Free Author Interview: John Martin

Author Name: John Martin
Major BS: A Top Secret Mission

Tell us a little about your book.It’s about a bumbling British former army officer, Major Jeremy Billycock-Smythe, who marries into cash-poor but artistocratic family in Australia and launches an enterprise to save his wife’s historic homestead Rowbottom from bankruptcy. Along the way, he finds and loses some illegal refugees, and seriously annoys his childhood friend,  officials in charge of government secrets, and a bunch of high-powered executives. On one level, it’s all satirical. But if people don’t get the satire, hopefullly it’s just funny on another level. There are no American characters but there is an important US link.

Where can we find your book?It has been a Print on Demand book for a year or so now but I’ve just launched it as an ebook on Amazon and I’m thrilled that it’s now within the reach of a global readership

The print and ink version is still available for $AUS27.92 and you can order it via my web site, . Like a lot of authors, I don’t do this for the money (that’s why I have a day job); the satisfaction for me is building a world where people can escape to for a few hours, love/hate my characters and at the end of it think, “well, that was funny (or at least not a waste of time)”
What has your journey as a writer been like?I’m a newspaper journalist in real life and for the past 30 years or so I have written factual stuff. But fiction writing has always been a sideline. I self-published my first novel, Apples, in 1994. That was a satire too, centred on the is-it-or-isn’t-it extinct Tasmanian Tiger and featured a Texan millionaire as a key character. But it was expensive to publish then and the publisher made me pay for a certain number of copies (of which some still linger in my garage to this day, the waste of a good tree). Print On Demand made more sense to me environmentally  and it was cheaper. I put together a collection of short stories for a POD book How Much Is That Scorpion In The Window and then

Major BS: A Top Secret Mission went that way too.
Do you have any upcoming projects?If the ebook goes well, I have another idea in my head (I always have ideas; I’ve never had writer’s block). This latest idea is about an arsonist called Jerome O’Fury, an Irishman in Australia. It’s always a balancing act between my family, my day job and what I’d love to do full time, writing. I realised long ago that I have the skills to do the writing, the editing and the design work – but promotion is my achilles’ heel. I’m kinda shy and tongue-tied – but I have worked hard at getting some useful promotional sources on my web site:
You can read the first chapter free at and you can also download a free sample from Amazon, which is a feature I really like.

Why did you choose to self publish?When I was growing up, my father wrote two or three novels on his typewriter that never saw the light of day. He sent them to umpteen publishers, a fruitless process that took years. I swore I’d never go down that path of frustration and disappointment. I think that publishers today are all about following marketing trends and winning formulas these days anyway – and they are headed to the same place all the books on my study shelves are going in this electronic world: the garbage can. I self publish now because I CAN.
I like the work of US author Carl Hiassen, Irish authors Roddy Doyle and Colin Bateman, Scottish author ian Rankin, British author John Le Carre. I love the way US/UK writer Bill Bryson unearths and plays out amusing anecotes.
I hate the predictable and formulaic.

What time of day do you write best?Any time I have peace and quiet, and my chores are already done.

Do you have a favorite character and why?I like strong characters. Heroes with flaws. In Major BS’s case, he’s much more flaw than hero. (US$3.99). (£2.83).

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