Interview with Author J.C. Martin

If you’ve ever wondered to yourself if Twitter is worth the time and effort, I have good news. Thanks to my trawling around the land o tweets, I happily stumbled upon writer J.C. Martin and picked up a copy of her story, The Doll. I became an instant fan. Luckily, she agreed to be interviewed for this old blog and chain. J.C. is so cool, she also interviewed me for her blog and has a giveaway for my book as well. So, thanks to Twitter, two complete strangers have become friends, at least in this nutty online world.

J.C. Martin has some pretty finely tuned writing chops and has made whole books available for free on her website. You can’t beat that with a stick with a nail on the end. My one piece of advice for you, the reader: get on the bandwagon now, while there’s still room.

1.       Your story, The Doll, just blew me away. It’s set on the very real Island of Dolls in Mexico. What inspired you to write The Doll and have you ever been to that creepy island?
Sadly, I’ve never had the chance (yet) to visit Mexico. I discovered the Island of the Dolls while researching backdrops for a planned collection of short horror stories. Initially, I was thinking along the lines of a geographic theme for the anthology: terror across the globe, or something like that. I Googled “scariest places in the world,” and the Island of the Dolls (unsurprisingly) popped up repeatedly. There were some pretty gruesome and atmospheric photos of the dolls, and because I’ve recently read about the South American religion of Santeria, and its darker cousin, Palo Mayombe, the idea of a cursed doll crafted from black magic came to me naturally!
And if you are wondering, yes, I am still working on said horror story collection, which is why I released The Doll as a teaser, and as a way to gauge response.
2.       I see that you speak 3 languages. Is there one language that is easier for you to write in, or does it not matter since you’re so fluent in all? 
Heavens, I wish! I am by far most fluent in English. My grasp on the other languages have deteriorated from lack of use. I can still read, speak and understand most stuff OK in Chinese and Malay, but I probably have a writing age of about 6 in them!
And I always like to boast that, although they are technically not different languages, I can speak four Chinese dialects: Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka and Hokkien. 🙂
3.       The Doll is very much a horror story, but you also write in other genres. Which is your absolute favorite to write in, and which is your favorite to read?
I don’t start out a story by pigeon-holing them into a genre, but oddly most of my short stories evolve into horror. A handful are more general, or literary, fiction. For longer works, both my novels — one I’m actively querying, and one I’m currently plotting — are crime fiction, but definitely dark crime fiction.
4.       When  you’re not writing, you also teach martial arts. What school of martial arts do you teach and what level are you at? Does the discipline you have to master in martial arts help you with your writing? How so?
I teach Wing Chun kung fu, a traditional Chinese martial art, as a 2nd Degree (equivalent to a 2nd Dan black belt). The discipline, perseverance and focus mastered in Wing Chun definitely helps keep my butt in the chair and my eyes on the computer screen (I have a full interview on my martial arts experiences and how they influence my writing HERE). Furthermore, it’s been immensely useful when writing fight scenes! I can be my own fight choreographer! (I’ve also written a post on writing action scenes HERE.)
5.       What’s your favorite movie, book and song?
Movie – Kung Fu Panda! 1 AND 2! Combines my love of kung fu and cuddly animals with my love for a good storyline! (not the most obvious choice for a dark fiction writer, I know!)
Book – This is difficult. I have loads, but one that really stood out for me: one is Boris Starling’s Messiah. It was the first crime novel that blew me away, not just with an intricate plot, but tightly paced writing that kept me going and going. The final revelation made me go “OMG!”, and it is now the gold standard of crime fiction I aspire to.
Song – I’m a sucker for Disney music, but my current favourite is In This Life by the late Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, whose awesome music I’ve just discovered. We played this for our first dance, at our wedding in August. 🙂
6.       Tell us a little about what you’re currently working on. 
Apart from the short story collection now tentatively titled Everyday Horrors, I’m planning my crime novel currently called Labyirinth, in which I hope to capture the spookiness of the old, disused stations of the London Underground.
7.       If you could live anywhere in the world and be anything you want, where and what would you be?
I would be a full-time writer (what else?) working from my beach house, on an idyllic Malaysian island overlooking the Andaman Sea.
8.       Mind telling the world a little something that most people don’t know about you?

I have pretty severe trypanophobia, and have not had a needle pierce my skin for over 7 years now. Seriously, when the doctor took my blood pressure once before drawing blood for a blood test, he wondered if I had hypertension, in my late teens! When he took it again after blood was drawn, my b.p. returned to normal.
I have refused travel vaccinations, blood tests, and a jab for the swine ‘flu that hit the UK a couple of years back. I ended up catching the ‘flu, but it was well worth not having the injection!

To learn more about J.C., visit her website at

Need more horror? Click here.

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About Hunter Shea

Hunter Shea is the product of a misspent childhood watching scary movies, reading forbidden books and wishing Bigfoot would walk past his house. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. Hunter’s novels can even be found on display at the International Cryptozoology Museum. His video podcast, Monster Men, is one of the most watched horror podcasts in the world. You’ll also find him every week on the Final Guys podcast, available everywhere. He’s a bestselling author of over 30 books, all of them written with the express desire to quicken heartbeats and make spines tingle. Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to gobble down Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits.

8 responses to “Interview with Author J.C. Martin”

  1. J.C. Martin says :

    Thank you, Hunter, for the interview and the kind words! I enjoyed answering your questions!

  2. The Paranormalist says :

    Thank you, Hunter, for guiding me to J.C. Martin’s work. I popped over to read her interview with you, found that I do enjoy her style, and ended up subscribing to her blog.

    In that interview, I noticed you and I have some amusing writing commonalities –
    1) I listen to a loop of my three Midnight Syndicate albums when I’m writing.
    2) In the intro, she wrote this line: “The product of a childhood weaned on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of …”

    I thought you might like to check out a post I wrote that will probably make you feel right at home:

    PS – I have never sent a link to one of my pieces on a blog comment, I’d hate for anyone to think I’m just cruising for readers, but I’m making an exception for you 🙂

  3. Len Lambert says :

    Loved this great interview! Thank you JC and Hunter! 🙂

  4. Theresa Milstein says :

    Nice to see JC here. When I look at this cover, it reminds me that my friend used to be afraid of her dolls when she went to bed. She thought they were alive and would come to get her. Good luck!

  5. Paul D. Dail says :

    I met J.C. through the Coffin Hop and try to stop by her blog whenever possible. Definitely a character with much more than meets the eye (and that’s saying something, considering what a pretty woman she is). Pleased to have met her there and glad to get to know her better here.

    Trypanophobia, eh? So no tattoos, I’m guessing. I have a healthy fear of needles myself, but I’ll make an exception for the ink 🙂

    Paul D. Dail A horror writer’s not necessarily horrific blog

  6. Kodi says :

    I snuck a book off my mom’s shelf when I was 10. The book was call “The Demonologists”. In the book was a story about a raggedy Ann doll possessed by a demon. Many sleepless nights followed. JC’s description of The Doll reminded me of that. Thanks Hunter for the great interview.

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