Wednesday, September 21, 2011

J.C. Martin, the Fighter Writer

My guest this week is J.C. Martin, aka the Fighter Writer. Twitter brought us together, and despite the Atlantic separating us, this is one writer-soldier I want to stay in touch with! She describes herself as a "butt-kicking, girly tomboy, and a cowardly warrior." J.C. has several short stories published in anthologies. In this week's blog feature she'll be interviewed by one of her characters.

Interview by Kurt Lancer:

Thank you Elaine for having us! Both my creator and myself are really pleased to be here!

Allow me to quickly introduce myself: my name is Kurt Lancer. I’m a Detective Inspector in the homicide department of the London Metropolitan Police. In J.C.’s novel Oracle, she puts me on the trail of a series of murders that all seem to be re-creations of ancient Greek mythology. With the 2012 Olympics looming, you can imagine this can be pretty bad publicity for the city, so yeah, the pressure is on me to catch the psycho before he executes his grand finale – at the Opening Ceremony of the Games itself!

Phew! Talk about being put in a stressful situation! And I have J.C. to thank for that! Speaking of which, let me introduce you to my creator, J.C. Martin. 

J.C. writes all sorts of fiction, from flash to novels, and across a wide range of genres: horror, fantasy, paranormal...but she has a particular leaning towards crime and thrillers. She has published short stories in various anthologies by New Asian Writing, Pill Hill Press, Static Movement and more. She was also the winner of IFWG Publishing’s 2010 Story Quest Short Story Contest.

J.C. writes all sorts of fiction, from flash to novels, and across a wide range of genres: horror, fantasy, paranormal...but she has a particular leaning towards crime and thrillers. She has published short stories in various anthologies by New Asian Writing, Pill Hill Press, Static Movement and more. She was also the winner of IFWG Publishing’s 2010 Story Quest Short Story Contest. 

J.C. also co-edited the charity anthology Stories for Sendai. Full proceeds from sales of the short story collection go towards aid efforts in the earthquake and tsunami hit regions of Japan. She blogs at the Fighter Writer, and she is also on Facebook and Twitter

Oh, and she has recently begun querying Oracle, so fingers crossed you guys will see more of me and the gang soon. 

Today, I will be interviewing J.C. about her inspirations for Oracle, particularly the influence of her martial arts background in the writing of the book

KL: So, J.C., what gave you the idea to create me?

J.C.: Well, Kurt, I wanted a protagonist with a difference. We have enough white, middle-aged, alcoholic detectives in crime fiction already. On the other hand, I didn’t want to end up looking like I’d cloned my own Alex Cross, so I decided on the best of both worlds, a half-white, half-black detective, complete with cornrows. 

KL: Interesting. But coming from a Chinese background, why didn’t you consider a Chinese detective? That’d be very different, don’t you think?

J.C.: You’re right, that would have been different, too. It would definitely have involved less cultural and demographical research, but somehow, every time I head “Chinese detective”, one of Jackie Chan’s films come to mind. Now I’m a massive fan of Jackie, but I don’t want my detective ending up being a carbon copy of him. Besides, I already have plans for a thriller series featuring a Chinese cage fighter and the Chinatown Triads. I want my cast of characters to be ethnically diverse.

KL: I think I know which cage fighter you’re talking about *wink*. He made an appearance in Oracle, didn’t he?
J.C.: Yes, and he refused to go away. I think it’s awesome when a fringe character takes on a life of his own and demands to become a star!

Courtesy of stock.xchng
KL: Let’s talk about your martial arts background, as fighting features a lot in your stories. What are your qualifications in butt-kicking?
J.C.: I have a purple belt in Karate, and a 2nd degree black belt in Wing Chun Kung Fu, which I am also a fulltime instructor of.

KL: Wing Chun. The same martial art you made me proficient in.

J.C.: Yes. I decided to write what I know in that respect. Gave you the upper hand in the scraps I got you in, didn’t it?

