Welcome to the first in a new series of ongoing posts for this blog, in which I keep you all abreast of what’s going in the world of N.P. Martin, urban fantasy author.
The blog post in which I talk about some of my favorite pastimes: writing, reading, watching quality TV shows (and the odd movie), and enjoying the natural beauty of my home country, the awesome emerald isle that is Ireland.
I guess now would be a good time, as you’re all here, to provide a little background on myself in this first post. In case you didn’t know, N.P. Martin stands for Neal Patrick Martin, or just Neal to my friends, which you all are, of course. 🙂
I was born in Ireland and have lived here all my life. I have no wish at this time to live anywhere else. Ireland is an amazing country in many respects, culturally especially, since we’ve pumped out so many world famous authors and cultural icons (looking at you, Darby O’Gill).
Personally, I love this country for its landscapes, its nature, and the land’s natural mysticism. Believe me, if you spend a bit of time here, walking the hills and forests, surveying the mountains and coastline, you will see what I mean. For such a small country, Ireland is steeped in a very rich history of myth, legend and mysticism.
And blood, of course. Lots of blood.
Yes, people did enjoy sailing across to this small island to plunder it and wreak havoc, leaving countless dead bodies in their wake. But hey, history is history, and maybe now is not the best time to talk about that sort of thing. I’ll wait at least until the next post 🙂
Here’s a picture of my house instead. It’s the white one on the hill.
So, what else is there about me? Well, a lot, but I’ll start with family. I have two brothers and a sister, all of whom are awesome in their own way. As are my two stepdaughters and three grandkids. The oldest granddaughter lives with me and my wife as we bring her up. The background is complicated, but the situation works for all concerned, so that’s all that matters. Everyone is happy 🙂
I also have a dog named Keely, who I love to bits and is the best dog in the whole damn world. Here’s a picture of her at the beach:
When I was a kid, I expressed and interest in becoming an author. Naturally, I asked my dad how much an author makes. I can’t remember his answer exactly, but it was along the lines of, “A lot…if you make it big.”
That was good enough for me at the time, or so I must’ve thought, because I decided from there on that I would become an author. At around fourteen, I started writing short stories. Terrible stories that tried to emulate Stephen King and some of the other horror writers I was obsessed with at the time.
And god was it hard to write those stories. That’s when I realized writing was hard work, and that perhaps my dreams of being a successful author were just that – dreams.
So later, I shifted my focus to journalism and did a few years at that, shadowing a Sunday rag reporter when I should’ve been at university.
Then I left university with the intention of becoming a writer again.
It didn’t work out because: writing is hard.
So then I had to work for a living.
I worked in an office. That was soul-sucking. I quickly left.
Before long I ended up where most unqualified people end up who want to work: on a building site. I worked manual labor for years before becoming a plasterer.
After twenty years or so of that, I turned to writing again. Non-fiction articles about martial arts, which I was heavily into since I started training at age seven. I got published in a few of the MA magazines around at the time.
Then I moved into blogging about martial arts. I wrote a book about self defense, which became my gateway into indie publishing in 2010. I published a few more books and realized I could make money from writing at long last.
So that’s when I moved into fiction. I folded the martial arts gym I was running at the time and became a full-time author soon after.
Since then, I have been working tirelessly, having published around thirty books at this stage, most of which are fiction novels.
And I continue to work tirelessly to provide you, dear reader, with the best, most entertaining stories I can write.
Stay tuned. The best books are yet to come 🙂
What I’m Reading
I don’t get to read as much as I’d like to. Being an author takes up most of my time, and there usually isn’t much space in my head for any other author’s voices. I still, however, make an effort to read as much as possible.
Right now, I’m reading a novel by one of my all-time favorite authors, Shaun Hutson. I used to read Shaun’s books as a teenager…devour them more like. He’s one of the reasons I’m a writer today, as his books inspired me, and continue to do so. The novel of his I’m reading is called Testament, and it features a recurring character of Hutson’s in the lead role, Sean Doyle. It’s an action-packed supernatural thriller, and I highly recommend it.
Elsewhere, I’m reading a non-fiction book called Romancing Your Brand. It’s a book about author marketing, written by a mostly romance author. Regardless, I’m still finding the book very useful, especially since I’m about to start a new series. More on that shortly.
I’m not big on writing craft books. I have read enough of those over the years, and now that I’ve written so many books myself, I have developed my own style. I’m not saying I have nothing left to learn, because I do. But I learn more from actually writing, rather than reading books on writing. I’m not big on rules either, and those books are always full of rules.
What I’m Watching
I love TV. Not live TV, which is the Devil’s work. No, I’m talking about quality drama series. In the evening, I relax by watching some of my favorite shows. And being a writer, I also learn and get inspired by the work of the artists and writers who make these shows.
So right now, I’m watching a show called Succession, and oh my god, I love it. Yes, nearly all the characters are horrible bastards, but I love watching horrible bastards as much as I do reading about them. There’s just something compelling about watching characters railroad over everyone else in the name of blatant self-interest. The show is also written by a British guy, so the level of sarcasm and edgy humor is off the charts. I was very happy to learn that season three is coming next month.
Lately, I have also been watching a lot of Korean shows, such as Sweet Home (awesomely grotesque) and Kingdom (superb historical, zombie action-fest). Right now, I’m also watching Squid Game, which is proving to be as messed as I’d hoped.
What I’m Listening To
Lots of metal.
You may have guessed from my books that I am big metal fan. I listen mainly to stuff that was released in the 80s and 90s, since those were the best decades for music in my opinion, and bands still recorded in analogue back then. The modern digital productions make everything sound sterile and clinical nowadays.
My main interest is death metal. It was no coincidence that I made Artemis and Pan Demic huge 90s death metal fans. It was an excuse for me to namedrop some of my favorite bands from back then.
One of those bands is Carcass, who have been around since the late 80s. Just last week, they released a new album, and they sound as awesome as ever. The album is called Torn Arteries, and that’s mostly what I’m listening to right now.
What I’m Writing
Currently, I’m writing nothing at all, having just published the final book in the Deadson Confidential series. Don’t forget to get a copy if you haven’t already 🙂
Right now, I’m considering what to write next.
Normally, I don’t spend a lot of time developing a new series. A couple of weeks at most. I usually like to just work things out as I go, while I’m writing.
This time, however, I’ll devote as much time as it takes until I have something awesome outlined. I love all the series I have written over the years, but none of them have been runaway bestsellers. The closest I came was with the Ethan Drake Series, but even that series fizzled out quicker than I hoped it would.
I think this is partly because I have yet to satisfy the market and give the ever-hungry bastard what it wants the most, which is an urban fantasy series with broad appeal that hits enough tropes to satisfy readers.
So, while I don’t have any concrete ideas yet, I do have a good idea of what direction I want to go in. First and foremost, I want to bring more comedy and humor into my next series. I want it to be fun with lots of crazy scenes and characters. But don’t worry, I’m sure there will be room there for a brooding hero and lots of dark shit. I mean, it’ll be me writing it, right? How could it not be dark?
Still, I’d like to temper the darkness with more comedy this time around. The surprising stars of the Drake series were Haedemus and the Hellbastards. Those guys did nothing but talk nonsense and get up to mad, crazy shit…and readers loved them for it!
So yeah, I’ve taken note.
In next month’s post, I’ll hopefully have something more concrete for you all.
Thanks for reading!