Exclusive Interview with Author Rachel Martin

On Writing

What made you want to become a writer?

I lived in more of a daydream than reality as a kid. When assigned to write stories that the teacher read anonymously, it felt like a natural expression to me. Holding the other kids attention was a feeling I never lost.

Do you write alone or in public?

Still a daydreamer, I see myself writing in public someday. I write in my head when I’m in public. As I people-watch, I imagine a whole scenario going on in the lives of my “victims”, their stories, dialogue, etc.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

That I started off slow for someone. It’s been said by one person, so I wondered if others felt the same.

What has been the best compliment?

That my main character is darker and more intelligent than Hannibal Lecter. He is in my head, so it’s a huge compliment to have someone recognize it.

What do you love most about the writing process?

When my fingers are flying across the keys because the characters have taken over. It does create some editing later, but it’s definitely fun.

Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer?

Not anymore thankfully.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It energizes me! Hours go by without me knowing it when I’m writing.

What are some common traps for aspiring writers?

For me it was always doubting myself. I didn’t doubt that I could actually write well, but that no one would read it. Working in a competitive world, we seem to define success by money and notoriety, and who doesn’t want that, but I see “success” differently now. It’s knowing what you enjoy doing most and just going for it.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

Hmmm...ego. I think confidence is good, as long as you can look at your work objectively. I’m quickly learning that readers get different meanings out of what they read, like people analyzing abstract art—which has surprised me. So if you can go back and read your
work with “different eyes”, you can improve what you write. If you can’t be objective, then I believe ego will limit your potential.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

Currently, it is the “to-do” list of distractions in my head. It’s my nature to be a multi-tasker, so proudly I think I can accomplish many things in the same day. Perhaps “balance” is my Kryptonite? Geez, I’m multi-tasking my Kryptonite!

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

Great question. Probably...not? I think so many of us keep our emotions bottled up, and then regurgitate them onto the page through other characters, which makes those of us “closet-feelers”.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Tell those people who’ve gotten in your head about being a starving artist to shut the hell up and just do it!

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

This is going to sound simple, but at the age of four, I told a Sunday School Teacher she wasn’t the boss of me, and she left me alone. That was the first time I remember asserting my power.

What does literary success look like to you?

Tons of people reading what I write, and don’t ask me the definition of “tons”. What I have learned is that it’s a mountain to climb to have people actually find your work. So getting to that pinnacle would definitely look like success to me.

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

I don’t sit down and go, “Ahem...Universe what do you have for me today...” I am aware that inspirations pop into my head that don’t necessarily occur for others. For this reason, I believe creativity is a divine gift, but I can’t make it happen by asking for it, so no not a practice, but yes a gift. In this way it’s spiritual for me I suppose.

What period of your life do you find you write about most often?

More like what part of my life. I have several recurring dreams, which progress as I have them. I wrote the first half of a book based on a recurring dream a few years ago, but I put it down when “reality followed fiction”. That is to say the first chapter I had written became
a reality right after that in my own life, and it was painful. I’ll go back to it when I’ve fleshed out all of the ANONYMITY series. The pain of it has subsided now.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

Of course I do! So far they have been all five stars, which scares the hell out of me. Sure, there’s elation with that, but then you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. I remind myself that readers have different tastes before I read one.

What is the most difficult part of your creative process?

I would like to be an outliner—hasn’t happened yet. I just sit down, and let my imagination or the characters take over. I’m writing the second book in the ANONYMITY series now, and I’ve just stopped to go through and outline the first book for reference, and to find any possible foreshadows or golden subplots in it for the next book(s). This is the closest to outlining as I may ever get. Time will tell.

On Books

What is a book you didn’t like, and why?

I don’t consider myself a book reviewer or critic. If I can’t finish a book, it’s because I just can’t get into it, and then I give it away. I used to power through because I paid for it, but I don’t do that guilt trip anymore. I still can’t bring myself to criticize someone’s work when I appreciate the time that has gone into it, even if I hate it.

How did you first fall in love with books?

I sat on the step in our house before I learned to read and stared at the Bible, marveling at how it ever got finished, and how many stories were in it. Yeah, I was an “adult child”.

What book or books are you planning to read soon?

I’m currently reading Ash (The Shade Trilogy Book 1) by Luke Romyn, a sci-fi thriller. I’m enjoying the dialogue the most.

What book/books changed the way you see the world and your place in it?

I grew up in a fairly religious home as you may have figured by now. We read a few to several chapters of the Bible aloud every night as a family. Most people can’t get away from that kind of indelible impression, but we all do something different with it. What many people don’t know about the Bible is that there's a lot of thriller material in it. I took “Judge not lest ye be judged” as the biggest lesson to live by.

What was your favorite childhood book?

Though I liked several books from different genres, I would have to say my favorite was my first scary book, The Amityville HorrorThe Exorcist was a close second. I always believed that demon possession is real, so it’s more frightening than straight out horror books with gratuitous violence. I hid them from my parents under my

End of Interview

Rachel Martin dreamed of being an author from an early age. An avid reader and creative spirit, she delights in having both an active mind and active body, taking pleasure in everything from decorating to taking long walks on the beach with her husband. When she's not writing, you can find her doting on her beloved pets and reading books that keep her on the edge of her seat.