As David mentioned yesterday, he, Faith and I are appearing at ConCarolinas this weekend. Also appearing is Gail Z Martin, author of the Chronicles of the Necromancer series. Gail invited the three of us to be guests on her Ghost In The Machine podcast (have a listen – it’s about 20 minutes long), and we had a wonderful time talking about fantasy. In return, we asked her to be our guest here. So without further ado, here’s a quick chat with Gail Z Martin!
Which writers inspired you? Which of their works did you love most?
Tolkein really started it for me. I loved the way I just got completely
pulled into the world he created. Merecedes Lackey’s characters and world also pull me in. I love Anne Rice’s vampires and the way she continued her world across so many books. Rowling also made you care about the characters and did a fabulous job creating a believable alternative universe within our own. I love any book that makes me keep sneaking back to read more when I really should be doing something else. That’s a real success for me. So there are a lot of other authors who also fall into that category for me–more than you probably want me to take the time to list. On a more personal level, David Drake and Kathrine Kurtz were very kind to me long before I was published and both encouraged me. I am forever grateful.
Specific books? Yikes. From Tolkein, probably most of all Return of the
King. From Rice (and I haven’t gotten through all of hers yet), The
Vampire Lestat and Blackwood Farms. From Lackey, The Last Herald Mage series. From Rowling, HP and the Goblet of Fire and HP and the Deathly Hallows. Outside of SF/F, I love Isaac Bashevis Singer, Chaim Potok (I had the chance to meet him in grad school and was totally overwhelmed) with My Name is Asher Lev, Joan Didion, Edgar Lee Masters and Ayn Rand. Although I now take issue with many points of Rand’s philosophy, her book Atlas Shrugged totally changed my life by giving me permission to be the best I could be. (You’d have to know my background, but that was an earth shattering thing at the time).
You have a busy appearance schedule. Any funny book signing stories?
Well, there was the lady at BEA who confused necromancy and necrophilia. I had to explain the difference and that I didn’t write THAT kind of book. I do a lot of signings in full Renaissance garb, and there were two little girls once who were just totally entranced by my costume. They asked so many wonderful questions about writing–I think they must have been about 6 and 8. They probably talked to me for about 20 minutes about the books they wanted to write or had written (which was fine with me–I thought it was great) and their mom finally bought one of my books to get them to continue their shopping!
I am a very active signer. I greet everyone who comes in the store and
offer them a bookmark. I can tell as soon as I engage them whether or not they’re interested. When I say “fantasy” and they’re interested, their pupils dilate and they light up. The other ones either back away or their eyes tighten up. It’s fun to watch people’s reactions.
You mentioned in our podcast that you were a gamer. Have your gaming skills translated into your writing?
I think because of gaming, I’m more aware of the importance of a team to achieve a goal. I don’t really buy into the single hero story, because I
don’t think it works that way–in real life or in good fiction. It takes a
team with different skills. I also think that because of gaming–I was a
D&D player–I’m also more patient with a plot that takes time to unfold. You didn’t get to know the entire dungeon in one evening’s play. It took time. And during that time, you also got to know the other characters and your own character developed. I take a big-picture view with my books–you don’t learn everything about everyone in the first 600 pages.
Besides writing, what do you like to do for fun?
I love theme parks and going to movies with my family, and hanging out by our pool. I love to throw the ball for our golden retriever. It’s a treat
to read someone else’s book. I like to sneak away for an evening with my husband. And it’s fun to just turn up the music and dance!
Beach or mountains?
Both. Favorite beach: Myrtle Beach, SC. Favorite mountains: Adirondacks in NY. But the beach wins out most of the time.