Author Interview with F. W. Brooks

8 03 2013

Hello readers!

This week we are interviewing F. W. Brooks about his  novel The Tithes of March. The Tithes of March follows a wrongfully fired teacher uncover a scandal about a preacher at a local parish. Does he go to the police and report the scandal or blackmail the corrupt preacher? You’ll have to buy The Tithes of March to find out!

What makes a good story?

I feel a good story must have an interesting or likeable protagonist, one in which the reader feels a connection with.  Once the reader has a vested interest in the main character, a good story evolves when the protagonist is faced with some type of desperate or problematic situation that turns his or her world upside down.  Usually when a person is placed in such a situation, they are forced to either act or react – sometimes uncharacteristically.  As a result, often times their ethics and morals are tested.  I feel a good story shows the protagonist succeeding in the end, and in doing so, the character grows and changes for the better.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

When I am not writing, I like to watch reality tv shows.  Many of them have quite a few eccentric, off-the-wall characters that have me either laughing out loud or shaking my head in disbelief.  In fact, some of the characters in my forthcoming projects were inspired by reality tv personalities.   I also like attending my kids’ sporting events with my wife.

Was Mr. Holloway based on a real person?

Yes and no.  Mr. Holloway is a fictional character, but his appearance, physique, and some of his ways of thinking are based on me.  In fact, I lived vicariously through Mr. Holloway.  In many of the situations he found himself in, he reacted in ways I would have liked to have reacted if I were in his shoes.

You portray Christianity as corrupt and manipulative in your book.  Does this reflect your views on the religion, or is it pure fiction?

The Tithes of March is pure fiction.  It does not at all reflect my views on religion or Christianity.  In response to your statement that my novel portrays Christianity as corrupt and manipulative, I respectfully disagree.  It by no means portrays Christianity or religion as corrupt and manipulative.  It simply portrays certain individuals, so-called Christians if you will, as being corrupt and manipulative.  The religion itself is not corrupt or manipulative – at least I don’t feel it is.

One reason why I wrote The Tithes of March was to bring light to a lot of things that take place in a Baptist church.  I wanted my story to be humorous, yet eye-opening.  I wanted the reader to realize that preachers are human beings just like everyone else.  Just because the sharply dressed man behind the pulpit is charismatic and articulate, does not necessarily mean he can always be trusted.

Which character was the most fun to write?

By far, I had the most fun writing about Reverend Ronald E. Revenue.  The reason being – he was not at all the person most people perceived him to be.  Instead of him being a holy figure people can trust and depend upon, he was the exact opposite.  In fact, it was very easy to write about him because he was so corrupt, for the most part there were no boundaries or limitations.  With him, anything goes – and his ability to get away with a lot of his shenanigans made him even more fun to write about.

Which chapter was the most difficult to write?

The final chapter was the most difficult to write.  As I tied up all loose ends and brought the story to an end, it was bitter sweet.  It was the final chapter of a project I had worked so hard on for so long.  I was glad to finally complete it, but at the same time, as strange as it may sound, I felt like I was closing the coffin on some of my characters.  On a brighter note, I have so many other interesting characters bouncing around in my head, I can’t wait to begin writing their stories.

Who designed the cover of your book?

Creating the book cover was a team effort.  I knew I wanted the image to be a pile of money because it’s simple and it symbolizes the main topic of the book.  I also came up with the idea of using money-green lettering for the title, along with using the cents symbol (¢) in the word “Mar¢h” and the dollar symbol ($) in the word “TITHE$”.  My design team did the rest.  They came up with the concept of using the same font as the font used on paper currency.  To be consistent with that, they also came up with the idea of bordering the cover the same way a dollar bill is bordered.  I was very pleased with the final outcome.

Is there anything that you learned about publishing a book that you wish you knew when you started writing your book?

