Today I welcome brand new Crooked Cat author Adrian Martin, whose first novel, The Helland Reckoning, was published this summer. Welcome Adrian! As this is your first visit to my blog, would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi, Tim. Thank you for having me on your blog today, it’s great to be here. Please allow me to introduce myself; I am a horror writer and I live in Newquay, Cornwall with my wife and four children. Despite no longer being in my youth I am a full time student having returned to education last year, completing an Access course in English, Literature and Creative Writing, which is the equivalent to 3 A-Levels in 9 months and passing it with an overall Distinction grade. I start my Creative Writing degree in September at Falmouth University, which I am looking forward to.
And about your novel, The Helland Reckoning.
My debut novel, The Helland Reckoning has recently been released by Crooked Cat Publishing. It is a horror novel set in the heart of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. It is a desolate part of the country, but its moody character is a great setting for such a dark book. With its free roaming animals, barren rolling uncultivated fields and towering Tors, it could transport you back to a time before concrete jungles conquered the planet.
The novel is about Katie Tremain, a divorcee who wants to get away from her ex-husband and moves to the country with her twin daughters. When she arrives, one of her daughters, Sarah, goes missing. It is then a stranger arrives on her new doorstep wanting to help. His only condition is that there is to be no police involvement. Reluctantly, she accepts his help and they search for the missing girl. What they uncover is a history so torrid that Katie struggles to accept it.
What was your inspiration for the novel?
Helland is a real place in the middle of the moor and it was this tiny hamlet that was the inspiration for the novel. The story actually developed around the place rather than the other way around. There is nothing more than a few dwellings including a handful of houses, a couple of farms and a church here, but there was something about the place that has remained with me since I stayed there as a child. It is so small that it does not have a shop or pub. Despite it being the place that played a huge part in the development of the story, I was also reading a lot of Dean Koontz at the time and it was him who introduced me to the horror novel, more his earlier stuff than his latter writings. Until I discovered Koontz I was more interested in books such as Bravo Two Zero by Andy McNab and The One That Got Away by Chris Ryan. These are military books books, but had no bearing on my decision on joining the army. That came from cleaning toilets in a meat factory and telling my prick of a boss to stick his job so far up his ass it tickled his tonsils!
Do you have any further books on the stocks that you’d like to tell us about?
I am currently working on a few other projects, one still set on the horror genre, but another two away from the genre as I look to broaden my writing skills. Over the last year I have also written several short stories for my course, one of which I am really proud of about an old soldier who found friendship in a shell hole with an enemy soldier. I do enjoy writing short stories, and another of which is being turned into a full length as I feel it would do it more justice. I have currently written the first 10k words of it. I am looking forward to learning more about the art of creative writing so I can employ new devices within these novels to help me improve.
Your Crooked Cat page tells us that your introduction to writing was through poetry. Are you still writing poems?
I originally started writing in 1999 while serving in the British army, in particular on tour in Kosovo, when I started writing poetry. I suppose I used it as a form of escapism and self therapy at the time, so it meant I wasn’t bottling up what I saw. I would write about things around me and it also helped with being away from home. I have recently looked at the poems as I still have them. Although they make me cringe, it was something that helped me cope and get through.
I see you’re also a keen sportsman. Any sporting (or other) achievements/anecdotes you’d like to share?
Away from my writing most of my time is taken up with my family (4 kids can be quite time consuming) and the good thing about being a student is having the same holiday times as them. I still play football (11 a-side) and make the most of it before my knees wave a little white flag of surrender and no longer permit me to play. My wife comes to every game, and so do the kids, albeit it chained and gagged! I do have to travel a fair distance to play, but it is a club I have been involved with for several years and find myself condemned to eternity with. I do not really have many sporting achievements as I’ve never been that competitive where I have to win everything, but the one feat of endurance I am extremely proud of is completing the Nijmegen marches in Holland. I did this in 1998 and walked 105 miles in 4 days following the British Para’s walk in World War 2. The baking heat and concrete took its toll, but it was worth the pain.
What question would you have liked me to ask that I didn’t?
Have I achieved any dreams?
And what is the answer?
It was never a dream to join the army, I fell into that, as I did with so many other jobs, but when I started writing my dream was finish my book and get it published, which after many years I have achieved. Another dream was to go back into education, which I have also obtained and particularly in a subject I feel so passionate about and in a career direction of my own choice, rather than the lesser of two evils and letting life pass me by. Dreams can be achieved by passion, desire and damned hard work.
Thank you, Tim for having me on here today, it’s been a privilege and a great experience.
You’re very welcome, Adrian! Good look with your novel and thanks for those interesting answers.
Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/Adymartin177/
Universal link: myBook.to/HellandReckoning
What should have been a fresh start for Katie Tremain and her twin twelve year old daughters, (Sarah and Tegan) in the heart of the Cornish countryside, quickly turns to tragedy, when Sarah goes missing in the bleak and snowy surroundings of Bodmin Moor. There are no footprints surrounding the house from where he has gone missing, and no evidence of the girl.
Before the police arrive, delayed by the unpredicted snowfall, a stranger arrives claiming he wants to help find Sarah. Katie has never seen this man before, yet there seems something familiar about him, and Tegan appears to have a connection with him. He has one stipulation – No police. Why, what are his true motives?
A missing girl, a broken mother, a lonely sister and a stranger. Together they look for the missing girl, and Katie is shocked when the stranger’s true identity is revealed, and sickened when she finds out who has her daughter.
This supernatural horror takes a mother to face her worst nightmare.
Adrian lives just outside of Newquay, Cornwall with his wife, Lisa, and four children. He began writing while serving in the British Army, starting with poetry written on blueys (blue sheets of paper that fold into envelopes) as he was on a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. After leaving the army, he tried being a security guard, but found walking around the supermarket for fourteen hours a day somewhat monotonous, so decided to give long distance lorry driving a go. It was whilst doing this he began to pen “The Helland Reckoning”. The novel was inspired by the small hamlet of Helland, where Adrian stayed with a friend as a child. It had remained in his thoughts for many years, so it became the natural setting for the book. After five years of tramping around the U.K and Europe, he decided it was time to be home more, so began driving fuel tankers around Devon and Cornwall. After breaking his ankle playing football, Adrian was made redundant so set to work rewriting the manuscript. However, Adrian’s last job, working for a portaloo company (which was actually a lot of fun) made him want to chase his dream as a writer, so in September 2015 he returned to full time education studying English, literature and creative writing, achieving mainly distinction grades along the way. He begins a creative writing degree, at Falmouth University, Cornwall in September 2016. His hobbies include spending time with his family, writing, football, skiing, walking and Facebook! Feel free to hunt him down and chat.