Not Uplifting? Then Not Worth Publishing, Says Author
- Monday, July 10, 2006
AgapePress writer Randall Murphree interviewed Charles Martin in 2005 after his highly-acclaimed first novel "The Dead Don't Dance." His current title, "When Crickets Cry," is a finalist for a Christy Award for excellence in Christian fiction (winners to be announced this month). Not only a gifted writer, Martin also delivers an entertaining interview. He and his wife Christy live with their sons Charlie, John T. and Rives in Jacksonville, Florida.
Q: What was the impetus for "When Crickets Cry"?
A: Two things got me going on the story for "Crickets." One was just a casual thought I had one day about my heart, the physical organ. It pumps nonstop for an entire life, never with rest. I just got to thinking how I take for granted the little engine inside me. I had been reading Solomon's admonition to his son in Proverbs. In chapter 4, verse 23, he says, "Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life." Why was it that important to him? How do you guard it? It just struck me as something I ought to pay attention to.
Along with that, I happened to have one of my flashes that I seem to have with my stories. I saw a little girl in a yellow dress standing on a street corner selling lemonade. I knew she was wearing a pill container around her neck and I knew she had a scar on her chest. So I started following her around [in my mind] as well. I think those things all happened within about a week of each other.
Q: You left a business career to write. How has this transition played out for you and your family?
A: You got a 90-minute tape in there!? It's been an awesome journey, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Christy would tell you the same thing. It has not been safe, and it has not been certain. And it has not been easy. But had I to do it over again, I wouldn't even blink. I'd do the same thing.
I left a career in business because I knew that is not why God put me on this planet. I had a deep-seated dream or desire to write books. And I know it is a place of privilege to leave a successful career and chase a pipedream. I am grateful for my wife giving me the opportunity to do that.
When I tell people our story, I hear things like, "Wow, you really hung in there. You have great tenacity." I really cringe at all of those. Yeah, I did hang in there a little bit. Yeah, I'm a little bit tenacious, but when I went to pull myself up by my bootstraps, they were broken. I had help. I had a wife who stood beside me and said, "We can do this." This is not my story, this is our story, and I wouldn't be here without us. The Lord gave me an awesome gift in her.
Q: What about that boat? (Martin has previously said his boys were praying for a boat.)
A: We don't have any plans to buy a boat right now because it's not practical. It'd probably be better to buy my boys some kayaks, and that would give us something to do together – you know, father-son.
But that may be a closer reality than I had previously thought. Here's why. I want to be careful when I say this because I'm really grateful for WestBow, my current publisher. But I had been talking with my agent for a year, asking, if my books are appealing to a larger audience, how can I find a publisher who will broadcast my books to that larger audience?
I was given an opportunity about three months ago to speak with three of the top five publishing houses in New York, and each one of them made me an offer. After a whole bunch of talking about it and praying and trying to figure out what we felt was best, we signed a three-book contract with Doubleday Broadway.
So I'll finish my last book for WestBow and then come September, I'll start working on my first book for Doubleday. So, (laughter) if my books sell – to answer your question – maybe we'll get us a boat one day.
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