Back in September I gave an interview to my friend, Mostafa Ragab, for his online magazine Vigilante 360. Here’s a transcript of the chat
Meet Martin White, Author of Club Medusa the new exciting dark thriller Novel Released on 28th May 2020.
-Now, Martin, I understand your novel is a printed book and ebook. Tell us more about yourself and your book.
I’ve been writing on and off for years, way back to the days when the rite of passage was gathering enough rejection letters to wallpaper your flat – yep, been there! I had a change of career a couple of years ago and now spend all my working time between music and writing. Club Medusa is my first book, the first in a short series. It’s a dark thriller set in our ordinary world which eventually veers into horror. It’s about two fairly ordinary guys dealing with their own problems who decide to go out for a night on the town to reminisce and have a few beers. Of course, trouble finds them and they end up running for their lives – but just when they think things couldn’t get any worse, they discover an underside of Edinburgh that’s more terrifying than anything they could ever imagine.
-What inspired you to write this book?
Combination of a few things. Firstly, my love of Edinburgh’s Old Town with all its closes, passageways and hidden underground streets – also my fondness for putting ordinary and flawed characters into bad situation – and then making everything worse (just like real life). Also, my constant amazement at what some people will do to others just because they can. We’re a pretty awful species when it comes down to it – who needs to dream up monsters when we have humans?
-What was the main challenge you faced when creating your book?
There were more than a few! Time, life, kids and shift work over many years are mostly to blame. I originally wrote a basic ‘demo’ of the story about 20 years ago but back then it was part of a bigger compendium of tales that I was determined not to separate. Eventually I decided this one was good enough to stand on its own so I gave it a full standalone rewrite – which really brought home the way our lives have changed in the past 20 years. Nowadays who could imagine a world without Googlemaps or smartphones? Thankfully all those things presented themselves as plot opportunities…
-How do you stand out from your competition?
That’s a tough one. I don’t really see writing as being competitive – other than competing against myself in trying to make everything the best I can. What I can say is that after 30 years as a police officer with most of that time spent on the front line, I’ve seen more than my share of bad situations and real life horror to be able to write about that kind of situation authentically. I’d also like to think there’s more to what I write than just the story. In Club Medusa, if you care to look then you’ll find themes of oppression, abandonment of the vulnerable by those who shrug their responsibilities and ultimately, massive abuse of power. If you look below the surface there is also some political allegory, as well as (I hope) a good page turning adventure too.
-Are you a huge reader yourself? And what do you usually read? Any favorites?
I certainly used to be. In my teens I devoured everything I could get my hands on – my parents were strict when it came to watching ‘adult’ stuff on TV but neither of them were much into books, so I was pretty safe reading, as they wouldn’t know much beyond what they could see on the back blurb. I think I managed to read all the James Herbert books without them knowing anything about the horror, sex and violence inside! Through the years as dull adult stuff has increased, my reading time has definitely decreased – but I still try to read what I can. My favourite type of book is one where the author can make me believe otherworldly things are happing in our ordinary world. Clive Barker’s early books are all like that and to a certain extent James Herbert’s too. I am also a Stephen King fan (though I’m in the ‘damn, he needs an editor that scares him’ camp) and Mark Z Danielewski’s House of Leaves was an amazing piece of work. I could veer off into namechecking all the books I’ve loved over the years but I better stop there!
-Tell us, what is your next step as an author?
There’s always ‘non-writing’ writing stuff to be done – marketing, networking and trying to think of ways to promote Club Med, so I’m always doing that. I’m also deeply into the sequel – it’s a much bigger book that kicks in straight after the end of the first story. It was fun trying to work out how to bring everyone back after the big finish of the first and work out how their motivations and baggage might have altered after club night one. I also have a fairly bonkers young adult book in second draft, a second sequel to Club Med in the planning stage and at least another three books lined up after that. No, I never get bored…
-Do you have any tips or advice for other aspiring indie authors?
Mostly just to write and keep writing; keep it all churning around in your head. Sometimes you think you’ve written a great story and it’s done but then you have an amazing idea that turns everything upside down. Don’t be afraid to shake your story up if you think it would be better for it. Also, find and trust in your Beta Readers – they’re invaluable. And edit like a crazy person – if you can afford it, get a professional editor on the job. Most writers are probably good editors themselves by nature, but when you’ve written a story and you know everything about its intricacies, it can give you a false sense of understanding when you’re reading it back. A good editor will point out the unnecessary bits, the bits that don’t work and all the bits that (regardless of how fond of them the author might be) simply aren’t necessary.
-Is there anything else you would like to add?
Just that it’s a lot more work than you think. Everywhere on writing forums you see the mantra ‘Anyone can publish anything on Amazon for free’, and to a certain extent that’s true. However, conceiving and writing an engaging story is one thing, but when you have to market it, design and make decisions on the cover, format it, keep it consistently in people’s minds and still make it sound fresh and original to you – it’s all pretty exhausting. However, when it gets to the point when you see your book out in the real world and people are buying it and giving it five-star reviews – that’s when it’s all worth it.
That’s awesome, thank you Martin for those great insights! We all wish you the best of luck, and we look forward to seeing your next piece of work.
Club Medusa is available now on Amazon worldwide at only £2.99 for the ebook, £4.99 for the paperback check it out: