Author Interview with Ella Medler (Martin Little, Resurrected)
Today we welcome the exciting new author of the light-Fantasy novel: Martin Little, Resurrected; Ella Medler.
Thank you for joining Ella.
So, I understand you hail from the land of vampires and Dracula? Tell us about your memories of growing up in Transylvania?
I grew up on the gentle slopes of the West Carpathian Mountains, in a small town at the foothills of a medieval castle. I used to climb the hill to the very top and play amongst the ruined walls – that is one of the best, most treasured memories of my childhood. There was a play area at the bottom of the hill – swings and slides and other play equipment – but I never wanted to spend time there. I remember one day I ran ahead of my granddad and took a longer route up, one that wound in and out of dark caves with water seeping down the mossy walls. I loved these mystery-filled caves; a child’s imagination doesn’t need much more than that to come up with fantastic adventures. Well, that day was a little more exciting than usual. That day a viper crossed the path not fifteen inches in front of me. It slid quickly into a bunch of dead leaves, more scared of me than I was of it, but it did make my heart pump faster as I backed down the path, my eyes locked onto the leaves the snake disappeared into for as long as I could keep them in sight, and then flew back down to my granddad’s side where I stayed for, oh, probably a good ten minutes. My childhood was a fun time, a free time and I absolutely loved it.
Where do you live now, and is this your last stop?
I live in Cornwall, England, surrounded by much more nature than should be logically possible in such a ‘busy’ country. I have to say, it took a while to find somewhere that felt so good, so right, somewhere where I could pretend to be the only person left on Earth, or at least one of the few, if I so wished. I can walk along craggy cliffs overlooking the Atlantic any day I choose or stand on the top of a hill from where I can see both the South and North coasts of Cornwall in about ten minutes. That’s got to be pretty close to heaven. There’s only one other place like this in the UK, and it keeps calling to me – the top West coast of Scotland, almost off the map.
When the kids fly the nest, I dream of downsizing to a small cottage on top of a cliff overlooking the sea, with very little scope for visitors. I’ll have a guest room, of course. Just not a very comfortable bed in it!
You are a mother, a wife, a novelist and playwright. Tell us your favorite parts of each.
Wow. That’s a question and a half! The best part of being a mother is seeing your children grow and blossom and find their own way. The best balm for a mother’s heart is to see that those small persons who needed the bike held steady as they learned to ride are not afraid to grab their own lives by the scruff of the neck and make their own decisions. The best part of being a wife, I think, is the knowledge that with your husband by your side you can weather any storm.
As a novelist, I get to live as many lives as stories in my head. I am blessed with a vivid imagination – when I write, I literally see what’s about to happen in my story next; it’s as if I’m watching a movie. I have to hurry to catch it all and commit it to paper. Well, word document, really.
Writing plays is what I do to relax. The clue is in the name; it’s called ‘play’ for a reason. For me, it’s just a game, a way for my mind to download conversations, jokes and situation comedy. I am lucky to work with a hugely talented bunch of amateur dramatic actors in my spare time. They make my job so much easier – I can just picture one of them on stage and I instantly know what they would say and how they would react. Watching people speak the words I write is tremendously satisfying.
What inspired you to begin writing?
If you mean way back, right at the beginning, it was watching comedy sketches on TV. I was just a kid, but I started work right away and wrote a sequence of comedy sketches to be played out by me and my friends to an audience of parents and other willing adults out in the playground. I used the playground as the backdrop, the trees and shrubs, everything was my stage. I remember being a little disappointed when the flowers that were all out one month disappeared by the next. That’s when I first started taking notice of the passage of time and the changing seasons. I’ve never stopped writing, though life did push it way down the priority list. It took a serious accident and three weeks stuck in hospital staring at the ceiling in the trauma ward to really make me think. I spent a lot of time writing to pass the time and also, I guess, to subconsciously take myself away from the hospital setting. Nothing major changed in the general set-up of my life – I learned to walk again and went back to work, but this time I started carrying my laptop around everywhere I went and just wrote and wrote every spare minute of the day. Writing clawed its way up that priority list higher and higher every week, every day, until it reached the top spot.
