A big welcome today to the UK author MARTIN R JACKSON
Q. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
A. I left school shortly after my fifteenth birthday after being offered a one year trial period as an apprentice motor mechanic. I had no qualifications, but I had a job! During an indentured apprenticeship, I had the good fortune to be educated at Oxford as well as Cambridge! In reality, it was training at the Morris Cowley and Austin Cambridge engine works in the service and repair of Automatic and Transverse transmission systems! For many years I was the Honorary Secretary of the Institute of the Motor Industry for the Nottinghamshire region, and an Engineer registered with the Engineering Council UK as a Master Automotive Engineer. I taught Engineering Sciences to Foundation Degree at West Nottinghamshire College and was a Consulting Automotive Engineer called upon numerous occasions to give expert witness testimony in Crown, Magistrates and County Courts. I graduated with PGCertEd from Nottingham Trent University. I lived and worked in Nottingham before moving to North Norfolk with my wife to write fictional novels. We have a son and three lovely grandchildren.
Q. What drove you to begin a writing career?
A. I realized that while working as a lecturer and consulting engineer I must have written dozens of books worth of boring educational documents, vehicle reports and the like. When I moved to Norfolk I needed to be suitably occupied and decided to write something more entertaining.
Q. What do you feel are the greatest challenges facing any writer at the present time?
A. The greatest challenge for a writer today is finding a genuine agent - an agent capable of pushing a novel in the right direction for it to be noticed and considered for publication. When I say "publication", I mean for a reasonable profit without being "trotted on" by the vanity brigade. However, the advent of the computer has produced thousands if not millions of prospective bestselling authors. Agents must be knee-deep in manuscripts, some brilliant, some good, and others - well ... I'm probably one of them!
Q. Do you have an office or 'space' where do you write from and is it at home, or elsewhere?
A. I write from home, a small flint-stone cottage in a tiny village in the wilds of Norfolk. Someone knocked on the door three weeks ago; they had the wrong address! I sit in an easy chair with my laptop balanced on my knee and a small round table for my notepad and cuppa ... or glass of red! Yeah, thinking about it I must be one of those who are attempting to bury the poor literary agents in gobbledygook, but to their great misfortune, there's much more to come!
Q. Do you write to a target - word count - every day, or do you have another writing discipline that you could share with us?
A. Regarding progress objectives, I would sooner count chapters per month from a scheme of work than a daily word count. It's probably a hangover from my lecturing days. I know how I want the story to go, so I sketch the plot out roughly and then, working from the SOW, I expand and paint the word pictures in. It could be better described as a "building" a book rather than writing it! I'm not too frightened to scrub large amounts of work if I'm not achieving the objective. This does not set me back in my opinion but sets me on the right path for a wicked twist at the end.
Q. Do you write from imagination, personal experience, or a mixture?
A. I write from a mixture of imagination, personal experience and research. I like the storylines in my novels to have a feeling of truth, so the events and incidents are all possible if a little fanciful. To that end, I draw from a lifetime of experiences and interweave them with daydreams ... sometimes nightmares!
Q. Which of the books that you have written so far is your favourite and what can you tell us about it without giving the game away?
A. Out of my published novels, BELIEVE ME! The Lost Treasure of the Templars is my favourite. It involves plenty of historical facts and what I hope will come over as a fast-moving mystery-thriller. It involves biker-gangs, espionage, lost treasure and a cypher all interwoven with a tender love story. During the research for the book I happened upon a castle that appeared to be named after a Templar symbol, and then an island flooded by the sea in exactly the right time frame. My imagination ran riot and hey-presto I had a book!
Q. Do you have a 'work in progress' that you would like to tell us about?
A. My work in progress at the moment is THE WATCHER. It's a murder-mystery novel set in Victorian England. It involves a young boy who is abused by his grandfather and later suffers PTSD before the disorder was even known about. The novel differs from having a long prologue in two parts written in the third person before changing dramatically to the first person in chapter one for effect.
Q. When you have finished writing the book - what do you do next? By that I mean, do you edit the book yourself? Do you design your own book cover? Do you prepare a project plan to market your book?
A. When I've finished writing THE WATCHER, I will proof read and edit it myself due to the cost. I will choose a stock photo similar to what I did with another novel of mine, THE BLADE. I did the editing, proof reading the lot on that one. All my energy is channeled into my writing at the moment and I have made no marketing plans to date.
Q. What is the best piece of advice could you give to someone starting out on a writing career?
A. Do not try to make writing a career, you could be sorely disheartened. Start writing as a worthwhile hobby and who knows? It could blossom into an amazing and rewarding occupation!
Q. If you were gifted an air ticket to 'anywhere', which destination would you choose above all others and why?
A. BELIEVE ME! An air ticket to New York would come in mighty handy. I could take a copy of my novel and place it where the editor of the NY Times would trip over it!
Q. If you could invite three people from history to a dinner party. Who would you invite and why?
A. My first guest would be Our Hero, Admiral Lord Nelson. My reason would be to ask him what he actually said on his deathbed; whether it was "Kiss me Hardy" or "Kismet Hardy"! I'm sure it would also be thrilling to hear first-hand about his close-action sea-battles.
Guest number two would be the beautiful and courageous Edith Cavell, a nurse from Norfolk and daughter of a vicar. She was executed by firing squad in Brussels during WW1 after being falsely accused of treason. She was helping injured soldiers escape from hell! Edith Cavell nursed all soldiers regardless of nationality, one of her maxims being "... patriotism is not enough ... I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone". My reason for inviting her would be that she might teach us humility, compassion and integrity, which seems so rare today.
Guest number three would be Django Reinhardt the gypsy guitarist. He could provide the music, and possibly sneak Stéphane Grappelli in through the back door!
Q. What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing, marketing, or being involved with your book business?
A. I enjoy reading, a good glass of wine, testing micro-brewery beers, and if I get the chance, playing guitar! I also enjoy DIY building; With the help of my wife, I've restored our old cottage and built an extension.
Q. Can you provide any links to your purchase site, website, blog site, or any social media sites that might be of interest to readers?
montyjaxon1 (Twitter: Martin R. Jackson)
Facebook (Martin Jackson)