INTERVIEW FOR SCALEX MARTIN – AKA – S. ALEX MARTIN
1.) Hello! Can you go ahead and introduce yourself?
Hey, I’m Alex Martin. I write under the name “S. Alex Martin.” I’m 20 years old and live in Pittsburgh most of the time.
2.) How long have you been writing?
I started writing on June 12, 2004, after I read Eragon, by Christopher Paolini. I started writing because he was so young, and that’s been the biggest influence in my entire life, because now I’ve been writing for nine years and I don’t ever want to stop.
3.) What time of the day do you usually write at?
Any.Morning, afternoon, night. If I settle into a groove, then I won’t be able to write during different periods of the day. This way, I can always shoot down anything I want, whenever I want. I have, however, found that my best writing happens between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.
4.) What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever Googled for a book?
Hmmm…That’s tricky. *sifts through thoughts* I’m coming up blank. I’m sure there is something weird, I just can’t think of it right now. You know, because in my head, it all seems like normal research.
5.) Do you have any writing quirks?
I used to not be able to write without coffee. I seriously wouldn’t be able to think without it. Now I force myself to because I’m too poor to afford coffee daily (I write for about 6-7 hours every single day).
6.) What writing communities are you apart of?
“Go Teen Writers” and “Writing.com.”
7.) What’s your favorite book?
To Kill a Mockingbird is wonderful. All Quiet on the Western Front is now a favorite. AndBrisingr, by Christopher Paolini, is by far the most beautifully-written book I’ve ever read.
8.) What made you decide you want to be a writer?
I got into writing after I read Eragon, by Christopher Paolini in 2004. I’ve written ever since then, and self-published three books in a series between 260-632 pages, but I wrote in bursts, and wasn’t too serious. I became serious in January 2013, when I took a manuscript I had abandoned, wrote 85,000 words in 10 days, and now that book, Embassy, is my pride and joy and I want it to change someone’s life. It certainly changed mine. Except for the time between finishing the first draft and starting the edits, I’ve edited/read/revised Embassy every single day for hours on end since January 5, 2013.
9.) Where can people find you (Blog, twitter, Facebook page, etc)?
About your book
1.) Briefly, what is your book about?
Embassy tells the story of Arman Lance, a 20 year old boy who has emotionally isolated himself due to his depression and the delusion that he can only find happiness in Ladia Purnell, a girl he hasn’t seen in four years who lives on a different planet. In the midst of tragedy, Arman joins the Embassy Program so he can abandon his old life and try to find Ladia, all while a fellow Recruit, Glacia Haverns, helps him cope with his pain.
2.) What genre is your book?
Soft science-fiction adventure. Coming-of-age for a teen audience, but adults can also enjoy it.
3.) How long have your been writing it?
Technically since March 13, 2012…but I stopped in May 2012 and didn’t pick it up again until January 5, 2013. I chugged through 4 drafts in five months. This started as a 151,000-word first draft, and now it’s 118,000 words.
4.) Is it finished or are you still writing? Have you started querying yet?
I need to rewrite the end because I changed it in my head because everything ties together better this new way. So technically still writing.But I’m HEAVY into edits/revisions. I used to do a chapter every one or two days (33 chapters, hand-edits by pen, then type it up) but as I write the fourth draft, my speed depends on how much rewriting I have to do. Some chapters take a few hours, some take four days.
5.) Where do you see this book in five years?
Being the optimist that I am, on the bestseller list. Trust me, once this gets published, I will market in any way possible. Building a readership is important. I won’t sit down and hope for the best, I will be out there telling people about it, hosting book events, and getting this book into people’s hands. No excuses.
I truly believe that this is a story a lot of people will relate to. I truly believe these are characters people will love. This isn’t necessarily a happy book. I want people to cry when they read this. I want this story to impact someone’s life, even if it’s just one person. I genuinely this is a story people will fall in love with, as some Beta Readers and other people who’ve read most of the story have told me.
6.) Are there any songs that kind of show what your book is about or how you feel about it?
Um…I sorta slipped in Radioactive, by Imagine Dragons. That’s how I would describe Glacia’s side of the story (she the female main character. The whole story is told through Arman’s eyes, though).
