It was my pleasure to interview the lovely JC Martin, founding member of 'Stories for Sendai' Japan Fundraiser. I caught up with JC behind the scenes in a local London cafe, and we took a stroll along the famous river Thames and talked about writing, Kung-Fu, and living in a city that was far from both our home countries.
|Fighter Writer, JC Martin|
JC: And lovely to meet you too! I write Crime at the moment, and my inspiration? It's what I read the most of, -my current WIP is set around the London Olympics, its about several Greek inspired murders during the lead up to the Olympics.
TL: Is your main character male or female?
JC: Male and a detective, so there's going to be a bit around police procedures in the story.
TL: When did you realise that you wanted to pursue writing?
JC: As a kid I drew comics for my younger brother, I enjoyed writing at school, I liked stories and essays. And a few years ago I started writing fan fiction, -that's when I started thinking may be I should start pursuing it seriously.
TL: So you've written some fan fiction?
JC: Er...yeah, actually two pieces
TL: Okay, are you going to share that or...? (We both burst into laughter here)
JC: (hesitant) They're actually online, not that I'm terribly proud of it, because I posted my first draft... but I seem to have a small following so yup....
TL: I have to admit, I've followed a couple of fan fictions and they're entertaining!
TL: Do you have any favourite Crime Authors?
JC: Richard Watanabe, I like his books, they're really dark but brilliantly done. And a couple of books by Boris Starling, my ideas are partly inspired by the way he writes. I do read Non Crime books as well!
TL: Do tell us!
JC: The Earth's Children Series by Jean Auel
TL: Any advice for new aspiring writers?
JC: (laughs) I'm still aspiring myself, so it would be, don't give up and have faith in your work, normally writers are their own biggest critics but sooner or later, you have to get your work out there.
TL: Your blog is called 'Fighter_Writer', can you tell us what inspired the title?
JC: Yeah, on my website actually there's an 'About Me' section. I like martial arts, reading, and writing, those are my three passions. I often touch on fighting and martial arts on my blog posts and its a bit of an oxymoron itself, they say the pen is mightier than the sword. So fighting and writing in a way...
TL: So is it Kung Fu, you teach?
JC: Wing Chun Kung Fu, it's what Bruce Lee started
TL: In Karate you have belts, in Kung Fu...?
JC: We have grades as well, and once you get your black belt, they're called degrees.
TL: So you're...?
JC: Second degree...
TL: OOH, thats good, so you can...?
JC: I like to think so...
TL: What are your writing highlights this year?
JC: Apart from that fact I'm nearly finished writing Oracle, my latest WIP...
TL: Word count?
JC: 77,000 and two more chapters to go! My highlight would be a couple of conferences, one in York, -the Festival of Writing. It was a brilliant, I'd definitely go back, and I submitted the first chapter of another work which was accepted to be read out 'live' to everyone.
TL: How exciting! (general squeeing from me)
JC: It was a bit like X-Factor, there were three agents and you read it out and they gave their comments at the end.
TL: Stories for Sendai is a fantastic fundraiser for Japan, what was your motivation?
JC: There was a massive earthquake in SE Asia a few years ago on New Years, it hit a lot of countries were affected and at that time I was at University and I wanted to help but as a student I felt powerless. This time around, it was still closer to home but I felt a bit more capable to help, I could do something about it.
TL: What were the key challenges with the submission process and did you have any particular criteria?
JC: We got 46 submissions, and the hardest part was picking the final 20. The main criteria was that they should be uplifting stories about survival, hope and the human spirit. In the beginning, the most work just getting the word out that submissions were open, trying to raise awareness and advertising.
TL: So the hardest part was more marketing and PR, raising awareness of what you were doing?
JC: I put it out on the blog, and set-up the 'Stories for Sendai' website. Its more time consuming now, leading up to publication, obviously with copy editing, reading, checking errors, formatting and getting the word out.
TL: And most enjoyable aspect of the project?
JC: I really enjoyed reading all the stories. I'd like to think we'll enjoy good sales.
TL: I have a few random girly questions for my girly blog...
Whats your favourite cocktail?
JC: I don't drink!
TL: (confused face) Favourite tea?
JC: Green Jasmine... wait tell a lie, I've a strawberry daiquiri once, I liked as it had little alcohol in it.
TL: Jimmy Choo or Louboutins? (we both fall about laughing again)
JC: I don't know, I think being into martials arts I'm not that girly, I just wear Next...
TL: Okay - favourite trainers?
JC: My Adidas at the moment, with the pink stripes - thats girly isn't it?
TL: Pink stripes? I love that!
Now, you're originally in Malaysia, living in London, -what do you miss about home?
JC: I miss my family and I miss the food
TL: Favourite Malaysian dish?
JC: A local dish from home town, chicken broth and noodles and theres only one shop that does it well
TL: (hopeful) In London?
JC: No. In my hometown.
TL: Are they any good Malaysian restaurants in London?
JC: In Chinatown, 'Kopitiam', translated it means Coffee Shop
TL: Favourite British Dish?
JC: Fish and Chips
TL: Favourite writing snack?
JC: Nutella, straight from the jar!
Amazon or Createspace. All proceeds go to these charities in Japan, -Global Giving, International Medical Corps and Save the Children. Also, there is a competition to celebrate the release of the anthology. Thank you for your support!
A/N: I hope you enjoyed the interview, it's alway good to meet fellow writers and hopefully I can keep on doing so. I'm in Milan next week for work, but will aim to post Monday and Friday. Happy weekend! Talei xox