GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Interview: Gail Z. Martin (Iron and Blood: Jake Desmet steampunk series) + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Interview: Gail Z. Martin (Iron and Blood: Jake Desmet steampunk series) + giveaway

Sharon: Hello, Gail and welcome to I Smell Sheep. You are one of the busiest authors I’ve met. I counted at least fourteen conventions, the release of three major novels, countless (9 out and 5 in progress) anthology contributions for 2015 and let’s not forget…mother of three kids! So I have to ask what everyone is thinking…cloning or cyborg technology?

Sharon: Let’s talk about your three novel releases this year. War of Shadows is Book 3 in Blaine McFadden’s Ascendant Kingdoms’s Saga. How many books do you plan for this epic fantasy and is the main character Mick single? What would be his idea of the perfect date?

Gail: There will be four books in the Ascendant Kingdoms series. Shadow and Flame, Book 4, comes out in 2016. It’s written—we just finished the editor feedback round, so line edits will follow shortly! As for Blaine, he was engaged before being sent away to the prison colony, but released his fiancĂ©e from their betrothal. On Edgeland, he was briefly married, but his wife died from fever. In Reign of Ash, Blaine does get married—but no spoilers as to who the bride is! Over time, his idea of the perfect date has changed. It used to be someone he could spend a quiet evening with at home. Now, shared interests are important, but he has grown to appreciate a woman who can hold her own in a swordfight!

Sharon: Your second 2015 novel release is something new for you. Iron and Blood is the first book in your Jake Desmet steampunk series. What brought on the desire to create a steampunk world? And is Jake single?
Gail: Iron and Blood is set in an alternative history Pittsburgh. We lived in Pittsburgh for 10 years and we’re both from north of the city, so I knew the area very well. Although Pittsburgh’s star has slipped a little in the last sixty years, back in the late 1800s, it was the epicenter of American manufacturing and a perfect setting for steampunk—with some supernatural stuff and magic thrown in for good measure!

The desire to create the world came from a good idea that wouldn’t leave me alone, and so Larry and I started brainstorming our way through it. I kept bugging my agent. Now? Now? Finally he said, “Now.” So here it is! And yes, Jake is single!

Sharon: We have a winner! Everyone can stand in line...behind me!

Sharon: You co-wrote Iron and Blood with your husband. How was that? What sort of writing dynamic have you set up?

*Tells Larry to go fetch more moon pies from the dungeon* 

Sharon: What was it really like writing with your husband?
Gail: Actually, Larry and I have been working closely together for some time now, and he’s been full-time in the business since the end of 2010. Until now, he’s worked behind the scenes, but having two of us tackling various aspects of the projects is why we’re able to do three books a year plus short stories, plus conventions, plus anthologies, etc. He is fantastic on edits, finding plot holes and inconsistencies, continuity and brainstorming, so when I get stuck, we go out for lunch and talk through it, or walk the dogs and talk the whole way around the block. It really is a full collaboration. And it’s fun!
Sharon: Have you two ever staged a fight scene in the den to see if it would work? Do your kids run when they hear “Hey, I need you to help me figure something out.”
Gail: No, but we did arrange for a private tour of a large Pittsburgh cemetery and then blocked out a battle running and ducking behind monuments and triangulating where the shooters would be.

Sharon: I’ve heard rumors of a second Deadly Curiosities novel….
Gail: Vendetta, the next Deadly Curiosities novel, comes out in the end of December. Expect a lot of chills and thrills, some really bad-ass bad guys, a whole lot of supernatural hoopla, and characters who have matured into their power and are very ready to rumble!
Sharon: Thrills and chills? Maybe I should get Jake Desmet to keep me safe…just saying.

Sharon: What was your best family vacation?
Gail: Any vacation where everyone is together is the best. But I’d have to say Disney World. We have it down to a science. We’re all totally Disney geeks and we know our way around the parks like a native.
Sharon: lol. We have a kid that HATED Disney World…I know, right? Which is your favorite park and hotel to stay at?
Gail: Favorite Disney park is a tie between Magic Kingdom (love the Haunted Mansion) and Epcot. Favorite hotel is the Polynesian!

Sharon: What is something from your steampunk world you wish was real?
Gail: Automatons who can do complex tasks. I’d never wash another dish again!
Sharon: Or wash and fold laundry!

Sharon: With all there is on your plate, why do you take on so many anthology projects?
Gail: Anthologies are fun. Writing to the prompt is creative and it’s a chance to play outside the normal sandbox. Sometimes, you come up with a concept that becomes a new series. That’s how Deadly Curiosities was born, out of my story “Buttons” in Magic: The Esoteric and Arcane. We did two space-themed stories for anthologies this year, and I think that will turn into a new series as well. From a business perspective, it’s a chance to reach new readers who might purchase the anthology because of one of the other authors, like your story, and go look up the rest of your work. And it’s pretty cool when you get to be in a collection that features some of your favorite authors!

Sharon: This is the year of the sheep. Tell us how sheep have changed your life. (You can make up something ridiculous here <G>)
Gail: A wise sheep once told me, the grass is greener where it’s well-fertilized, but watch where you step. Thoughts to live by. Sheep-fu. Word.
Sharon: Would make a great fortune cookie.

Sharon: What is something you collect?
Gail: Cleaning out my dad’s massive collections after he passed away cured me of the collecting bug. (Not to mention the fact that after that ordeal, I was threatened with burial in unconsecrated ground if I saddled my kids with collectibles to get rid of.)

