Archive for the ‘Interviews with Authors’ Category

Interview with a vampire (writer) …
April 21, 2013

That got everyone’s attention, didn’t it? No, not with Tom Cruise in the film of, but with Mark Knight – author of the Daniel Dark series, and with the latest of them now out:

Blood Family: Quest for the Vampire Key can be bought in paperback here,  and in ebook format here.

Often the book-buying preferences of the reading public follow trends, and vampires and the associated blood-lust issues are very much the thing now. I was fascinated when doing a recent book signing in Waterstones to read the titles in the teens and YA fiction near me. They were nearly all related to vampires and werewolves. Chatting to an avid youung reader who was scouring them for her next good read I asked her what she thought of them and she said she would actually like the opportunity to read something more closely linked to the average teenagers daily life, but escapism is a good thing too.

Let me introduce you to  Mark then who writes in this genre and enjoy the trend as it happens with his series. This is Mark talking about himself and his writing:

Mark Knight author (3)Would you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

 

Well, I grew up in America, living everywhere from California to Boston, son of an Irish father and a British mother who had immigrated to the US shortly before I was born. It was while I was still a young teenager living in Massachusetts that I discovered that I wanted to write, because I loved strange tales, be it science fiction, ghost stories, or horror. I started with short stories, then novels. Of course, those early ones were dire. But I knew I wanted to be a published author one day. Our family moved to Ireland where I finished school and also completed my first novel, a space adventure. In the early 80s I moved to the UK. Since then, I have been writing novels, screenplays, and the occasional short story. Now I concentrate mostly on Young Adult urban fantasy, which I found to be the most fun to write.

Which project are you currently promoting?

 Currently I am promoting my Young Adult urban fantasy novel, Blood Family – Quest for the Vampire Key.

Blood Family is a different kind of vampire book. I wanted to write about vampires, keeping all the tried-and-tested cool elements intact – the vampire’s strength, blood-lust, etc – but adding new elements to the lore, especially to what vampires were, their origins. The theory of other dimensions have always fascinated me. What if, I thought, vampires were interdimensonal creatures that took over the bodies of humans, transforming them and making them into the fanged bloodsuckers we know and love? And what if one of those bloodsuckers then sired a child with a human? That half-vampire child would have quite a life, especially if he knew nothing of his true parentage. Daniel Dark starts off that way, a normal teenager. Then he finds out what he is, and everything changes. That sets him on a quest, and an extremely perilous one, to confront his vampire father and find his birth mother, utilizing his emerging vampire powers along the way.

What inspired you to write this book?

I have always loved vampire stories; one of the first stories I ever read was a short story about a vampire.  I knew I wanted to write a tale about a normal teen who found out that he was different, that something amazing and terrifying lurked within him, that only emerges after a key event. That way, the reader can relate with the main character from the get-go, and then discover his or her emerging powers as the character does.

What can you tell us about your main characters?

 Daniel Dark is the seventeen-year-old hero of the story. At first, he is no hero at all; he is laid-back, a bit surly, and with no particular goals other than smoking weed and hanging out with his friends. His dad is a local pastor. He and Daniel simply don’t get on. They barely speak to each other, or interact. But Daniel knows it’s because he is different; he just doesn’t know why. Then he is contacted by his real father – a master vampire called Dominus, who initiates a transformation within Daniel. Daniel’s vampire powers spring into being, and before he knows it he has left home on a perilous journey to confront his vampire father. Along the way, his powers manifest. But he discovers a lot more about himself as a person, about his truly important abilities – those that everybody has within them.

Keeping his vampire half a secret, he teams up with vampire hunter, Logan DuPris, a young woman with a sharp tongue and mean trigger finger. She wants to find Dominus just as much as Daniel does. But she has no idea about Daniel’s relationship to the master vampire – at first.

Did you have to do any research in order to help you with the writing of this book?

I travelled to Mexico in the mid 2000s and was inspired by its beauty and the way it different from the US and the UK. I explored the Mayan ruins of the Yucatan and heard many stories about witches, ghosts, and other supernatural beings who the locals swear are real and not imaginary. On my second trip there, I visited some caves, where local witches had left black candles, having used the cave as way of connecting to the ‘otherworld’. I had already hatched the idea for Blood Family by this time, and wanted my main character, seventeen-year-old Daniel Dark, to go on a journey that would reveal secrets about himself and his vampire origins. I love tales that take you to other countries. You travel to intriguing places, seeing them with the eyes of the characters. I knew Chiapas had supernatural depths to its culture, and felt compelled to incorporate those aspects into Blood Family.

