Martin J. Best Interview Published on: 23, Oct 2020

Being born in Torquay, England, in 1965, what do you miss the most about your childhood?

The thing I miss most is going out, either alone or with friends, enjoying the local countryside, and exploring places that I really shouldn’t have! Some might say that not much has changed.

Where did you first meet your wife, Kim?

Although we both lived in Enfield, North London, at different times, we met in Torquay.

In what ways has growing up in an actively haunted house affected your life?

Growing up in an actively haunted house has given me an abiding fascination with the supernatural, which has grown to include the occult, and led me to becoming a ghost hunter.

Do you remember the first paranormal story you read? What was it about?

It would probably be Miss Morton Sees a Ghost from Aidan Chambers’ book Ghosts and Hauntings. It tells the story of a young woman, Miss Morton, who discovered that the house she was staying in was haunted by the ghost of a crying woman, and her efforts to interact with the spirit.

How has been your experience of having a varied work life?

I think that having different jobs - including motorcycle despatch rider, bus driver, film processor, and mobile DJ – has broadened my experience of people in different situations from varying perspectives. I definitely enjoy being a writer the most!

What did you learn about business while running your own mobile disco business?

I learned that there is far more involved than simply turning up and playing music. Advertising, marketing, keeping accounts, and preparation were all vital.

When did you decide to start writing full-time?

After the death of my father, I became primary carer for my elderly mother, and had to give up DJing. Unexpectedly, this gave me time to write, something that I had always wanted to do. After my mother died, I was fortunate enough to be able to continue full-time.

What inspired the story of your book, The Novice Ghost Hunter?

The Novice Ghost Hunter is based around a paranormal experience that I had myself. Whilst staying at a friend’s home, I woke in the night and found the spectre of an old lady standing at the bottom of the bed. I told my tale the following morning, and wasn’t believed. However, I researched the location, discovering that an elderly, alcoholic woman had lived there previously, and had died on the property.

How did you come up with the character of Tom Hatton in "The Moth Trap"?

I wanted Tom Hatton to be a representation of how someone can be other than they seem. Ostensibly a hard-working and respectable young man, left to his own devices he derives sexual gratification from voyeurism – and pays the ultimate price!

Which Ghost Hunter book took you the longest time to write?

To date, Pariahs has taken the longest. The plot is complex, and spread across three interwoven major storylines: a haunted former orphanage; the infiltration of an occult group; and events in the Summer Lands, home to the Celtic Gods.

What made you decide to write a companion story to the 'Ghost Hunter' series, "A Step Aside"?

Although A Step Aside is described as a companion story to the Ghost Hunter series, it was actually written first. As I wrote Gods and Ghosts, it occurred to me that I could incorporate the Celtic God characters, and the Summer Lands location, from A Step Aside into the ghost hunter universe.

Do you have a personal library in your house? Which genre of books do you have the most and which is your most prized possession?

Although I have overflowing bookcases in almost every room, I don’t have a dedicated library. The genres of books that I have most of is fairly evenly split between Horror and Fantasy, followed by Science Fiction. My most prized book is an Arkham House edition of Clark Ashton Smith’s Other Dimensions (Volumes One & Two).

What was the best advice you've ever received related to writing and could you share it with us?

The best advice I have received is to write in your own voice.

Are there any other ideas brought by your friends that you hope to incorporate into different books in the future? What are you currently working on?

I am often told ghost stories – nearly everybody knows one! – and sometimes there are unusual elements that appeal to me which I file away in the back of my mind. I’m currently working on the sixth Ghost Hunter novel, Occultus, which may be the last Ghost Hunter story: for the time being, at least. Occultus, as the title suggests, is more focussed on occult practices, although there is a solid ghost story as well.

Finally, how has AllAuthor helped you with the promotion of your books? Would you recommend this platform for your author friends?

I have found AllAuthor to be an excellent resource, and I would certainly recommend it as a promotional platform.

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