I’m pleased to welcome author M.R. Mortimer into the Forum today. He’s here to talk about his novel Starlight, the saga of an orphaned girl in the future who seeks the true reason for her mother's death?
The question of whether her life-long search for the truth will find justice or another death will soon be answered.
Tim Greaton: What do you think might be the most interesting thing about you?
M.R. Mortimer: Being an Anthropologist, I have conducted a variety of field work projects, including a study of Goth subculture, and one studying people in Karaoke bars. After five nights a week of karaoke, I'm immune to torture! My work has made for some interesting conversations at times!
Tim Greaton: When did you first begin to write?
M.R. Mortimer: I picked up the proverbial pen almost as soon as I started reading. Probably at age six or seven would have been the first teachers started commenting about how I wrote "interesting stories."
Tim Greaton: What event or series of events led you to become a novelist?
M.R. Mortimer: I started my first novel length story when I was about twelve years old. Filled with teen angst, it was never completed. That was the starting point, though, when my heart turned toward writing. I continued to dabble and create stories and books for years but didn’t get serious until a long-lost manuscript was returned to me recently (one of many that had been lost in a single tragic event that nearly turned me away from my writing passion). As I began to complete that manuscript, my sister discovered the “Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award,” and through that stumbled across CreateSpace and various other print-on-demand companies. That led me to believe self-publishing might be a viable option. Thus I became, once again, a novelist. This time though, I was not merely lending rare and precious manuscripts out to be read (or, more often, lost). Instead, I found myself privileged to write in a time when my book could be published and made available to the public for only a small financial outlay.
Tim Greaton: Was there any one family member or friend that helped you to be a better writer? Could you tell us about them?
M.R. Mortimer: At different times of life, it was different people. The first was my poppa (Grandfather - he hated that term) who introduced me at a very young age to science fiction and fantasy. He was responsible for me reading Lord of the Rings and 2001: A Space Odyssey at age eight. He taught me that a good writer had to read a lot, which started me early on that path. We talked many days away about stories in those formative years. Later, during my teens, my Uncle provided me with constructive criticisms that helped me to understand my then weakness as a writer. Most recently, my mother and sister have been regular sources of feedback and realistic advice. My sister, a professional editor for many years, has been instrumental in helping me see minor problems in my work before they become major issues. I have been incredibly lucky to have been watched over by a muse who directed the influences I needed at the various stages of my life, leading me to where I am now.
Tim Greaton: Do you have any quirky or unusual habits that are part of your writing process?
M.R. Mortimer: The answer is probably yes, but everything I do feels normal to me so it would be hard to pick out my own eccentricities! Back when it WAS strange, I used a word processor with a three-line display rather than writing longhand. Then and now, however, I still hand write copious notes and point lists on my manuscripts for planning purposes.
Tim Greaton: What is the title of your latest book, and where did you get the idea for the plot?
M.R. Mortimer: It’s called Starlight, a title I foolishly chose before looking to see how many other novels had the same name! Starlight Hodgens is the main character’s name, and the story is the result of a conversation with my mum. During a drive to someplace or another, I was telling her about one of my dreams, and that conversation planted a mental seed that took a year to grow. After that year, I started to write it.
Tim Greaton: Did you base any of these people on real people from your past?
M.R. Mortimer: In this instance, I did not base any characters on real people from my past. I tend not to do that, although I do have a non-player character in an online video game that I have been working on for a year or so who is based on my late father.
Tim Greaton: What was the toughest part of writing Starlight?
M.R. Mortimer: I hated leaving it to go to my day job. The Starlight story almost seemed to be badgering me. There was a real sense of urgency, and the book came flooding out of me almost faster than I could get it written. Focusing on anything else was difficult until it was done!
Tim Greaton: What ingredient of your novel do you think readers will like best?
M.R. Mortimer: My Starlight character has a few difficult moments in her life, but she overcomes them. I think readers will enjoy the perseverance and triumph at the heart of her story.
Tim Greaton: Do you plan to write a sequel?
M.R. Mortimer: There is a sequel to Starlight. My plan is to keep most of my books within a universe, but since it is…well, a universe, there should be plenty of room. The next Starlight Hodgens book is called Armada's Disciple. It’s a standalone novel scheduled for release in 2012. This new story also features a character named Janice Heartmyer. Though Armada’s Disciple is intended as an independent, stand-alone novel and won’t require readers to read Starlight first, I hope they will.
Tim Greaton: Just for fun, if you could have an advertisement for your book appear anywhere for any budget, what would it be like and where would it appear?
M.R. Mortimer: I think covering the face of the moon with neon lights so that anybody who looked up would see it would be cool. Especially since that is where a lot of important stuff happens in the book.
Tim Greaton: It would be great if you could share your website/blogsite and links to where our audience could directly purchase your books.
M.R. Mortimer: My website is www.suspendedearth.com. From the bookshop page on there you can find links to amazon and createspace sales pages for my books. My blog is also there. In my forums, you can find samples of my books and other short stories as well, so I hope to see a few people swing through to say, “Hi.”
Tim Greaton: Martin, I really appreciate you taking the time to be with us.
M.R. Mortimer: I’ve been watching as you built the website and started your first interviews. It has really shaped up nicely, and I’m very pleased to have a chance to join you here.