Sharon: What was the first job you ever held?
Gail: Night shift DJ at a local radio station. I found out which of my friends’ parents were insomniacs, and which ones stayed up all night drinking because they would call in to request favorite songs. It was a little bit scarring, but I’m better now.

Sharon: Pepsi or Coke?
Gail: Still mourning the demise of Coke Blak (a discontinued product that was a combo of Coke syrup and espresso)

*Katie rides in on a dragon* I heard that! That’s a win for Coke! Suck it Sharon! *flies away cackling*

Sharon: *gives Gail evil eye*

Sharon: cake or pie?
Gail: Pie, especially cherry, strawberry-rhubarb, or mincemeat. Or chicken pot pie. Yum.

Sharon: sword or cross bow?
Gail: Crossbow. You get to be farther away from the sharp pointy things trying to kill you.

 Sharon: board game or card game?
Gail: Both.
Sharon: Got a favorite?
Gail: I'm learning to play Munchkin and Descent. Old school would be Tripoly and Rummy or Hearts. I backed the Exploding Kittens card game on Kickstarter, so we'll see how that is. Did I mention that I still have my Barnabas Collins board game from when Dark Shadows was on TV? You assemble the bones on a glow in the dark skeleton in a coffin unless you get too many wooden stakes. Because of course that was a childhood favorite. 

Sharon: Serenity or Enterprise?
Gail: Serenity

Sharon: ‘60s music or ‘80s music?
Gail: 60s reminds me of my childhood, but I was in college in the 80s, so I’ve got to say 80s. Karma, karma, karma, karma, Karma Chameleon…..
Sharon: *sways* You come and go, You come and go…

The Hawthorn Moon Sneak Peek Event includes book giveaways, free excerpts and readings, all-new guest blog posts and author Q&A on 28 awesome partner sites around the globe. For a full list of where to go to get the goodies, visit

Iron & Blood
by Gail Z. Martin

Paperback, 432 pages
July 7th 2015 by Solaris
A Steampunk novel set in the fictional city of New Pittsburgh.

New Pittsburgh in 1898, a crucible of invention and intrigue, the hub of American industry at the height of its steam-driven power. Born from the ashes of devastating fire, flood and earthquake, New Pittsburgh is ruled by the shadow government of The Oligarchy. In the abandoned mine tunnels beneath the city, supernatural creatures hide from the light, emerging to feed in the smoky city known as 'hell with the lid off.'

Jake Desmet and Rick Brand, heirs to the Brand & Desmet Import Company, travel the world to secure treasures and unusual items for the collections of wealthy patrons, accompanied by Jake's cousin, Veronique 'Nikki' LeClerque. Smuggling a small package as a favor for a Polish witch should have been easy. But when hired killers come after Jake and a Ripper-style killer leaves the city awash in blood, Jake, Rick and Nikki realize that dark magic, vampire power struggles and industrial sabotage are just a prelude to a bigger plot that threatens New Pittsburgh and the world. Stopping that plot will require every ounce of Jake's courage, every bit of Rick's cunning, every scintilla of Nikki's bravura and all the steampowered innovation imaginable.

About the Authors:
Gail Z. Martin writes epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books and Orbit Books. In addition to Iron and Blood, she is the author of Deadly Curiosities and the upcoming Vendetta in her urban fantasy series;The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen) from Solaris Books and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) as well as Ice Forged, Reign of Ash, and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga from Orbit Books. Gail writes two series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures and the Deadly Curiosities Adventures and her work has appeared in over 20 US/UK anthologies.

Larry N. Martin fell in love with fantasy and science fiction when he was a teenager. After a twenty-five year career in Corporate America, Larry started working full-time with his wife, author Gail Z. Martin and discovered that he had a knack for storytelling, plotting and character development, as well as being a darn fine editor. Iron and Blood is their first official collaboration. On the rare occasions when Larry isn’t working on book-related things, he enjoys pottery, cooking and reading.


  1. Even though the hubs and I managed to get ourselves burnt to a crisp on day one, my favorite vacation was when we went to Destin Florida for a week. It was so relaxing and the food we found was fantastic!

  2. My favorite vacation would be when my husband and I went to Vegas for a week. While we were there we went to the Grand Canyon south rim. I had fun since that was the first time for me for both places.

  3. It is a toss up of Disney land/sea cruise and Myrtle Beach. We have a ton of fun at both.

  4. Anytime I get to go back home to Ohio , nothing better than going back home and seeing my childhood friends and haunts !

  5. Many years ago, my mother, aunt and I drove my brother to his new duty assignment after his return from Korea. My aunt had never taken a trip like that, and it was great fun just to see her enjoyment!

  6. When my husband and I went snorkeling in Key Largo

  7. When I was younger my dad took my 2 younger siblings and I to Virginia Beach for a week of fun, sun and more.

  8. Spending a week in Hawaii with my husband

  9. I love Deadly Curiosities - looking forward to the new series!

  10. Family vacations in Orlando. Fun, relaxing and we got to see all the different parks.

  11. First, I want to say that I loved Deadly Curiosities and I am VERY excited to hear Book 2 will be out soon.

    My favorite vacation spot is Seattle. Tasty food, rain, trees that have moss, whale watching, and geoduck clams!

  12. Backpacking and camping in Oman. It was so unexpectedly beautiful.

  13. So excited to hear Vendetta is coming at the end of December! Favourite vacation has to be the impromptu Valentine's Day trip my husband I took to Montreal. We're so rarely impulsive, but that weekend we Hotwired a hotel room, hopped on a bus and spent a *very cold* weekend exploring the city. So much fun!

  14. Our family visited Boston a couple years ago--such a great city to explore together! Lots to see and very easy to navigate without a car :)