Posted by: Debrah Martin | August 25, 2014

Why did you do it? (part two)

All of us have a reason we write – excess imagination on my art perhaps, but also the fact that I read such brilliant writers when I was younger too. Continuing the theme of what set me to write Patchwork man in the first place:


cropped-eyes-header-cropped.jpgWhat other writers have influenced you?

As a child I steadily worked my way through the local library’s book shelves, starting with Enid Blyton, then onto Ruth Rendell, P.D. James, Patricia Cornwell via Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers and so on, until I reached Dan Brown –as everyone does. I also read thousands of other psychological and crime suspense novels in between. I love a good thriller, especially if it’s a brain teaser. Gone Girl was good too, but I worked the plot out about five chapters in, and that showed me how much the psychological thriller format eventually worms its way into your psyche. All that reading taught me how to write thriller plots, but my reading background is far wider.

I studied English Literature at university (a long time ago) and also developed a love of all kinds of genres – Shakespearean and Jacobean Revenge tragedy amongst them. If I took an overview, I can even see little traits of them in Patchwork Man, as well as the kind of moral twist there is in books such as Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird, which will always be one of my all-time favourites. It’s maybe also why I write in more than one genre. There is too much I love to read to stick to just one, and also too much to say in a lot of different ways!


How and when did you start writing?nanowrimo logo

My first foray into writing was a – terrible – children’s book I started writing in my twenties and abandoned almost immediately, apart from some of the illustrations I made at the time. (I also studied Fine Art). The next was many years later, just after my husband died and when I was looking for something to do which was still close to home. My daughters were still young and shell-shocked by the whole horrible experience of cancer – we all were. I joined a local adult education programme and wrote my first short story. It, too, was terrible, but I persevered and the next few were better. My older daughter – by then sixteen – introduced me to NaNoWriMo and I found I could break the 50,000 word barrier – if shakily. Then the writing bug bit properly. I wrote a somewhat controversial first novel about a transitioning transgender, published in 2013, and which I am now planning on re-releasing next year and settled down to write in earnest.

I realise now I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have had such wide-ranging life experiences, even though it may not have felt that way at the time, and it’s these I draw on to write. Writing is therapeutic and also fascinating. I wouldn’t ever dwell on the bad experiences – such as cancer – but they do open doors to explain the human character and the things about it that inspire bravery and cowardice, good and bad, love and hate.


What’s next for D.B. Martin?

The second part of the Patchwork series, Patchwork People, is being released at the end of September and I’m in the throes of writing the thirdFront cover Patchwork People - DBMartin and final part, Patchwork Pieces. This will be released in 2015.

I also write as Lily Stuart – THE teen detective. Lily is sixteen, irreverent, blunt, sarcastic, funny and vulnerable – like most teenagers. And I’m lucky to have the advantage of two extremely critical reviewers – my twenty year old and fifteen year old daughters – for the series. I knew it was going to work when my twenty year old took time out of university social life to ring me to say how much she was enjoying it. I nearly fainted! The first in the series is called Webs, and comes out 1st September 2014.

Finally, I’m delighted to have signed with A for Authors and they are currently representing me for all my work, including my more serious literary fiction – of which Falling Awake will be the first to be published. I was extremely flattered to have my style in Falling Awake likened to a cross between Audrey Niffenegger and Carlos Ruiz Zafon – whether that’s fair will remain to be seen!


What else do you do when you’re not writing?

I absolutely love writing so for me it’s no chore but when I’m not writing I tend to get roped into things, which probably makes me too much of a ‘yes’ woman. The most recent ‘rope-in’ is to be chair of the Wantage (not just Betjeman) Literary Festival – so named because Betjeman lived in my current home town. It’s a week-long feast of all things literary and literary related at the end of October each year, with a bit of fun involved too. For example, as we have a crime writing workshop being run by crime thriller bestsellers, MR Hall and William Ryan – the Guardian newspaper Master Class tutors – we are also having our own murder mystery dinner as part of the festival; bags I don’t get bumped off! We also have an interesting and eclectic mix of well-known names such as Kate Adie and Andy McNab speaking for us.

I moved to Oxfordshire only last year – a fresh start for myself and my daughters after a fairly unpleasant few years before and after their father’s death. So far I would rate Wantage one of the friendliest places I’ve lived, and am delighted I made the move. I love walking my dog in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside, playing badminton (badly), making stained glass art, dancing – any style – and already have a hectic social life spread between friends, local writing groups and the demands of my two daughters. Long may it remains so!

You can find the first page here: Books Go Social …

More next about POV and why I chose the fist person POV for Patchwork Man – even though I’m a woman!

For an interview or to receive a copy of Patchwork Man to review, please contact:


On Twitter@StorytellerDeb


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  1. I love it! ♥ And the pic at the top 😀

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