I was introduced to Madeline Martin’s writing in November of last year, with A Ghostly Tale of Forbidden Love. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I wasn’t really a fan of historical fiction (I had read a couple but they weren’t my go-to favorites). As soon as I picked up Madeline’s book, I devoured it in a matter of hours. And I was hooked. So, as you can imagine, I was thrilled when she agreed to an interview with us!
Madeline, welcome and thank you for chatting with us today!
Q1 – When writing historical novels like Highland Ruse, how much time do you have to spend researching?
It depends on how familiar I am with the time period. If it’s one I’m familiar with, like the 1600’s with Highland Ruse, then it requires a couple of days to secure the exact time period, identify political intrigue going on then, etc. I also take about a day to plot out their path they’ll travel and calculate how long it will take to get to and from whether by carriage or horseback, etc. I research as I go as well, so if I’m writing and mention a clock, I’ll stop and make sure they had the kind of clock I needed in that scene, etc. It’s a lot of fun and I’ve uncovered some crazy stuff in history doing it LOL.
Q2 – Did you always want to be an author? If not, do you remember what first set you on that path?
I’ve always wanted to be an author the way teenagers want to be a model. It’s that pie-in-the-sky dream you don’t really base your hopes on because the idea of it happening is just too amazing to be real.
It’s funny because I remember being told in first grade I’d be learning to read and I was SO intimidated. But once I did learn, I was HOOKED! I read through anything I could get my hands on and all those stories in my head that I’d always had floating around found an outlet in writing assignments. I’ve always written short stories and dreamt up ideas for books, but didn’t actually start writing actual novels until I was an adult. And, no, no one will ever see those first attempts!! LOL.
Q3 – Who is your favorite literary villain?
I seriously can’t think of one. Lame, I know LOL.
Q4 – If you could travel to any time period in history (in any place), when (and where) would you go?
First of all, I’ll preface this with: I only want to go back in time if I were a noble. LOL. The peasant life was brutal and my coddled 21st century self wouldn’t make it. That said, I think it’d be interesting to go back to the medieval days when there were troubadours and before corsets became brutal (because I’m a corset wimp in addition to being coddled by the 21st century). I’d love to be in either England or Scotland. That, or in England during the time of Henry VIII, watching aaaallllll that drama play out in court.
I used to have such an OBSESSION with Henry VIII so great answer! And yes, I would have to be a noble, as well. Way too coddled 🙂
Q5 – If you could have lunch with ANY author, who would it be and why?
Since you said ANY, I’ve going with someone dead. But with them being, you know, not dead because that wouldn’t be conducive to a good appetite at lunch. I’d LOVE to have lunch with Laura Ingalls Wilder. I read her books so many times when I was a little girl that the corners of the book got all feathery. When I was in middle school, my mom bought me a calico dress and a bonnet and I ran around barefoot in our backyard pretending I was Laura. Her books were the first that blossomed to life in my head and made me really BE that character – her stories were always my favorite as a result. I’d love to listen to her go into detail on her life and tell me little stories she may not have put in her book, and I’d love to tell her what an impact her books had on my life.
Q6 – What is your favorite part about being an author?
I love the magic of it, the ability for me to be anyone, go anywhere, do anything. The limit is my own imagination and that is without borders. I love dreaming up the characters and putting something of myself in them while also giving them something I wish I could have. I love putting them in settings I’d love to be in, and so get to see from their eyes and experiences. I love the excitement of setting up different tasks for them to complete. When I write, I feel it in this 360 degree experience with them and it’s like I get transported. I absolutely love it. Although it does make it hard to write in public because I make funny facial expressions if the characters are angry or shocked, and tend to cry when they do.
I love being an author. It’s hard to squeeze in with working a full time job and having two children who are very active in extra curriculars and in all honor programs at school. It is indeed a labor of love, and I consider myself lucky to have it.
Q7 – I recently attempted NaNoWriMo (yet again!) and epic failed. Have you ever participated? What do you think of programs that challenge authors to write large amounts of words in small amounts of time?
I failed NaNoWriMo, too. But then again, we still tried, and I think we should get kudos for that 🙂 Writing 50K in a month is hard, especially with the holidays (and holiday prep) thrown in the mix. I got to 38K words. If it weren’t for traveling for a week in Thanksgiving, I’d have gotten it, but it’s OK – 38K is still pretty good 🙂
I think these kind of competitions are great. It inspires people to write more than they might have otherwise. In some people, it inspires them to write again if they were in a slump or hiatus. And I love the support of the community. I think any time you have people encouraging others to succeed, it’s always a win 🙂
Q8 – Last question. What is one piece of advice you have for aspiring authors? Or, a piece of advice someone gave to you that really left its mark?
My advice for authors is to learn your craft. Devour every book on writing, go to every conference and workshop you can, and listen to the RWA National MP3 when you can’t attend conferences or workshops. And once you start learning, NEVER stop. There will always be something new to add to your book you didn’t know about before. It gets harder to find the more you learn, but it’s out there.
The best piece of advice I ever got about writing: Don’t compare yourself to others. It’s so easy to look around and let yourself feel inadequate when you put someone else’s success side by side with your own. It’s discouraging and self-defeating, and counterproductive. It’s also unfair – to that person and to you. We all have our own path to walk and EVERY ONE of them will be different. The more you keep focused on your own path, the quicker you’ll make your way along it.
That is such great advice!
Thank you, Madeline, for chatting with us today! Your answers were truly inspiring 🙂 And to anyone who hasn’t seen it, don’t forget to check out our review of Madeline’s newest book, Earl of Benton, which just released on Tuesday!
Until next time . . .