KL: I suppose, although personally I think you throw too much trouble my way. You do like your fight scenes, don’t you? 
J.C.: I love them! And I’d like to think that I write them in a realistic way.

KL: Any advice on writing a believable fight scene?
J.C.: I wrote an article on this once. The basics: short, tight sentences to reflect the fast pace; not getting overly bogged down by complicated fight terminology; utilising all five senses; and do not sanitise it! Fight scenes are meant to be messy, and it will not be realistic if your hero emerges from taking on ten people unscathed. 

KL: So apart from being able to write realistic fight scenes, how else do you think martial arts have influenced your writing?
J.C.: I believe martial arts and writing have tons in common, and have written an article comparing different writing styles to different fighting styles. Both arts require long-term dedication, constant practice, and unswaying focus and perseverance in the face of adversity (or a pile of rejection letters). Above all else, to succeed in either, one must have a burning passion for the art. I’d like to think that I have applied some of the discipline I developed from learning Wing Chun to my writing habit.

KL: Thank you, J.C., and thanks again to Elaine for inviting us to her lovely blog! If you have any further questions for J.C., or for myself, feel free to ask them!  


  1. Thank you Elaine for having me on your lovely blog! I've only just discovered it, but I adore the writer features you have! Totally agree that I wished we were neighbours! Then we can meet up regularly for coffee, cupcakes and maybe critiques! :)

  2. Love the interplay in the interview.

    Your the Fighter Writer, JC, and I'm the Crime Fictionista.

    I have a Chinese detective in my contemporary wip. He's not a clone of Jackie Chan. He's a fan of Charlie Chan and comes up with all kinds of Charlie Chanisms.

    I like to have my heros and heroines fight and get beaten up. I also like a messy fight.

    I'm really glad I read this interview.

    Nike Chillemi, Blogger is signing me as Anonymous again.

  3. Kurt Lancer sounds like an intriguing character. You had me at 'We have enough white, middle-aged, alcoholic detectives in crime fiction already.' Wishing J.C. success with querying.

  4. Great interview! looking forward to the book J.C.

  5. J.L. and Sue, new faces to Everyone's Story. Thanks for visiting!

  6. Nike--you and J.C. need to meet for a good long chat

  7. Great interview! Thanks, Elaine and J.C. :) Clever and informative, and fun to learn more about Oracle.

  8. Nike - Your detective sounds so unique! I'd love to read your book when you're finished! Like Elaine said, looks like we have quite a bit in common!

    Joy - Thank you. I've got a full out with an agent at the moment, so I'm keeping all my fingers crossed!

    Sue - Great to see you here! Yes, I'm hoping to be able to share more of the book than just six sentences next time! ;)

    Elaine - Thanks again for hosting me!

  9. J.C. I want to meet Kurt :)

    You and your character have Such chemistry!

  10. Awesome post, JC. I too love writing fight scenes, as I have studied Chinese Kenpo, Chung Do Kwon, and grew up learning Escrima/Kali from my parents.

    I would say that another great word of advice in writing fight scenes is to make sure it makes sense. I will often choreograph stuff in person to make sure what I'm writing is clear.

    Also, most hand to hand fights do not last 5 minutes like in the movies! Sword fights are over even faster.

  11. Damyanti - Thank for popping by! Yes, I'd like to think Kurt and I know each other well. Perhaps we'll find out one day. ;)

    Jay - Very true. Fight scenes should be short and snazzy to be realistic. I too will act out the fight scene to make sure it makes sense before writing it.

    Elaine - Welcome back from the conference! Sounds like an awesome and productive one! My fingers are crossed for you!

  12. J.C. and Kurt, I want to thank you so much for being such fine and fascinating guests this week. You two are quite a creative team together and I wish you all the success in your partnership ☺

    You've brought attention from an international audience and I've received nice feedback. Hope you're like to come back again for another spell.


    ♥ Elaine

  13. Thank you for having us, Elaine, the pleasure was all ours. With his work and family commitments, Kurt doesn't get out much, and he really enjoyed stopping by. Definitely happy to visit again. :)


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