Interview with Gail Z. Martin – Author of Chronicles of the Necromancer

Hello Gail and thank you for accepting this interview.
We know that your adventure with fantasy started very early with ghost stories. Is that the only influence behind the Chronicles of the Necromancer?

I’ve also always loved vampire stories, starting at a very early age with the old TV show Dark Shadows. And I love folk tales and mythology. Stories about the paranormal and the supernatural have always intrigued me. All of those influences go into the intellectual stew.

Rumor also has it that you are a big fan of the Star Wars series. Can we safely assume that Vahanian (or Soterius as one of our readers – MaryO – suggests) is based on Han Solo?

I love Star Wars but no, Jonmarc is a very different person from Han Solo. While they may both be hero archetypes, there are a lot of differences in their personal histories. I would also say that Jonmarc is more sure of himself and more mature than Han, especially what we see of Han later in some of the post-movie books. Soterius is even more different, and I’d say the only thing he has in common with Han would be a military background. I hope to be able to write about Jonmarc’s early years. There’s quite an adventure there, and so much that there isn’t time to tell about in the books I’m working on now.

We have enjoyed The Summoner and The Blood King enormously and are all waiting for the release of Dark Haven. Could you offer us some insights into the plot of this upcoming book?

How about this…

In Dark Haven, the effects of Jared the Usurper’s reign of terror strike at the stability of the Winter Kingdoms. Undead forces align against Lord Jonmarc Vahanian of Dark Haven in a struggle for power between mortals and the vayash moru. Magic has become a dangerous and unpredictable force. As King Martris Drayke prepares for his wedding, he must also prepare for war against rebels still loyal to Jared. Isencroft is on the brink of civil war over the looming reality of a joint kingdom. Only one thing is certain—the Winter Kingdoms will be changed forever, and innocence is the first casualty.

Will you continue the Saga of Tris and his friends beyond the trilogy or will you close this storyline in the Dark Haven?

Dark Haven is book one in another two-book set. I’m already working on Book 4. I’ve given Solaris quite a few story arcs set in the Winter Kingdoms. Some continue with these characters and this time period, while others are set before or after this period, and some books deal with entirely different characters/events unrelated to what happens in The Summoner and The Blood King. I have a lot of stories to tell about the Winter Kingdoms!

Do you have plans for any new and exciting journeys into the fantasy genre beyond the Chronicles of the Necromancer? Any new novel or saga ideas?

I have other novels and sagas set in different time periods or countries within the world of the Winter Kingdoms. It’s such a real place to me and I have spent so much time developing the Winter Kingdoms in my mind that no matter where I look, I see new story possibilities. And I have a couple of other books in first draft that aren’t even SF/Fantasy. I also write a lot of non-fiction on marketing topics—articles and ebooks. So there’s always something!

How do you enjoy being a new well known published author? Does it feel any different than before?

It’s really a long-time dream come true. People who knew me back in college and grad school heard me talk about how someday I was going to be a fantasy writer. Now they stop by my signings and say “you did it!” I hope it’s proof to others who have their own dream that if you keep working on your dreams and never give up you can make them come true.

What advice would you have given yourself if you could go back to the time before you started writing?

The first story I ever “wrote” was when I was five years old—I had to dictate it to my grandmother because I couldn’t spell. It was about a vampire. So I’d have to go back quite a long time! On one hand, I regret a little bit that I let life get in the way—sometimes for years at a time—and slow me down. On the other hand, it couldn’t have worked out the way it did any sooner because Solaris Books didn’t exist and it wasn’t the right time in my life to put in the time to write and promote the books. So I guess my advice would be, “keep at it and it will all work out.”

What do you think are your strengths and weaknesses as a fantasy author?

Strengths I hope are that I create characters that have good reasons for what they do and have thoughts and feelings underneath the action. I’ve tried to create a complex, multidimensional world where there’s always something new to discover, a world that has enough detail to be real without getting bogged down in explanations. A weakness may be that since I’m a little past my angst-ridden twenties, I’m less intrigued by writing about characters acting out in some of the self-destructive behavior that has voyeuristic appeal. I tend to have characters struggling for sanity rather than careening out of control. I guess whether or not you think that’s a weakness depends on what life stage you’re in.

What authors do you read on your spare time?

I read a lot of nonfiction to get the historical details right. I like to read folklore and mythology for inspiration. Some of my favorite SF/F authors include Mercedes Lackey, Steven Brust, Spider Robinson, Jeri Smith-Ready, David Drake, Neil Gaiman, Piers Anthony, Anne Rice, David Eddings—I could go on for a long time! The problem is, I don’t get as much time as I’d like to read other people’s stuff because it takes a lot of time to write my stuff!

Any recommendations for a good read, fantasy and otherwise?

A couple of recent good reads include Staked, Wicked Game, Rules of Ascension, American Gods. I try to read the books that my guests on Ghost in the Machine Fantasy Podcast write, but I’m behind on that!

Thanks a bunch for the interview and good luck with your writing!

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