Not really.  I guess it was because I thoroughly did my homework and did a lot of reading about the publishing industry and what to expect.  In fact, I think I may have over prepared because the publishing process was much smoother than I had anticipated.  I owe a big “thank you” to my publishing team at BookBaby.  Regardless of how demanding I was, they were very patient and supportive throughout the process.  I couldn’t be happier with the final product.

What are your upcoming projects?

I am currently working on my second book, which also involves a struggling math teacher.  However, I have yet to come up with a title.  A few of the characters from The Tithes of March are in this new book, but Mr. Holloway and Reverend Revenue did not make the cut.  Although I am very proud of The Tithes of March, as I write my second book, my mindset is – the best novel has yet to be written.

Where can my readers buy your book?

If you wish to purchase an e-book, The Tithes of March can be purchased through the following venues:

  • Apple iBookstore (for iPad)
  • Amazon (for Kindle)
  • Barnes & Noble (for Nook)
  • Reader Store (for Sony Reader)
  • Kobo
  • Copia
  • Gardners
  • Baker & Taylor
  • eBookPie
  • eSentral
  • Scribe

If you wish to purchase a paperback edition, send a check in the amount of $12.00 (includes shipping) to my agent:

J.L. Harris

7818 N. Teutonia Avenue

Brown Deer, WI 53209.

Be sure to include your name and the address to where the book should be sent.

Thank you in advance for your support!

Learn more about the author, F. W. Brooks, on his websites : or Follow F. W. Brooks on Twitter                                                 @BooksFromBrooks on learn more about his work on Facebook by searching  F.W. Brooks


Author Interview: Brad Manzo!

28 02 2013

Hello all!

Do you need a funny book to make your week a little better? Check out How Not To Parent by Brad Manzo. Manzo chronicles the trials and tribulations of parenting, loving the wrong sports teams, and growing older in a collection of laugh out loud essays. This week Brad sat down with us to answer a few questions about his book and his life.

What makes a good story?

For me, the best stories are the ones that really happened, though that doesn’t always translate into a good piece for me. If I can tell a story to which others can relate and makes people laugh, I know it’s a keeper.

What is a typical day of a freelance writing like for you?
I have a full-time job so I write in the morning on my bus ride to work. I have an hour to kill, so I pull out my iPhone and start writing. I absolutely love this time because there’s nothing else I can really do. When you’re home and writing you feel guilty that the kids or housework is being neglected. But that bus ride is my time. The only downside is trying to type on a touch screen on a bumpy ride.

What inspired you to write the Imperfect Man column?

I’ve always enjoyed making people laugh. Before I started writing columns,  I was an aspiring sitcom writer. I worked for a couple of years with a mentor who wrote for All in the Family (as well as Sanford and Son and Three’s Company).  But you need to be in L.A. to break into sitcom writing and I was married with a child on the way. And I had a good technical writing job and lived in New York.

Instead of moving to LA, I started using the humor writing skills I learned and began writing humor columns. Over the next year or two with a new child, I found myself writing about parenting and poking fun at the foolish things I did. As my wife would quickly add, I had tons of material. That’s how The Imperfect Man came about.

What topics do you teach in your online writing courses?

I teach business writing, but as I point out in my class, the same principles apply to other types of writing.  Whether you’re writing jokes, a weekly advice column,  or a technical writing procedure, you have to know your audience. Also, clear and concise writing is best—eliminate unnecessary words. For example, if you’re writing a joke and your setup is too long, you can lose your audience before you get to the punch line. The same thing applies to business writing. People don’t have time during a busy workday to read wordy emails; cut to the chase.

What was the biggest challenge going from technical writing to writing How Not to Parent?
In technical writing, you’re just presenting information or procedures. You ‘re not offering opinions or thoughts. Six technical writers would write a procedure similarly but six people writing about parenting may offer six pieces that are completely different in style and viewpoint. I think the biggest challenge is changing your mindset. Humor writing and tech.writing are completely different animals.  Tech. writing is very formal.Additionally, in How Not to Parent, I had the freedom to write about whatever I chose.

