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The Witchwood Crown by Tad Williams
 

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Gail Z. Martin & Larry N. Martin Interview

In honor of the launch of Iron & Blood, we thought we would ask bestselling author Gail Z. Martin and co-author Larry N. Martin to interview each other about their new steampunk adventure and the perils and possibilities of being a married author team.

worldbuildingGail: So Larry, what have you liked best about publishing, and what aspects make you a little crazy?

Larry: Being able to create a world, the people, and the adventure and share it with others is great. The schedule of mad dashes and then waiting until the next quick turnaround can be maddening.

Larry: Turnaround is fair play! What has been the hardest part of adapting to being part of a team on a series after being used to working solo?

Gail: Remembering not to rush ahead and to ask for opinions. I don’t mean to forget, but old habit takes over. 

Gail: Ok Larry, you’re up. Iron & Blood is the first time you’ve had the opportunity to move away from being behind the scenes and being in the spotlight as an author on panels at conventions and in interviews. What do you like best about both roles and what has been a challenge?

Epic Fantasy PanelLarry: That is still being discovered. We’ve only just started joint panels and cons, so time will tell. So far the panels, other authors, and readers have been great and energizing. Feeling the energy and enthusiasm others have for your fictional world is a rush. Sitting at the table and hoping someone stops by can be a little dull – until they do…

Larry: All right, Gail. What are some of the most surprising things you’ve learned about Pittsburgh in the course of researching Iron & Blood? 

Gail: Pittsburgh has an even more amazing history of invention and progress and scandal than I realized. Every time I look something up, I go down the research rabbit hole by following one fascinating tidbit after another. I never cease to be amazed!

Gail: And it’s only fair for me to ask the same thing!

Larry: It’s really interesting learning more of some of the larger than life characters of the time, where they dabbled, and how much they influenced the city and events. The politics and agendas of the players was complex enough that it creates a great world and setting with minor modifications to protect the guilty.

Larry: What has it been like collaborating on Iron and Blood?

CollaberateGail: Well, I have to be better about remembering to say ‘we’! Especially when an interviewer directs a question to me because they know me, sometimes answering in the plural feels very royal! I promise to do better about that. The collaboration process has been pretty natural, an outgrowth of what evolved naturally as Larry had time to get more involved with the writing. One reward is that we’re both rarely at a loss for a scene or an idea at the same time! And since the writing really does consume a lot of time and the conventions occur on weekends, I think that being in it together helps. The biggest challenge is that sometimes it’s hard to come up with something non-book-related to talk about!

Gail: And for you?

Larry: While I can’t speak for other writing teams, we truly collaborate on all aspects and talk through everything and there is a lot of back and forth – writing, re-writing and discussing. Anyone with a partner knows the feeling that if it comes from someone else you’ll listen, but from me… well. That’s true in writing too, and if one of us says this scene isn’t working it may take a little more finesse and a lot more patience to get to resolution. We have learned to focus on intent and both realize we are trying to make the final product stronger – so while there are moments of anger and frustration, we pull up our pants and work through it. Since I have been working behind the scenes there were more rewards than challenges with this project, we got to tell our story and had a blast doing it.

RJ-Steampunk-Chrono-2Gail: Why did you want to do a Steampunk novel?

Larry: Steampunk is a great blend of our styles and interests. Gail loves the history and research, I love the science fiction and adventure aspects. We have both always loved some of the classic stories from Jules Verne and I love the artistry and ‘look’. It is a blend of fantasy, Science Fiction, and history. We also got to choose a setting that was close to our hearts and learn at the same time. Pittsburgh just felt right for a steampunk setting.

Larry: For you Gail – why Steampunk?

Gail: I always loved the adventure movies and books based in the Victorian era, or the real-life stories about Victorian explorers. So Steampunk is a way to re-tell those kinds of tales with an even more action-packed and inventive twist.

Gail: So what are your thoughts, given your love of Science Fiction, of balancing the gadgets and gears and the story?

Larry: Loaded question since she knows the answer. We discussed it and agreed early on that Steampunk and the gadgets and gears were the setting, not the story. We use those elements to create the stage or backdrop for a classic adventure.

Larry: Gail how did you decide to include your love of ghosts and vampires and make it work with Steampunk?

Gail: Victorians were actually very interested in the supernatural. Séances were popular, and there was an uptick in interest in everything from clairvoyance to automatic writing to trying to scientifically prove or disprove life after death. Mesmerism was a hot topic. There was a sense that science could validate spiritualism or categorically debunk it. And of course Bram Stoker’s Dracula was written in 1898, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein dates from 1818, so that’s all very Victorian. Victorians were also obsessed with Egyptian mummies. The late 1800s had groups like the Society for Psychical Research and the Theosophical Society, and of course Aleister Crowley was a Victorian as well as WT Stead, who published the Borderland journal about the supernatural, kind of a Victorian “Fate Magazine.” Couple that with the Victorian obsession and strict etiquette about death rituals and mourning, and they were a crew the Addams Family would have loved!

ib-final-cover-194x300So there you have it!

Check out our new Steampunk novel Iron and Blood, co-written with Larry N. Martin, set in an alternative history Pittsburgh in 1898.

It hit stores July 7th and is also available online, now!

The Hawthorn Moon Sneak Peek Event includes book giveaways, free excerpts and readings, all-new guest blog posts and author Q&A on 28 awesome partner sites around the globe.

For a full list of where to go to get the goodies, visit www.AscendantKingdoms.com.

Gail Z. Martin writes epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books and Orbit Books. In addition to Iron and Blood, she is the author of Deadly Curiosities and the upcoming Vendetta in her urban fantasy series;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, The Dread) as well as Ice Forged, Reign of Ash, and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga from Orbit Books. Gail writes two series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Adventures and her work has appeared in over 20 US/UK anthologies.

Larry N. Martin fell in love with fantasy and science fiction when he was a teenager. After a twenty-five year career in Corporate America, Larry started working full-time with his wife, author Gail Z. Martin and discovered that he had a knack for storytelling, plotting and character development, as well as being a darn fine editor. Iron and Blood is their first official collaboration. On the rare occasions when Larry isn’t working on book-related things, he enjoys pottery, cooking and reading.

Find them at www.JakeDesmet.com, on Twitter @GailZMartin or @LNMartinauthor, on Facebook.com/WinterKingdoms, at DisquietingVisions.com blog and GhostInTheMachinePodcast.com, on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/GailZMartin free excerpts, Wattpad http://wattpad.com/GailZMartin.

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