Tell us about your premiere novel: Martin Little, Resurrected.
Martin Little is a series of full-length novels, and Martin Little, Resurrected is the very first bead on the string. The best way to describe it is to use the words of one of my readers: pure escapism. It’s an adventure story written in first person from a male perspective, but not just that – it’s a journey of discovery in more ways than one. Imagine your life changed direction, 180 degrees, all at once, imagine your emotions assaulted by feelings never experienced before, and add to that a fantastical element that just about wipes off all that you knew and took for granted in your life – all knowledge, all logic, all expectations. I won’t say much more than this: the whole plot is one cliff-hanger after another, it is relentless, quirky, it’s original, and probably not everybody’s cup of tea. Oh, and I make fun of the British lifestyle and societal rules in the background, in particular bureaucracy, the modern CCTV obsession, health and safety rules and the legal system.
What has been the most exciting part of being a published author?
It all happened so fast, I barely had time to take it all in. I remember the day I was sent the cover – oh, that cover says it all! If I had to paint the whole book on one sheet of paper, that would be it. It just couldn’t be improved upon. Yeah, seeing that – the cover, the pdf, market-ready copy was just amazing.
What has been the worst part of being a published author?
Ha, ha. I don’t think you’ll be too surprised to hear this. Marketing and promotion. I had absolutely NO idea what that entailed, not the foggiest clue. I’m only just starting to comprehend the sheer scale of things I must get involved with in order to do this book justice.
What books have influenced your writing?
Way back in my childhood, I read a lot of cowboy stories – the whole ‘hero wins, evil guy loses’ idea appealed to my immature sense of justice. Going through school, we were given lists of books we should read, mostly classics, at the beginning of each school year. We had to read and summarize at least ten novels per school year, and there was no internet to help with research, so I did a lot of reading. My parents made sure my own bookcase was well-stocked. The more I read, the more I wanted to read some more. I loved Isaac Asimov. I used to have to read by the flashlight under the blankets because my mum would spy me through the keyhole and get angry if I didn’t get a good sleep. Unwittingly, she turned my attention to detective stories. I had to become sneaky and ingenious in order to make more time for reading. Even now, mystery seems to seep into each one of my stories. And love – pure, unconditional love, in any guise I may be able to weave it in.
Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?
Loads, actually. There are quite a few on twitter, I noticed, so maybe I should start with them. But if I were to meet just one, I’d like to shake Roddy Doyle’s hand. ‘The Giggler Treatment’ brought a lot of laughter into my household just about the time the kids started reading. You should try it. It’s a kids’ book, but you will laugh out loud, guaranteed.
If you could talk to your former self, what advice would you give her?
“Don’t take quite so long getting to where you knew you were heading all along, Ella!”
I hear that you used to train and spar in martial arts. Tell us about your matches, your training and whether any of that training comes into play during your daily life now?
Talk about ferreting out all my secrets! That time of my life is a closed chapter. I embraced it, I lived it, I loved it. But all that’s left of it now is the discipline, self-confidence, knowledge and a good grasp of a culture that I wouldn’t have been able to gain by just reading about it in books. And yes, in my upcoming thriller, Blood is Heavier, and possibly in future novels too, I will be drawing on that experience.
You speak over 7 languages, what is your favorite language to speak or hear? What language do you dream in?
I’m essentially a lazy person, so English suits me just fine. I dream in English. I can’t give you precise figures, but I guess I’ve spoken more English in my life than any other language. That said, I have traveled a lot and in most cases I didn’t have the luxury of an interpreter (in fact I can recall a few occasions when I was glad I didn’t need an interpreter’s interpretation). I had to get by on what I knew, and that helped me absorb more of these countries’ cultures as well.