Which chapter of How Not to Parent was the most fun to write?

Honestly,  it was all fun to write but most of the material focused on my married life over the last 10-12 years.  But when I wrote the Introduction and Prologue for the book, I wrote about things I rarely touched on in my column and in the book—my childhood, my single years and the horrible, rodent infested apartments in which I lived, and when I met my wife and finally grew up. Sort of.

What do your kids think about being the subjects of your book and column?

They’re only 7 and 10 so they still think it’s kind of cool. I wouldn’t dare write about teenagers. They already find you annoying and embarrassing and I wouldn’t want to add any more fuel to that fire.

I hope my kids read the book one day when they’re older and appreciate it for what it is—a light-hearted look at family life.

When you are not writing what do you like to do?

I love to read, play Wii with the kids, and watch sports on TV. Unfortunately,  my favorite sports teams—the New York Mets and the New York Jets—aren’t very good and the kids always beat me at Wii,  so I do a LOT of reading. I’m about to read The Girl Who Played with Fire, by Stieg Larsson.

Tell us about your upcoming projects.

I’m currently marketing some humorous greeting cards and working on a fictional book tentatively titled, The Toy Factory. I’m also hoping to do a few seminars on self -publishing and marketing a book. I’ve  learned so much over the last 2 years working on How Not to Parent.

Where can my readers buy How Not To Parent? (, ( and other online booksellers. It’s available for the kindle and as a paperback.

To learn more about Brad Manzo, his column, or his book go to

Find Brad Manzo on Facebook at

Follow Brad Manzo on twitter: @bradmanzo


Author Interview: Smoky Zeidel

15 02 2013

This week we’ve interviewed Smoky Zeidel about her book The Storyteller’s Bracelet. Her book tells the tale of two young Native Americans who must travel to a white boarding school. The book explores identity, loss, and hope in a raw, realistic way.

What makes a good story?

A good story grabs you from the very first sentence and piques a curiosity about what will happen to your characters that makes it difficult to set the book down. A good story has characters with flaws, like people are flawed. You see the vulnerabilities and strengths in your protagonist(s), but you also see the humanity in your antagonist(s), because no one is completely bad. A good story transports the reader from the safety of their reading chair to worlds they can only imagine, and makes it seem like the reader is actually there. When you reach the end of a good story, you feel regret, for you feel you are losing your new best friend.

What do you do when you are not writing?

My husband Scott and I are outdoors people. When I’m not writing, we are exploring the mountains, desert, and ocean that are all within an hour’s drive of our home. We hike, we camp, we take pictures. In the warmer months, we like to garden, although we have to garden upside-down! We have success only when we plant our tomatoes, beans, and peppers in hanging planters, because otherwise, the neighborhood squirrels decimate the garden before it even fruits. I also love to create art that isn’t the written word, using mostly driftwood, shells, and glass beads. I recently took up crocheting after a 30-year hiatus from needlework, and I find that a soothing way to wind down at the end of the day. And it goes without saying, I’m an avid reader!

What was the first story you wrote about?

I don’t know if I should laugh or cry at this question! The first true creative writing I did was in the sixth grade. We were giving an assignment in English class to right a story called “Thoughts of ________.” The teacher passed around a hat with slips of paper listing inanimate objects with which to fill in that blank. I drew “acne pimple.” So my first creative work was titled “Thoughts of an Acne Pimple.” I actually did a great job with it and got an A+. But did I ever envy the girl who drew “Cinderella’s Pumpkin Carriage”!

What drew you to writing about Native American culture?

I’ve always been appalled by the shameful way the First Nations have been treated by our government. I remember standing in the enormous hall in Chicago’s Field Museum where totem poles are displayed and feeling that something was terribly, terribly wrong with them being there. I was only six or seven; I had no way of knowing the totem poles had been stolen from the Northwestern Tribes. But I could feel something was wrong.

When my sister gave me a storyteller’s bracelet she’d bought at Mesa Verde National Park as a birthday gift, I fell in love with it. I was searching for inspiration for a third novel, and the bracelet just captivated me. I mediated on it, I wore it 24/7. Eventually, my story came to me.

What research did you have to do to bring The Storyteller’s Bracelet to life?

I studied books and everything I could find on the Internet about the Indian boarding schools in the late 1800s. I had a long talk with a Navajo silversmith about storyteller’s bracelets, and also about the boarding school experience. His grandmother had been sent away, and he had heard her stories and shared them with me. I’ve traveled the Southwest extensively, so the setting for the parts of the story that take part there were taken from my own travels and experiences.

I am also blessed that I’m an active lucid dreamer. A lot of the story came from these experiences. It was almost like I was channeling Sun Song and Otter. And who knows? Maybe I was!

Did you travel to any Native American Boarding schools while writing your book?

Unfortunately, no. There are still schools out there, but the experiences today are much more positive than they were 100+ years ago. I don’t think I could have garnered any new information by visiting them.

Are Sun Song and Otter based off of real people?

Sun Song and Otter are completely taken from my imagination. This was a change for me, as some of the characters in my previous novels, The Cabin and On the Choptank Shores (formerly titled Redeeming Grace) are based on real people. But because I took them completely from my imagination, I chose to say they came from a group called simply The Tribe. The story strongly suggests they are either Navajo or Hopi, because I wove so many elements from these tribes into Sun Song and Otter’s experiences.  But I am not from the First Nations, and I don’t pretend to be. I wanted to honor their heritage without claiming it, so I created an imaginary Tribe.

Which character was the most fun to write?

Sun Song, without a doubt. My heart broke writing the chapters where she is being … I don’t want to give too much away … being tormented at school by the headmaster. But when she comes into her power at the end of the book? That was fabulous to write. I dreamed her entire mystical transformation while meditating on my deck one afternoon, and it was one of the most intense experiences of my life.

Tell us about your upcoming projects.

I’m pleased to say work on my book Trails is nearly complete. Co-written by my husband Scott, Trails is a collection of essays, poems, and stories about the many trails we take through life, from our Personal Pathways to The End of the Road and every trail in between. The title, Trails, is a metaphor for our journey through life together, and the individual chapters represent random experiences (both voluntary and involuntary) along the way.

Once Trails is released next month, I’ll return to working on my next novel, titled The Madam of Bodie. It’s loosely based on the life of a prostitute who lived in what was, at the time, known as “the biggest, baddest town in the West,” the mining town of Bodie, California. I’m about a quarter of the way through it already, and I’m very proud of what I’ve written so far.

After The Madam of Bodie I’ll begin writing the first sequel I’ve ever written, a sequel to The Storyteller’s Bracelet. Called The Storyteller’s Daughter, it will pick up where The Storyteller’s Bracelet left off, in the Fifth World, and will chronicle the life of little Yazhi and Tocho as they grow up in the new world. I’m very excited about this book, too, and wanting to write it keeps me motivated to finish the projects already in the works. Every novelist’s worst nightmare is not knowing what they’ll write next. I’m blessed that, at least for now, I don’t have that problem.

Where can we buy your books?

All the usual venues, like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. My books are available in print and nearly all electronic formats. I have buy links on my Website, at If you go there, you can click on a link to buy the book of your choice at the merchant of your choice. I’ve made it very easy.

Get to know Smoky Zeidel



Twitter: @SmokyZeidel.  I follow back.

Kate Moretti: Author Interview.

14 12 2012

Hello, Readers!

This week Charles Henry Editing interviewed Kate Moretti about her latest book, Thought I knew You.

What inspired you to write Thought I Knew You?

A friend of mine confessed she wrote a novel, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. I was working part-time with a baby at home. I didn’t know anything about writing characters, so I wrote the main character after myself. For the plot idea, I thought about what would be the most terrible thing that could happen to me – outside of something happening to my kids. The answer, of course, was if my husband just – poof! — vanished. And what if I didn’t know where he went? Well, that seemed interesting, right? The opening line came out of nowhere: Cody and Greg disappeared on the same day. When I wrote that very first line, I thought, Now where the heck did they go? Are they together?