After Daniel goes to Mexico he travels to Devon in England. Although I reside in the UK I had only beenClem from Dinner party to Devon once, and so made a special trip to basically walk in Daniel’s footsteps. I stayed in a creepy old Inn and explored the windswept plains of Dartmoor. After those few days, I had plenty of notes for those sections of the story, and a lot of new inspiration!

 

 What made you decide to become a writer?

Been writing since early teens. In my 40s now so…gulp…quite a long time! Always knew I wanted to be published, but never knew what a circuitous journey it would be. But, over the years, I had things accepted. First, a comic strip. Then a short story. Then, more short stories. And also a couple of things which I scripted for British television.

As to what made me decide to write, I think it was my love of stories and my desire to make my own, to make my own world and characters. I grew up in America and in the 6th or 7th grade we were given a short story to read in class – about a vampire, as it happened! I thought, ‘I can do this; it can’t be much more difficult than figuring out a comic strip’. I drew a lot of comic strips in those days. I wrote my first short story but it was more like a mini novel, with chapters. It was Sci-Fi, about telepathy – only about 20 pages long, but it was so satisfying. I knew then what I wanted to do.

What genre do you generally write, and why did you choose it?

I began by writing Sci Fi stories. Later on, I was asked by a friend in the movie business to write a supernatural/horror script with him. I wasn’t into that genre at all but the prospect of maybe getting a film made was too good to pass up. Anyway, I found I enjoyed writing this kind of story, and so later on wrote Blood Family. It was written as an adult book but my agent at the time suggested it was really YA and I should perhaps concentrate on YA. And that is exactly what I have done!

Are you interested in writing other genres?

I still love science fiction. That is where I started. So I may go back to that one day. But urban fantasy is much more accessible. Stories about vampires, werewolves, or magic are pretty much understood and embraced by everyone, whereas many shy away from Sci-Fi because of the technical aspects.

Oh, and I wrote a children’s adventure fantasy some years ago, which I had for sale under a different name. I may just resurrect that one day!

Do you follow a routine when you begin to write a scene or chapter?

Every novel I write is planned out meticulously in notes. I begin making that document months before any actual story writing. It is kind of like a scaffolding of the story, complete with photo reference and other references. Sometimes it is chapter by chapter. I write directly from that guide, but still leave a lot of room for spontaneity. So, I always have a fairly detailed knowledge of where I’m going, but often I surprise even myself with things that my characters end up doing or saying!

How long does it usually take for you to write a book?

Blood Family took a year because mainly because of the research. Other novels have taken anywhere from six months to nine months. It depends on a lot of factors, like what other crazy things are going on in my life! But I think six months is a good time factor; that is what I aim for.

Maz from the dinner partyWhat character out of your most recent work do you admire the most and why?

That’s an easy one! And it applies to all my stories. The character I admire the most and is my favorite is my main character, Daniel Dark. I think if an author isn’t totally into his protagonist, then why bother? He or she is who drives the story, pulls your reader along. It is the central character who is the story. For me, if I don’t make the main character the most interesting and most dynamic person within the tale, then I shouldn’t be writing it. And plus, all writers, I think, take an aspect of themselves and mould their hero out of that. It can be a part of you that the public sees, or never sees. Or a facet of your personality you would like to cultivate; the person you wish you were. Daniel has the dynamic, forthright, and impetuous qualities I wish I had sometimes. And he definitely has the drive and perseverance that definitely I know I have. Completing a novel certainly requires both!

Have you ever had second doubts about a story you’ve written? If so, have you wanted to rewrite some parts of it?

Quite often when I am planning a novel I create a structure that I eventually reject. If it doesn’t excite me enough or if it just doesn’t feel right, I scrap it and start again. Then it invariably comes together after that. I think you have to get a lot of old and clichéd ideas out of your system first; that’s the way it seems to work.  But then you can go ahead and write something fresh and exciting.

Are there any authors you admire?

I admire Tolkien for putting so much love and detail into his fantasy world; it showed that he real cared about it and wanted it to come across as a real place. And he does that through simple storytelling. I am also a fan of Science Fiction authors like Arthur C Clarke and Frank Herbert.

