Wednesday 1 August 2012


A little about the Author before we begin the Interview?

J.C. Martin is a butt-kicking bookworm: when she isn’t reading or writing, she teaches martial arts and self-defence to adults and children. 

After working in pharmaceutical research, then in education as a schoolteacher, she decided to put the following to good use: one, her 2nd degree black belt in Wing Chun kung fu; and two, her overwhelming need to write dark mysteries and gripping thrillers with a psychological slant. 

Her short stories have won various prizes and have been published in several anthologies. Oracle is her first novel.

Born and raised in Malaysia, J.C. now lives in south London with her husband and three dogs.
Contact: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

And now to the Interview Questions!

What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is J.C. Martin. I was born in Malaysia, but now live in South London, England.

Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
When I’m not writing, I work as a martial arts instructor for children and adults. It’s brilliant fodder for writing fight scenes! :)

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Oracle is a crime thriller set in London: as the countdown to the Olympics begins, the body count rises.

Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
I am published by the wonderful team at J. Taylor Publishing (

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
Detective Lancer will be back. ;)

What made you decide to write that genre of book?
My first exposure to adult fiction is crime novels, when I read my mother’s extensive collection of James Patterson, John Sandford and Richard Montanari. Prior to that, I read the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew as a tween. It’s the genre I’m most familiar with. I enjoy the puzzle-solving aspect of mystery novels, and find that delving into the mind of a killer is a brilliant exercise in exploring the human condition.

Do you have a favourite character from your books? Why are they your favourite?
Scott Long may only appear in one chapter of Oracle, but since then he’s refused to leave my head, and have taken on a life of his own, complete with quirks and backstory, backstory which is so intriguing I’m now planning a thriller series with him as the protagonist.

Where do you get your book plot ideas from? What/Who is your inspiration?
I get a lot of my inspiration from news and current affairs. I read something and start formulating “what if…?” situations. Atmospheric locations and settings also inspire me.

Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them, i.e. your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
For Oracle, I had a trusted critique partner who read my work. I acted on her feedback and made edits and changes before querying or submitting. She’s a talented writer herself, with a book releasing in December, so go check her out at
(I have been lucky to Beta read twice for authors I have made friends with via Goodreads/Facebook and loved having input on how the plot plays out etc and giving my opinion prior to final edits)

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
I really shouldn’t, but I do! Sometimes the negative comments can be quite constructive, with advice I can bear in mind for my next book.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I get the story first, but like to have a working title (that may or may not be the final title) when I’m writing to help capture the atmosphere or plot.

Do you decide on character traits (i.e. shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
Characters are fully fleshed out before I start writing. Their personality dictates their interactions, which could affect the direction of the plot.

Do you have a basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
I am an intensive plotter. I complete a chapter-by-chapter outline of the story before I even begin writing. The chapter outlines are easy to chop and change and move around, plus it helps highlight any plot holes or inconsistencies, which are way easier to correct before you’ve written over 20,000 words of it!

What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?
Relax? What is that strange word you use? ;) When I do have time between the writing, the day job and the housework, I do enjoy some reading (of course!), extra kung fu training, and badminton.

What is your favourite book and why?  Have you read it more than once?
Boris Starling’s Messiah, because the antagonist was so fascinating, and the ending totally blew my mind! I haven’t had the chance to read it a second time, but I definitely plan on doing so!

Do you think e-books will ever totally replace printed books?
Not if people like myself can help it! I do love my Kindle, and the convenience of carrying thousands of books in one e-reader, but when it comes to books I really want, I still like to have the hard copy. Plus you don’t get musty-smelling old e-books with dusty yellow pages being handed down from generation to generation.

Did you have a favourite author as a child?
As a child, I loved Enid Blyton, especially her Mallory Towers and St. Clare series. As a teenager, I moved on to darker reading: R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike.
(I remember reading the Mallory Towers and St. Clares Series by Enid Blyton as a child too! )

Are there any new authors you are interested in for us to watch out for? Why should we watch out for them?
Fellow crime writer Toby Neal ( is releasing a series of mystery thrillers set in her resident Hawaii. I read her first book and absolutely fell in love with the exotic setting and the complex heroine. If you want a master class on creating compelling characters, then read Blood Orchids (!

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
If writing is something you really want to do, then you will get there, one way or another—don’t let anyone or anything convince you otherwise!

Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
J.C. Martin is my pen name, a combination of my initials, and my married surname. My real name would be too hard to pronounce!

Where can readers follow you?

Your Blog details?
Your Facebook page?

And any other information you wish to supply? 
Oracle’s page on the publisher’s site, with up-to-date purchase links:


  1. Oracle is a truly fabulous book. Original and refreshing. Readers are going to love it! And thanks for the shout-out!

    1. My pleasure Lisa! Still can't thank you enough for beta-reading ORACLE. Must reciprocate it soon!

  2. Well now I want to see if I can pronounce your name!
    I read my reviews because I can learn from them and make the next book better.

    1. Very true Alex, as it is I've picked up some things to improve on for book 2.