29 Nov 2014

Author Interview with Hemmie Martin

I love getting to know authors and by interviewing them, I do get to 'meet' so many. Today, I've the lovely Hemmie Martin here, so do read on to get to know her and her latest book...

Do dreams ever inspire your writing? What did you last dream about?
One morning, I awoke with the image of a dingy ward in a hospital; the atmosphere was saturated with sweat and misery. The image hung around me as I carried out my ablutions, until I saw two people through the steam-like air, and there I had the opening lines for the thriller, ‘Attic of the Mind’.
I don’t often dream, but in my last one, I was living in a huge house with lots of people I didn’t know.

When did you first start writing? And when were you first published?
I suppose like many authors, writing was in my blood when I was at High School. I loved studying English literature, and writing stories about a character I’d created, called Hayden Moss, who was a fighter pilot. I used diaries to write down my emotions and teenage angst.
I was first published in May 2012, by Winter Goose Publishing. My first novel, ‘The Divine Pumpkin’, is a contemporary story about a Forensic Nurse and her relationship with a young offender.

What is it about crime drama that appeals to you? Do you read other genres?

I’m not into gory, overly violent crime, but I do love the whodunit and why mystery. I love a classic Agatha Christie, but I also love a more contemporary P.D. James or Ian Rankin book. I love writing crime, as I adore creating an antagonist with a twisted persona, who can do things I wouldn’t or couldn’t do in reality. I do read contemporary fiction, and I even read a Stephen King lately.

Can you tell us about your latest book?

When a murder takes place in an exclusive swingers’ club, DI Eva Wednesday and DS Jacob Lennox find themselves immersed in the murky world of sex and secrets. As Wednesday experiences the pressures of work whilst caring for her mother’s mental illness, and Lennox’s ex-wife has him worried about the sustainability of his role as a father, their case brings about questions of personal freedom, and they begin to wonder if we are all, in fact, owned in one way or another.

What inspired you to write it?
I wrote the first DI Wednesday crime novel, ‘In the Light of Madness’, as a stand-alone, but I loved her character so much, and that of Lennox, that I decided to write a second novel. The image of the mansion where the swingers’ club takes place just popped into my head, so I thought of a story to go along with it.

Who designs your covers?
Jessica Kristie at Winter Goose Publishing, asks me for my vision of the cover, then comes up with something even better! I am always asked if I’m happy with it before it’s finalised. Having a publisher means I don’t have to pay for the cover work.

If your latest book was made into a film, who would you cast?
I would love to see Ruth Wilson playing Wednesday, and Hugh Grant playing Lennox, as he exudes charm, just as Lennox does to the women around him.

What’s your favourite crime book that made it to the big screen?

I loved Lee Child’s Jack Reacher film, starring tom Cruise in the main role.

What were the last two books you read?
I read ‘Insomnia’ by Stephen King, and I’m currently reading, and thoroughly enjoying, ‘Seating Arrangements’ by Maggie Shipstead.

Name one female author you think deserves to be better known?
This is a hard question, as I've read several deserving female authors. Therefore, I’ll say Maggie Shipstead, as im currently reading her novel.

Where do you write?
I don’t have the luxury of a writing room, it’s on my wishlist, so I either write in the lounge when it’s quiet enough, or on the bed. In the clement weather, I like to sit at a Victorian pine kitchen table, and write whilst watching the birds and squirrels forage in the garden.

Tell us a random fact about your life.
We board Guide Dogs in training for three months at a time, before they go to their forever home with a blind person. When writing, I’ll often have a dog lying near or on my feet, and yes, I miss them terribly when they leave, but knowing they’re bringing a more independent life to a blind person does lift my spirits.

Who would play you in a movie of your life?
Hmm, I’m not sure I would make a good subject for a movie. When I was a community nurse in Kingston and Esher, people commented that I looked like Demi Moore in ‘Ghost’, as I sported cropped hair. Couldn’t see it myself, apart from our similar colouring, but I’ll go with her for old time’s sake.

Tell us an interesting fact about where you live.
I’ve only lived in Essex for twelve years, and plan to move to Cambridgeshire when my daughter finishes her ‘A’ levels next year. One fact I can think of is the Henry Moore Foundation is close by, and I’ve been lucky enough to visit his studio, that is still laid out from the days he worked there.

What are your writing plans for the future?

The third in the DI Wednesday series, ‘Shadows in the Mind’, is due for publication in May 2015, followed by the fourth, ‘What Happens After’, towards the end of the year. ‘Garlic & Gauloises’, a contemporary novel, will be released in the summer of 2015. It tells the story of a group of people on a writer’s retreat in France. A perfect summer read.

Tell us one thing on your bucket list.
I don’t actually have a bucket list, does that make me sad? Something I would love to achieve is winning an award from The Crime Writer’s Association. It’s good to dream!

Name one of your all-time favourite song.
Sorry, please may I have to two? ‘Sober’ by Pink, and ‘Alive’ by Pearl Jam.

What do you listen to whilst writing?
If I’m writing a particularly tricky part and the words aren’t flowing, I tend to prefer silence. However, if the plot is flowing until my fingers bleed, I either listen to classical music, especially Chopin or Bach, or something more contemporary and aggressive, such as Green Day or Alice Cooper. The latter two compliment writing scenes of violence or malevolence.

Who or what did you want to be when you were a kid?
I always wanted to be a policewoman. I became a nurse instead, but eventually worked alongside the police as a Forensic Nurse working with young offenders.

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