Friday, 9 March 2012

Words with... Martin Rouillard

Thanks to Martin Rouillard for this interview - 
scroll down for a chance to win his book, Rise of the Red Dragon!!

What is your day job or are you lucky enough to write for a living?
Previous to writing, I worked for fifteen years in the family business, doing everything from working on the production floor to sales, marketing and market development. After we sold the business, I spent a couple of years in the fashion industry with my wife. She is an incredibly talented designer. About a year ago, I decided to really dedicate all of my time to writing; something I had been dying to do for years. I would not say that I make a living at it yet, but I do feel lucky that I can focus all my energy on it for the moment.

What books have you written so far?
I just published my first fantasy novel, called Rise of the Red Dragon. It’s the story of Samuel, a teenager who gets transported to ancient Britain, where he must save a legend and a king. Prior to this first book, I had a few short stories available online. Most of my work is translated by me, and is available in both French and English.

What works in progress do you have?
Rise of the Red Dragon is the first book in the Tales of the Lorekeepers series. At the moment, I am working on the second book. I also have another project with a friend, where I write short stories and he draws amazing illustrations to go with them. Hopefully, we can release a first collection of stories this fall.

How long did it take you to write your book/s?
Almost a full year. The writing itself, the creative part I mean, took two months if I remember correctly. Then, I had to translate it and make corrections. The editing for both languages is really what took the longest. It was hard and frustrating at times, but I am very proud of the final result. I just hope people will have as much fun reading it as I had creating Samuel’s story.

Do you write linear, or jump back and forth? Do you plan or write by the seat of your pants?
I do write in a linear manner, but I do a lot of research and planning before I put down the first words. I will also go back quite often to correct some details that may change over the course of writing the story. It’s funny how some characters I had created for a specific purpose suddenly came alive and took on a much bigger role than I had anticipated. I guess it’s something you have to be able to do – allowing your story to take you places and be ready to adjust accordingly.

Why do you write?
Because I love it. There’s really no other reason. I love creating worlds, characters and adventures for them. I feel truly blessed that I am able to at least give a good shot at writing. Hopefully, I will be able to do it for a long time.

How long have you been writing?
A year full-time now, but I have been writing short stories in my spare time for five or six years.

Where and when do you write? Do you have set times?
When I am writing a story, not editing or planning, I write all the time. Days, evenings, weekends. Then I do pretty much the same with the editing and corrections. I strongly believe that hard work always pays off in the end.

What/who inspired you to write and still inspires you?
My wife. She sacrificed so much to do what she loves since she was old enough to drive. It was not always easy and she went through some pretty rough times, but she never strayed from the path towards her goal. It’s not every day that you meet people who will stop at nothing to find happiness and do what they love, and that inspired me tremendously. Any hurdle I find in my path, she also had to go over it before me and that only pushes me to do the same.

Have you ever based a character on someone from real life? And did you tell them?
I have based Angeline, the fairy who watches over Samuel, on one of my dogs, a miniature Dachshund named Charlotte. I always asked myself: "What would Charlotte say in this situation if she could talk?"

Fave things: animal? food? drink? film? colour? band? song? place? item of clothing?
Dogs, pasta, rum, Inglorious Bastards, green, Weezer, home, PJs.

When you were a kid, what did you want to do/who did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be an archaeologist, like Indiana Jones, of course. Although I went down a different road with studies in administration and marketing, past civilizations still fascinate me.

Would you say that your dreams have come true or are you still working on them?

Some of them have, others I am still chasing. Dreams are almost like a living organism, changing constantly as you progress on the path of life. The dreams I have now are not exactly the same that I had five years ago. It’s important to step back once in a while and make sure you are chasing the right dreams.

You’re walking in the forest and you bump into an alien librarian from Mars. He wants five book recommendations from you…
1) At the Mountains of Madness, by HP Lovecraft (any work from him actually).
2) Salut Galarneau! by Jacques Godbout (Quebec author), translated as Hail Galarneau! I think.
3) It, by Stephen King.
4) Les Animaux Dénaturés, by Jean Bruller, under the pseudonym Vercors. I think there is an English adaptation entitled You Shall Know Them.
5) The entire Foundation series, by Isaac Asimov.

Who is your favourite character from any book and why?
Right now, I am reading A Game of Thrones (I know, I am late) and I really enjoy Tyrion Lannister as a character. I think he is smart, funny and could pass for a good guy, but, from time to time, you get a glimpse of his more cruel side. He’s a very interesting fellow.

Who is your hero/heroine?
The men and women voluntary taking calls on suicide hotlines. These people save more lives than anyone and yet they are never mentioned anywhere or even thanked for their work.

Are you published or self-published? What is your experience?
I am self-published and, so far, I love the experience. It is a lot of work, but that has never stopped me from doing anything. Having been in business all my life, I see this new venture as another small business where the product I am trying to sell is my book. There is a production, packaging and marketing cost, you have to establish a distribution network and you need to follow a plan. It’s really no different from any other small business selling other products.

How do you find the marketing experience? 
I’m a marketing guy so I am having fun. The hardest part was doing the transition from real, face-to-face marketing and the sales pitch to doing it online. But the bases are the same; it’s the medium that is different.

What advice would you give other writers just starting out?

Find yourself a good group of authors, like the Indie Author Group on Facebook. The knowledge you can find there is invaluable. Listen to others’ experience and learn from it. Also, don’t be shy to post and ask questions. Everybody is there to help each other; we’re all in the same boat.

Do you have a blog? What do you blog about?
Not at the moment, but it’s coming. Being French-Canadian, I still have to decide on the main language for a blog. I’m having an easier time writing in French, but an English blog would reach a broader audience.

What other hobbies do you have?
I love cooking and I’m a huge football fan. I also love to travel, especially to Europe.

What would you like to achieve in the next five years?
I hope to have kids with my wife. Professionally, I hope I can start making a living with my writing. I plan to release at least one book a year in the Tales of the Lorekeepers series, along with other work I have on my ‘To Write’ list; stuff that is more on the scary and suspenseful side.

If you won the Lotto or a major publishing contract, what would you do with that dosh?
If I won the Lotto, I would probably write a little less and travel more. As much as I enjoy writing, travelling and seeing the world is too much fun. If I got a major publishing contract, however, I would probably work harder to meet deadlines!

Complete one of these stories in 100 words or less…
One day Charlotte decided she was going to change the world. Lying in bed, under several layers of thick and warm blankets, she imagined a world without the chilling bite of winter, a world full of colourful butterflies to chase and where the sun would never set over the horizon. She pictured herself surrounded by dozens of newborn babies smiling at her, while her older sister was valiantly guarding the household against birds, cats and other intruders.
Determined, Charlotte climbed out of bed, pulling a blanket on her back. All of a sudden, a bright light travelled across the wall in front of her. The world would have to wait; this dog was going to catch the evil light first!

Book links:

You can find Martin Rouillard’s novel, Rise of the Red Dragon, on Amazon at this link.
You can also follow Martin on Facebook and on Twitter.

If you'd like a copy of Martin's book, Rise of the Red Dragon, please leave a comment below....

Thanks for reading !


1 comment:

  1. What a fantastic interview! These were truly great questions and equally great answers :) I love seeing the real people behind the stories.

    Good luck, Martin, with your writing career. I have to totally and utterly agree with your wife that happiness is something everyone should strive for with everything they have.


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