Beyond Books Exclusive Author Spotlight: Hemmie Martin
Hemmie has been a good friend to Beyond Books since its inception so we are delighted that she agreed to take part in our little Q&A. Her stand alone novel ‘In the Light of Madness’ spawned a series featuring ‘DI Wednesday’ and the latest installment, ‘What Happens After’ was released on 8th March. (Links at the bottom of the page)
Hemmie Martin spent most of her professional life as a Community Nurse for people with learning disabilities, a Family Planning Nurse, and a Forensic Mental Health Nurse working with young offenders. She spent six years living in the south of France. She now writes full time.
Hemmie created the DI Wednesday series, featuring DI Eva Wednesday and DS Jacob Lennox, set in an around Cambridge, with fictional villages. Five novels have been published so far, with the next two scheduled for 2016 and 2017. Hemmie has also written a psychological thriller, Attic of the Mind. Mental health often features in her novels due to her background of forensic mental health nursing. Hemmie is now a member of The Crime Writer’s Association.
Beyond Books: Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hemmie Martin: I used to be a nurse in a previous incarnation, but now I’m a full-time writer. Unfortunately, I don’t have a dedicated writing room at home, and now my husband has retired early, I find myself longing for some peace from his chatter! We love city breaks to explore the historical sites and museums, but I don’t need to hear about new places he fancies visiting as regularly as I do!
BB: What inspires you?
HM: Mental health issues usually feature in all my novels due to my nursing background. Sometimes an article in a newspaper will spark an idea. When I read about divorce hotels in The Netherlands, I used that as a basis for my latest DI Eva Wednesday novel, ‘What Happens After’.
BB: What are you working on at the moment and what can you tell us about it?
HM: I’ve just finished writing a novel about a women diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and how that impacts on her relationships and self-esteem. It is a contemporary romance, which is a change from my usual novels with dark edges.
BB: What genres do you write and are there any genres you would like to write?
HM: I write crime and contemporary fiction. I have five novels in the DI Eva Wednesday series, a psychological thriller, and a couple of contemporary women’s fiction novels, all published by Winter Goose Publishing. I think I may have touched the genres I feel comfortable writing, but who knows what the future holds?
BB: When did you first realise you wanted to become a writer?
HM: When I was retired from nursing on health grounds in 2008, I found I’d been given the time to explore writing more seriously. The first novel I wrote will never see the light of day, but it did teach me how not to write a novel!
BB: What is your favourite book?
HM: Tricky question as I have so many I could mention. If you insist on one, then the first one to spring to mind is ‘The Bell Jar’, by Sylvia Plath.
BB: What is your favourite movie?
HM: Again, difficult to pick one, as I love a wide variety of films and it just depends on what mood I’m in. The first one that comes to mind is ‘Hannah and her Sisters’, a Woody Allan film. I love all of his movies for the way they explore characters and relationships.
BB: What do you do when you’re not writing?
HM: I love reading. Currently I’m more into reading paperbacks, so my Kindle has remained dormant for quite a while. I’m sure I’ll return to it one day, perhaps. As I’ve previously mentioned, I love travelling in the UK and abroad, to broaden the mind, and when not travelling, we board Guide Dogs in training for three months at a time before they go to their new visually impaired owner. I also love watching live covers rock bands in pubs.
BB: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
HM: Polish your manuscript before sending it out to agents and publishers. Once a manuscript is completed it’s very tempting to send it out, but in my experience, there needs to be a break from it, then at least five edits before it’s fit enough to be read.
BB: What book are you reading at the moment?
HM: On my recent trip to Dublin, Ireland, I picked up a novel by the Irish writer, Anne Enright called ‘The Green Road’.
BB: What do you think makes your books stand out from the crowd?
HM: Hopefully the mental health topics and dark edges. However, if I knew what would make them stand out further, I would be a very happy author!
BB: Describe your writing style in ten words or less.
HM: Character led, conversational, challenging, dark, sparse, humorous, and bitter-sweet.
BB: Do you have a favourite character in your books?
HM: The antagonists are great fun to write, and Finlay Walker in ‘Attic of the Mind’ is no exception. I was allowed to say and do nasty things that I would never do in reality. DI Eva Wednesday appealed to me so much that the stand-alone novel, ‘In the Light of Madness’, turned into a series.
BB: Tea or coffee? And how do you take it?
HM: Definitely coffee in the morning until midday, then tea from then on. I love milk Oolong, rooibos, and white chocolate tea, all without milk but with two sweeteners.
BB: Do you have any pets?
HM: We have a nine-year-old house rabbit called Pepper. But next year, my eldest will be taking her to uni as she’s moving into a house for her fourth year of veterinary studies.
BB: Who or what has made the biggest influence on your life?
HM: I would say no one person as done this. It’s more a conglomeration of people from the English teacher at High School, to the young offenders I worked with in my last nursing job. I have gathered views, emotions, and ideas from every aspect of my life over the years, and I anticipate garnering more depth to these areas as my time progresses.
BB: If you were invited to the Oscars, who would you take with you?
HM: If I’m allowed three people, I’d take my husband and two daughters. But seeing as ‘one’ has been a theme in this interview, I would say my husband, Peter.
BB: If you could be any animal what would it be?
HM: A Guide Dog.
(We love this answer – such a refreshing change from a unicorn)
BB: Which is the best Chris – Pine, Pratt, Evans or Hemsworth?
HM: I had to Google these names, as I’d only heard of Chris Evans. Having seen them, it would have to be Chris Pratt, but if I’m honest, none of them attract me. My type of man is Greg Davies. (I can hear you gasping and laughing!)
(yes – we are laughing but then he is a funny guy)
BB: What are you most looking forward to in 2016?
HM: Attending the first graduation of my eldest daughter for veterinary medicine. She then goes on to study veterinary surgery.
Thank you so much for indulging us Hemmie.
Her latest DI Wednesday novel, What Happens After, has just released.
What happens after the murder? A killing has occurred during a Parting Ways weekend, where couples make an attempt at divorcing amicably. The fallout points in many directions as Wednesday and Lennox are faced with a widow, sparring couples, the group facilitators, and the hotel staff, all as suspects. While the confounding case strengthens Wednesday’s negative views on relationships, it brings Lennox to a place of reflection as he analyzes his past and contemplates his future.
For more information about Hemmie, here are her stalker links.
****Photo Edit Credit: Emma Precious White****