09 July, 2013
An Interview with... Martin Willoughby
I have somebody to introduce you to. Meet Martin Willoughby, a.k.a. Willaby. In his own words, Martin is an author of some repute and a legend in his own lunchtime. When not writing he fixes computers, raises teenage children and acts in an amateur theatre group where he’s always cast as the baddy. He’s won many awards in his lifetime, including an Oscar for best actor which he received from his mother as a Christmas present many years ago. Tempers Fugit is his first book. His second, Apollo The Thirteenth, will be released later this year to even more fanfare and approval. You can stalk him on twitter or via his blog, From Sand to Glass.
Martin has long been a blogging friend of mine and his Friday posts full of fun pictures and links to interesting things have become a staple of my week. Martin has just re-released the aforementioned first book, Tempers Fugit, which you can buy here. He started off by telling me a little about the unusual title...
M: Tempers Fugit is some confused Latin. The actual Latin is Tempus Fugit meaning time flies. I've adulterated it so it reads as Tempers Fly, which they certainly do in the book. It was suggested by a friend of mine and worked better than any other idea I had. The original title of the book, A Stitch In Time, was only ever meant to be a working title, but it stuck (and sucked) as no one could think of a better one back then.
C: You decided to go down the self-publishing route with it originally. Why was this?
M: Having tried the publishing route to no avail, unless you include those companies that wanted to charge a few thousand pounds for the privilege, I decide to go it almost alone. The original launch was done in concert with a few author friends and we launched three books in November 2011, followed by four more in November 2012. Unfortunately internal differences meant we went our separate ways. Having learnt a lot from the previous two launches and watching what other people did with success I knew more about what I was doing. Ultimately it came down to how long I wanted to wait before getting published. As forever was not an option I opted to self-publish again. Partly out of necessity, partly because it's fun designing my own covers and getting involved with a lot of other people in the process, wonderful people such as yourself. Thing is, I've never actually met any of the people I converse with via blogs, email etc, though I've not found that a problem. It's a bit like the old penpal system from my youth, just much easier.
M: Plan it in advance. Chances are that things will go wrong, such as your router packing up three days before the book launch or your ISP doing unscheduled maintenance on the line the day after that, but at least with a plan you have something to deviate from. It doesn't matter if the plan is incomplete or has holes in it. Knowing where the holes are tells you what you need to fill. Ask questions. Listen to the answers and decide if you could do that. Not everyone likes or uses twitter, facebook or blogs. but you do need some way to build up an audience over time, and if you are going to self-publish, then you need to think about reaching people long before you publish the book. A stunning example of what can happen comes from the Commonwealth Sentinel in the 1970s. The editor of the newspaper spent weeks getting the stories and arranging the printing, but forgot about distribution. He had no customers and five thousand copies of the newspaper.
C: What's the best bit about being self-published?
M: Being in charge. No boss, my own deadlines and the ability to make corrections right up to the last minute.
C: How many other books have you published?
M: This book is a re-release of A Stitch In Time, but with changes and corrections that I knew needed to be made, while the second novel will be re-released later this year. In addition to those two, I released a collection of short stories and flash fiction in March 2011 so I could test the water and try out the Amazon self-publishing process. So far it's those three books, but I've also had several short stories published since 2007, articles and columns, including a column on electronic publishing that's been running for 18 months now.
C: What made you decide to re-release your book now?
M: I have the time, the knowledge and the inclination. I've been able to go through the book, change what I was unhappy with and re-issue it to my own deadline.
C: What are you working on now?
M: Several things. The re-issue of my second book, Apollo the Thirteenth, a play I'm writing, a third novel, a fourth novel, transforming a short story into a one act play, though it may end up as longer than that, as well as researching the possibility of recording the novels as audio books.
C: What are your long-term ambitions for your writing career?
M: I would like to make writing my career and earn my sole living from it. That's the plan anyway.
C: Who are your own favourite authors?
M: Tom Holt, Douglas Adams, Jim Butcher, Stephen King, John Keegan, Antony Beevor, JK Rowling, Gail Carriger, Isaac Asimov, Alastair Reynolds, Stepohen Hunt, Terry Pratchett and Rob Grant.
So that's a brief introduction to Martin. If you like to get in on new fiction before the rush and/or books that make you laugh. Why not check out Tempers Fugit or leave a question for Martin in the comments?
To finish, here's an extract from the blurb to Tempers Fugit - it's definitely got me intrigued!
Carla has had problems with her temper since the inquisition removed a piece of her brain, but she's beginning to realise that being alone is not such a good idea after all. Mae is a straight talking, simple girl who was born six months ago and is now nineteen, and has a cute little robot for a pet...if your definition of cute is the ability to incinerate a T-Rex. Alan is a successful author who has written about the future all his adult life, mainly because he was sent there when he was fourteen and got involved in a space battle.
Will Mae's parents get married? Will Harold fulfil his destiny? Will Igor protect Mae? When will God drop in for tea?