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Today’s featured author is D.R. Martin. He began his writing career as an arts journalist before moving on to marketing communications work. He has covered topics ranging from consumer electronics and medical technology to travel and classical music. For many years, he reviewed science fiction and fantasy books for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
D.R. Martin is the author of the Johnny Graphic Adventures series.
D. R. is the author of the Johnny Graphic children’s ghost adventure series and the Marta Hjelm hard-boiled PI mystery Smoking Ruin. Under the pen name Richard Audry he has published the Mary MacDougall historical mystery novella A Pretty Little Plot and the canine cozy mystery The Karma of King Harald. The second Mary MacDougall novella, The Stolen Star, was issued this past summer. A Mary MacDougall Mystery Duet is the paperback edition of the two Mary MacDougall novellas. In addition, D. R. is the author of Four Science Fiction Masters: Lost Interviews with Herbert, Pohl, Simak & Dickson; and Travis McGee & Me: Reflections on the Man from Slip F-18.
Below is the exclusive interview with D.R. Martin:
1) What is your favorite memory from the beginning of a school year?
Trying out for plays. We had a great theater program and I was fortunate to get parts in shows every autumn. I always had some stage fright before performances, but a great sense of accomplishment afterwards.
2) Who was your most inspiring teacher? Why?
His name was Robert Burrows. And his demanding high school history and English courses scared away most of the students in my school. But those of us who took on the challenge of his classes felt we learned ten times more than we would have otherwise. In addition to the subject matter, we learned discipline…how to research…how to give and take criticism…how to frame arguments…how to study and write long and hard. For junior year English we each had to create our own American literature textbooks. I still have mine, almost three inches thick—self-illustrated in pen and ink. I think I began my journey as a real writer in Mr. Burrows’ classes.
3) What is the advice you would give children’s authors to get started?
There are various genres of children’s books and you should choose the one you feel the most passion for. For me, it was middle grade fantasy adventure. Make up a list of story ideas, filling in as much of the plots as you can. Then choose the best one and write the book. Get as much feedback as you can. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t have immediate success. You may need to write several books before you learn how to do it well. You must be willing to keep writing, even without much encouragement in the form of income and recognition. In a nutshell, the trick is to keep writing. Never, never, never quit.
4) Who is your favorite character from a children’s book?
As a boy, I loved to read science fiction and fantasy stories, and action-adventures. It was that sort of thing that inspired me to tackle the Johnny Graphic Trilogy. I simply wanted to create a ripping ghost-adventure yarn that both young readers and adults could enjoy. But having said all that, my favorite character in a children’s book is something quite different. It’s Ratty, from The Wind in the Willows. (Which is my all-time favorite novel.) He is the center of gravity in that peerless story of three fast animal friends. While the Mole is shy and timorous, and the Toad grandiose and lunatic, the Water Rat is the solid one who keeps it all together. We should all be as decent and steadfast as Ratty.
5) How could you sum up what writing means to you?
I’ve been fortunate to make my living as a journalist and marketing-communications writer. But even when no one is paying me, I have to keep writing. Though my novels and blogs don’t make much money, I have to write them. Writing is simply too much fun to ever quit putting words on the page. To me, it is as essential as breathing.
6) What are your current writing projects?
In the year since I finished the second Johnny Graphic book, Johnny Graphic and the Attack of the Zombies, I’ve concentrated on two adult mystery series, written under my pen name, Richard Audry. The Karma of King Harald is the first book in a canine cozy series starring a rescue dog who sniffs out crime. I’m working on the second book, King Harald’s Haul, right now. I’ve also written two historical mystery novellas, A Pretty Little Plot and The Stolen Star, which feature 18-year-old sleuth Mary MacDougall. And I’m plotting out the third and final Johnny Graphic adventure. I’ve grown very fond of Johnny and his friends, and I want to make sure they end up safe and sound after all the turmoil I’ve put them through.
His websites include: D. R. Martin Books; The Johnny Graphic Adventures; and Travis McGee & Me.
A free reader’s guide for Johnny Graphic and the Etheric Bomb is available at the Johnny Graphic Adventures website.
Johnny Graphic Adventure #1: Johnny Graphic And The Etheric Bomb
Johnny Graphic Adventure #2: Johnny Graphic And The Attack of The Zombies