An Interview with Mike Martin

martinWhere are you from? 

I was born in Newfoundland, on the east coast of Canada. I currently live and write in Ottawa, the capital city of Canada.

When and why did you begin writing? 

I have always loved books and reading and can remember writing poems and short stories when I was quite small. I looked for jobs that had an element of writing to them but didn’t really start writing a lot until my forties. Since that time I have been a freelance writer and now have three fiction books published as part of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I am a truly creative writer in that I draw my writing from my imagination and try to connect to the creative current that’s inside all of us. I never plot out stories but simply write when I am inspired. I do have to be disciplined and write every day. You never know when the creative muse might decide to leave.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? 
I love Stephen King, not all of his books and not because he is famous, but because he has worked hard to be a writer. And even when times were tough he kept writing. That inspires me when I am feeling down or uninspired. I also admire the great mystery writers like Agatha Christie and more recently Elizabeth George and Donna Leon.

Do you see writing as a career?

Writing is a passion and if you are a writer then you just have to write. You have no choice, you are driven to it. You can have a career as a writer but it takes time to start making any money from it. That’s why so many writers end us as teachers or in other jobs. The other job pays the bills and they write when they can.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? 

Beneath the Surface is the third book in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series. The series follows Sgt. Winston Windflower, a Cree from Northern Alberta and an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on his adventures in small towns on the east coast of Canada. It is a traditional mystery series, closer to a cozy mystery than anything else. It is light mystery but it does have crime and murder and always a good mystery to solve.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 
I am writing my mystery series in the character of a person, Sgt. Winston Windflower who has a completely different background and culture than me. So I have to be careful not to put too much of my voice into his mouth and to respect his Aboriginal culture and traditions. That’s a challenge.

Who designed the covers?
I have a great designer that I have worked with on all my books, Todd Engel. I usually start with an idea or a concept and Todd will find or design graphics to start the visual creative process. It’s great working with someone for three books because we are both comfortable enough to say yes, but more importantly to say no when we need to.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? 

There are three hard parts to writing a book. The beginning, the middle and the end. The beginning is hard because that is where the initial inspiration has to come from. The middle is hard because it is often a slog to get through and it’s easy to get stuck. The end is hard because when does a story end, except when the writer dies.
Do you have any advice for other writers?

Start writing and don’t stop. That’s what Stephen King said. Keep writing when it’s hard and soon it will be easy. Keep writing even when you don’t want to, because one day you will wake up and that is all you will want to do.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you for reading my books. You have given me the only thing I really need as a writer, an audience. I hope that my stories bring you a little joy and if that happens please pass it along to someone else. The world needs more joy.