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An Interview with Martin Lake

It is with great pleasure that I welcome my SpellBound stablemate and fellow author, Martin J. Lake, to the blog today. Martin's debut novel, Beyond the Stones, will be launched by SpellBound Books at The Writers' Summer School, at Swanwick in August this year so I greatly appreciate him taking time out during this busy time to chat with me.

What inspired you to write your most recent book?


I have always had a love of fantasy fiction, having grown up reading the likes of Tolkien, David Eddings, Michael Moorcock, and RA Salvatore during my teens and early twenties. I’ve always wondered how the combination of magic and modern science and technology would work. Thus, the setting for Beyond the Stones came about.

 

Who is your favourite character in this book and why?


I think it has to be David. He’s an Oxford University Professor who has been dragged unwittingly into the quest to save the world from evil elves. He’s entirely unsuited to helping the group, but nevertheless is determined to do what he can. He feels a great sense of responsibility (and guilt) about what caused the incursion of evil elves, orcs, and goblins into modern-day Britain. He’s had many challenges to overcome, both physical and emotional, but still manages to keep his resolve, and sense of humour.

 

What was the first piece you had published?


This was a piece of flash fiction published in an anthology titled This Little World: Stories from Dorset Writers. The book came out in 2015 and the feeling I got seeing my own work in print for the first time was amazing.

 

Do you have another story planned or in progress? When can we expect to see that?


Yes, absolutely. The Daughter of Destiny is well underway. I made the brave, and perhaps foolhardy decision for my first foray into novel publication to be a trilogy. This does seem to be the norm in my writing genre, fantasy. However, it does come with its own challenges, not least of which is the sometimes-daunting scope of writing three books, each of which needs it’s own beginning-middle-end structure, whilst maintaining the overall arch of the entire story.

 

Who is your favourite author?


This is a question much like which is my favourite beer? There are quite a number to choose from, and the specific choice often depends on what mood I am in. Tolkien, JK Rowling, Stephen Fry, and CJ Samson all feature high up on the list.  A recent new discover is Kerry J Donovan, who has written the Ryan Kaine series. If you enjoy Lee Child’s Reacher books, then I highly recommend these.


However, if I had to choose just one, in true Desert Island Discs style, then it would have to be the late Sir Terry Pratchett.

What do you like to do when you’re not planning or writing your next book?


As much as I would love to make a career out of writing, at present I still have a full-time day job working in IT. This, and family life (four grandchildren all under 5) does take up a lot of my time. However, whenever possible, I love walking and living in Dorset provides some fantastic countryside to explore.

 

When did you know you wanted to write novels?


I had a real passion for writing during my childhood, and I always thought that the saying everyone has a book in them might be true. But for many, many years my writing was confined to business reports and technical documentation.


About 10 years ago, almost on the spur of the moment in January, when my daughters were asking about New Years’ Resolutions, I decided that mine would be to write a novel. The rest, as they say, is history.

 

Do you write in other genres?


I don’t write novels in other genres, but I am a member of a fantastic writing group in Dorset and I will quite often write short stories in other genres as a way to try and improve my writing and explore different writing styles.

 

What do you like most about being an author?


I still get a pang of Imposter Syndrome referring to myself as an author and can’t quite believe that I have managed to attain those lofty heights. I was more than happy with being a self-published author. However, when I met those wonderful ladies at SpellBound Books, Sumaira and Nikki, during last years’ Swanwick Summer Writers’ School and they wanted to sign me up to publish all three novels in my trilogy, I was thrilled and amazed in equal measures.

 

Do you have a specific routine for writing? Is there a special place or particular tool you use?


Like many writers, I do try to write each day, but more often than I care to admit, I don’t always manage this. I don’t have a special place to write, although I have discovered my new favourite writing location. Whilst on holiday in Corfu, I found a delightful beachside taverna. Each day I traipsed down the hill from our villa with my trusty laptop to complete at least 2,000 words whilst sipping coffee (or Mythos beer!).

 

What advice do you have for other writers?


I’m not sure I feel qualified to offer much advice to other writers. The only thing I would say is that, if I can write a novel, edit it to a reasonably good standard and get a few hundred people to buy it, then anyone can. It is often a long, difficult, and sometimes lonely process, but if you can preserve then the amazing feeling of achievement is more than worth it.


My other piece of advice would be to find a group of likeminded authors who can help review and critique pieces of your work. The best thing I did for my writing journey was to attend the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School. This August is my third year and I’ve met so many wonderful writers and made many friends there.

 

If your book were to be made into an Audiobook, who would you choose to read it?


Stephen Fry

The Blurb


Magic was gone from the world. Lost.


It is an age of science and technology. In the early 21st century, magic has been consigned to myth and legend. Not since the time of King Arthur had men and women known the secrets of how to wield magic.


But that is about to change.


The magical seal at Stonehenge that has protected the world for 1,500 years has been broken. An age-old enemy is free again. This time, only total conquest will suffice.

Men will need magic once more. And their old alliances.


Camron has a past he does not know about. A forgotten promise made centuries before which he must now try and keep. With his grandmother’s help, he must rediscover who he is and the vow he made to protect the world. Their only hope is for him to lead a small group of unlikely heroes on a quest to find the only magic powerful enough to defeat the enemy.


But finding it is just the beginning…

The Author


Martin J Lake was born in Southampton and now lives in Dorset, England, with his wife. He has had to juggle his passion for writing with family life and a career in IT. A fascination with Arthurian legends and Norse mythology, combined with a love of fantasy fiction provided the inspiration for this book.


Beyond the Stones is his debut novel.

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