A song that would describe the whole tone of this book would be “Bloodbuzz Ohio,” by Julia Stone. Sad, mellow, and full of heart. Like I said, this book has it’s happy points…and then it has it’s sad points. Embassy is primarily about a guy overcoming a huge emotional barrier and forgiving/accepting himself.
7.) What is your favorite line or paragraph for this book?
I love a lot of things that Glacia says. But if I had to choose one line from the entire book, I think it would be this one:
“I didn’t run because I loved her. I ran because I loved her too late.”
8.) What are you trying to get across with this book? Is there some emotional lesson you are trying to teach people or is this book more of something you’d expect to see on a best sellers list?
I think the two parts of this question can go together. I’m writing in a genre that is notorious for being over-the-top and action-packed and not something that a lot of people want to read. So I took my own path and bent science-fiction so it worked for ME. Yes, I’m trying to tell an emotional story, but it’s also a story that has the potential to make it on the bestseller list. It’s set in a relatable world with relatable characters.
That being said, I want people to come away knowing that things happen for a reason. Life goes on. You can change your life, but it will be a struggle. Love the people who help you, and get rid of the people who don’t. If you beat yourself up, let someone in who wants to help. Surround yourself with friends you love who love you back. And always forgive yourself. Not everything is under your control
9.) What was/is going to be the hardest scene to write?
Phew…yeah. Okay. In the middle of the book, there are 50 pages of nothing but narrative. As in, dialogue is almost nonexistent. Yes, it serves a purpose, but it took FOREVER to write because I had to show the emotional fluctuation and internal dialogue more than anywhere else. Arman reaches a low point so it’s very negative, but it shows what isolation does to you and why he struggles to love himself.
10.) Could you ever see your book being turned into a movie?
It would HAVE to be done right. I wrote this book for entertainment, yes, but most importantly to spread a message. This isn’t going to be some action-packed Avengers movie. Think something more like Titanic, I guess. I don’t rely on explosions and gunfights, I rely on emotion. Yes, there are some cool action scenes, like Hologis (think laser tag mixed with holographic dodgeball), the gun range, the Molter test flight, and some scenes in space and an asteroid field. All the elements are there, but weighed differently.
11.) Is this just a lone novel or will it be made into a series?
Read the book and find out, because this debate will definitely come up. There is an answer, but it’s hidden inside the words I chose to use.
About your characters (choose one character to talk about here)
1.) Introduce us to your character?
Arman Lance. 20 years old.Lives on the planet Undil.(OON-dill).Son of an ambassador in the Embassy Program. He has grown depressed and out-of-touch with the world, and thinks he can’t find happiness in anyone but Ladia Purnell, a girl he hasn’t seen in four years.
2.) What is the physical thing your character is trying to reach? Emotional?
Ladia Purnell is his ultimate goal because he thinks she is the only one for him. Emotionally, his greatest fear is that he will die alone.
3.) If your character could only see one person for the rest of his/hers life, who would they choose?
Ladia, he has been obsessed with her for years, and though that has ruined many of his personal relationships, he would rather be happy with her and gain friends from there.
4.) Describe your character in three words.
Desperate, delusional, depressed.
5.) What do other characters think of this character?
At home, his family loves him and they all share the struggle of a father not always being there. His classmates think he needs to see there’s more to life than this girl.
At the Embassy, everyone thinks he’s one of the best Recruits because his father was so prominent, and they have high expectations for him.
Glacia Haverns, pretty much the last person who will talk to him at home, wants to get closer and help him stabilize his life.
6.) If your character was going to die tomorrow, what are three things they would want to do?
Tell Ladia he loves her, see another planet, and make sure his Mother and sisters are financially secure.
7.) If your characters memories were going to be erased, what is the one memory they would want to keep?
Seeing his father after he was away for two years.
8.) What is the hardest thing your character has ever had to do?
Waking up every morning. Not because he is stubborn and young, but because he genuinely doesn’t want to face his pain.
9.) What is this character’s best memory?
The summer with Ladia four years ago.
10.) If this character was put in the Hunger Games Arena (haha ;D) would they be a victor? If not how soon would they die?
Arman would definitely fight, but if the other person got the advantage, he would give up.
11.) Now let’s let the character answer. What do YOU think of the author?
“I trust him. He struggled to make a decision in my story, and the choice is probably for the best.”