When I found the books of Gail Z. Martin, they were actually the ones of her alter Ego, Morgan Brice. After finishing everything Brice wrote, I ventured further into her world with her Deadly Curiosities series. I have not looked back. I have not made it through all of her back list, but I am working on it. She writes a little science fiction, a lot of fantasy, and some pretty great paranormal as well. Her Morgan Brice Witchbane series pays homage to the ever-popular demon hunting show Supernatural. In short, she has something for everyone.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Martin in the waning hours of Dragon Con 2019 to talk about one of my favorite topics, books.
Daily Dragon (DD): Which of your storylines was your favorite to write?
Gail Z. Martin (GZM): You know that is hard because it is a lot like asking me which of my kids is my favorite. Well, Chronicles of the Necromancer was the first. So, it is always going to special because it is first.
The Summoner is the book that I worked on for 20 years before it came out. So when I started writing The Summoner, I was the same age as Tris Drake who was 19 in the book. I wasn’t that age 20 years later when it came out. So that will always be really special to me.
I’ll be coming back to the world of The Chronicle of the Necromancer next year with the Legacy of the Necromancer. Which is a whole new series that picks up 17 years after the end of the Dred. So it will still have Tris, and John Marc, and all the main characters. It is not just “oh and here are their kids” Their kids will play a role because… saving the world never goes unpunished… so that’s one of my favorites.
DD: How is the process different when you co-author with Larry N Martin versus when you solo?
GZM: My co-author is my husband so that makes some things pretty easy. We usually sit down and brainstorm the characters, and the magic, and the world building, and the plot. That is often done on long 12-hour car rides. I often lay down the first draft, then I send it across the house to him and he changes things, adjusts things, finesses things, and we swap it back and forth until we are happy with it. It is a pretty seamless process and it is not really all that different from the way we do all the books.
The name on the cover is very much a branding issue. Some sub-genres work better under his name, some work better under mine, some work for both of us. And then of course there is my Morgan Brice name, which is a whole different set of things.
DD: You have been writing mainstream paranormal and urban fantasy for many years. You recently ventured into realm of adding romance to your already solid fantasy roots. How is the process different?
GZM: There have been hints of romance in most of my books. There are definitely significant romances, at least 3 or 4, in The Chronicle of the Necromancer series. There are at least 2 in The Ascendant Kingdoms. And Teague and Anthony have been a long-time couple in The Deadly Curiosities series.
If I had to kind of break it down almost by percentages, I would say that those books are 95% action/adventure and 5% romance because you can’t fight romance all the time. The romance is there, and it is important, but it isn’t the main focus of the story.
With Morgan Brice, I started really reading male/male paranormal romance, and with reading the writer brain kicks in and says “I want in on this. I want to play in this sand box”. I would say that the Morgan Brice stuff is more 50% action/adventure and 50% romance. Because they have a solid urban fantasy plot. The romance is also on screen. It is explicit. The internal feelings and dialogue are much more on screen… I am just having fun with it. Anytime I get to switch genres or switch up the style it makes it fun for me. I think that keeps it all fresh keeps me on my toes.
Certainly, what I learned about writing fight scenes, action/adventure, and magic from writing the Gail stuff carries over well to those elements in the Morgan stuff. I do notice that some of the different ways of dealing with characterization, internal dialogue and all that do make a difference.
DD: If you could write a story in the universe of one of your favorite series from another author, what would it be?
GZM: Probably Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar. I just love that series… Her stuff is wonderful.
DD: If you could have one of your favorite literary characters visit your Deadly Curiosities world who would it be?
GZM: I joke around with one of my friends on the male/male romance side, Pandora Pine. She writes the Cold Case Psychic and she writes the ghost series now with Jude and Cope doing the ghost detectives. I always joke with her that Simon and Vic need to go out on a double date with Ten and Ronan. So they can complain about their partners to the other person.
DD: If Simon from Badlands visited Dragon Con what is the first thing he would want to do?
GZM: I think Simon would be fascinated as an academic, just kind of walking around watching everybody. He would get his geek on, because he is totally a geek boy. He would gravitate toward the psychic and the Victorian death customs panel. There was also a panel on psychics and the Fox sisters. He may enjoy that. I think he would just enjoy being in the geekdom.
DD: If Cassidy were to be on a panel at Dragon Con what panel would she be on?
GZM: How not to buy cursed objects when you go to an antique store. Things you probably should not pick up at a second-hand store. How not to get hexed at a flea market. You know, those kinds of things.
I grew up getting dragged to all kinds of antique shops, second-hand stores, and flea markets. I used to amuse myself by walking around making up stories about objects I didn’t know what they were. And there is some weird stuff that shows up. There are things that you look at and go “I don’t think it would be a good idea to take that home”.
DD: Who would your characters cosplay at Dragon Con?
GZM: I think Seth and Evan would find it deeply ironic to cosplay Sam and Dean. They would find that to be an in joke.
Wow. That is a really good question. I haven’t thought a whole lot about of some of that. So now you have given me something I need to build out in some of the books–what some of their fandoms are.
Shane and Lucas in the Wasteland Marshalls series. That is our near-future post-apocalyptic series. The first novella just came out from Falstaff books. That is one of the things they have saved through the end of the world are their role-playing games. They used to use them to kill time. They carry them around in their saddlebags. A vestige of the life they used to lead.
DD: What do you have coming up?
GZM: I’m going to be in a collection that (Daily Dragon’s) Nancy Northcott is putting together along with Jeanne Adams, Anna Sugden, Caren Crane, Donna MacMeans, and Seressia Glass called Christmas at Caynham Castle. It will be out by Christmas. They are all novella length stories set in a castle set in the ruins of Ludlow Castle. Teague and Anthony from Deadly Curiosities.
The fourth Deadly Curiosities novel, Inheritance, will be out in late September.
Flame and Ash, which is the third Witchbane full length novel.
Then there will be the next Night Vigil novel, Charron, which will be coming out later in the fall. The second Iron & Blood novel, long overdue, Spark of Destiny, which will hopefully be out later this year.
I’ve been working on the next Badlands novel and Peacemaker which will be the first in a new Morgan Brice series Sharps in Springfield. It is a crossover into our Storm & Fury and Iron & Blood steampunk series with two guys who are agents for the supernatural secret service. Think the old Wild Wild West tv show if Jim and Arty were together.
So, there is lots of good stuff coming up.