Interviews · Nine Questions with...

Nine Questions with… Jeffrey X Martin

Today I’m featuring an interview with author Jeffery X Martin. Welcome Jeffery, why do you take a moment and introduce yourself to the captive audience that you now have before you.

JeffMartinMy name is Jeffery X Martin. Everyone calls me X. You should, too. I am the creator of the Elders Keep Projekt, a series of intertwining short horror stories, currently available for Kindle and Nook. Expect a full length collection of these stories to be released in time for the holidays. I am also the author of Tarotsphere, a funny book about Tarot cards. I’ve also co-written, with James Branscome and James DeHaven, an American giallo script called Murder Ballads. That movie is currently in pre-production. I write a weekly column about music from the 1980’s for popshifter.com. I also write horror and sci-fi reviews for Tony Schaab at his website, TheGASPFactor.com.

I seem to do a lot of writing.

Tell us about your writing process?

It’s pretty stream-of-consciousness. I don’t make normal outlines as much as I see sticky notes in my head. With the Elders Keep stories and their reoccurring characters, I have to check back with older tales to keep them in line, make sure I’m not revealing plot points too early.

But no matter what I’m writing, there comes a point where my mind switches to a different level. I call it the High White Noise. It’s almost like I hear some static in my brain and it blocks out everything but story. When I hear that High White Noise, I can write for hours, just pounding out pages and nothing distracts me. The kids, the cat, nothing. I just go. I can look back at it the next day and not remember writing it. It just shows up.

Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

I wish I were clever enough to write hard sci-fi. The people who do that amaze me with their world-building skills. I can only write so intricately before I start to confuse myself and others.

What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?

1) Stephen King’s Night Shift. It turned me on to the short story form. It was so punk. King got in, made his point, got out and EVERYBODY got hurt. All of those stories were quick terrifying shots to the gut. Who wouldn’t want to write that?

2) Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72. I’ve always been fascinated with the Seventies. I was alive then, but I don’t remember them well. I always figured Nixon was a foul human being and this book, even with the realization that parts of it were pure drug-addled fantasy, did nothing to dissuade me from that opinion. Thompson’s writing was brutal and cosmic, sentences barely able to confine brilliant madness from the first capital letter to the final punctuation mark, every word the right one. Thompson embodied crazed drunken uncle storytelling at its finest.

3) Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s Cat’s Cradle. The total flip-side of Thompson, but equally as influential on me. His simple sentences belied the cynical beauty beneath. He always had a point, and it was always made with sad humor and respect for the intelligence of the audience. I got to see him speak at the University of Tennessee when Timequake came out. He was so gentle and self-effacing, yet you could almost see the weight of the world on his brow. He’s my hero, to be certain.

4) Michael McDowell’s The Elementals. One of the only books that ever gave me nightmares. McDowell’s depiction of creatures that rose up out of the sand and threatened to swallow up a dilapidated family house on a Carolina beach burrowed itself into my brain and never left. I read every year for almost a decade until the book itself finally fell apart. It’s not easy to find now, but well worth the hunt.

5) Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles. All right, I know this is a “comic book,” but this story arc transcends any other graphic novel I’ve ever read. On the surface, it’s a story about a team of crime-fighters. Underneath lies the key to absolute awareness. Sex, drugs, rock and roll, conspiracy theories, references to old BBC television shows and all the things behind the sun are contained in this story. It changed my mind and it changed my life.

If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?

If I could cast the recurring main characters in the Elders Keep stories, I would first choose Josh Holloway (Sawyer from LOST) as Sheriff Graham Strahan. He could handle the warmth and gallows humor of the character, while not glossing over the supernatural elements. Holloway could keep everything human and grounded. I don’t understand why he isn’t a massive star right now. David Henne (from Wizards of Waverly Place) would be a perfect Deputy Moon. Young, a little over-eager and kind of twitchy. Tiffany Shepis would be Shelly the bartender, Graham’s love interest. She’s hot, she’s got a great way of finding the funny in any given situation and she’s hot.

What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?

Laugh maniacally.

Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?

I’m not ashamed to say vodka is my friend. I quit smoking last October by using a personal vaping device, and I advocate vaping quite vocally. I firmly believe in tobacco harm reduction and you can often find me on Facebook in the Smoky Mountain Vapers group. If you want to quit smoking in a way that isn’t stupid, seek us out.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I sit on the couch with my awesome wife, Hannah, and watch Italian horror movies. I also read Tarot online, hang out at the swimming pool and tweet inappropriate things at all hours of the morning.

Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.

This is from the fourth Elders Keep story, which deals with a place barely mentioned in the very first one. A lot of things come together in this tale, which is one I know the fans of the series have been waiting for. It may start slow. It certainly doesn’t end that way. Here are the first nine lines of Tales from the Keep Volume 4: Parham’s Field.

“I’m not drunk, goddammit!” Will exclaimed, exasperation creeping into his voice. “You ever go into Parham’s Field at night?”

Graham shook his head and laughed. “Oh, hell no. Never.”

“Why not?” Will asked.

Graham shrugged. “Everybody knows you don’t go into Parham’s Field at night.”

“But why, Graham? Give me an answer.”

Graham searched his brain.

Now let’s take a sneak peek into Tales from the Keep Volume 3: Mouth…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALocal businessman Larry Ford has a terrible toothache and an appointment with a local dentist. It’s a simple procedure. But nothing is ever simple in Elders Keep, and nothing hurts like your mouth.

Don’t forget that clicking on the cover will whisk you away to Amazon!

Thank you Jeffery (I just can’t call you X) for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’d like to connect with Jeffery you can find him on his website, Amazon Author Page or Twitter.

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