JC Martin in the HOT SEAT

Can you hear that? I think it’s… whimpering?

Yes, it is. But where is it coming from?

Oh, over there. It’s JC Martin, staring down at the thing she fears most… The HOT SEAT.  

Hot Seat

You can't blame her, it IS pretty scary...

JC joins us from London, England. If it wasn’t for JC, I may not ever have started these HOT SEAT interviews, After all, I only got the idea after she interviewed me on her blog and I thought I’d like to do the same for other authors (but in my own sick, sadistic way, of course).

Gday, JC!

Let’s get started, JC. What genre(s) do you write?

My two current WiPs are crime, but one has a paranormal twist to it. Most of my short stories have been horror, but I have  also dabbled a bit in literary and fantasy. To top it all off, I have ideas stewing that look to be YA supernatural…in other words, I’m a Jack of all trades, master of none! 🙂

[CJ: Considering you made it to the finals of the Power of Tension Blogfest, I wouldn’t say you’re not a master!]

Tell us about your current WiP, in a limerick!

A series of murders in London’s East End
Appear to be based on ancient Greek legend.
Kurt Lancer must uncover
The killer’s next endeavour
Before the 2012 Olympians contend.

And yes, I know ‘legend’ doesn’t quite rhyme with ‘End’ or ‘contend’…not unless you say it funny! 😉

[Love that limerick, JC. You’re such a Ledge-end. :-D]

Most of us write part time. How do you spend your time when you’re not writing?

When I’m not writing, I’m busy beating people up. 🙂 I work four days a week as a martial arts instructor. It neatly balances out the sedentary bum-in-chair lifestyle of a writer.

[CJ: Oh dear. If the HOT SEAT burns you, please don’t beat me up!]

Also, when I’m not writing, I enjoy badminton, reading (of course!) and blogging (which is kinda writing, no?). Also, if the fiaby (fiance/hubby–we’re between registration and the actual wedding!) begs hard enough, I occasionally enjoy a half hour or so in front of the telly with him. Oh, and I live with two twenty-something men and three dogs. That means housework, particularly laundry and dishes, takes up a huge chunk of my time!

[CJ: Ugh, housework. I hate housework. Just ask my husband!]

Tell us a little about your writing process.

I always write out my entire story in chapter-by-chapter summary before I start. In a way, this is my first draft: no more than 10,000 words of all the key events. This is when I can chop and swap around to my heart’s content, adding sub-plots, adding and deleting scenes, kill off characters, etc., when everything is nice and short and I can see how they connect. If I get a vivid image in my mind, I add the details here too so I don’t forget.

With this ‘map’ to keep me from wandering, I begin fleshing out the story. That doesn’t mean my plan is set in stone. I have deviated before from the prescribed path, so the map is a constantly evolving entity. I’m a slo-ooo-ow writer! My typical output is 300 words a day when I have to work at my day job, and 1,000+ on my days off work. I very rarely hit 2,000 a day. That’s because I can’t turn off my inner editor–I think I am the editor! I will not move on until I am relatively happy with the sentence I’m working on.

I’ve not finished a full-length piece yet, but I’d like to think that with the structure and sub-plots and character developments already taken into account, that revisions will be a smoother and less painless experience, and hopefully merely a matter of revising language and spellchecking–we shall see!

Who or what are your biggest writing inspirations?

In terms of the wealth of ideas, definitely Stephen King’s rich imagination. In terms of powerful writing with meaningful sub-plots that come together flawlessly in the end, Boris Starling’s Messiah sticks in my mind. In terms of beautiful narrative and imagery, Jean M. Auel’s Earth’s Children series.

For pacing and holding the reader’s attention, James Patterson’s (earlier) Alex Cross novels. For everyday motivation, it’s you guys, my fellow bloggers, all in different stages of their writing careers, people who truly understand my passion, and who are there to share my trials and tribulations, people who share invaluable writing tips and prompts, and who make the life of a writer just that bit less lonely!