I do love The Hobbit, more so than The Lord of the Rings. Read it many times as a kid; it was one of the stories that was so vivid that it inspired me to write. I love The City and the Stars by Arthur C Clark and of course Dune by Frank Herbert. As for current YA novels, I have dove into both Hunger Games and I Am Number Four last year – they are great books!

Did you self-publish? If not, is that something you will be willing to consider in the future?

Although Blood Family was considered by Hodder & Stoughton publishing house I eventually decided to self-publish because I wanted to present the book my way. They liked the book a lot at H&S, but wanted to make the vampires more like normal vampires. And although my vampires have all the attributes of the creatures from popular culture, they originate in another dimension, possessing the bodies of willing hosts. I wanted to keep all of that intact.

What is your least favorite part about getting published?

My least favorite part? I enjoy all the aspects of creating and promoting a book, but the problem is that there are just not enough hours in the day to do as much as you’d like. Today, with social networking, you have to be blogging and tweeting and whatnot pretty much constantly. And really, as a writer, I should be writing!

The best part, though, is when people finally get to read it! The novel has been in your head for a long time, and has taken months to write. Finally, you get to hear other people’s reactions to it. Feedback for Blood Family has been extremely positive so far which is absolutely wonderful.

Was the road to publication a long one for you?

I wrote the book back in 2005. It took a while to attract an agent and then to do the rounds with various publishers. As stated before, it did almost become published with Hodder. I wrote several other novels after that, all Young Adult, before coming back to Blood Family and deciding to self-publish. Even then, it took many months of preparation – hiring an editor, formatter, cover artist, etc. But all well worth it!

Do you use a pen name? If so, why?

I have used pen names in the past mainly because I have written in different genres. I have written Sci-Fi, children’s, and now YA. I think one aspect of good branding is to associate oneself with one particular genre. Currently all I write is YA.

What is the best advice you can give to a new author?

I have been writing since I was in my very early teens. I started with short stories, and then tried my hands at novels. I was 16 when I tried my first novel – a Star Wars sequel! Gosh, it was terrible. I think, really, I wanted to make my own Star Wars movie; I couldn’t really do that at 16, but I could write one down. My mother urged me to write original stories, and told me of an author she had read an interview with, who gave the simple advice ‘don’t never give up!’. That deliberate double negative has stayed with me. If your first story isn’t published, or appreciated, it does not mean that it is no good. It means that you are still honing your talent. To be good at writing you have to write. But don’t just consider your early work mere practice. Everything you write is—or should be—a fun experience. If you love what you’re writing, your readers surely will, which is the best possible advice I could give.

Where can the readers find more information about you?mark knight book pic (3)

 My author site is www.markknightbooks.com. There is a link to my blog on there.

For more fun facts about Blood Family, you can visit its dedicated website, www.bloodfamily.co.uk. The sites are constantly evolving with new things added all the time. For instance, I soon plan to upload the timeline of events that I used while writing Blood Family to the Blood Family site. You will find sketches and other pieces of artwork by my cover artist, David M Rabbitte, on there as well.

Happy reading, folks – and if you would like to read an excerpt from Marks new book, you can find it here: ominously entitled

Chapter 13…

More from me on other topics soon, but you can follow me on

@Storytellerdeb

www.facebook.com/DebbieMartin.Author

or my website: www.debbiemartin.co.uk

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Chapter 13
April 21, 2013

Excerpt from Blood Family: quest for the vampire key  – Mark Knight

mark knight book pic (3)CHAPTER 13

As evening painted the sky a deep purple, Daniel stepped through his front door and looked around. As his life had changed, so too had all that surrounded him. He was sensing something. Daniel had never been one for deep thinking, but now his perceptions stretched themselves out over the landscape, over time, feeling out new possibilities and new horizons. He exhaled a big, purging breath, scratching the back of his head. Was he really going to do it? Leave home?

The ‘incident’ with Daelin had left him confused. Part of him had wanted to take advantage of her in the most gruesome and bloodiest of ways. Part of him wanted to protect her forever. Would it be best for her—and for him—to stay, or to leave? This wasn’t exactly something he could talk over with the town’s youth counselor. For the first time in his life, he had no one to fall back on. Future decisions would be down to him and him alone.

No more of this soul-searching crap. I want my bed.

Entering, he kicked off his sneakers and thudded up the stairs. As he grabbed the door handle to his room he halted. Mom stood there, down the hall, looking…defenseless.

