Today we have the very great pleasure of hosting Gail Z. Martin, who has stopped by to chat about all things fantasy, and to tease her upcoming urban fantasy release, Deadly Curiosities.
Q: Thanks for taking the time to stop by today, Gail. For those who may be new to your writing, and who haven't yet had a chance to give you a read, please tell us a little about yourself.
Ice Forged in the The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga and the upcoming Reign of Ash (Orbit Books, April 2014), plus The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven & Dark Lady’s Chosen) from Solaris Books and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn and The Dread) from Orbit Books. In 2014, I’ll have a new urban fantasy series, Deadly Curiosities, coming out from Solaris Books. I’m also the author of two series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Adventures.
It’s going to be a busy year. I’ll also have short stories in four new anthologies in 2014: Clockwork Universe Steampunk vs. Aliens, Athena’s Daughters, the British Fantasy Society’s anthology Unexpected Journeys and With Great Power, a superhero anthology. Other US and UK anthologies that I've been in previously include Rum and Runestones, Spells and Swashbucklers, the Magic anthology (Solaris Books), The Bitten Word (New Con Press) and The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women (Running Press).
Q: You’ve already put your mark on the epic fantasy genre with The Fallen Kings Cycle, Chronicles of the Necromancer, and first book of The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga. What made you decide to make the jump into a novel-length urban fantasy with Deadly Curiosities?
Magic anthology, and I did a Deadly Curiosities story set in modern-day Charleston, SC. The Deadly Curiosities universe really spans about 500 years, from 16th century Belgium to today. And then Solaris asked if I would be interested in doing a book, and of course, I said yes!
Q: Like you said, you’ve already visited the Deadly Curiosities universe before (‘Buttons’ was actually my favourite pick from the Magic anthology) - was a novel always in the cards for you, or did the success of the short stories open a door you hadn’t expected?
I’ve really enjoyed working with the characters in the Deadly Curiosities universe, but I hadn’t really given a novel much thought until Solaris proposed it, and then it just seemed like a natural next step. I’m going to also be revisiting the universe in a couple of the anthologies I’m doing for 2014, and also with original new stories direct to e-book on Kindle, Kobo and Nook in the Deadly Curiosities Adventures series.
Q: Urban fantasy has always been around, but has certainly experienced something of an explosion over the last few years. What do you think it is about the genre that draws readers from across the spectrum?
I think urban fantasy is accessible for people who may not be into the whole medieval-epic thing, so I think it may be a gateway for people who haven’t been fantasy readers before. Because urban fantasy is often set in the modern world, in cities that readers may have visited, there’s a different sense of wonder, a “what if” that goes on when the familiar becomes suddenly magical, and I think that really attracts people.
Q: I like the idea of UF as a sort of literary gateway drug. Since the release of The Summoner six years ago, you've had the opportunity to achieve success with several different publishers. How much does a publisher influence or impact our writing, and what was it that brought you back to Solaris?
Q: To keep with the how-to of writing for a moment, what is it that comes easiest for you, and where do you struggle the most? Is it the title? The first paragraph? The last chapter? The cover blurb?
Believe it or not, cover blurbs are harder, in a way, than writing the other 600 pages. That’s because in the book itself, you have time to have the story unfold, but in the blurb you get two paragraphs, sometimes less than that, and it seems like such a small amount of words to try to capture the whole grand sweep of the book.
Q: As somebody currently wrestling with a synopsis, I get that! Do you have a soundtrack to your writing, a particular style of music or other background noise that keeps you in the mood, or do you require quiet solitude?
If I’m editing or doing work other than composing, I can have music with lyrics, or something on TV that doesn't require real thought, like a home improvement show or cartoons like Looney Toons. But if I’m really creating/composing, then I go for instrumental music like soft jazz, light classical or New Age, or sometimes real mood music like Midnight Syndicate.
Q: In terms of reader reactions, what is the strangest or most surprising reaction to your work that you've encountered to -date?
I've had one or two people confuse necromancy with necrophilia, which are entirely different! I hastened to assure them that I write about a necromancer, but not the other stuff!
Q: Wow . . . that's a whole other genre there. To turn from pen to page for a moment, is there a particular author who continues to influence and inspire you, or someone who just refreshes your literary batteries?
I have so many favorites, it wouldn't be fair to name names! I go in phases of what I read—epic, urban, paranormal mystery, etc. If I’m writing in a genre I tend not to read in that genre while I’m doing the writing because I don’t want to be influenced. Lately, I've been reading a lot of paranormal mystery, largely because those books tend to be fun and bite-sized! (To see what I've read lately, please join me on Goodreads or Shelfari!)
Q: It’s a tough question, especially if you’re wary of putting faces before your readers so early in the game, but if Deadly Curiosities were to make the transition to the small screen as a weekly series, who would your ‘dream’ cast for the leading roles include?
Q: I'm very okay with Nicole Kidman. Before we let you go, what can we look forward to once Deadly Curiosities hits the shelves? Will it be the second in that series, a sequel to Ice Forged, or something else entirely new?
Ice Forged, Reign of Ash coming in April 2014, and I’m under contract for at least two more books in that series, possibly with more to come. I also bring out a new short story direct to Kindle, Kobo and Nook each month, in two different series. One is the Deadly Curiosities Adventures series, where readers can get backstory before modern times as well as some short adventures that take place before the upcoming novel. The other is my Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures series, which takes place before The Summoner and answers the questions readers have always asked about what made Jonmarc the man he was when he first met Tris Drayke.
I’m also very excited about the anthologies I’ll be part of in 2014. All tremendous fun!
I love keeping the connection going with readers, so please find me on Twitter @GailZMartin, on Facebook (as The Winter Kingdoms) and at www.AscendantKingdoms.com.
Thanks again for stopping by, Gail. I don't know where you find the time, but we definitely appreciate it!
About the Book
Deadly Curiosities will be published in the UK, Ireland, and North America in July 2014. Set in Charleston, South Carolina, this new series is Martin’s first book for the Solaris imprint since Dark Lady’s Chosen in 2009.
Deadly Curiosities will take readers in an entirely new direction from her previous classic fantasies: Cassidy Kincaide is the proprietor of Trifles and Folly, an antique shop with a difference that continues a family tradition begun in 1670 – acquiring and neutralizing dangerous supernatural items. It’s the perfect job for Cassidy, whose psychic gift lets her touch an object and know its history. Together with her business partner Sorren, a 500 year-old vampire and former jewel thief, Cassidy makes it her business to get infernal objects off the market.
About the Author