[CJ: I couldn’t agree more about our fellow bloggers. When I started this blog, I had no idea of how much support and encouragement would come my way. You guys rock!]

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a writer?

Finding the time to write. I used to work as a schoolteacher in high school, and while I loved the kids, the workload was immense: homework marking, lesson-planning, report writing, staff meetings, PT conferences, detentions, extra sessions for kids who want it (I can never say “no”). By the time I got home, I was too drained to even make dinner and do the housework, much less write.

The biggest and best decision I’ve ever made was my decision to resign from teaching. I do miss the job sometimes, but I’m a much happier and less stressed person now for it!     

[CJ: Good on you for making the decision that was right for you. I’m sure it would’ve been a tough and scary choice to make.]

And now for the HOT SEAT questions!

Hot Seat

*Insert scary music here*

Finish this sentence from your main character’s perspective:

Something most people don’t know about me is…

Wow, this is a toughie…Detective Inspector Kurt Lancer takes to the stage: “Something most people don’t know about me is how much I love my younger brother Reggie, who is ten years my junior. Moving from foster home to foster home after Mom died, I lived in constant fear that we would be separated, that I would lose the only family I had left. When I worked hard at school, and signed up to be a police officer, I did it in the childish hope of making a better, safer world for Reggie to live in.

Yes, you can call me over-protective, and that perhaps he was old enough to make his own decisions, but I only wanted what was best for Reggie. And sometimes, late at night, I wonder if I had been too hard on him, too critical of everything he did, and if my oppressive mother hen attitude was what drove Reggie to rebel, to join a gang, to go against everything I’ve worked for. In the end, could I have lost Reggie because I loved him too much?”

Ahem, thanks Kurt! <drags him off stage> Sorry folks, he kinda got carried away there! I promise I’m not as rambly!

Now finish the same sentence from your perspective.

Something most people don’t know about me is… that my very distant relative is the actress Michelle Yeoh, former Miss Malaysia and star of movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Bond girl in Tomorrow Never Dies. I think my grandfather and her father are cousins. We are from the same hometown, and my Mom went to the same school with her. But I’ve never met her in person, ever!  

If you had to give up either reading or writing for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

This is such an unfair question! [CJ: :D] I definitely can’t give up writing! But you can’t write well without reading widely, and it’s so difficult to not read…blogs, newspapers, the ticker tape at the bottom of the new channel…hmm…

Aha! I got it! I will give up reading, and stock up instead on audiobooks! That’s technically listening, not reading! *Nyah nyah* 😉

[CJ: I love that of the three people who’ve answered this question so far (you, Raquel and Vicki), you’ve all had a different answer! Very creative.]


If you’d like to hear more from JC, check out her blog or follow her on Twitter.

If you’d like a turn in the HOT SEAT, let me know in the comments and I’ll schedule you in for a buttocks burning. 😀



Filed under Hot Seat, Writers, Writing

8 responses to “JC Martin in the HOT SEAT

  1. Pingback: J.C. Martin, Fighter Writer » Redesign a Book Cover Blogfest Contest–plus YOWCH! Hot Seat!

  2. Great interview as always, Cally! J.C. – your WIP sounds very interesting – I liked how Detective Kurt took over – obviously a very real character! – and I’m very interested in your plotting technique!

    • Thanks, Susanna! It’s fascinating how many different ways there are to plot, aren’t there? Almost as many different approaches as there are writers, I’d say! 🙂

  3. Genna Sarnak

    Wonderful interview. I always love hearing from J.C., she’s one of my favorite online writer pals! So talented! 🙂 Thanks for sharing, I’m a new reader!

  4. Vicki Tremper

    I wish I had that of that way around the final hot seat question. Nice, JC! I love the sound of your wip. I can’t wait to hear about your revision process, and whether it is quicker and less painful because of the amount of time you put into the first draft.

    JC is pretty amazing – beautiful, talented and she can kick your butt! Thanks for another great interview, Cally!

  5. Vicki Tremper

    Oops, that’s supposed to say, I wish I had thought of that way around…

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