“Daniel…”

“Just a minute, Mom.” He wanted to change his shirt a.s.a.p.—his unbidden hallucination had made him very sweaty, not to mention the sex play with Daelin.

He entered his room.

That was his first mistake.

Dad was waiting for him—he and six other pastors. Not one appeared to be in a forgiving mood.

It was a shock to Daniel—he hadn’t even seen any cars parked out front, not even Dad’s.

He then made his second mistake. He didn’t move quickly enough.

Another pastor, who had been waiting next to the door, kicked it shut. Then, the tallest of the ministers facing him shot him with what looked to be a crossbow. The arrow tore into the boy’s left shoulder, pinning him to his bedroom door. He roared in pain. Before the roar was over, an arrow pierced his other shoulder.

“I know you hate me for this, Daniel,” said Nathan Dark. “But I’m doing this to help you.”

“Help me?” spat Daniel. “You want to kill me!”

“It’s taken me years to put together this Deliverance Team, Daniel,” Pastor Dark told him. “And unlike even my own church denomination, our newly founded division knows about the existence of creatures like you.”

Creatures like me?”

“Yes,” said Nathan coldly. “Demons—like you.”

The pastors rushed at Daniel as he grasped the arrow shafts, trying to pull himself free. The seven men began shouting out religious passages at him, fear knocking their phrases out of unison. Five of them restrained Daniel while two others (including his father) performed the laying on of hands, placing palms on his head and chest. Enraged, Daniel bellowed back at them, irises turning blood red as his would-be deliverers watched in increasing terror.

And something else was happening: the arrows that impaled Daniel were dissolving, actually turning to ash and smoke before their eyes. Through the tears in his son’s shirt Nathan Dark could see the arrow wounds healing before his eyes—flesh growing and knitting, liberated blood retreating back inside the boy’s body before the holes closed.

Revivified, Daniel flung his arms outward in a mighty push, hurling the men to the floor. The deliverers howled in pain.

Nathan Dark regained his senses. His son was nowhere in sight. Then, hearing a sound like the panting of a wounded wolf, he looked up. Daniel clung there, defying gravity, hugging the ceiling like a bat.  Nathan barked through gritted teeth to the crossbow-wielder, who hastily reloaded his weapon of choice. He was good—very good—and had no trouble in unleashing another duo of deadly carbon shafts into the boy’s body—one in the leg, and the other in his shoulder. The idea was to get so many of them stuck in the youth that he would weaken long enough for the team to overpower him.  In this case, ‘overpower’ would mean one of two things—either to free him of his curse, or to free him of his life.

Detaching from the ceiling, Daniel landed in the center of the pastors, now on their feet in a rough circle. He spun, elongated nails gashing each face in rapid succession. Blood sprayed in all directions. The deliverers reeled back in pain. But Nathan avoided injury, stepping back just long enough to retrieve from his jacket the object that he had secreted there as a last resort.

There had been accounts of wooden stakes actually working against demonics and undead entities, but Nathan had never verified any of these accounts. Sure, maybe it was just movie nonsense. But this, right here, right now, was real. He was going to put right this terrible wrong—this boy’s abominable existence—in God’s name. He would succeed no matter what, even if –

Daniel had locked his gaze on to his father. The stake dropped from his hand. Pastor Nathan Dark grabbed his head as though trying to keep it from falling off. The look of sheer terror in his face was proof enough that the hypnotic assault was working.  The other members of the deliverance team watched, transfixed.

“No!” Nathan was screaming. “Don’t leave me in this place! Get me out! Take me out of here!” He was no longer in this world, not consciously. Daniel had succeeded in making this devout Christian man believe that he was in Hell.

It had not been difficult for Daniel to target his father’s greatest fear. But he didn’t know how long he could keep up the illusion. This ability was new to him, powered by raw instinct.

Sensing the approach of the other ministers, Daniel whirled to confront them.

“Keep back!” he warned. “Unless you want me to invade your little minds as well!” His own words frightened him. Never before had he spoken words like that, nor with such rage. What had he become?

Pastor Nathan Dark screamed even louder. Even Daniel had no idea as to what his Dad was seeing within his mind’s eye.

“Daniel! Stop it, now!”

Mom!

Daniel was shocked to see that she’d entered. He released his father.

Jerking his head toward the window across the room, he barked at it as though giving an order. The windowpane shot up with a bang.

Daniel’s exit was a blur—a dark streak that could have been the boy taking flight. No one in the room would ever know.

He was gone.

 

 

 

Interview with an author – Jodie Pierce
February 4, 2013

Well all – having done some interviews for others I thought it was time to introduce my blog readers to some of the great authors I’ve been meeting along the way and to kick off , please meet Jodie Pierce who so kindly featured me on her blog spot on the 19th January.

This is what Jodie has to say:

TheVampireChronicles_200x300_dpi72 (3)

   Tell me a bit about yourself: Well, I am from Cleveland, Ohio and am married to the most dedicated,

supportive and loving man that’s ever come into my life. I have been writing since I was in high school but

the stories were too simple and you could tell I wasn’t inspired while writing it. Once I read the Anne Rice

vampire series, I was inspired and realized that I wanted to write about vampires. I was introduced to

vampires as a child and I fell in love with them and grew up with them. I am also a researcher and was an

exchange student in high school to Brasil so you will find many of my experiences in my stories.  I am a

seven time published author. Five of my books have been published through a publishing house. The other

two have been self published and all are available on Amazon.com.

Tell me about your latest book: My latest book is the final instalment of my Vampire Queen trilogy. It ties up the first two books, has action, twists and turns and vampires.

Where is your book available? My book will be available from November 1st on Amazon.com both in paperback and Kindle formats.

Where you live and one thing you love about it: I live in Cleveland, Ohio but I also lived in Brasil for six months when I was 16 and very impressionable. Brasil is so beautiful and the people are kind, generous, friendly and unjudgemental. The country is beautiful as I live two blocks from the beach. It is a third world country and I saw a lot of poverty but even they are kind. That was my favourite place to live and would go back there and live there for forever if given the opportunity.

Website: www.thevampirequeen1.weebly.com & www.thevampirequeen1.blogspot.com

What sparked your passion for books and the art of a good story? My parents were always good readers and I picked up the hobby from them. I just started writing short stories about my life, moved to romantic fiction and then was inspired to write about vampires. After years of trying to get published, I was finally introduced to publishing houses and later on, self-publishing. I was estatic to see my stories come to life and to be able to share with others.

Is there a particular book that changed or affected your life in a big way? Interview with a Vampire and Queen of the Damned were the first books to inspire me. I then read Anne Rices’ erotic novels and found that I could also write stories that were similar though I preferred the vampire romance genre.

vampirequeenNEW (3) 

What was the seed of inspiration for your latest book? My book, The Vampire Queen was my first and favourite

manuscript. I wanted to reunite her and her lover and take them on an adventure. I deliberately left the second book, The

Vampire Chronicles open for a third book. I then decided I wanted to tie up the events so I wrote the final book, Demise of

the Vampire to do that.

Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp? I would want them to fall in love with the vampires I’ve created like I have. I also want readers to understand that bi-sexuality is okay to have as a part of their lives.

 What challenges have you faced in your writing career? Marketing and promoting have been the thorn in my side. Even with the publishing company, the marketing was left up to me.

What has been your best moment as a writer? The best moment was when I got the email stating they wanted to publish my book. Nine months before, I had sent my manuscript to them and they refused it. The, Twilight broke out and I resubmitted it to them upon the request of my hubby. They took it and when I read the email, I thought someone was messing with me. It turned out to be real and I was really excited

Who is your author idol? Anne Rice is my first idol. J.K. Rowling is a close second but she doesn’t write about vampires which is unfortunate. Christopher Paolini gave me inspiration for fantasy and the Anne Rampling series encouraged me to write the one erotic book I wrote as well.

Do you see yourself in any of your characters? Absolutely. Most of my characters are based on the people that have come into my life in many different ways. Sometimes, just their personality or physical traits are included in my characters.

Do you feel like your dream has come true or is there much more to do? Well, my dream of being published has come true but there is always more for me to write and publish. I am constantly learning more about myself, my writing and marketing. I’ve met some great people along my journey and am grateful for everything and everyone I’ve come in contact with. The website people are always awesome, friendly and helpful.

What is your personal cure for procrastination? I don’t have a cure as I don’t procrastinate. I wake up in the morning, sometimes at 5am just to write or check my emails for others’ comments, etc.

What does your workspace look like? I used to write on a desk that was full of papers and sticky notes but it was uncomfortable. Now I work in my recliner and my computer on my lap. It’s much more comfortable and instead of sticky notes I use a notebook to keep track of things.

