Wednesday, October 2, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Martuk ... the Holy by Jonathan Winn INTERVIEW+GIVEAWAY

Martuk ... the Holy
Book One
By Jonathan Winn

Genre:  Horror, Literary Horror
ISBN:  978-1480035690
Number of pages:  446
Word Count:  89,000
Cover Artist:  Timothy Burch
Available Here:
Amazon    BN   Smashwords


In a crowded Left Bank cafe, an immortal man sits, the phantoms crawling near, the heat of their whispers stinging his cheek ...

and Martuk ... The Holy begins.

One thousand years before the birth of Christ, a golden god damns Martuk with a kiss. In a land ruled by a wounded king, life everlasting steals his mortality from the bottom of a golden cup. Finally, generations later, a Messiah who has the power to heal breaks under the weight of Martuk's demons, stumbling to his death defeated by darkness.

From his home in modern Paris, he writes, his memories lush, his words evocative. Revisiting his impossible life, he vents his rage and shares his loneliness. From bloody battles with a demon he cannot escape to the ghost of a beauty who haunts him still, this is his story.

This is Martuk ... The Holy.
Can you please share with us a little about yourself?

I was born and raised in a tiny town in Washington State, lived for a decade in Los Angeles after graduating high school, and then almost twenty years in New York City after that.  But, basically, I'm one of the lucky ones who spends his days doing what he loves:  writing books, screenplays, teleplays, short fiction, and whatever else my mind decides to churn out.

Have you always wanted to be an author? 

Nope.  I had an early life as a successful actor in New York theatre and a bit of TV, working with the director Sidney Lumet among others.  The writing happened after I finally relented to everyone and their mother suggesting I try my hand at it.  And, after slamming out a screenplay and a play, I found myself writing Martuk.  I haven't looked back.

Can you share with us your typical writing day.  Is there anything you have to have while writing? 

Usually I'm up by 7 AM and, armed with coffee and a sleeping dog by my side, will be writing by 7:30 at the latest.  I'll usually go until Noon when I'll take an hour break, and then I'm back at it until 4 or 5.  Sometimes, like now when I'm writing two books at once -- 2K in the morning on the first, 2K in the afternoon on the second --, I'll find myself writing until 10 or 11 at night.  But that writing until bedtime thing isn't something I do usually or often.  Oh, and I absolutely cannot write unless I have my  headphones on and playing very loud music.  If I don't have that, the words don't come.

What would you say is the most challenging or rewarding part of writing?

The most challenging is cutting elements of the plot out.  If I put everything in that I wanted to, I'd have a 200,000 word book that would confuse the heck out of everybody.  :)  The most rewarding is absolutely those moments when you write a sentence that just clicks perfectly and you sit back and go "nice".

Can you please tell us about your latest book?

Martuk ... the Holy is my first book.  It's about a man who was made immortal one thousand years before Christ.  Set in modern Paris, we go back to Martuk's beginning to see how it began and why it happened, the self-exorcism, of sorts, of sharing his past and releasing his pain hopefully quieting the ghosts who still violently haunt him.  So, from the ancient city of Uruk to 1st Century Palestine and back into Paris, we see Martuk rise and fall, walk and stumble, love and kill, and get a sense of what it would truly be like to live, day by day, for nearly three thousand years.

How did you come with the idea for this story?

I was walking through Washington Square Park with my dogs in early-March of 2008 and the idea came to me.  Out of nowhere.  And, at that time, my focus on writing scripts and TV shows, the last thing on my mind was writing fiction.  It wasn't really an option.  But when a story is as complete and persistent as Martuk was, it becomes impossible to ignore.

Can you share with us your current work in progress?

I'm actually finishing up Martuk ... the Holy:  Proseuche, the sequel to Martuk ... the Holy.  And this was a ton of fun to write.  I set the story in Antioch during the Christian persecutions and then, one hundred years later, in Constantinople when Christianity was at war as they figured out what, exactly, they believed.  With all of that as a backdrop, Martuk discovers old enemies, makes new friends, and falls even deeper into the Darkness that threatens to swallow him whole.

I'm also writing The Martuk Series, an ongoing collection of short fiction based on secondary characters we first met in Martuk ...   There are three books so far (The Wounded King, The Elder, Red and Gold) and I'm now writing The Tall Priest.  Love, love, love writing these.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Well, Stephen King and Anne Rice are writers I've appreciated in the past.  Susan Wise Bauer, who writes amazing world histories, and Reza Aslan are also writers who have voices I enjoy.

Do you feel that any of your favorite authors have inspired your writing style?

Absolutely.  Reading Stephen King reminds me to keep the narrative clean and that the horrific could easily come from real life.  Anne Rice, one of the most unique voices in fiction, taught me to pay attention to my voice even if meant loading down a paragraph with commas because the rhythm of what was being said demanded it.  As for Aslan, I admire his courage and ability to write without apology, and I bow to Susan Wise Bauer's ability to turn the rambling, complicated history of our world into a rollicking good read.  I can't imagine the expert level of organization it takes to do that and do it well.

Open your book to a random page and please reads us a few lines.

From the air, They came.
An explosion of Light shattering the Dark and ripping the Whispers in two, the Darkness hesitating, Their great white wings pushing aside the Shadow as They spread, filling the room.
They paused, watching me, quietly powerful.

What is in your To Read Pile that you are dying to start or upcoming release you can’t wait for?

Quite honestly, a great deal of my reading is research these days.  I rarely read for pleasure anymore because there just isn't time.  Having said that, I LOVE doing research, so that, in itself, is pleasure.  So I'm now on the hunt for books about the pagan religions of the Dark Ages, religious beliefs in the Egypt of the Old Kingdom, and ancient writings on dark magic.   

Have you ever used anyone from your real life encounters in any of your books?

Yes and no.  Elements of my Mom, who passed in 2000, are in Martuk, but not the totality of who she was.  I usually use people I see, but don't know.  People who are strangers to me.  For instance, when I was last in Paris I saw a quiet, mousy woman in a cardigan and knee length wool skirt turn off Boulevard Saint-Germaine and push her way past the heavy wooden doors of Elgise-de-Saint-Germaine, the church on the Left Bank next door to Cafe Flore.  There was something about that brief glimpse of her that fascinated me and, lo and behold, the woman Martuk calls "The Sister, my friend", was born.

What was the most surprising thing you learned about yourself while you were writing?

That I had a book in me.  No, seriously.  I came to Martuk with the arrogance of a screenwriter who thought writing a book would be easy and, frankly, was looking forward to taking a vacation from The Rules, screenwriting being one rule after another.  It didn't occur to me that writing fiction had its own set of rules!  So, a chapter or two in, it dawned on me that writing Martuk could easily end up being one of the hardest things I'd ever do.  And I was right.  Returning to screenwriting was a breeze after this.  That, more than anything, surprised me.
Screenwriter, playwright, actor, and now award-winning author, Jonathan Winn was born in Seattle, WA, and currently divides his time between the East and West coasts.  Martuk ... The Holy is his first book.

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