Do you have a writing routine?

No, not really. I’m back at work full-time and I have two small kids. I basically need to fit it in around my life. Late at night, early in the morning, naptime on weekends. Sometimes, if they kids are playing quietly in the playroom, I can squeeze out a few extra paragraphs. It’s a challenge. I constantly juggle when to squeeze in writing. My laptop is always going, and my mind is always writing.

What authors do you find inspiring?

I love how Anita Shreve and Jodi Picoult can both capture poignant emotion with a single action – particularly the emotional range of a mother. I love the raw description of Wally Lamb, it borders on painful to read. In high school I fell in love with the characterizations of Toni Morrison. Later, I read Augusten Burroughs and have always been awed by his honesty (and his humor). I’ve spent a lot of my adult life reading thrillers – fast-paced and plot-driven. Harlan Coben and is fantastic at developing unpredictable plot twists – reading his stuff is just plain fun – a total guilty pleasure. I find inspiration in a fairly wide range of authors, picking out their particular strengths and trying to learn from them.

Can you give a brief overview of what Thought I Knew You is about for my readers?

It’s about a woman whose husband disappears. In the course of trying to piece her life back together, and resolve the mystery of her husband’s whereabouts, she learns that she may not have known him as well as she thought. My goal was to touch on how well you can know another person – even the one you’ve been married to for ten or twenty years. I liked exploring imperfect love. Still do.

Did you have a clear idea of what happened to Greg when you started the book?

Not from the first line, but pretty early on yes. I wrote most of it with that end in mind. Now, what happened to Greg and Claire and Drew changed several times throughout the course of the writing. I started writing it and couldn’t envision the ending that is currently there – seemed impossible to me. By the time I reached the end, I couldn’t see it any other way. Characters do that – they have minds of their own after a while.

Do you think Claire is selfish or is she just naïve about how her actions affect other characters?

What a great question! I really had to think about this. I think she’s a little of both. I tried to make her as real and flawed as I could while still keeping her somewhat likeable. I think in the world today, women are typically expected to be selfless. I deliberately painted her as selfish to challenge that a bit – to put her against her former self, who was defined by her husband’s needs and wants. There’s some naivete there as well, particularly in her actions in San Diego or in the flashback chapters where she seems fairly unaware of how she affects Drew. But then again, subconsciously taking advantage of a man’s affection isn’t a novel concept and neither is the fact that it’s interesting.

Does Claire truly love Drew by the end of the novel?

This question truly threw me! Yes, in my mind, absolutely. She chooses herself – her own needs, desires, wants. She says there was never a chance she could have done anything else. I see this as a true, yet imperfect, love. The situation is less than desirable. They aren’t happily ever after. At one point during the book, she asks Drew what he will do during downturn (in their relationship) – as in will he stay? He says, “What do you think this has been?”. And to me, the most interesting parts of a relationship aren’t the gooey, happy, mushy parts – those are easy! It’s what you do when the proverbial “s” hits the fan. Do you stick around, work together to work it out? That’s when you see characters in their element. Yeah, I think Claire truly loves Drew, I just think that their love became “real” a lot faster because of their life situation.

The relationships in this book are powerful and richly drawn. Are they based on relationships in your life?

Some, yes, for sure. I think as a writer, almost everyone draws from their real life to some extent. Do they mimic my life? Oh, God, I hope not! My husband is in part both Drew and Greg – his faults are Greg’s faults, his strengths are Drew’s strengths. Both are magnified to be more interesting than they are in real life – in both directions. Greg is a bit more of a jerk, and Drew is a touch more wonderful, only because larger than real life is just that much more fascinating, isn’t it? I’m Claire, but hopefully more self-aware than she is. Her friendship with Sarah is an amalgam of all my very best girl friends, and Sarah was just darn fun to write – I wish she existed as a fully whole person herself in real life!

Do you have any upcoming projects?

I’m a little over halfway through my second novel, but this one is a bit darker, there’s a murder. Again, there’s a married couple, but their relationship is drastically different than anything in Knew You. The whole tone is different, and I’m definitely working on more of a plot based suspense novel this time. It’s been fun to try different things.

Where can my readers buy Thought I Knew You?

The book is available on,, Smashwords, Kobo, Sony and All Romance ebooks. You can see all links for purchase here.

Connect with Kate Moretti at the links below!


Twitter: @katemoretti1

Author Page on Facebook:


Author Interview: T.H. Rahman

7 12 2012

Hello, Readers!

This week T.H. Rahman, author of Dead Rich has stopped by to tell us about himself and his new book! 

What inspired you to write your first book? 

In 2009, an upper body disability caused me to leave my job, which I loved. I came to the realization that I needed to find something to do in life to support my son and myself. I sat down one day and began to write. I had dabbled with writing in the past, but nothing to serious. After I completed my first book, I concluded that writing is something I love to do. Soon I found myself writing day and night. I now have two books available, Dead Rich and Malice.

Do you have a writing routine?

When I come up with an idea for a book, I try to form the storyline, something original, and then I add the characters. I like to think of thirty to thirty-five thoughts to help the flow of my writing and potentially create thirty to thirty-five chapters. Once that is accomplished, I begin to increase the thoughts and add ideas as I go. I proofread and edit each book at least three times.

What authors do you find inspiring?

I find several authors inspiring. Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Jerry Ahern, George G. Gilman, Travis Luedke, Craig McGray, Elizabeth Marx, and Regina Puckett just to name a few. Authors that put time and effort into their writing inspire me. In my eyes, there are no good or bad authors out there.

 Can you give a brief overview of what Dead Rich is about for my readers?

The horror of fighting zombies becomes a reality in Albany, New York where an arrogant, selfish Bo Reynolds finds himself thrown into a perilous situation. He seeks to endeavor in the face of long odds and nearly overwhelming obstacles, which take the form of flesh-eating zombies.

The attack on the United States of America begins, and Bo must save himself from the approaching enemy bombers decimating the city.

Five years later, during the time of a war-torn America, Bo finds himself on the outskirts of the city, trying to survive within post-apocalyptic surroundings and its population of zombies.

A beautiful young woman named Lynn frees Bo from danger, and together the two set out to find safety inside Tate Estate, but soon find themselves fighting alongside Cassius and Tony whom are already prisoners within the boundaries of the mansion. The unfortunate four must play a deadly reality game of survival against hordes of hungry zombies in an attempt to win their freedom or face a brutal death.

With evil intent, Mr. Tate, a cruel individual and proud owner of Tate Estate manipulates his servants to do his bidding by ordering them to release wave after wave of zombies into the mansion with the intent to kill the four contestants. As the game progresses, something far worse is unleashed, something so vicious that not even the strong know if they can survive.

While the contestants are struggling for their survival in the lower rooms of the mansion, Mr. Tate’s wealthy guests are on the floor above indulging in food and drink, watching the greatest reality show ever entertained on a television screen.

The fondest Rufus is Mr. Tate’s most obedient servant and fulfills his master’s wishes, but soon a feeling he has never felt before infiltrates his heart, and he will do whatever he can to keep it there.

 What motivates the cruelty perpetrated by the main character, Bo Reynolds’?

I wouldn’t say Bo Reynolds is a cruel person, at least not as cruel as Mr. Tate is. At first, Bo is selfish, but once the apocalypse takes place, he becomes a person whom finds selflessness. He knows that not only is his life on the life, but the lives of three others that are forced to play Mr. Tate’s deadly game of survival. He does whatever he can to stay alive and keep those with him alive.

Tell us more about the role the undead play in Dead Rich.

The evil Mr. Tate controls the undead in Dead Rich and he uses them to entertain the wealthy. The undead in Dead Rich somewhat evolve. In the beginning of the book, they are slow, hungry for flesh. As the story progresses, they become more aggressive, faster, with a want to infect the living. In the end of the book, the zombies do what they do best. They kill the living.

 Which character was the most fun to write?

Rufus was the most fun to write. I placed a lot of emotion in my writing when I wrote about him. Personally, I do not like bullying or to see people mistreated, I expressed this through Rufus. The feeling of people living with constant ridicule and abuse is something that no one should have to endure. Rufus does, but he deals with it in his own way.

Is Dead Rich an allegory or just a fantastic post apocalypse story?

I tend to think that Dead Rich was a fantastic post apocalypse story. It has a lot of originality. I didn’t want to follow the basic storyline of most zombie stories where an apocalypse takes place and the next thing you know zombies are chasing after you. Mr. Tate has learned a way to control the undead and use them to his advantage.

 What are your upcoming projects?

I just completed my second project, Malice by T. H. Rahman. It is available at – I am working diligently on my third book titled, Americanism, which I hope to release early 2013. I also have several other books that are near 50% complete. When I acquire writers block on one book, I will stop and start working on another book. As I work on the second book, the solution to my writers block usually comes forward and I am able to return to the first book and continue. In simpler terms, I work on more than one book at a time.

Where can my readers buy Dead Rich?

Dead Rich is available worldwide. You can find it on,, and Barnes & Noble. There are links to both Dead Rich and Malice on my website and amazon author page, as well as my blog.

Learn more about T.H. Rahman and Dead Rich here:



Twitter: @TimPrive



Cristina Martin: Author Interview

30 11 2012

Hello, readers!

This week Charles Henry Editing is interviewing Cristina Martin, author of The Automat.

What inspired you to write your first book?

When I was a teenager, I had three goals for my life: move out of Miami, show my art in a gallery, and write a book. I wrote a lot of poetry as a teenager, but I wanted to write an entire story. I have always been fascinated by the history of automats, so I wanted to incorporate one into a book. I started writing “The Automat” when I was living in New York, and a lot of the descriptions of the fictional city backdrop were from my own personal experiences walking around New York. New York, in and of itself, was very inspirational to me.

Do you have a writing routine?

I like to be comfortable when I write, so I do most of my writing in bed on my laptop. It doesn’t hurt to have some wine beforehand. It’s important to have an environment that is conducive to the flow of your story. The Automat has dark undertones to it, and I wrote it in the dark for the most part. I also prefer to have music on when I write. Sometimes I listen to movie soundtracks such as “Atonement” or “There Will Be Blood” to aid a certain scene in a chapter, other times I’m listening to artists like Jason Molina or Ryan Adams. Their lyrics may inspire me to write a certain sentence or two. I give a literary head nod to Jason Molina’s song, “Coxcomb Red” in my first chapter where I describe Horace living in a pale world.

Can you give a brief overview of what The Automat is about for my readers?

The Automat is a story of a man named Horace Gray, who lives his life according to a strict routine. Part of that routine is going to an automat before work. One day, he takes notice of a mysterious set of eyes that stare at him from behind the automat wall. Horace sets out on his own adventure to meet the woman (Millicent) behind the automat wall, and ultimately understand her motives. He finds himself obsessed with Millicent, and everything else around him becomes inconsequential. The story is a psychological thriller, mixed with romance and crime.

What drives Horace’s obsession to understand Millicent?

Horace represents those people who become trapped in their daily routines. Sometimes we don’t even notice that our lives become so repetitive and dull. The introduction of Millicent in Horace’s life is symbolic of that change in our lives that we secretly desire. Horace is faced with following his heart or remaining stagnant. Some people choose to avoid change because they’re afraid, but others take the risk and adventure into things that are unknown. The fact that he becomes obsessive helps the reader to show how truly deprived of love he was.

