Can you tell us a little bit about "Twin Burials?"
Twin Burials is a Post-Industrial Sword & Sorcery novel that centers around the different emotions surrounding revenge. Kaze Yamazaki, the protagonist, must venture to the capital city of Vivoura to hunt down the man responsible for the death of his mentor and his lover. As he leaves his small village, Kaze is bombarded with strange characters, odd encounters, and the bizarrely barbarous culture of the capital city.
Though this is a fantasy novel per se, it feels much grittier, doing away with some of the conventions of high fantasy, namely the overblown and unbelievable dialogue. Also, instead of subjecting the reader to pages upon pages of history, they learns the landscape through the eyes of the protagonist, balancing description and storytelling so that the reader enjoys learning about the world instead of reading a fictitious history lesson.
Twin Burials is the first of a projected 5 novels, two of which are in various stages of completion. But, for those of you that like an open-ended story that feels complete, this is the book for you. The possibility of a sequel is there, but don’t expect a cliffhanger on the last page or anything like that.
What's your background with writing?
Though I’ve only been writing for a little over 5 years, I’ve been a story-teller all my life. To some though, they’d just call that lying, but I’ll take the highroad on that one. Other than that, I received a minor in Creative Writing, served as a writing tutor for a number of years, and had numerous short stories and poems published in Reflections and The Writer’s Forum, magazines distributed by my alma mater.
But, aside from the involvement in technical writing skills, I’ve been writing stories and novels in a number of different genres over the years.
Who are your inspirations/influences?
How much space do I have? I’ve got a number of different influences for a number of different reasons. As far as fantasy goes, Robert E. Howard is a must. I spent most of my childhood reading his Conan the Barbarian stories, and it shows in my writing. Hideyuki Kikuchi, the author of the Vampire Hunter D series, is another big influence as far as this type of writing goes.
But, two other names that seem to be with me whenever I write are Larry McMurtry and Cormac McCarthy. They teach me something new every time I read them, though usually that lesson is humility.
Other than that, I’ve always enjoyed the works of the Literary Brat Pack, Clive Barker, Charles Bukowski, and Stan Sakai.
What was it like working with Author House?
I’ve got to say, when first dealing with a self-publisher, I was a little skeptical. But, the people working at Author House really know their stuff. They helped me every step of the way, no matter how many questions I had about contracts, PR, or anything else. They made the publication Twin Burials a very smooth process.
Who was responsible for the cover/book design?
That would be Team Tigris from Author House. They really tried to envision what would look best for this novel and came out with a great cover. Dark and simple, much like the novel itself.
What are you doing in terms of marketing/publicity?
I’m doing everything from dropping promotional business cards at local bookstores to hounding every man, woman, and child that I know to buy the book. Aside from that, I’ve sent out promotional material to any independent bookstore with a webpage or easy access to their address.
I’ve also appeared on the My So Called 8bit Life pod-cast twice, hoping to drum up sales, but mainly to get my name out there.
Do you have any stories from book signings/radio interviews/etc.?
Only about my own inexperience with them. The first time I did the My So Called 8bit Life, I collected as much concrete information on myself as possible. Everything from the number of stories I’d published to the number of poems I’d written in college. I literally had two pages worth of information in front of me before the whole thing began, and, truth be told, I think I talked about Twin Burials for about 15 minutes that initial pod-cast, never once having to look at my notes.
What is the name of your blog and what can readers expect to find there?
My website, www.marioemartinez.com, was originally designed to promote Twin Burials only. Friends had told to put a blog on the site, but I was against it. I’ve never had much to say in the way of blogging. There is a Blog section on the site, but it is mainly an outlet for short stories and poems. It’s updated 5 times a week.
What projects do you have planned for the future?
Currently, I am working on my first e-Book. It is going to be a compilation of stories based in Texas. In them, Texans will have some interesting run-ins with monsters out of Japanese mythology. All proceeds are going to be donated to the Japanese Relief Fund.
Also, I’m finalizing my second novel, Flamingo In a Cage. It’s not Sword & Sorcery, but it is one strange little story. All I have to do is decide whether to find a publisher or use Author House again. Well, that and revise it a few more times. But, more on that as it develops.
Is there anything else about you we should know?
Twin Burials is available in three different formats: paperback, hardcover, and e-Book. All of these versions are available through the major online retailers such as Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.