Howdy my lovelies! Welcome back to Interview FoxSeat. Author Hemmie Martin is joining us today.
Hemmie Martin spent most of her professional life as a Community Nurse for people with learning disabilities, a Family Planning Nurse, and a Forensic Mental Health Nurse working with young offenders. She spent six years living in the south of France. She now writes full time.
Hemmie created the DI Wednesday series, featuring DI Eva Wednesday and DS Jacob Lennox, set in and around Cambridge, with fictional villages. There are four books in the series so far. Hemmie has also written a psychological thriller, Attic of the Mind, and two contemporary women’s fiction, The Divine Pumpkin and Garlic & Gauloises. Mental health often features in her novels due to her background of forensic mental health nursing. Hemmie is a member of The Crime Writer’s Association.
Book sample: ‘In the Light of Madness’, is the first book in the DI Eva Wednesday crime series. A murdered boy in a Cambridgeshire graveyard sets in motion an investigation into the local church and school, with suspicions of a cult murmured throughout the community. With their first case, DI Eva Wednesday and DS Jacob Lennox explore the various levels of desperation and malice that can stem from an unhappy or dissatisfied life, where no one takes responsibility for their actions. They quickly find that everyone harbours a secret which, if left uncontrolled, can bring forth devastating self-destruction.
What is the hardest thing about writing? I would say there are a variety of issues that are hard when writing. Firstly, you have to actually sit down and create a story without being distracted by the internet, family, the TV, a book you’re reading, or the chores mounting up around you.
Then you need the ability to ignore the voice in your head telling you that everything you write is abysmal. The first draft is always exceedingly rough. Get the story down, then you have something to hone into a hopefully readable novel.
Do you work to an outline or plot, or do you prefer just seeing where the idea takes you? When I’m writing crime I devise a mind map that becomes quite intricate and large as I need to keep track on where people are when a crime is committed. There’s a lot of planning when I write a crime novel, although I let the backstory with the detectives free-flow.
When I’m writing contemporary fiction I tend to have the premise of the story, but then I like to see where the idea takes me. I find it a more relaxing way of writing, which is why I write two genres, to keep my mind and ideas fresh.
How do you feel you’ve evolved creatively? I feel I fell into writing, and so looking at my first published novel to what I’ve recently written, I can see my writing has become tighter but not darker in substance. ‘Attic of the Mind’ and ‘In the Light of Madness’ are quite dark, with scenes of violence. These were my second and third novels, and perhaps I had a darker heart back then, as now I can see some humour slipping into my writing. I also have a better handle on how to edit and hone my sentences after working with the same editor the publisher supplies me with. He has taught me a great deal, and I’m exceedingly grateful for his deep knowledge in this field.
What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer? Tough question as I have learned so much over the years. But if I’m to pin it down to one, I would say that there is always room for one more edit before sending the manuscript off to the publisher or agent. In the early days, I didn’t edit enough before sending manuscripts out. Now my editor praises me on my ‘clean manuscript’ I submit to the publisher. I tend to edit four or five times before sending it off, then there are usually two or three edits with my editor.
What one person from history would you like to meet, and why? Seeing as ‘The Bell Jar’ is one of my all-time favourite novels, and I have a great interest in mental health due to my nursing background, I would have to say Sylvia Plath. I would like to ask her how it was for her in those dark days, when medicine was still quite archaic in the psychiatric field. I would also love some writing advice from her – you never stop learning in the writing world, no matter how many books you have published.
Many thanks Hemmie! For more about Hemmie and her books, follow the links below: