Martin Lake is an author who would like to live in ye olden days. As he can't, he writes about it.
How do you strike the
balance between writing something you want to write and writing something that
people want to read, in terms of the compromises you make, if any?
write about what fascinates me. I can't
be that unusual in my tastes and hope that other people will like the sort of
thing that I love to write about. I
don't think I could sustain a whole novel if I was not engrossed by the story
and intrigued by my characters. The only
compromise I make is to ensure that I don't overload my novels with unnecessary
historical information. I'm not sure
that this is a compromise, actually. I
think it makes good sense and is considerate to the reader.
What excites, attracts
or appeals to you about the genre(s) you write in.
have always loved fiction and history so it seemed an obvious and fruitful choice
to write in this genre. One of the
things I am most interested in is how people in the past could be both like and
unlike us. I'm sure that a Roman could
be an affectionate and kindly person while at the same time a follower of
gladiator fights. I also love helping
bring the past to life. I learnt a lot
of historical knowledge by reading stories. I also like the challenge of taking real
historical characters and filling out their characters and motives while
keeping them in a realistic setting with the real events they lived through. I try my utmost to keep to the facts as we
Do you have a box,
drawer, folder etc where you keep thoughts and ideas for future stories? Such
as names you have come across, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters - even if
you have no idea when you might use them?
don't but I love the idea of a box! I do
keep notebooks, quite a few of them, one in each of the many bags I carry. I get my best ideas when I'm alone in a café.
Not only by watching people and
listening to them but by having the feeling of being disengaged from the normal
concerns of life and free to delve into my imagination. I expect I also have a yearning to be some
19th century poet with a café next to my garret. I also use OneNote software as I can stuff
anything in that and use the search facility to find it when I've forgotten
where it is.
How much of you is in
your characters? Which of your characters is the you that you’d most like to be?
Or be with ?
wife tells me that I put a lot of myself in some of my characters. (The heroes, naturally.) I agree although I tend to put different
aspects of myself into different characters.
So, in my The Lost King series, the loyal and good-humoured side of me
goes into Godwin, any thoughtful and clever side I may hope I possess is
heightened and embroidered and goes into Athelstan. I'm not too sure that I'd like to be any of
my characters. The one that comes
closest would be Jack Dawkins, the Artful Dodger, as he begins to mature and
makes choices about life. He would be
great company as well. I'm constantly
surprised by Anna, the female lead in The Lost King so I'd like to spend time
Do you become so
wrapped up in your writing that your spouse wonders if they're married to you
or one of your characters?
think my wife would say yes. I can get completely engrossed and forget what
time it is. Lots of jobs I've promised
to do don't get done, I'm afraid. My
wife has recently started to edit my books so the shoe is sometimes on the
What type of book do
you like reading? Is it the same genre as you write?
alternate between history books and fiction. I guess my main reading matter now is
historical fiction although I have favourite mainstream authors who I also
read. My all time favourites are the
Flashman novels by George MacDonald Fraser.
What lengths do you go
to to convince us readers that your book has the X factor?
work really hard to make reading my books a pleasure. If I'm not stirred by it or it doesn't sound
right to me then why should a reader like it?
I suppose I should be better at marketing but to be honest I'd rather
spend my time working on my books.
How do you feel when a
reader points out the spelling mistake(s) you have made?
shake them by the hand if I could. I am
grateful when people email me to say there is a mistake. No matter how many times I read and re-read
my drafts typos and errors still slip through.
I feel I owe it to readers to have no mistakes. I have emailed writers quietly to let them
know errors I've found in their work and, like me, they are always grateful to
What do you like most
about visiting KUF?
love the sense of community and the enthusiasm for reading. I've discovered a lot of new books and new
authors as well. Perhaps the best thing,
however, is the real generosity of spirit from people. The advice and help I've had from people has
made my journey to self-publication much easier than it would have otherwise
What is on your near
writing the third novel in The Lost King series. I'm also editing a novel set in the Twelfth
Century Kingdom of Jerusalem. This was
inspired by when I watched Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven and did not believe
that commoners would have been knighted in order to defend the city. But they were. And it got me wondering
what happened to them afterwards. I aim
to publish this one before Book 3 of the Lost King.
Where can we find you
for more information?
blog is martinlakewriting.wordpress.com
and I am on Twitter @martinlake14. You
can also find me on KUF of course.