Meet the Author: Martin Owton
Happy Friday Eve World!
I hope you’re ready for another weekend of R&R. I sure am!
I don’t have any roadtrip plans, but I might just take a little drive for the hell of it.
Anyways, today I’m sharing another author interview. This time around it’s Martin Owton, fantasy author.
I met Martin through Kelly Blanchard, who runs this nifty writing support group on Facebook.
Alright, on to the review!
I’m Martin Owton, a UK-based fantasy writer. I have 3 novels out: a sword & sorcery adventure duology The Nandor Tales, and a contemporary fantasy set in southern Hampshire “Shadows of Faerie”.
Hi Martin, thanks so much for stopping by. To keep things interesting, I like to ask my interviewees a random question to get the blood flowing. Here’s yours!
You unearth a time machine in the ruins of an ancient civilization unknown to man. What era do you visit first and why?
Martin: One of the great capital cities of a great empire. Maybe Rome around 100 AD or Constantinople 550AD to see them at the height of their power.
Jonny: Oh, nice pick! It would be amazing to see a former empire of the world in its prime.
I’d love to visit original Native American tribes and see how they lived, as well as observe their more spiritual practices.
Martin and the Writing Process
For starters, tell us a little bit about your writing.
Martin: I write fantasy, both secondary world and contemporary/urban. I have also written sci-fi and horror short stories on occasion.
Jonny: I love all of those genres, that’s great! So far I’ve written horror and a little scifi, but I plan on writing in mystery, fantasy, and basically any other genre that my writing takes me to.
What kind of setting do you write in most times?
Martin: I sit at a computer in an untidy little room. Since I lost my hearing and had a cochlear implant music doesn’t sound right so I’ve stopped listening to it.
Jonny: I’m sorry to hear about your hearing loss. Hopefully it doesn’t impede the creative process too much. I almost always sit at my desktop in my room to write and I’ve always got some kind of ambient music on.
I always find it interesting how authors lead multiple lives. What is your dayjob? Do you enjoy it?
Martin: I’m a drug designer for a major pharma company
Jonny: Oh wow, I didn’t see that coming! Once upon a time I worked for a PBM (pharmacy benefit manager), but nowadays I work in the legal industry doing finance work. I wouldn’t say it completes me, but it certainly pays the bills.
As a writer, what kind of goals do you set for yourself? How do you achieve them?
Martin: I simply try to write something every day. I’m a slow writer. 500 words in a day is very good for me.
Jonny: Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t typically write too fast either. I think the most I’ve ever written in a day was 3.5k words, and that was a freak occurrence. Usually it’s somewhere between 500-1500 words. I also try to write every day, though sometimes I will skip a day on the weekend to recharge my batteries.
How long have you been writing?
Martin: I’ve always written. Since the mid 90s I’ve done it more seriously.
Jonny: Nice! I’ve only been writing seriously for about the past 7-8 years or so, but I’ve come a long way. Writing is definitely a journey.
Why do you write?
Martin: Because I enjoy telling stories, those have grown more complex as I’ve developed as a writer and now other people tell me they enjoy those stories.
Jonny: Oh, definitely! My main goal in writing is just to entertain. To spin a crazy, out of this world tale that people fiend for. That’s why I read, and I feel that’s what writing is all about too.
What is your favorite part of writing?
Martin: Getting an idea of how to improve what I’ve just written or what happens next. I’m not someone who outlines a lot.
Jonny: Gotcha, a bona fide pantser! I’m a plotter myself, and sometimes I plot so much that even the summary can get a bit confusing. What can I say, I like details haha!
But I agree with you. Sometimes the best writing comes when we’re editing ourselves and we find that perfect simile or metaphor to really make our writing jump off the page.
What genre is your favorite to write in? Why?
Martin: Fantasy. Because the adventures are limitless.
Jonny: I agree with you 100%. Fantasy is where writing began with me, and I’ve always had a soft spot for it.
Are you working on any projects at the moment?
Martin: I have just sent a new epic fantasy novel to my agent
Jonny: That’s so exciting, congratulations! I know how hard it is to spin out a book, and I hope your efforts pay off.
If you could give advice to new writers, what would you say?
Martin: Read a lot in your genre, critique other writers’ work as it will make your own work better, seek out critique, realise that it takes time to polish your craft – its a marathon not a sprint. Accept that your first draft is probably not publishable and that the people who tell you this don’t hate you.
Jonny: This is great advice, much of which I’ve learned over the past 8 years as well. You really do need to read if you’re going to be a writer. I primarily do it for insight and inspiration, but if I don’t enjoy a book there’s always something to take away from the experience.
Yeah, I believe that many new authors don’t grasp the concept of multiple phases of edits before publishing. I’ve seen it happen before, and in the end all you can do is hope that they learn that lesson with time.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
Martin: Writing when the muse is not around
Jonny: Oh, I hear you there! Most days I kind of just plod along, and it’s tough to know when that inspiration is going to hit.
For me, marketing isn’t my strongest suit, so I’d like to improve on that skill with time.
Describe your writing style.
Martin: Plot-driven adventure fantasy.
Jonny: Nice! I write plot-driven novels as well with more of a YA style.
What is the hardest lesson you had to learn as a writer?
Martin: You can’t please everyone
Jonny: Isn’t that the truth! There’s always going to be somebody that doesn’t like your work, and that’s okay. It’s completely normal for an author to have some scathing reviews here and there.
For me, it’s that time is the most precious resource and it’s always diminishing.
Not including family, who supported your efforts to become a published author?
Martin: My writing group and my long-time critique pal. Having other writers who you respect and trust is essential for improving your craft.
Jonny: Ah, you stole my answer! I have a circle of writer and reader friends that I include in reading my work. I also try to read theirs in return, kind of a tit-for-tat network. It works pretty well I must say, and you can meet even more great writers through said friends as well.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Martin: Four and a half – three published. The first book “Exile” is still my favourite though, as many of my reviewers have pointed out, it is flawed
Jonny: Very nice! I think the first book for some people is always going to be our favorite. My first finished manuscript (still unpublished) will probably forever be my favorite. I put years of hard work into that story, and I just love everything about it.
For me, I’ve written a novella and short story to date, though I plan on publishing much more in time.
Alright Martin, looks like our time’s up. Before we go, one last question. What do you think makes a good story?
Martin: Strong characters doing interesting things
Jonny: I couldn’t agree with you more. Maybe they have quirky flaws that make them super interesting too. I also love a stunning first page that sucks you right into the story.
Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview, Martin!
That’s a Wrap!
All righty book worms, that wraps up my interview with Martin Owton. I had a good time getting to know him, and I hope you enjoyed the experience too!
If you’d like to learn more about Martin and his work, he can be reached at the social media links provided below.
Thank you for stopping by, and have a great day!
Social Media Links
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