Are there any occupational hazards to being a writer? Absolutely! Fear of rejection can cause many authors to give up and quit their dreams. Also, as in my case, I’ve typed for so long that I now have Carpal Tunnel and have to limit my typing each day which just kills me. I have to write and I enjoy it so it’s very hard to stifle my creativeness. I’ve started writing ideas down in that notebook I mentioned so I can write a little more later.

Have you ever had a day when you just wanted to quit? I have never wanted to quit. Rejection at first made me feel horrible but as time went on, I learned it’s all part of the process and can brush it off as it comes along.

What do you do when you’re not writing? I like to spend time watching TV with my hubby, reading is good too. I usually have two books I’m reading at the same time which can get a little confusing if the books don’t grip you and force you into the stories.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer? Write what you want, not what you think publishers want. Write from your heart and the creative juices flow more easily. Jump in with both feet and bring your ideas to life through your writing.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school? In high school, I had a great English teacher, Mrs. Israel who encouraged my writing and often critiqued my stories. She taught me to keep going and never give up.

Did you have a moment when you realised you were meant to be a writer? I wrote in high school but when I started writing about vampires, I knew that was my calling. While writing my first book, I found every aspect of it to be fun and that reinforced the idea that writing was exactly what I needed.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors? Never give up and support your fellow authors. You can learn a lot from them and it will make you a better writer. If I gave up every time I was rejected, I wouldn’t be published. Take the bull by the hands and make your career what you want it to be.

I’m delighted to share other authors views with you – if anyone has a short story or poem they would like to share, please let me know and I would be happy too see if we could feature it on here – it may be your first step to publication yourself …

Until next time,

Debbie Martin

debbie@debbiemartin.co.uk

http://www.debbiemartin.co.uk/

also on:

Twitter @Storytellerdeb

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DebbieMartin.Author

Linked In: http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/debbie-martin/21/27b/3b4?trk=shareTw 

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6588010.Debbie_Martin

Interview with the Author
November 21, 2012

I’m being a bit of a narcissist here but I was very flattered to be interviewed the other day and here is the interview report:

Interview with Debbie Martin, author of The Strategy

Tell us about The Strategy.
A bit of fun, with a serious purpose. If you’re single and don’t want to be, how to make the most of ALL your opportunities to meet a mate and make it last – without going online or embarrassingly trying to sell yourself via an introduction agency. What am I talking about ? The Strategy: Single and Don’t Want to Be? All the directions and none of the detours … Now out on Kindle for a teeny tiny £2 and yet containing so many ruses, surprises and clever tips – right down to how to respond to a text for maximum attraction – and from some of the most up and coming dating guru’s too.

What genre is it?
Dating and relationship/self-help.

What would you say if someone asked what makes you an expert on this subject?
I found myself single again over 7 years ago and in that time have tried more or less everything there is – introduction agencies, blind dates, speed-dating, internet dating and ‘singles’ groups – in the misapprehension that you HAVE to be in a relationship. Of course you don’t – we would all just prefer to be, and for many, it is the difference between contentment and dissatisfaction. My experiences have led me to believe that the old fashioned way of things actually work best – meet, befriend and then get intimate. As a result I now also run a singles social events group on the south coast of England with over 2000 members and we socialise. Of course some date too, but they are dating people they’ve already got to know and liked first …

What kind of readers will it appeal to?
Young, old and in between, as long as they’re single.

Aren’t the techniques a single 20 year old needs to employ different from those a 40 year old might use?
In many ways, no; you have to be able to make contact, flirt, interact and sustain a relationship in exactly the same way but possibly the venue and environment that a 20 year old does that in as opposed to a 40 year old differs sufficiently to make their behaviour different.

For a 20 year old a relationship can start and end in a night and they are still testing the waters with love and dating so their relationships are often more experimental and more casual. For a 40 something, the element of security and reliability is more important, so their approach will be more qualitative than quantitative. However, all the techniques in ‘The Strategy’ would work for either age or sex.

People sometimes say that if you go out looking for love that is when you are least likely to find it. Is that a nonsense?
No, I think it is true. When you aren’t seeking to impress or put on a show, you are your most natural self and you are far more likely to attract someone who is interested in the real you than when you are putting yourself on display. Think of all your friends – how did they become your friends? Because you went all out to convince them? Or because they simply got to know and liked you for who you are? The same applies with romantic relationships.

