Martha Carr is an old school nerdette who loves magic, Star Trek, Star Wars, treasure hunts, DC comics, and hanging with her dogs and friends. She has written for the Washington Post, the New York Times, Politico, the Wall Street Journal, amongst other publications but is now into magic full time. Martha lives in her dream house in Austin, Texas, and is putting in a very badass garden in the backyard. Friends will always be welcome.
Author interview – Martha Carr
Hi Martha, thanks for joining me here! Could you please tell us when you started writing, and why?
I started writing in earnest at thirty years old with an infant and a fresh divorce. I’d already tried life the way everyone else wanted me to do it. It was time to listen to myself instead. I never looked back.
At what age did you take yourself seriously as a writer?
I took myself seriously from the moment I headed down the path because I had to. My family was so against it that if I hadn’t made up my mind that this is what I wanted, I would have quit early on. It’s what I wanted since I was five years old and finally, no one and nothing was taking it from me. Sometimes I hear people say, you can’t always be the thing you want in life. And I’m left thinking, well then in what life will you do that? Better to try and fail and try again, than never find out.
How long did it take you to write your first book?
Not long. It poured out of me. I’d get up in the middle of the night to go add more.
What was your last book about?
I’m all about the magic these days. Magic in a realistic setting—so urban fantasy and not fantasy. I love the idea that magic could be real and is all around us and that maybe inside of us is some kind of magic just trying to get out.
What are you working on right now?
I always have a few projects going at once. Right now, I’ve got Dwarf Bounty Hunter, which is all action and pretty funny and I’m on The Leira Chronicles book 12 with about five more to go.
What is your writing process like? Do you plot or do you just dive in? How many drafts do you go through before the work is final?
I use Scrivener and carefully plot out everything. It helps with creativity, time management, and adding in details for later so I don’t forget. I’ve been writing for over thirty years so I don’t have to rewrite so much. It’s more about fine tuning and there’s a lot of that.
What do you struggle with most as a writer?
Getting it out fast enough and still enjoying the ride.
What advice would you give to writers dealing with the same or similar struggle?
Check in with yourself regularly and ask if life circumstances or goals have changed. Are you still having fun? What really matters to you? Those answers generally help me get back on track.
I actually added that quote of yours to my vision board after hearing you speak at the 2019 20Booksto50K Edinburgh conference, Am I having any fun? It’s a real struggle for me as well. Have you always had that same struggle or has it changed over time?
I started out as a journalist and so deadlines have always existed. Plus, until recently, money was always an issue and I was a single parent so if someone had a job for me, I took it. I got used to getting it all done at the expense of having hobbies. But, circumstances have changed and I’m catching up to them. It’s a really cool thing to be able to ask myself, What do you want? instead of What do you need?
Do you prefer the term ‘writer’ or ‘author’, and why?
I’m fine with either one and both are accurate. I don’t define who I am by what I do so it doesn’t matter.
I like that! Who’s your favourite author?
That answer changes all the time. But Erik Larson is pretty consistent as well as Stephen King.
What’s your favourite book?
The Grapes of Wrath or The Scarlet Letter (which was feminism before that had a word).
What’s your favourite book on the craft?
Dreyer’s English by Benjamin Dreyer. I learned how to write by writing articles for newspapers. It was the best experience. Constant editing by very talented people who kept changing on a lot of different topics. It trained me on how to say something with fewer words that was captivating. Plus, you get paid something while you’re doing it.
What’s the best writing advice you were ever given?
Just keep going.