23 July 2011

Book Savvy Spotlight on Annie Coyle Martin

Bringing you exclusive interviews with authors featured in the Book Savvy Newsletter.




Our Guest is Annie Coyle Martin*

Enjoy the interview.

Q1. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your book 'To Know the Road'?
I grew up in Ireland and now live in Kingston, Ontario. I've always loved to write and have been an avid reader since I was a child. Then there was no television so it was read or listen to the radio or, once in a while, a film in the nearby town. My teachers, apart from essays, did not encourage writing. When I retired in 1999 I began my first novel, "The Music of What Happens." I was greatly encouraged by Ann Decter of McGilligan Books in writing that book. Five years earlier, she had published a short story, "Jody," I had written in an anthology. "To Know the Road" continues the story of some of the characters in "The Music of What Happens".

Now about the book; this is a story of forbidden passions set primarily in the Thirties and the war years, and plays against a background of sectarianism and extreme social and religious conservatism in an Ireland neutral in the war, isolated at the edge of Europe and yet impacted in every filament of daily life by the conflict.

I also have an outline of another novel, "Between Two Dusks," ready and I hope to have time to finish it this year. Most of the action in it will be in Canada.

Q2. When did you realise you wanted to be a writer, what sparked the desire to pen your first book?
I just liked to tell stories and gradually I realised that one way to tell stories to a larger audience is to write.

Q3. When you write what emotion do you seek to evoke in your readers?
I try to describe what I believe the character is experiencing, the circumstance of the story, and the surrounding society or environment. I want the reader to vividly sense what the character feels.

Q4. How do you get the inspiration for your stories; is it all imagined or do you get some inspiration from real life experiences?
Some inspiration comes from stories I heard as a child, and some ideas I get from conversations with others. With a little imagination - I think "To Know the Road" is a story that could very well have happened in real life.

Q5. Where did the title "To Know the Road" come from?
In the early 1950s from the village I lived in, in the south of Ulster. Many people were emigrating to Canada, the UK and the US. It was often sad in those days, before cheap telephone calls and airfares, and those left behind would console themselves by saying, "Well ...if they know their road."

Q6. We note that this novel is historical; in what way does the era affect the story?
The story is about two people who are from traditional families in a society still dominated by religious enmity and where standards of appropriate behaviour are different from today. Also the Second World War is raging and its progress is at the forefront of the minds of everyone in the British Isles. I tried to weave these historical themes into the story to give the novel a more authentic feel.

Q7. What is the first thing you did to promote your book "To Know the Road" once the publisher accepted your manuscript?
So far I have been doing readings and book signings, which have been very successful, but they are time consuming. The readings have been quite effective. I also intend to use social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to promote my books as soon as I can.

Q8. Do you have a blog and how often do you update it? How effective do you think it is?
No, I do not have a blog apart from the one created by the publisher. However, the blog, writeitdownith.wordpress.com, has mentioned the book. I am not certain how effective blogs are but so much is done online these days, blogging can't hurt.

Q9. Do you recommend authors getting publicists to help them promote their books? Do you have one?
I do not have a publicist but I'm sure they are a great help; so far I have relied on readings and friends. If an author prefers not to hire a publicist, I would suggest they begin with friends, give readings and interviews etc.

Q10. Are you concerned about the effect of e-publishing on traditional books?
I think traditional publishing is changing but the notion of a book that belongs only to the owner and that sits on the shelf, a physical tactile thing that the owner can write in, mark favourite passages, etc, will continue, along with the newer technology.

Q11. Any comments on your publishing experience?
Pneuma Springs Publishing is new to me and different because it is situated in the UK and I live in Canada. But the experience has been very positive. Much of the work has been done online and Pneuma Springs has been responsive to my needs.

Q12. Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers or even fellow authors?
I think if possible, set aside time each day to write. As well a supportive family helps, sometimes a writing group is a great resource. The important thing is not to lose heart, keep the pen moving.


Thank you for your time. We wish you every success in your writing career.

*Annie Coyle Martin has had a career in health care and in the civil service. In the Nineties she took courses in writing and has been writing since then. Annie is the author of 'To Know The Road'.


Annie's first novel, The Music of What Happens, was described by The Globe and Mail as "a sweeping heart-tugging film..."
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