There are more singles out there than possibly ever before in human history. Are we just forgetting skills that came naturally to our forebears?
There are several reasons for the numbers of singles out there now.
• Firstly there is choice and independence. Women are not now expected to marry and settle down. They can – and sometimes do – choose to put more into their career than their relationship potential.
• There is no longer the same expectation that marriage is for life and you have to stick it out whatever. If it goes wrong, couples now choose to separate and try their luck with someone else.
• The internet. Yes, there is no doubt it has affected our people skills. Whilst we think we are getting better at them, we are in fact getting worse. How many Customer Service operatives do you find rude and abrupt, rather than welcoming and helpful? How many people spend more time texting than talking? How many people opt to send an email to a phone call because it can be winged off immediately and the answer left in abeyance until it suits to reply? How many internet daters do you hear complaining about being ignored, cut off dead, two-timed or made to feel of less interest than the other ones on their prospective dates list simply because they ARE on a list? Unfortunately the internet – for all its usefulness and expediency in current society – does create an artificial barrier between people which makes it easier to treat each other with less humanity, courtesy and care than if we had to deal with those same people face to face. Consequently our communication and people skills have become less sensitive and empathetic since the internet has connected us globally. If you had to talk to someone face to face and tell them why you had ignored their invitation to chat, would you ignore that invitation quite so readily…?

But we find our books, our music, our groceries, our friends online – so why should our life partners be so different?
Because life is lived in the real world and whilst the internet is part of our real world, people and relationships are what add the star quality to it. Books, groceries, music are all commodities. Friends and lovers are not. And although there are now dating sites online where you can have a virtual relationship with an avatar of your choice – do you really want to?

I will just round off by saying that I had a lot of fun internet dating and I tell some of the funny stories, but also one or two more disturbing ones in my book Are You The One?

Is it true that you have to kiss a lot of frogs to meet your prince?
Apparently we have to meet at least 17 people before the odds are stacked in our favour of one of them being attractive to you. OK, 17 people – that’s not so bad, but of course, whilst they might be the one out of your 17 that you find attractive, you might not be the one in their 17 that they find attractive – and so it goes on. I’ll leave you to calculate the odds of success…

You write fiction as well. Does writing non-fiction require a different skillset?
Writing fiction is totally different in terms of content, but the discipline is the same. You have to have a plan, try to stick to it and write a little every day or every time you’d planned to write. Sometimes you get stuck – the archetypal writers block, but the more you write the easier it is. If I get stuck I tend to leave it to distil a little and a few days later a new idea or a new twist on an old idea will pop out like a sausage out of the sausage machine – quite amusing really. Fiction is my real love and I have too many ideas usually. I often have at least 4 or 5 novel ideas simmering away at any one time but I only work on one idea at a time. I am just completing my third novel which includes a throwback to the Salem witch trials, but already have the ideas and even some of the sentences forming for the second book in my box of darkness trilogy, the first of which, ‘Courting the Dark’, should be out next year. It will have to wait until after Christmas though when I have planned to have the first draft of the Salem book completed otherwise they will cross-fertilise and become confused.

My first novel will be published in January 2013 – ‘Chained Melody’, an unusual love and life story, and it will be available on Amazon and through my website so watch this space for it and many more.
Fiction tends to be more methodical in that there are a set of facts, principles and ideas that you want to get across in a coherent whole, but whilst also making it entertaining and engaging and that can be more difficult than writing fiction, which is naturally more interesting because it involves applying imagination, but that also makes writing a good non-fiction book a challenge, and I love a challenge!

How long did this book take to write?
About 3 months.

And what was the most challenging part of the process?
Actually, marshalling all the information – there is a lot of it!

Tell us a bit about yourself.
A child almost of the sixties, I’ve experienced a variety of careers and life. Now widowed, with two teenage daughters, living in a thatched cottage in Hampshire, I run a small social events business, work as a business event co-ordinator for the University of Winchester and have discovered I love writing. My first two works are non-fiction, the third a novel, which is coming out in January, 2013.

Have you got a blog where readers can keep up with your work?
Yes https://debbiemartin.wordpress.com/

And where can we buy The Strategy?
Amazon or via my website.

What’s next?
My novel, Chained Melody is due out in January 2013 and novel number 2, which is going to be the first in a trilogy – Courting the Dark will be following later on in 2013.

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