As I mentioned before I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Martin about writing and many other things recently. He was also kind enough to answer some questions for me. Also check out my review of Stone Soldiers Mythical. Enjoy…
Tell us a little about yourself and your background? (where are you from, where you grew up, when did you start writing ect.)
I’m a 47 year old father of two, married and residing in Southern Indiana. I served four years in the USAF (1990-94) then returned home and served the local community for 17 1/2 years as a criminal investigator for the local Prosecutor. In 2014, I retired from law enforcement to spend more time writing and changed to a far less stressful day job.
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve enjoyed writing since elementary school, but it wasn’t until the 80s, not long after I graduated High School, that I decided I wanted to be an author. I dropped out of college, worked a variety of jobs and half-heartedly wrote. Unfortunately that didn’t go anywhere and after a few years I enlisted in the Air Force to pursue law enforcement.
You have been working on your own series called Stone Soldies, can you tell me a little about it, how you got the idea and so forth.
Back in the 1980s, I was big into Men’s Adventure and thought it would be cool to make my own superhuman character. I hand wrote three novels, eventually typing a fourth, and trying to submit it to publishers with no success.
By the 90s, I discovered Tom Clancy and decided it would be cool to blend the pulpy, Men’s Adventure genre with Clancy’s realism-based books. I relaunched my old characters and again fed the slush piles.
In 2012, I heard about Amazon Studios and their amateur screen writing contest. Seeing how popular scifi YA was, I again recycled my Men’s Adventure characters and meticulously crafted a cliched, trope-laden super story. When I got done, I happened to hear about the self-publishing world online. I decided rather than start from scratch, I’d adapt my own screenplay. That worked good enough that I decided to do a sequel and realized I could turn it into an ongoing series.
What is Stone Soldiers? It’s a pulpy adventure where super soldiers battle the darkest supernatural enemies–a clash of titans on a personal level. I chose a horror theme as I was inspired by the hit show Supernatural but wanted to do something where the military was positively portrayed.
In the series, Mark Kenslir is an old-school soldier rendered immortal by a series of curses. He’s huge, strong and has all the answers–a throwback to the classic pulp charcters of the past like Doc Savage, Tarzan and Conan. After decades of fighting alongside super–albeit mortal–soldiers, Kenslir now leads a new breed of warrior: men turned to nearly-impervious, living stone. Unfortunately, they all die just before book one. Kenslir then has to rely on two teenagers to help him complete his mission.
As the series progresses, the teens from book one find themselves drawn into a secret war between America and the forces of darkness. Kenslir is rebuilding his team and even recruiting former comrades.
It’s violent, face paced and all about evil being beaten to submission.
Who is your biggest influence and why?
Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir’s The Destroyer series. I enjoyed the mix of humor and action in this long running series, plus the fact that the heroes are super. I always hate reading modern fiction where regular folks faceoff against superior enemies. The best action stories always featured heroes that stood out in a crowd and were far more than ordinary.
What do you like to read genre/writer?
I’m torn between action-packed tales, clever speculative comedy (Xanth series by Piers Anthony) and original science fiction, like Laumer’s Retief novels, William Forstchen’s Rally Cry, Brian Lumley’s Necroscope series and the likes of Roger Zelazny, Timothy Zahn and Steve Alten.
What book that you have written are you most proud of and why?
Seven Deadly Sons, the seventh Stone Soldiers tale has been my favorite. I blended all kinds of modern mythology, putting Nazis at the Southpole after WWII developing super-werewolves from a prehistoric base beneath the ice. It turned out a lot better than I’d hoped and took the series in a new direction.
Josie is a very strong female lead character. Did you model her after someone in your personal life? Also, how difficult was it to write in a female as the lead? I find it difficult to write about female characters for the simple reason that I am not one. Same as trying to write about a character that is smarter than me, for obvious reasons.
Josie isn’t modeled after any particular person I know. I did imagine her played by the talented Elizabeth Gillies–when I wrote the screenplay, my kids were watching a lot of the show Victorious.
I have two daughters–my oldest turns 16 this year. Between my kids and the ones they force me to watch on TV, it wasn’t hard to put myself in the frame of mind to write Josie. As the series progressed, I’ve grown fond of the character and the interaction between her and the main male protagonist, Colonel Kenslir, who serves as a kind of surrogate father for Josie.
The genre you write is very unique, have you ever thought about writing a graphic novel or comic?
I’m not really familiar with the format, but when I tried screenplays in 2012 I loved it. A novel is far more work, because you have to descriptively paint the world for the reader. A script for a movie or comic would let me really concentrate on the story and not worry about the prose.
You said you enjoy collecting action figures. What do you collect?
From 1996 up until a couple years ago I collected GI joes and other military and movie figures. I never had any as a kid and a friend got me hooked. The quality of some of the figures I’ve purchased blow me away. Some are more like scale models than toys.
So what’s next, what happens after Stone Soldiers? What does the future hold?
I’d like to finish my adaptation of my other screenplay–it’s about a mailman who finds out he’s descended from werewolves… just as the zombie apocalypse hits his suburban neighborhood. There’re several other ideas I have jotted down I wish I had time for, ranging from a Christian, apocalyptic space opera to an alternate reality murder mystery.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I’d encourage readers to dig deep when searching for books to read online. There are so many of us writing now anyone can find exactly what they’re in the mood for. I know millions of choices to choose from seems daunting, but there is a lot of variety if you just look for it. The age of self-publishing means readers aren’t forced to read the same old stuff from publishers over and over again.
I could not agree with you more. There are so many good stories out there, sometimes as the consumer it just takes a little more searching to find what you are looking for. For more info about C.E. Martin and the Stone Soldiers Series check out his website below.