I met this month’s guest on social media through our shared interest in reading and writing and we soon became friends. Celia has written nine historical fiction novels set in the seventeenth century. So far I’ve only read the first book, To Challenge of Destiny, which I thoroughly enjoyed and I’ll be gradually working my way through the rest of the series.

I know Celia’s writing career keeps her busy and I’m delighted she has found the time for a chat with me. So, without further ado, I’d like to welcome Celia Martin to my blog.

Good morning, Celia. I thought we might start by learning a bit more about you. Perhaps you could tell me a bit about yourself?

Hi Marcia, and thank you for giving me this opportunity to meet your readers. I live in southern California. It’s a hot climate, but the family is here so we moved back after 21 years in glorious NW Washington (the state). I cannot remember any time in my life that I did not love history or that I did not love making up stories. Mostly I made them up when I had to give up playing make-believe, so instead, I just told myself stories. Helped on those long walks home from school. I started outlining stories while in college and started writing soon after graduation. It was good fun to do when I came home from work. I worked retail until I got my teaching credential. I am now retired from teaching and have more time to do what I love best – write.

What inspired you to start writing?

Nothing actually inspired me. I just have all these stories in my head, and I like to share them. I never have writer’s block. I just have so many stories, I wonder if I’ll ever get all of them written.

What is your process when planning a new book? Do you plan out each chapter or just start writing and see where the story takes you?

I have the basic story and main characters in my head, but not by chapter. However, often the characters take off and do their own thing.

I differ from you there because once I have the story and characters in my head, I like to plan out each chapter. I find this easier – though admittedly the story does often take on a life of its own and stray from the bullet points in my chapter outline. I find a rough guide helpful though.

Do you like reading the same type of books that you write? What is your favourite genre?

 If I had to pick a favourite, it would probably be historical mysteries, but I read a lot of straight history books for fun and that I need for research. I like romances with adventure. And I like the kind of historical fiction books that you, Marcia, write. I like books with lots of characters. They’re more like real life.

That’s nice to hear, Celia, thank you. It’s good to know you like a lot of characters as all my books have quite a few. I wanted my books to represent the Victorian era and they had extremely large families.

Have you self-published any of your books? If so, how did you find this?

I am not self-published exactly, but my publisher is very small. He was local to where I used to live, so I could work closely with him and with the person designing my covers. (I like simple covers). It was not free. I had to pay, and I have yet to totally recoup what it cost, but it was worth it to see my books in print and to share them with other lovers of history, adventure and romance.

What do you think is the best way to market your books? i.e. which social media platforms do you find the most successful and how long do you spend promoting your books each day? Do you attend book fairs etc?

I wish I knew the best way to market my books. I promote on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter most days. Before Covid, I did book sales and signings at B & N and other stores, but I’ve not returned to that type of marketing. To really sell books, it has to be on a large scale, not just in hometown stores.

I think this is an issue most authors have difficulty with. Like you, I promote on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram but when I sell more books in one month than another I’m never sure why.

If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?

I would probably choose to live somewhere in mid- England and then hope to travel all over England. I fell in love with English history when I was in Jr. High, and I’ve been in love with it ever since. That’s why 6 of my books take place in England.

What was your favourite book as a child?

We had a great Elves and Fairies book. The fact is, it’s terribly worn, but I still have it and still love it. The stories and artwork are wonderful.

What was your favourite subject at school – and which was the lesson you always wanted to avoid?

History was always my favourite. No question. Sadly, I was not good at learning other languages, though I wish I could have been. I enjoyed biology because much of it is similar to history, especially genetics, but chemistry lost me.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Having my books published. I can’t help but think that someday, my books will catch on and many more readers will discover them and enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. I am still writing, but thus far, have not started looking for an agent or a publisher.

What would I change about my past?

Because I’m fortunate to have a wonderful husband who is crazy about me, and because we’re not rich but comfortable compared to many people in the world, I cannot say I would change a lot because I like being where I am now. However – I wish I’d been a nicer person. Not that I was ever really mean, but at times, I was catty. I hurt one woman who later became my dear friend. I also wish I had not given certain advice to certain people. I thought I was right, and I was very wrong. I’ve tried to learn from my errors, but I guess I’ll continue to do some things I may later regret. I hope my past errors will help me to make fewer ones in the future. I enjoyed teaching history, and I tried to make it fun for my students. I love writing, and I think readers will find my books fun, loving and full of adventure and interesting characters.

And again, I thank you, Marcia, for giving me this chance to address your readers.

I guess over time we all say and do things we regret and all we can do is try to learn from our mistakes. That’s the best we can do.

Thank you, Celia, for taking the time to talk to me. I wish you every success with your books and look forward to reading more of them soon.

Readers, you can find Celia on the following links:

Celia Martin on Facebook

Celia Martin on Amazon

Celia Martin on Goodreads

Celia Martin on Twitter

Celia Martin on Instagram

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