Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?
After growing up in a teeny tiny small town in Washington State, I graduated high school and immediately escaped for the sun and palm trees of Los Angeles. But ten years later, tired of sun and palm trees and traffic, I traded all that in for the controlled chaos of New York City where I lived for another twenty. That being said, my life is pretty quiet. Just basically me, my laptop, and my two dogs. When it comes to writing in this genre, I, like most writers, tend to write what I like to read. Plus this story and this character kinda showed up and forced me to sit at the keyboard, and you just don't argue with that. :)
Please tell us about your latest release.
Martuk ... the Holy is my debut novel. It's about an immortal man living in modern-day Paris who, after being haunted -- sometimes violently -- by ghosts, both literally and from his past, decides to exorcise himself by revisiting the Why of who he is, warts and all. So, from the ancient city of Uruk one thousand years before Christ and the Priests in red and gold of the Temple to the madness of Jerusalem in first-century Palestine, we watch him strut and stumble, rise and fall, act with kindness and lash out with blood-thirsty vengeance, all while haunted by a Darkness that threatens to eat him alive.
Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?
The Wounded King, who Martuk meets in Uruk. He wasn't a difficult character to write, per se. He was just a heartbreaking character to write. I kept trying to bring light and life and happiness to him, but the situation he found himself in just wouldn't allow it. Granted, the revenge Martuk takes on those who hurt the King was delicious to write. But, still, I wish I could have brought a bit of hope to him. Now that I think about it, though, I did, in the end, crafting a wonderful Before Tale in his own book, The Wounded King, the first in The Martuk Series, an ongoing collection of short fiction based on Martuk ... the Holy. In that, I was able to create a King before his life was ruined.
Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?
Ah, Ruth and Jacob, who Martuk meets in first-century Jerusalem. They weren't planned, they kinda just showed up, and I let them do their thing and did my darndest to keep up. Those chapters, even if some of the situations were difficult, were incredibly easy to write.
Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?
I know enough to know that whatever plans I lay will definitely be up-ended by even better plans I stumble into while writing. So, it's good to have a fairly strong idea of what's going on the page as long as you don't get so tied to it that you refuse those new, better ideas you're inevitably going to have.
Did you find anything really interesting while researching this or another book?
In researching Martuk, it was fascinating to learn that, in first-century Palestine, there had been many, many messiahs before Jesus. He was, truly, one of many who arrived, whipped the crowds into a frenzy, and then died at the hands of the Jews in the Temple and the Romans. In researching the sequel, Martuk ... the Holy: Proseuche, which I'm now writing, I discovered that Christianity actually went to war with itself, a battle that raged from the 2nd to the 5th centuries. There were several reasons for it, but the fact of the matter is, the Christianity we know here in the West wasn't decided -- the What of what Christians eventually believed, I mean -- until the 4th and 5th centuries. It's really a fascinating story, in and of itself.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
Yep, and any writer who says he doesn't is lying. :) But I deal with it in several ways. I'll either write through it, knowing what's going on the page will be deleted 'cause it's horrible. Or I'll switch to writing a screenplay or a teleplay or another book. And if that fails, I'll go and play tennis or come in and cook a meal that takes a bit of concentration. Usually, in doing one of those, I'll find the ideas coming back and then I get impatient because I'm stuck playing tennis or making this damn elaborate meal! LOL
Do you have any weird writing quirks or rituals?
I can not write without music blaring into my headphones. Seriously, it's the only thing that shuts up my very vocal inner critic. And I also tend to finish the last page of the last edit and then, quite literally, immediately begin the next book. But I may begin it and then give it a rest. Still, I have to always start a new book the minute after I finish the old.
When did you consider yourself a writer?
When a friend of mine who's a producer in LA read my first screenplay and said it was surprisingly good. She's not known for giving out compliments, so it was kinda huge.
Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?
My dogs. Love 'em. I also play tennis and cook, sometimes, but my life really does revolve around either writing or doing research for writing or writing a new screenplay or TV show or whatever. It's what I love to do and I'm so very lucky it's the thing I get to devote my days to.
What can readers expect next from you?
As I mentioned, I'm writing Martuk ... the Holy: Proseuche, the sequel to Martuk ... the Holy, and that should be ready by the end of the year at the very latest. I'm also writing The Tall Priest, the fourth book in The Martuk Series, the collection of short fiction I also mentioned earlier.
Where can readers find you on the web?
I love being a wise ass on Twitter, so you're more than welcome to Follow me there at http://twitter.com/Jonathan_Winn Or you can check out my website where I post excerpts, thoughts, ramblings, etc and so on. And that's at http://martuktheholy.com
Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?
“So, you’re immortal.”
The scratching of her pen stopped, the scribbled thoughts ending with a flourish. A most unpleasant sound, this scratching. The sound of judgment. Of a probing curiosity which cut to the quick. Unanswerable questions on my part coupled with a growing, quietly mocking disbelief on hers.
I was grateful for this pocket of silence.
She tossed the hair from her eyes and watched me with professional patience, legs crossed, her stiletto-clad foot dangling, the tip of her crimson pen resting against her claret-colored lips.
This was always a difficult moment.
“And how do you know you’re immortal, Mar. … “ She hesitated over my name, searching for it on her pad.
“Martuk,” I interrupted. “Just Martuk,” pronouncing this attempt at anonymity as in “too”. Or “two” with a hard “k” at the end. Martuk.
Her eyebrows arched as she waited.
“I just do."
“I see. Have you tried killing yourself?”
“And how recently is not recently?” she asked, her pen mauling the pad with her thoughts.
I shrugged the question away and stared at my shoes, unwilling to count the hundreds of years since sharp steel pierced willing skin. All those tiresome, predictable failures. Cuts filled with glistening red before the flesh closed, the scars disappearing moments later.
“It’s pointless. I can’t die.”
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Bookworm Babblings –
Martuk ... the Holy
Genre: Horror, Literary Horror
Number of pages: 446
Word Count: 89,000
Cover Artist: Timothy Burch
In a crowded Left Bank cafe, an immortal man sits, the phantoms crawling near, the heat of their whispers stinging his cheek ...
and Martuk ... The Holy begins.
One thousand years before the birth of Christ, a golden god damns Martuk with a kiss. In a land ruled by a wounded king, life everlasting steals his mortality from the bottom of a golden cup. Finally, generations later, a Messiah who has the power to heal breaks under the weight of Martuk's demons, stumbling to his death defeated by darkness.
From his home in modern Paris, he writes, his memories lush, his words evocative. Revisiting his impossible life, he vents his rage and shares his loneliness. From bloody battles with a demon he cannot escape to the ghost of a beauty who haunts him still, this is his story.
This is Martuk ... The Holy.
About the Author:
Screenwriter, playwright, actor, and now award-winning author, Jonathan Winn was born in Seattle, WA, and currently divides his time between the East and West coasts. Martuk ... The Holy is his first book.
Blog - http://martuktheholy.com
Twitter - http://twitter.com/Jonathan_Winn
Facebook - http://facebook.com/MartukTheHoly