Author Interview: S. Alex Martin

Tell us a little about yourself first.
I am 21 years old and I have written four novels over the last ten years. I attended college in Pittsburgh, PA, and I am a coffee-holic. My latest YA science-fiction novel, Embassy, is being released on January 14, 2014, through Amazon and other major retailers.

Who or what has had the most influence on you as a writer?
I’d have to say Christopher Paolini, who wrote the Inheritance Cycle, had the most influence on me. He’s the reason I started writing when I was eleven years old, and his personal story really shows that you can create your dream as long as you work hard and stay active with it.

Do you base events or people in your books off of your life, or your friends' and family's lives?
Embassy didn’t start out as the emotional story that it is today. It was much more plot-driven rather than character-driven, but it changed as I realized the story I wanted to tell. In some ways, it reflects the change I’ve undergone between January 2013 and December 2013, and truly is a story about taking control of your life after you’ve hit rock bottom. I definitely would not be the person I am today had I not written Embassy.

What is your writing process? Do you write regularly at certain times or just when inspiration hits?
When I’m in the writing and editing stages, I write every single day, no questions asked. I like to say I wrote the first draft of Embassy in ten days. That’s only partially true. I already had three chapters written, but I hadn’t touched them in months. Then, January 5-14, 2013, I sat down and wrote the rest. It took ten days to write a little more than 100,000 words (and it’s not something I’d do again). I would wake up at 7 a.m., be to Starbucks by 8 a.m., and write until 11 p.m. with minimal breaks.

As for editing, that schedule varied. While editing the second draft, I sat down in Starbucks for seven hours a day, 70 days in a row. The third draft I did on a computer in the span of a month, just cleaning some things up. The fourth draft took the longest, May-September 2013, and had the most random schedule. The fifth draft took 2.5 months of consecutive five-hour revising days, and the sixth draft took three weeks of eight-hour days.

I kept a running total of the hours and days I wrote. Between January 5, 2013, and December 21, 2013, I logged 3,016 hours, missing only 22 days. That’s more than I slept in that same timespan. So yeah, my writing schedule is pretty strict.

What is your book about? Target age range?
Embassy tells the story of Arman Lance, a twenty-year-old guy who falls in love with Ladia Purnell, a girl from a different planet. After spending one summer together, Arman promises he’ll join the Embassy Program so that he can travel across the galaxy to find her again. But over the next four years, Arman sinks
into mental isolation and depression. He finally joins the Embassy, and his journey begins. He explores the inner-workings of the program, competes in a sport called Hologis, and flies military vehicles called Molters. Then he embarks on the expedition to Ladia’s planet. Along the way, and with the help of a fellow Recruit named Glacia Haverns, Arman realizes how his love of Ladia is nothing more than an obsession. From that point on, he works to come to terms with his life and find happiness in himself again.

This story is for the older YA audience, because it follows a character who’s dealing with the years associated with darker internal conflict.

Are you planning any other books?
Embassy is Book One of four in the Recovery Cycle. No pun intended!

Who is your favorite character in your book? Why?
Glacia Haverns. She’s an adrenaline junkie and loves making the most out of life. She has her flaws and backstories that she suppresses on purpose because she doesn’t like thinking about the negative things. She’d probably be fun to hang out with, but could get overwhelming at points.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Tell a story. Don’t line up events and hope they’ll fall into place. Revising means knowing when to switch parts around, delete parts, and add parts. Do this effectively and the story will take its own shape.

Where can I find you online?
Website and blog:
Twitter: @SalexM23
Also find me on Goodreads!

Thank you so much for being my guest today!


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