Is Millicent obsessed with Horace or does she just enjoy playing with him?

Without giving away too much of the story, I think she enjoyed playing with him at first, but  her actions caused unintended consequences, which changed her perception at the end.

Did you do a lot of research to write the character, Detective Bones?

Not much. I work as an investigator for a university, and I have spent the last 10 or so years working closely with LAPD and NYPD detectives on certain cases. When I first started my career, I was taught investigative techniques by a retired NYPD detective who I worked with.

Which character was the most fun to write?

I would probably have to say Horace, only because I modeled him after Crispin Glover’s character in the film, Willard. I’m a huge Crispin Glover fan, so when I wrote about Horace, I had Crispin Glover in my imagination, playing him in my mind’s film adaptation.

Several other reviewers have commented that your work is “Kafkaesque.” Is Kafka an author you like?

The last time I read Kafka was in high school, but I do remember enjoying his works. I didn’t intend to make my story “Kafkaesque,” but I can see how Horace could be a character in one of his stories. He’s alienated, has Kafka’s boring day job at an insurance company, is a psychological masochist, and eventually transforms. I seem to like authors who have main characters who are literary underdogs such as Goethe’s “Sorrows of Young Werther” or Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” Horace, Werther, or Gatsby are characters that may be hard to love at first, but after you get to know them, you want them to succeed.

What are your upcoming projects?

I am working on two books. The first one is titled “A Face for Reuben Hill” which is based on a dream I had about a man who was born without a face. Long story short, he finds a doctor who creates a mechanical façade for him in order for him to woo a girl. The story centers on how we tend to want to change ourselves for others, but should focus on accepting ourselves for who/what we are.

The second book I am writing is a departure from the dark literary fiction I’ve written. Instead, it’s an autobiographical piece interlaced with humor. It’s called “Life with Alvy: Memoirs of a Real Life Annie Hall.” It chronicles my time dating a man in NYC who was an avid Woody Allen fan. Our relationship closely resembled the film, “Annie Hall.” Every time I start writing a new chapter, I find myself laughing at my laptop and copy/pasting paragraphs on my tumblr blog. Even though my book is humor-based, it is still difficult to re-live a past relationship. I’m lucky to have a husband who sees what my book is about and who gets my sarcastic sense of humor.

Where can my readers buy The Automat?

Amazon for Kindle and paperback. (paperback)

Barnes and Nobles for Nook

Sony eReader


Apple Bookstore

You can also download it directly from

Want to learn more about Cristina Martin and The Automat



Twitter: hornandhardart



Promotional: Cristina Martin, Author Interview

28 11 2012

Cristina Martin, the author of The Automat is stopping by this week to do an author interview at

Cristina Martin was born in Miami, Florida in 1978. When she was 10 years old, her goals were to write a book, show her art in a gallery, and move out of Miami. She accomplished all three goals by the age of 32, and then some!

Cristina spent 5 long and arduous years living in New York City, where she showed her artwork and began writing “The Automat.” She moved to Los Angeles, where she currently resides with her husband and son.  Her hopes are to one day become a writer for a sitcom with a memorable theme song featuring a strong bass guitar.

The Automat is a fictional story exploring the dark side of human nature and the innate desire of being loved. It is a story of unexpected change in the routine of one’s simple life, of obsession, guilt, and the consequences of betrayal. The Automat will appeal to readers of literary fiction with dark undertones.
The Automat is a story of Horace Gray, a dispirited introvert, who takes notice of a mysterious set of eyes that stare at him from behind the Automat wall. Horace sets out on his own adventure to meet the woman behind the automat wall, and ultimately understand her motives. He soon finds himself obsessed with his new pursuit as everything else around him becomes inconsequential.

You can buy her book here:

Amazon for Kindle and paperback. (paperback)

Barnes and Nobles for Nook

Sony eReader


Apple Bookstore

You can also download it directly from

Learn more about Cristina Martin here:



Twitter: hornandhardart



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