Happy Wednesday Scribblers, I hope you’ve been having a good week and for those of you affected by the Polar Vortex I hope you have stayed safe and warm. As promised I want to bring you more authors this year, so please welcome fellow NineStar Press Author Jeremy Martin. We will be chatting about his debut novel Foreign To You.
Before we dive into the interview why don’t you tell us something that isn’t in your bio and what you do for a day job.
Something that isn’t in my bio…is that I’m taking Japanese lessons? Been taking it for a year now. I don’t know a lot, but it’s pretty fun. Japanese culture, language, history, all of it, is so enthralling to me. A dream of mine would be to live in Japan for a little while and potentially write a novel there.
Japan is amazing. Years ago I had the opportunity to go there for work. The people and the country are amazing. I hope you get the opportunity to check it out. What about a day job?
I have a full-time job as an estimator at a masonry company. I measure blueprints for residential and commercial projects. Sounds fancy, but I just highlight lines with colored pens.
(Chuckles) Hey. I know that is a lot of work, my dad was a contactor so I’m sure that it is more than highlighting and coloring.
Care to share what you enjoy reading with us?
In the realm of books, I can read anything! If the book has great characters, it could have any plot, honestly. I joke about it with my friends that if Maggie Stiefvater (the goddess of all writing) wrote a book that takes place all in one room, I’d still read it because her characters are always thriving beasts.
Sounds like she has a fan for life.
Thank you for those tidbits. I love getting to learn more about people than what’s in their bio. Now, congratulations on your debut novel, I can’t wait to read it. Let me ask, what inspired you to write this young adults fantasy novel? Why did you pick this genre?
Thank you! I started writing Foreign To You because I love shifters. But! I wanted a more gruesome and realistic (hah) view of them. It had always been a desire of mine to have a story with shapeshifters, but I didn’t want to do wolves or hawks or more of the common types of animals.
When I started writing Foreign To You, the plot kind of developed on its own, honestly. The first draft was rough, but as I started polishing it, I found that there was this plot that really spoke to me and my issues with certain social topics.
Excellent. Can you tell us, without spoilers, what social issues and topics you address in the novel?
The title, Foreign To You, explains a lot of what the book is about. It deals with the fear and anxiety that comes from failing to understand another person or culture, or whatever! I also try to tackle some religious aspects, but I’m not sure I executed them too well.
Well, you have me intrigued for sure. Since this is your debut novel how does it feel? I remember my debut novel and for me it didn’t feel real; it was like a crazy dream. What about you? What was it like to get that email from NineStar that said, ‘yes we want to publish your book’?
I think I cried? I cried and kept saying “Do I want this? DO I WANT THIS?” and ran around my apartment for a few hours. After querying so much, it was nice for a “YES”. Since then, it has been an amazing trip.
I got to contact an artist, Rozenn Grosjean (lean more here), to make a cover for my novel…and I mean…just look at it. You aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover…but please, do so with mine. Rozenn is so kind and talented and she painted everything my words are on paper.
Your cover certainly is beautiful. If you don’t mind me asking how did that work using a cover artist that wasn’t provided by Ninestar?
I actually confirmed with Ninestar before signing my contract that I wanted to find an artist on my own to bring my story to life. It was actually a big reason why I considered small publishing so heavily. The ability to control most of the aspects of my novel was very appealing. I was in contact with a couple artists and talking numbers and ideas, and Rozenn was the first to ask if she could read my novel to get a better idea of what to draw. After that I knew she was the artist I had to go with. Thankfully, we are probably going to work together for the cover art on the sequel. So more beauty to come!
It’s a breathtaking cover and I’m glad you are enjoying being published.
It has been wild reading some of the reviews coming back from the ARCs and just getting hit with emotions and the realization that some people are reading my book RIGHT NOW and either loving it or hating it. It’s too much some days.
How have the reviews been so far?
I have already had a night where I received a less than enthusiastic review on Goodreads and had to call a friend to keep my head up. I was sprawled on my couch, staring at the ceiling, going ‘I’ve failed. I’ve failed’. But it’s funny because the reviews are all over the place! I will have one that says, ‘The characters are bland’ and the very next review says ‘I loved the characters. So well done’. And there are some authors that say you shouldn’t read your reviews, and part of me really understands that. If I’m not in the right headspace, a bad review can bring me down hard. But I love them just as much as I love the good ones.