As you would expect, this cultural knowledge reflects in the characters I create. There’s an additional layer I can give them simply by looking back at family relationships, the way they live and work, even the way people perceive themselves when in a foreign country – I’ve seen it first-hand, so it’s effortless.
There’s another aspect to being able to speak several languages, and it’s something I always wanted to ask others about. I love pretending I’m one of the crowd when I’m visiting a country whose language I speak. I can pass for a local in many cases, and that almost feels like I’m a different person. It’s a different identity, one with limited lifespan, but different all the same. I feel different and I don’t shy away from doing or saying things my English self would never do or say. Hmm, there’s an idea for a book, right there…
What are your pet peeves?
Oh, there are a lot of things that grate on me, but most of them I’ve learned to tolerate. I have always had high standards for myself and therefore I expected the same of everyone else around me. Experience has given me a different perspective, though. Now, I find it easier to glide over small irritations – my best strategy is to make fun of them.
Still, there is one clear, definite thing that I cannot forgive, and that is emotional dishonesty. People lie for different reasons and most of them are easy to work out and even understand, like for example when you tell a child Santa won’t bring them presents if they don’t tidy their room at once. But when you lie for the sheer sake of it, or worse, out of malice, when you play with a person’s feelings, that to me is the highest crime.
Are you currently working on any other projects?
I’m currently busy producing a POD version of Martin Little, Resurrected. Createspace is an experience I haven’t had before. Luckily, my publisher has agreed to let me use the same cover as the e-book version of the book, so I’m really happy about that.
At the same time, I am going through the final edit on my thriller, Blood is Heavier. I’m looking for a cover artist, so do tell me if you know a talented one.
I’m about ten percent of the way through a Martin Little sequel and as soon as I finish that I’ll be jumping straight into a conspiracy-theory-type espionage thriller set in the seventies, which led to the crumbling of the Eastern Block.
The most recent idea I’ve had, though, seems to have a really loud voice in my mind right now – it’s a sci-fi thriller with a touch of theory of evolution in it. A perfectly ordinary mutation in the human species becomes undesirable as it threatens to become the longest lived, Arian race of the future. If this idea wins the top spot, the conspiracy theory may have to wait till later in the year.
Oh, and I spend evenings producing a play I wrote for the junior members of a local theatre. The entire cast and most of the production team are under eighteen, so it would be fair to say there are a quite a few challenges here and there.
What is the last thing you read? Did you like it, hate it?
I’ve just finished reading ‘Triple’ by Ken Follett. I realized half way through the book that I’d actually read it before, but I just couldn’t put it down. I had to take it all the way. It’s not a modern book, and some of the details don’t fit anymore, but it is one of those perfect novels that you just can’t fault. It has the perfect voice, the perfect story, perfectly-formed characters… it’s a perfect five star.
Read it if you get the chance, I wholeheartedly recommend it.
What was the last movie you watched? Did you like it, hate it?
Ocean’s Eleven, and I thought it was a cleverly set plot, but nothing was going to come anywhere near the Bourne series, which I’ve watched right before that. Oh, I absolutely love the action. Another movie I love, well, two actually, are the new Sherlock Holmes ones directed by Guy Ritchie. I think Guy Ritchie is a very talented man.
Where can readers find your works and follow you?
The easiest way to find my books would be by using the links on my website http://www.ellamedler.com. My publisher has done a brilliant job with distributing Martin Little, Resurrected electronically – it is available on pretty much every platform you can think of.
If you are interested in my book reviews (I review indie authors for free) and my inane ramblings on publishing and writing in general, you can subscribe to my new blog http://www.ellamedler.wordpress.com (which you can also access via my website).
I also spend quite a bit of my time on twitter: @EllaMedler and facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ella-Medler/204929819588619 and personal page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000042416666
Or you could look for me on Goodreads and the World Literary Café. I’m a friendly person, come and say hello.