Bookpleasures.com welcomes as our guest today, Mary E. Martin. Mary received an Honors degree in History from the University of Toronto in 1968, and in 1972, earned a law degree from Queens University. From 1973- 2000, she practiced estate and real estate law in Toronto. Married in 1973, she and her husband continue to live in Toronto, where they raised their three children. In 2012, she became the grandmother of two gorgeous grandchildren.
In 2001, Martin retired from practicing law to become a full time writer and photographer. As a photographer she has six shows to her credit. As an author she has published two trilogies, The Osgoode Trilogy and The Trilogy of Remembrance, which have earned awards and much critical acclaim. Through her website, she is very active in social media. Her popularity has grown with readers through internet promotion activities and as a blogger.
Martin’s literary accomplishments include: The Osgoode Trilogy—legal suspense about murder and fraud amidst love and compassion. [Conduct in Question, Final Paradox and A Trial of One.]
The Trilogy of Remembrance—literary suspense about a landscape artist, seeking his muse through the shadows and glitter of the art world. [The Drawing Lesson, The Fate of Pryde and Night Crossing.]
At the moment, she is contemplating a fourth novel to be added to The Trilogy of Remembrance.
On her blog she writes about creativity, Jungian thought, the work of the mythologist Joseph Campbell and any and all of the arts. She believes the internet presents authors with a great opportunity to expand the range of story-telling. Consequently, she sometimes turns her blog over to characters who now tell their own stories in their own way.
Norm: Good day Mary and thanks for participating in our interview.
Mary: Thanks Norm. It’s great to be back here.
Norm: Where do you see book publishing going?
Mary:We are involved in a huge transformation of the publishing industry. When I published my first novel, Conduct in Question, the first in The Osgoode Trilogy, in 2005, changes were well underway. Authors were beginning to self-publish through various non-traditional publishing companies. Now, ten years later, a writer can publish his or her work easily on the internet. During that time, a huge number of platforms have developed along with social media and now a writer can promote his or her own work. But that’s no easy task! The market may have opened up to writers but it is now so huge that he or she has real trouble finding a voice. It’s a bit like being a drop of water in the ocean. So what lies ahead? I think we’ll see over the next few years that people are becoming more adept at using social media effectively to get their message out. Right now, it’s a bit like the wild-west.
Norm: Why do we read fiction?
Mary: I think that story-telling is very much at the root of our human nature. We tell story to entertain, to teach and to hand down traditions. Personally, I like to read fiction because it gives me the opportunity to experience different lives perhaps far different from my own. It’s a way of expanding and making our lives richer. Besides it’s fun.
Norm: What's the biggest mistake you've made as a writer?
Mary: Probably not starting writing sooner! I didn’t start until my mid to late forties when I was practicing law and raising a family. But I’m not convinced it would have worked out too well had I started earlier. I think my years of law practice were important because it gave me a real window on humanity and gave me inspiration for stories. It may well have worked out for the best as it did.
Norm: Which of your characters would you most like to have a drink with?
Mary: Actually there are two men:
Harry Jenkins, the protagonist of The Osgoode Trilogy. He’s the Toronto lawyer who has to deal with murder, fraud and deceit. Along the way, he surprisingly finds love, forgiveness and compassion. At first, he seems an unlikely hero—a man who is trapped under his partner’s thumb and is locked in a dead marriage. When his partner suddenly drops dead at his feet in the office, Harry is free to make his own mistakes—and he does! I’ve found that I may have created the “ideal” man because women who have read the trilogy love him.
And then there is Alexander Wainwright, Britain’s finest landscape artist and the protagonist of The Trilogy of Remembrance. It was hard at first to get to know Alex but he was so intriguing to me that I was determined to get him out on the page. By nature, Alex is a rather private individual who is very focused on searching for his muse, his light and inspiration. I’ve given Alex some BIG questions to explore such as—what kind of universe do we inhabit? Is it random with no particular meaning or is it filled with mysterious secret forces which we don’t yet understand.
Actually both these men are pretty interesting, but I think Alex has more depth and so I am contemplating turning The Trilogy of Remembrance into a quartet.
Norm: Are you a plot or
character writer and could you tell us more about the Two Trilogies?
Mary: I would call myself an “organic” writer in the sense that I start with the idea of a character, a situation, or with a theme and see what happens. Hopefully with some ideas about the people and questions they raise, it will start to grow on its own if I pay proper attention. I do not make a plot outline but I do make a sort of scroll on which I keep track of where I’ve been with the story so I don’t get entirely lost.
ABOUT THE TWO TRILOGIES.
The Osgoode Trilogy: By now, you know a little about Harry Jenkins. Now I’ll tell you a bit of what happens in the trilogy. In the first, Conduct in Question, Harry is the first to learn the identity of a serial killer dubbed the Florist. But there’s much more going on than that. There’s a plot about undue influence upon an elderly testator, abuse of a child in the church, money laundering and land grabs. But one story line runs through the trilogy. An elderly lady, Norma Dinnick appears. Is she a vulnerable old lady in need of
Harry’s protection or is she the master mind of a decades old fraud. It’s up to Harry to find out.
The Trilogy of Remembrance: We’re in an entirely new world—the glitter and shadow of the art world of art with Alexander Wainwright. Alex is in constant search of his muse and his need for inspiration and his love of artistic creation drives the trilogy. Rinaldo, a conceptual artist, is his friend and nemesis who goads him on to greater stages in his art. In his search, you will follow Alex from London where he lives to Paris, the south of France, Venice, St. Petersburg and New York City. Everyone Alex meets gives him greater understanding of life and love. Everyone who meets him gains much from his magical sense of the world.
Norm: What helps you focus when you write?
Mary: I find that reading, in particular non-fiction, helps me focus on ideas which I need for my writing. As I said, I like to explore themes about what it means to be human and how we find meaning in life. I’m very interested in reading about all the arts, which is our finest expression of our humanity. Also, I read a lot written by the mythologist Joseph Campbell and the work of the psychiatrist, Carl Jung. All that reading helps me focus my mind on what sorts of situations I can create for Alexander Wainwright and my other characters.
Norm: Where can we find information about you and your books?
Mary: My Website
Norm: What is next for Mary E. Martin?
Mary: I’m thinking about
turning The Trilogy of Remembrance into a quartet. Throughout
the trilogy there has been a strange rivalry between Alexander
Wainwright and his “friend and nemesis” Rinaldo who is a
conceptual artist. In terms of personality, world view and their art,
these two men are polar opposites. I think they are fated to
collaborate in their art in the next story. That raises a lot of
fascinating questions such as what might be lost and what might be
gained in such a collaboration? Somehow I don’t think I’m
finished with these two characters.
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