As part of an ongoing celebration of upcoming debut novels, I’ll be running highlights of interviews from a number of my fellow debuts through the end of 2019. The full interviews are available on DebutAuthors19.com.
Today, we’re continuing the series with a conversation with Maxym M. Martineau, author of Kingdom of Exiles, a fantasy romance releasing from Sourcebooks on June 25th, 2019.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Exiled Charmer Leena Edenfrell is running out of time. Empty pockets forced her to sell her beloved magical beasts—an offense punishable by death—and now there’s a price on her head. With the realm’s most talented murderer-for-hire nipping at her heels, Leena makes Noc an offer he can’t refuse: powerful mythical creatures in exchange for her life.
Plagued by a curse that kills everyone he loves, Noc agrees to Leena’s terms in hopes of finding a cure. Never mind that the dark magic binding the assassin’s oath will eventually force him to choose between Leena’s continued survival…and his own.
Where did you get the idea?
Kingdom of Exiles started because of a dream I had about Noc, the main male character. I’ve always had particularly vivid dreams, so when he appeared all swathed in shadows, as he’s apt to do in the book, I just knew I had to write about him. In my dream, he told me about how he was physically incapable of being with the one he loved, and I wanted that to translate into a story, hence Noc’s curse.
Leena was born out of his descriptions of her, and the beasts were something I always dreamed about—creatures I’d see, worlds I’d get snippets of. It was really like pulling ideas together from several different dreams into one coherent story.
No spoiler, but tell us something we won’t find out just by reading the book jacket.
There is something like 25+ beasts referenced in some way, shape, or form in Kingdom of Exiles. I had no idea when I started exactly how many I’d include, and then it just sort of… exploded! I love all of them, and I’m so glad my publisher did, too, because this resulted in the creation of a bestiary appendix, which includes pronunciation guides, ranks, detailed descriptions and taming requirements for each and every one of them.
How long did you take to write this book? (You can share about the timeline from drafting to publication)
I’m a speed writer, I’ll admit it. I started concepting out the idea of this novel while I was in Pitch Wars with a different book, but truly didn’t start writing it until December or January of 2017, I believe. I made it a goal to finish it before my wedding in March, started editing after that, and then sent out a few queries but held off when I got into Query Kombat. Signed with my agent in September, went through revisions over the holidays, went on sub shortly thereafter, and had an offer relatively quickly. I ended up signing with Sourcebooks in July of 2018.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
If you twist my arm, I’ll side with the pantsers. I typically only start with a vague notion of where I want my characters to end up, but as they start to develop on the page and make choices that surprise me, I’ll alter along the way. Which makes me want to say I’m a plantser? Is that a thing? I’m making it a thing. It’s a bit hard to not plot to some degree when writing a trilogy, even if it’s only, “I know he’ll get to Point A by midway and Point Z by the end of it all.” But I have never been a hardcore synopsis writer, sticky note gal, or outline type of person.
What is your favorite part of your writing process, and why?
Pre-writing. In this stage, I do a lot of dreaming, build a lot of boards, fill out character sheets and design maps (I love to design maps!). I feel like this is when I truly get to build out characters and worlds that are three dimensional. That way, when they’re on the page progressing through the plot, their actions and quirks come naturally to me.
What is the most challenging part of your writing process, and why?
This is a hard question for me to answer. I find all parts of the writing process validating and invigorating in different ways. Though I end up pulling my hair out the most during editing, so if I had to pick, that one.
Can you share your writing routine? (e.g. How do you carve out your writing time? Where do you normally write?)
Writing time? What’s that? I’m kidding, mostly. I work a full-time job and am the co-founder of a not-for-profit romance site on the side (All The Kissing), so I don’t have a lot of hours in my day. I will say, though, that I thrive under deadlines. Need edits in a week? I’m game. A rework of that chapter before it gets released? Done.
Have you ever gotten writer’s block? If yes, how do you overcome it?
Absolutely. I usually have to walk away for at least a day, if not more. I’m the type of person who can write 5,000+ words in a sitting, so when I can’t get more than 100, I really flail. I end up calling my critique partners so I can talk through options and pain points, and that usually solves the problem. Sometimes I just know the section is going to be rough, and I push through just to make it to the next passage. When I come back for edits, it’s much easier to see what I missed or could do better.
About the Author
Maxym M. Martineau is a staff writer and editor by day, and a fantasy romance author by night. When she’s not getting heated over broken hearts, she enjoys playing video games, sipping a well-made margarita, binge-watching television shows, competing in just about any sport, and of course, reading.
Following her passion, Maxym earned her bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Arizona State University. From that point on, it was all words, all the time. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, and currently lives in Arizona with her husband and their dogs. She is represented by Cate Hart of Corvisiero Literary Agency.