I totally understand that. I try to avoid reading the bad reviews, but I can’t help myself. Now please, tell us about the novel, without giving too much away. What can people expect to read in this book?
Well…Foreign To You is very dark. There isn’t a lot of happiness for my characters and a lot of realistic repercussions to their actions. A lot of my journey with writing this book was to gather up all the YA tropes and kick them in the butt. I wanted a story that felt fresh and new. And I think that’s what I’m most proud of. A few reviewers have defined it as “trope-defying” and that makes my cold heart so warm.
But yeah, expect death, crying, blood, angsty boys, and you know…sadness?
That sounds like a lot to put into one book. And it sounds like an emotional roller coaster. So, given what you’ve said about the book who is your favorite character? Is there a character in your work you feel especially connected to? Why?
You aren’t supposed to have a favorite character (Okay, totally Finn)! It’s like having a favorite child (my favorite child is Finn)!
Finn was and is (wink) still a fun character to write. He is very damaged and seeking acceptance and love and a lot of other things that he feels are outside of his reach. And in a lot of ways, that was me a few years ago. In some ways, Finn’s journey is my own in an alternate timeline.
So, when we read about Finn we are reading about you. Cool. So that all said are there any types of scenes you find hard to write (action, love, death, etc.)?
Love is really weird for me. I am not that affectionate of a person and I think it shows in my writing. I try to put in a kiss or a ‘I love you’ but it always comes across as forced or stalkerish. I feel like I write characters that have similar views of what I believe love to truly look like. To me, love is expressed more than said with words. It’s less “I love you!” and more “Hey, how are you doing lately? You okay?”. It makes affection and desire hard to write because I have to really focus on showing that my characters care for the wellbeing of each other and give proof to the reader that there is a connection despite no written confirmation.
I can see how that can be an issue, I’m sure you found your balance just fine.
Well, we are coming to the end and I have just a few more questions for you. So, what do you have coming out next? What’s up next for you?
I am currently working on drafting up the sequel to Foreign To You! To me, I always imagined this story as a Duology, and I feel like I will be able to complete it all in the next installment. There are a lot of things I want to do with the sequel and it is daunting as heck. I don’t want to give too much away…but I’m adding some new POV’s and there is this scene where I have all of these bodies—
Oops…almost gave too much away.
(Laughs) Nice. Last one, is there anything else you’d like to share?
Don’t be afraid to contact me on social media! Message me and tell me how much you loved the book, how much you despised it, whatever! Stalk me on Instagram? I have a lot of pictures of my puppers.
Puppies. Ah, we love puppies. Well Jeremy, thank you so much for taking the time to swing by my Scribbles page and chat with me. I’m looking forward to getting your book and reading it.
Awh, thank YOU! I really enjoyed myself! You are an excellent host, my good sir.
Thanks, I try. Well Scribblers, that’s it for this week. If you have questions for Jeremy leave them in the comments below and I’ll make sure he stops by and answers. Don’t forget to share this with friends and family who may enjoy reading a shifter story with an edge. For now have a great week and we’ll see you next time.
About Foreign To You:
The harmony between humans and fianna, a species of shapeshifting deer, begins to wither as racial tensions and deeply rooted resentment turns violent.
Ruthless hunter Finn Hail and prophesied liberator Adelaide may be heroes to their own species, but they are enemies to each other. With war on the horizon, the reluctant pair must team up to find the most elusive of prey: the god of the Forest.
As enemies press in from all sides, true intentions begin to show. For Finn to save the boy he cares for most, he might need to aim his gun at the very god he seeks. And Adelaide, with her festering hatred for mankind, will have to determine if peace holds true salvation for her people.
Buy Foreign To You here.
About Jeremy Martin:
Jeremy Martin, born and raised in Lancaster County Pennsylvania, considers himself to be a part-time writer and a full-time mess. If he isn’t nose-deep in a book, he’s obsessively playing video games, re-watching The Office for the umpteenth time, or lost in nature. Foreign to You is his debut novel.
Contact Jeremy here:
Find him on Twitter here.
Find him on Facebook here.
Find him on Instagram here.
Find him on Goodreads here.