Tuesday, March 29, 2016
An Interview with Carol Ann Martin
MM: Carol Ann, give us the backstory on your writing career?
Like so many writers, I came about it the circuitous way. Writing is what I always wanted to do, but I was afraid to try, convinced I’d never be published. Writers are really entertainers, story tellers at heart. We need an audience. We need somebody to read our stories.
So, it wasn’t until I retired from financial planning at the age of fifty five, that I thought, why not? What’s the worst that could happen? So, I went for it. Had I known that I’d have an agent and two publishers within a year, I would have started long ago.
MM: I love the titles of your weaving cozy mystery series. Did you pick them and get to keep the titles?
I usually dream up a title and then my publisher will bounce it back and forth with me a few times, tweaking it this way and that until we are all happy. I think titles are just about the most difficult part of a book to compose. How to grab a reader’s interest in a book in four words or less? Yikes.
MM: Let's talk about your latest book?
Loom and Gloom came out in August. It features Della Wright, the weaver shop keeper and her friend Jenny, the owner of the coffee shop next door. They are renovating their stores, when the city building inspector turns up dead. (Anybody who has ever had to deal with inspectors will probably side with the killer in this one.)
MM: Do you ever re-read your favorite books?
All the time. There are books I read, way back when I was a teenager that I still remember. One of those was The Long Walk. I recently bought it off Amazon and plan to reread it. I’ve done that with at least a dozen books over the last decade. I find it interesting to find out how I feel now versus how about a read, versus how I felt when I first read it.
MM: What are you looking forward to in 2016?
I write under two names, Carol Ann Martin are the combined names of my daughter and my son. I also write under my own name, M Domovitch. I’ve just started a new series, this one under my name, and I’m very much looking forward to the launch in mid-January. The first is Scar Tissue, by M.C. Domovitch. It’s a bit grittier of a read than my Weaver series and my Chef Landry series.
MM: Tell us about where you live? Be our tour guide for sounds, sites, and what you see out your office window or where you write?
I am very fortunate to have three homes. One is an ocean-side farm in British Columbia, where I garden, keep bees and go crab and shrimp trapping for my dinners. The second is a city town-house in downtown Toronto. We recently bought that house to be close to our friends and family. I found living in BC very lonely. I missed my kids terribly, and now that we will hopefully have grandchildren, it was important to me to be close. As for our third home, we recently sold our California home and purchased a house in heavenly Key Largo. Key Largo is just a three hour flight from Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, where our kids live. They can hop a plane and come spend a weekend with us at the drop of a hat. We like to drop that hat often.
In all three places, I my desk faces a window where I look out at gardens. My husband loves ocean views. I like greenery.
MM: What comes first the character, plot, setting and do you write ideas down when they happen to come along for future books?
Oh, dear God, I have pages and pages of notes. Some are nothing more than long lists of characters facing compelling situations. Others are ideas for scenarios, titles or good lines.
Invariably, when I start a book, the character is where I begin. I come up with ideas of who he or she is, how he or she got to where they are, and I inject them with dreams, hopes, fears and obstacles. Then I get them fighting their problems. That’s what makes a good story.
MM: Take us thru a day in your writing world?
I usually get up and grab a cup of coffee on the way to my computer. Then I sit and write until my eyes start burning. If I get stuck, which happens just about every day, I start back at the beginning of what I wrote the previous day and edit. By the time I get to the end, my mind is in gear and the writing flows. If I get really stuck, which happens every couple of weeks, I start from the very beginning of the book and edit. By the time I get to the end of my writing, I’m reenergized. Writing is 10% story-telling, and 90% editing.
I go to bed thinking about my characters, and I wake up thinking about them. Sometime during the middle of the night, I come up with solutions to problems, new scenes, and so on. I like to say I do some of my best writing while I’m dozing off.
MM: Okay now for some fun questions. What are your favorite shows to binge watch, favorite movies, songs, vacation spots, dessert and meal?
Oh dear. I am addicted to Netflix. I have been guilty of watching seven season series in one week. I loved the new Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda comedy, Frankie and Grace. That one was only one season, but I binge watched Homeland, The killing, Damages, How to Get Away With Murder. And on, and on, and on. As you can see I like murder and suspense.
As for music, I like rock and roll, country and classic. One could say I’m eclectic. When it comes to food, I love to eat. My main problem lately is that I’ve been diagnosed with Celiac disease. Me! Who absolutely lived for pastries, cannot eat wheat, rye or barley. Life is simply not fair. Having said that, I’ve learned to use substitutes and now can bake a mean quinoa chocolate cake that more than makes up for all the pastries I cannot eat. Another big change I’ve made is that I’ve given up red meat and poultry. After seeing many of the horrible facebook videos showing how farmed animals are tortured, I simply couldn’t bring myself to eat meat anymore. And now that it’s proven that processed meats cause cancer, and likely red meats too, it makes me happy to have changed my habits.
MM: Speaking of meals. If you could sit down to a meal with five authors and talk with them about their books. Who would they be and what meal would you have?
I would love to have Agatha Christie, Tamie Hoag, Joy Fielding, Liane Moriarity and Gillian Flynn. And I would ask them to each bring their favorite dish, their favorite book and a quick outline of the book they always wanted to write but never got around to.
MM: What would your characters tell us about you?
I like to think that all my characters share a little bit of me. Even the bad guys, although what they and I have in common is a great imagination. When it comes to what I’d like to do to the creeps of this world, I live vicariously through my characters. They can come up with great ways to get rid of enemies. The real me though, is a pleaser, so I rarely give way to my darker side. When I do, it’s usually just to ask a creep to leave. But, being a murder-mystery writer does give me a bit of an advantage. People know I am very knowledgeable when it comes to murder. It keeps friends and family in line. (Chuckle.)
MM: Give a little backstory on your childhood, personal life and is there a teacher, village, mentor or family member you would like to thank for all of their help?
It is my belief that most authors have had less than happy childhoods. Maybe that’s why they escaped real life in favor of the make believe. One very important person in my childhood was my eighth grade teacher who told my mother that I had a talent for writing and that I would surprise people with my achievements someday. Luckily, my mother repeated this to me, and that teacher’s words came back to me throughout my life, whenever I faced challenges. That is why is so important to let children know you believe in them.
I should mention that my husband is a medical doctor, so he is great help when it comes to poisons, medical questions and so on. He’s my number one go-to person.
MM: What would you like to say to your readers?
I would like to thank my readers for buying my books, for writing such positive reviews and for so many of you getting in touch with me. Writing is a lonely profession, and hearing from readers gives me the energy to keep writing.
MM: Lastly leave us with some wise words of wisdom on life, writing and to readers?
This one is easy. My only regret in life is to not have followed my passion earlier in my life. So, please, if you have a passion, don’t put it off. Live it now. Do what you enjoy. Live for today.
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