GALE MARTIN is an award-winning author of contemporary fiction who plied her childhood penchant for lying into a legitimate literary pursuit during midlife. In 2011 Booktrope Editions published her debut novel DON JUAN IN HANKEY, PA, a humorous backstage story about an opera company trying to stage ‘Don Giovanni,’ which was named a “Best Kindle Book of 2013” by Digital Book Today. GRACE UNEXPECTED (2012) features a professional woman with a heart of fool’s gold, who unexpectedly gets entangled in a love triangle. Gale regrets never throwing a single unmentionable at Sir Tom Jones or one of his tribute artists. She has an MA in creative writing from Wilkes University and lives in Eastern Pennsylvania because she has to. You can find out more about her at her website: http://galemartin.me.
What inspires you to write?
Life is an intoxicant. I love watching people, experiencing things, and seeing places I’ve never seen before. Then I simply have to process what I’ve seen or done, which I do best through reflection and writing, or I actually think I would spontaneously combust.
Tell us about your writing process.
Oh, my goodness. I get up at 5 am every day. Then I check my vitals (Twitter, FB, email, website traffic) and answer any urgent inquiries. Then if I’m not suddenly convicted to write a blog post, I work on one of my WIPs for a half hour. At the job I have at the moment, I work every lunch hour I can. When I come home at night, after dinner and chores, I sit down at my computer and follow the same routine as I do at 5 a.m. Weekends provide the most privileged time for writing.
I wouldn’t call myself a pantser, but I don’t use a formal outline either. I map out a journey for my protagonist, i.e., from despair to happiness, from disillusion to understanding, and then decide on major plot points. Then I fill in the gaps.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
My characters tend to camp out in my head. Often as I am coming out of a sleep state each morning, they start acting up, playing out scenes in my imagination. Then after enjoying the scene, I get up and make some notes to revisit the story or make some corrections or additions immediately before I forget what my characters have just told me. In my latest novel WHO KILLED ‘TOM JONES’?, one of the senior citizens, the most cantankerous, kept telling me she wanted a bigger part in the book. She was a good foil for the the other senior characters, so I wrote her a larger part, which made her happy–as happy as a crabby old gal like Mrs. Hand can be.
What advice would you give other writers?
Honestly, there are only so many things writers can and should say about themselves with regularity. If you don’t want to be the only one telling readers about your latest review or giveaway, then you better plan to build and maintain a strong network via social media. As someone once said, “You can beat your audience to death. The only problem is dead people can’t read books.” Not just indie or small-press authors either. If you are conventionally published, most publicity departments stop talking about your book after your juicy launch splash. But then what? If you’re midlist, it’s all up to you to keep your work in the public eye.
And it’s all worth doing because, quite frankly, unless you are a household-name author, and there are fewer of those out there than you think, we writers all need each other and benefit liberally from the network we’ve helped to flourish.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I was never interested in self-publishing because writing is by its nature a lonely endeavor. The prospect of then publishing my work, all by myself, was absolutely terrifying. Fortunately, I found a collaborative model with Booktrope, a Seattle-based small press. Once they decide to publish your work, they provide resources–a professional team–to help you publish well and to help market your book. The team is compensated over the life of the book contract. Thus far I have successfully published three novels using Booktrope’s Team Publishing model.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Ultimately, I think readers will determine what books are worth buying and what books will sell. Because of the Internet and social media, the conventional model has been turned on its head. I respect the traditional model, but more and more authors have proven they don’t need the institutionalized publishing industry to realize success in publishing. All they need are devoted readers who tell their friends who tell their friends who tell their friends, and so on. The next thing you know, the book is a bestseller, having succeeded without any endorsement from one of the Big Five publishers.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
mystery, cozy mystery, contemporary, women’s fiction, chick lit
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print