Please welcome Gail Z. Martin to The Qwillery as part of the Days of the Dead Blog Tour!
by Gail Z. Martin
How can you ever get writers' block when there's history? History is the ultimate reality show. It's the best gossip in the world.
Once you get past the pallid caricatures of historical figures presented in high school textbooks, you realize that the famed forebears who forged history were flawed, broken, selfish, pig-headed, inspired, visionary, brilliant, horny, bigoted, exceptional, obsessive hot messes, and that makes them fascinating.
Need a role model for your character? Ideas for political schemes? Plans to take over the world? History's got them all. Anything you can dream up has been done, and history is ready to dish the scoop and tell you all about the winners and the losers. Take something that happened in history, twist it a little, add magic or monsters, move it to a different geographic area, shift a pivotal outcome--and you've got the basis for a whole new series.
A caveat--history is often re-written by the winners, or they make certain their version of accounts survive and dominate. So it's key to also look for the holes in the narrative, because that's where people without power have been consciously erased by those who want to own and control the story. Ever wonder why the narratives we grew up with had few if any women, people of color, LGBT people? It's because their contributions were intentionally excised from the main narrative. Yet they definitely existed and did amazing things--and you can find this 'hidden history' through journals, letters and personal accounts.
Mining history has never been easier, thanks to the wealth of digitized records museums, archivists and individuals are bringing online on a daily basis--much of which is free to access. Photographs, letters, official documents, the census, maps, out of print books, newspaper articles--it's all there, and it's a wonder to behold. So many ideas in those yellowed pages!
When I get stymied by a plot point, I research. It might be Googling random ideas and seeing where it leads me, or following links in Wikipedia, or watching something on the History Channel. Inevitably, I find the perfect elements that I didn't even know I was looking for. It's magic--and so addictive. Sometimes I think writers write as an excuse to research. Time can get away from you so easily!
Then again, I was a history geek even before I became a writer. I'd still love history if I didn't write, but since I do, I find it to be my killer app, the Swiss Army knife of writing tools. You'll never run dry of ideas so long as you've got history!
My Days of the Dead blog tour runs through October 31 with brand new excerpts from upcoming books and recent short stories, interviews, guest blog posts, giveaways and more! Plus, I’ll be including extra excerpt links for my stories and for books by author friends of mine. You’ve got to visit the participating sites to get the goodies, just like Trick or Treat! Get all the details about my Days of the Dead blog tour here: http://bit.ly/2eC2pxP
Let me give a shout-out for #HoldOnToTheLight--100+ Sci-Fi/Fantasy authors blogging about their personal struggles with depression, PTSD, anxiety, suicide and self-harm, candid posts by some of your favorite authors on how mental health issues have impacted their lives and books. Read the stories, share the stories, change a life. Find out more at www.HoldOnToTheLight.com
Book swag is the new Trick-or-Treat! All of my guest blog posts have links to free excerpts—grab them all!
Gail Z. Martin is the author of Vendetta: A Deadly Curiosities Novel in her urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC (Solaris Books); Shadow and Flame the fourth and final book in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga (Orbit Books); The Shadowed Path (Solaris Books) and Iron and Blood a new Steampunk series (Solaris Books) co-authored with Larry N. Martin. A brand new epic fantasy series debuts from Solaris Books in 2017.
She is also author of Ice Forged, Reign of Ash and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen); The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) and the urban fantasy novel Deadly Curiosities. Gail writes three ebook series: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, The Deadly Curiosities Adventures and The Blaine McFadden Adventures. The Storm and Fury Adventures, steampunk stories set in the Iron & Blood world, are co-authored with Larry N. Martin.
Deadly Curiosities 2
Solaris, December 29, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 416 pages
The thrilling follow up to the urban fantasy series set in Charleston, South Carolina.
Someone very powerful is trying to destroy Sorren and everyone he cares about. That puts Cassidy, Teag and Trifles and Folly in the cross-hairs, against an unknown enemy with strong magic and significant resources. Sorren has spent centuries shutting down the plans of powerful immortals, dark warlocks and supernatural creatures, and now he’s got to figure out which of those many enemies is out to get him before they pick off his friends one by one and come after him to finish an immortal vendetta.
Shadow and Flame
The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga 4
Orbit, March 22, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 672 pages
From Gail Z. Martin, one of the most exciting writers of fantasy adventure, comes the fourth and final novel in the epic Ascendant Kingdoms Saga.
Blaine McFadden and his allies have brought magic back under mortal command and begun to restore order to the beleaguered kingdom of Donderath. Now, new perils and old enemies gather for a final reckoning. Foreign invaders, a legendary dark mage and vengeful immortals fight Blaine's battered forces for control of the continent, and Blaine's weary army is the only thing standing between a kingdom struggling to rise from the ashes and a descent into fury and darkness.
The Shadowed Path
A Jonmarc Vahanian Collection
Solaris, June 14, 2016
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
These are the untold tales of Jonmarc Vahanian, hero of Gail Z. Martin’s best-selling Chronicles of the Necromancer series.
Jonmarc Vahanian was just a blacksmith’s son in a small fishing village before raiders killed his family. Wounded and left for dead in the attack, Jonmarc tries to rebuild his life. But when a dangerous bargain with a shadowy stranger goes wrong, Jonmarc finds himself on the run, with nothing ahead but vengeance, and nothing behind him but blood.
Soldier. Fight slave. Smuggler. Warrior. Brigand lord. If you’ve met Jonmarc Vahanian in the Chronicles of the Necromancer and Fallen Kings Cycle books, you don’t really know him until you walk in his footsteps. This is the first segment of his journey.
Iron & Blood
A Jake Desmet Adventure 1
Solaris, July 7, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages
Adventure in New Pittsburgh...
New Pittsburgh, 1898 – a crucible of invention and intrigue. Born from the ashes of devastating fire, flood and earthquake, the city is ruled by the shadow government of The Oligarchy. In the swarming streets, people of a hundred nations drudge to feed the engines of progress, while in the abandoned tunnels beneath the city, supernatural creatures hide from the light, emerging only to feed.
Jake Desmet and Rick Brand travel the world to secure treasures and unusual items for the collections of wealthy patrons, accompanied by Jake’s cousin, Veronique LeClerque. But when their latest commission leads to Jake’s father’s murder, the three friends are drawn into a conspiracy where dark magic, industrial sabotage and the monsters that prey on the night will ultimately threaten not just New Pittsburgh, but the whole world.