Celia loves history, always has, and she loves to tell stories. So intertwining history and stories just seems to come natural to her. Her 17th century adventure romances take place in England and colonial America. Each book is a stand alone story. Doesn’t matter what order they are read in, but major characters in one book may reappear as minor characters in another book. The three primary families are the D’Arcys, the Lotterbys, and the Haywards, but they have many friends who have their stories as well.
Celia loves multiple characters because for her, they round out a story. In real life, we know many people, are involved with many people. In her stories, her major characters are involved with many minor characters. Besides, for her, minor characters are so much fun to write. And they just appear out of nowhere. When Celia starts a book, she has no idea who some of the characters are going to be or what role they will play. Such fun!
Ana: First, thank you for taking for letting me interviewing you today. I know how busy you are.
Celia, what do you do for a living?
I am a retired history teacher.
Ana: What was the trigger for choosing your job?
I love history, and I also liked having summers off to be able to travel and work on research for my writing.
Ana: Where do you get your ideas?
I have always had a vivid imagination and my brother and I and neighborhood friends played many make-believe games together. When I had to give up playing make-believe, I continued to tell myself stories. Eventually, I started writing some down. I still have so many stories in my head. I never have writer’s block. I just don’t have enough time to write all the stories. Besides writing, which is great fun, a lot of time is spent on proofing, and even more time on promoting.
Ana: What and Who inspires you?
If I had anyone inspiring me, it would be my mom who encouraged my reading, and my dad who was full of stories.
Ana: What message do you want to get across?
In my books my characters are caring people. Besides just the love of history and what life was like in a different time period, as well as fun adventures and sweet love stories, I would say I try to make empathy a major theme.
Ana: What is most challenging about what you do?
Book promoting. Because I am technologically challenged, I know I am not able to do as much promoting as I wish I knew how to do. Plus, right now, no book signings. That hurts. And I am having trouble getting people to do reviews.
Plus, I would dearly love to hear from readers, but none seem to contact me. I believe those who like history and like adventure and romance would really like my books, but I am having trouble reaching them.
Ana: Imagine you meet today yourself when you were just a child, what would you tell yourself-child?
Try to learn to be more media-savvy.
Ana: For you, what makes a great story?
I like history, but I like it to be accurate.
I like romance, but I’m not particularly into erotica. Not that I don’t write some love scenes with some sex involved, but I would say they are more romantic that sexual.
I like adventure, and I think my action scenes are very vivid. I like to be able to see the action in my mind when I am reading as I do when I am writing.
And I like mysteries, but not gory ones. Most of my villains are evil, but they are not necessarily evil just for the fun of it. I try to make them real and often with circumstances that have led them to their worst behavior.
Ana: What do you feel are the most relevant aspects of a successful story?
Holding the readers attention and having them care about the characters and what happens to them.
Ana: Tell us a story, an anecdote of your writing, presentation of your books (or whatever you would like to share).
As a teacher, what I loved to get across to my students was not so much dates and battles and well-known men of history, but how people of the past lived and the problems they faced. Just ordinary people.
We took people on wagon trains west. We made farms and forts and villages. We made colonial signs for our colonial businesses explaining what the business was with a picture or something on a sign, like a boot to designate a shoemaker, because a lot of people in the past could not read.
Anyway, the kinds of fun that I wanted my students to have is the kind of fun I want my readers to have when they read my books.
Ana: How did you find your writing style?
I always had my stories, but what made the biggest difference for me was the terrific writing group I was with for a number of years. They taught me more than I ever learned in writing classes that I took.
Ana: Has it changed over time?
Yes, thanks to my writing group and what I learned from them. I learned to see, hear, taste, and smell in my character’s point of view. My readers should be able to experience what my characters are seeing, hearing, etc.
Ana: What does it mean to be an author for you?
Having my first book, To Challenge Destiny, published was such a thrill. I carried it around with me and had to show it to everybody. Now, I have 5 published books, another due out in June, another hopefully in August, and more that I am working on. As I said, I have multiple stories in my head. Just have to get them out. Writing is so much fun.
So being an author means getting to share all my fun stories with other people.
Ana: Who do you admire? And why?
I admire a lot of people, but if you are asking about a specific author, I would say, Georgette Heyer. I loved her romances, her humor, her characters, and her multiple minor characters (which my books have).
I also read her more historical works. Heyer was very knowledgeable. She knew her history, and she could read Old English. I suppose Georgette Heyer had more influence on my writing than anyone else, though I also like the way Joan Wolfe writes.
Ana: Imagine you have two teleportation devices to travel through time, where will you place them and why?
I don’t know that I would want to leave the present. Diseases, lack of proper sanitation, poor transportation, no computers or electricity or good heating – I like to study the past and paint pictures of it with my words in my books, but I don’t want to go there. I am a cancer survivor. Wouldn’t be if I lived in the past. Nor do I want to go into the future. Right now, it is not looking too bright for the young people.
Ana: What could you not live without?
My husband and electricity.
Ana: Tell us about one secret passion.
That’s an easy one, I want more readers to discover my books. If they like history and they like romance and adventure, they are bound to like them.
Ana: Do you have any moving story that changed your mind, life, somehow, and you would like to share?
The most moving story in my life is when I married my husband. We are not only lovers, we are best friends. We love being together. I feel so blessed.
Ana: Finally, let us know about your last work. What’s new?
As I said, I have 5 published books. 17th century adventure romances with strong women heroines, lots of fun characters, and sweet love stories.
In June, my book, Fate Takes A Hand, will be released. It will be free on ebooks for the first two weeks it is out and then like my other books, it will be 99 cents throughout the summer. The story is a fun romance, with some cute kids, a terrific dog, and a lot of fun minor characters.
Ana: Thank you, Celia, for this amazing interview.
For those wishing to find out more about Celia Martin and her books, check out the following link: