Sunday, May 27, 2007

Author Interview: Mary E. Martin, The Osgoode Trilogy

Mysterious ReviewsWe recently had the pleasure of speaking with Mary E. Martin, author of the Osgoode Trilogy featuring Toronto lawyer Harry Jenkins. The third and final book in the series, A Trial of One, is scheduled for publication later this year.

An excerpt from our conversation appears below; the entire text of our appears on our website.

Mysterious Reviews: Tell us a bit about the trilogy.

Ms. Martin: Harry Jenkins is a most unlikely hero. He’s a middle-aged lawyer, who feels with dead certainty that life is passing him by. Trapped under his senior partner’s thumb and stuck in a dead marriage, he is desperate for change—almost any change.

The three novels span a period of eighteen months in Harry’s life. In that time frame, he grows from a frustrated, tentative man, beset by doubts and worries to one who is able to live with energy, passion and conviction.

Why a trilogy?

Actually, I didn’t set out to write a trilogy. I just had one book in mind. But, I became so engrossed in the character of Harry Jenkins that I felt he deserved lots more space. Harry is a very human guy with plenty of flaws. I like to think that almost everyone can identify with him. He represents [most of the time] our honest, reasonable selves trying to figure life out.

Why did you choose self publishing?

The latest figure I read was—one percent of all manuscripts sent to traditional publishers were in fact published. Those odds are likely better than winning a lottery, but they are not very encouraging. With publishing on demand [POD], you retain the copyright in your work and that, I think, is worth something. As well, I think that the whole publishing industry, including distribution, is in a period of massive change. My publisher, iUniverse is partly owned by Barnes and Noble. From that you can see how the lines between production and distribution are blurring. In another five years, I expect the POD technology will be used throughout the publishing industry and there will be a greater integration of production and distribution.

You practiced law before turning to writing. What are your thoughts on mid-life career change?

Actually, I was writing for about the last ten years of my twenty-eight years of practice and so, by the time I retired from law, I had drafts of two of the three novels completed. But, I think, if you possibly can, you must find a way to follow your passion. If you don’t, then I think something important “dies” in you. Also, I think we often become stale in our work after twenty or thirty years and really do need a change. So keep on writing and never give up.

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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