07:00:59 am on August 30, 2012 |
Meet Sarah Martinez
Senior Editor at Pink Fish Press where she edited the memoir, Stripping Down by Sheila Hageman. Sarah Martinez’s debut novel, Sex and Death in the American Novel has been accepted for publication by Booktrope.
Twitter: Sarah Martinez
What was your inspiration for your novel, Sex and Death in the American Novel?
A few things happened close to the same time. The first was that my father passed away in March of 2010. He suffered from a type of dementia, and about a week before his death he sent me away, with a shake of his head, and he wouldn’t let me feed him. I was heartbroken and began trying to sort through all my feelings about my relationship with him.
In the rational part of my mind, I believed that he should have whatever space he needed to pass on in his own way. I understood that he wanted to be alone. He was an introvert. It was right to respect that, and it was right for him to ask for what he needed in his final days. Still, the child in me couldn’t get over that he sent me away from him. So I was very angry with him and angry with myself for being angry with him and being so selfish. There were a lot of complicated emotions after my father died that I was trying to find a way to work through.
I was also writing very regularly and found out in June of that same year that one of the first people to officially believe in me as a writer committed suicide. Then two other writers I knew peripherally also took their lives, so somewhere in my goofy head was this fear that if I gave myself over to writing, editing, reading obsessively to become a better writer, all the things that seemed to matter, that I would somehow lose my mind and disappoint my family in the process. I was afraid, even while I understood this was not rational, that by becoming the type of writer I wanted to be that I would lose my sanity. The process sometimes makes me feel like I am going crazy anyway, when I follow my obsessions, collecting obscure books for research or listening to the same song over and over trying to access the emotion that it provokes in me. So there was one more thing that made no real sense that was nonetheless really bothering me.
The final thing was that I went to see a big name author at Benaroya Hall, a place that if you have been there to see a writer, you know makes even the very accessible and charming seem imposing, and I started trying to decide who I was going to be as a writer and if I wanted to be the type who gets all the big awards and respect or the kind who had fun and followed their own twisted sensibilities. I was intimidated by this writer, to put it mildly, and in my mind imagined this ten-foot-tall woman dressed up in a fuchsia dress stomping him to bits right there beneath those big windows and the Seattle skyline.
I was working with an agent on Whidbey Island that summer and went up one sunny Saturday to help teach a class. On the way back I got stuck in traffic on the ferry line. Lady GaGa’s Bad Romance was playing and it all came together pretty much at that second. All this angst, all this fear, and a good deal of anger as well, plus the concept of dance and music as a kind of salvation. I wanted to vent that, but have fun with it, make fun of myself and the whole discussion that seemed to be raging around me about whether women writers got as much respect as the men, whether erotica was literature, that sort of thing. I wanted to say so many things, and I also had a few emotions I wanted to express and it wasn’t until several drafts in that much of it made any real sense.
Was your novel birthed during NANOWRIMO?
Not really, the whole idea was pretty well formed though not written (no monkeys descended) by September, but it did come pouring out of me in November. I was actually working on another novel for half of the month and stopped mid-month to write Sex and Death. So really, I only had about two and a half weeks to write it. I made 50K just barely and then turned right around in December and rewrote the whole mess. Usually I wrote a novel in November and I put it away and go back to whatever project I had taken leave from for the month. This one was different; I couldn’t get it out of my head.
How long did it take you to complete your novel from first draft to last revisions?
I wrote the first draft in November 2010 and finished the last of the developmental edits with my publisher in June of 2012 so a bit over a year and a half.
Do you have a funny or frustrating moment during the writing process of your first book?
My first book was a very long Nano novel, it went over 90K. I was amazed that I could put that much down in one month. One of the more frustrating moments was being thoroughly caught up in writing a scene for that book and my three year old daughter came tearing around the corner in front of my office. She slipped on the granite flooring and began wailing outside my office door. I felt like I was physically detaching from where my mind was to switch back to mommy mode. It was painful, uncomfortable, and I felt guilty for not wanting to leave my desk while my child was in pain.
If you were to pick an actor to be Jasper in a movie adaptation who would it be? Someone very tall, slender and beautiful in that way only introverted male authors can be. Hopefully an actor that no one had ever heard of. If no one like that came forward I might suggest that guy who plays Dr. Spencer Reid on Criminal Minds…my husband loves that show.
I’m super excited about a novel set in Seattle and not to mention the fact that the main character Vivianna writes gay erotica for a living. It certainly is the spirit of the times all inked into your pages. I read the synopsis and was intrigued myself to pick it up and start reading.
This makes me happy. I hope you enjoy the book. I have been told that it is relevant to the times by another author I really respect and I am glad that strikes people. Since I started writing seriously a few years ago, and by that I mean tracking my hours, hiring sitters, attending conferences, following Priscilla Long all the way to Taos etc., I have wanted to do everything I could to reflect back to the world what I take in.
Could you describe your story in one sentence?
Oh, man I thought when I got the book contract I would never have to do that one line pitch again! How about this: Using quotes and references to classic erotic and literary icons, Sex and Death in the American Novel is on one level an unconventional romance and on another a discussion of the merits of erotic literature.
That wraps up another interview. Now go and rush off to pick yourself up a copy of Sex and Death in the American Novel available now on Amazon. Be sure to stop by and check out Sarah’s website or follow her on Twitter!
Twitter: Sarah Martinez
Sarah will also be featured on the following blogs who happen to also be writers in their own right.
Elena: Arc of a Writer: http://arcofawriter.blogspot.com/
Norelle: Seattle Wrote: http://seattlewrote.blogspot.com/
Until Next Time! Comment love is welcome!Advertisements