electronic music as well. Music feeds my soul, along with quality TV shows and good writing.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?

Something about a guy who finds a statue that ends up turning him into a demon. I don’t think it was very good. Most of what I wrote when I was younger wasn’t too good, though a few stories were okay. They showed promise if nothing else. My debut urban fantasy novel was the first halfway decent thing I wrote. I’ve improved a lot since then, and I like to think I get better with every book. If nothing else, that first story I wrote shows that you have to start somewhere.

What is your writing process?

I’m what’s known in the biz as a panster, meaning I don’t plan out my stories, preferring to sit down and let them unfold naturally. I’m a discovery writer.

Before I start a book or series, I spend a lot of time thinking about the characters and the story I want to write. The story largely comes from the characters. I do a lot of research before starting a new series as well, soaking up ideas, mulling them over, combining them with what’s already in my head.

When I feel ready, I sit down and start the story, having only a vague outline in my head—essential plot points, mostly. Sometimes I might have an idea of the ending. From there, I just keep writing until I’m done with the book, editing as I go along.

I only write one draft. As an indie author, I don’t have the luxury of spending a year on one book, so I make it as clean as possible and get the book out here, publishing a book every three to four months.

I’m very much a “trust the process” kind of guy. My subconscious does all the writing for me, because I’ve learned to trust it, to allow it to do its thing. I just type when I write.

Every writer is different. It’s important for a writer to find their own process through trial and error.

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?

My father used to read to me a lot when I was a kid. I credit him for my lifelong interest in books and stories. I read a lot of books when I was a kid, from Brer Rabbit to Alice in Wonderland. However, the first proper adult book I read was Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot, when I was twelve years old, and I immediately loved it. I had never been so fascinated and drawn in by something in my entire life. It was just a wonderful experience to exist within an entirely new world—a world of darkness and monsters and realistic characters. By the time I had finished that book, I knew I wanted to be a writer.

6 responses to “N.P. Martin Author Interview”

  1. Jurgen Wolff Avatar

    Thanks for this—it’s interesting and inspirational to get a glimpse behind the scenes of a prolific writer!

    1. Neal Martin Avatar

      My pleasure. Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Michelle McCleese Avatar
    Michelle McCleese

    Having just finished “Infernal Descent” and read the article here, I wanted to send you a thought I had regarding your writing and its appeal. Long story short, I’ve been a teacher of writing for 34 yrs – mostly college prep/formal writing. But, I’ve been doing some research into creative writing and the common methods to novel writing appear to be more structured than yours. The appeal of your books for me, however, is the tendency for plots to dive off script, and that feels more natural or “organic,” if you want to be technical about it. I like it; it’s fresh and entertaining in a genre that often seems formulaic. I don’t know how appropriate creative writing “instruction” is unless its goal is to help writers produce order from chaos, but it has a tendency to imprint whatever method is used, which I think can limit creativity. Anyway, I just wanted to say I enjoy your books and keep it up. 👍🏻 Thank you.

    1. Neal Martin Avatar

      Hey, thanks a bunch for the nice comment! It’s awesome to hear you’re digging the books. 😄
      As for structure, I’m more of a “go with the flow” kind of writer. I try not to let things get too messy, but I’m not big on sticking to a strict plan. Outlines, hero’s journeys, plot points… not really my style, haha. I just let the story unfold naturally and see where it takes me. It’s worked out pretty well so far! 😉

  3. Glen A Evans Avatar
    Glen A Evans

    Mr. Martin you may recognize my name from Facebook, big fan of your work. I usually listen to audio versions (audible) on my way to work. I’ve decided to try again and see if I can make a career doing what you do. I had three novels published by Iuniverse.com back in the early 2000s and it didn’t turn out successful. I made enough royalties to take myself to McDonalds. I’m going to try Amazon Kindle this time. I’ve grown a lot as a writer since the early 2000s. Right now I’m a freelance writer for Palladium Books Inc. But I want to try to do what you do on my own. I’ve seen a few YouTube videos for submitting manuscripts on Amazon Kindle and notice some involving paying for services like Grammarly, Fiverr, Chat GPT, Canva, BookBup, etc. Is any of this necessary? Any tips for someone starting out would be awesome. Should you create a website for yourself before you submit material? How much work (money) goes into these aspects of self-book publishing? Anything you got to say would be so appreciated. Thank you for any time you have. Sincerely Glen A Evans.

    1. Neal Martin Avatar

      Hello, Glen. Nice to hear from you.

      Let’s start with publishing. You don’t need any of those services you mentioned. All are optional and serve various purposes, such as helping with editing, proof reading, etc. Avoid any paid services at this stage.

      Is your book ready for publication? Is it edited well enough? Unless you can afford it, I wouldn’t be paying for an editor at this stage. As long as your book is clean and relatively free from grammar errors, spelling mistakes etc.

      Uploading to Amazon is fairly straightforward. You will need to upload an epub file, which means converting your Word file or whatever you’ve written it in. I use Vellum for this, but it isn’t cheap. I buying isn’t an option, then send me your file and I’ll format it and convert it for you.

      I suggest reading as much as you can on the subject. Join the 20Booksto50K Facebook book. There are a ton of files there with useful info.

      I wouldn’t worry too much about a website just yet. You can do that once you get up and running.

      Do you have a cover for your book? I always suggest using a proper cover artist if you can afford it.

      You will also need to write a good blurb for your book that entices readers to buy your book.

      There are many aspects to self publishing. It’s a lot in the beginning. The best move is to just dive in and learn as you go. Read as much info as you can from reputable sources and avoid any sources that ask for money. Almost all the info you need is available online. Start with the FB group I mentioned and go from there.

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