Name Rea (Pronounced REE) Nolan Martin
Where are you from
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
Degree: Master of Arts in Writing (MAW)
Taught in Masters program at Manhattanville College, NY for several years
Married with two boys (now young men)
Author of 3 novels: The Sublime Transformation of Vera Wright, Mystic Tea, and The Anesthesia Game
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Just released The Anesthesia Game
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I have always been a writer. Spent 20 years in advertising, while also publishing short stories and poetry in literary journals. Why? It’s my oxygen. It’s how I breathe.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I officially knew that was my gift when I was in high school, regularly asked by my teachers to contribute to the literary magazine.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I wrote a book ages ago that I did nothing with because the subject did not really set me on fire. A decade later I decided to write what really interested me—people’s experience with the mystical aspects of spirituality.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m told I have a unique voice, which of course is critical to the success of any author. I focus on character development, which places the plot in the control of the characters, not the author. This generally produces an organic plot, bubbling up from the integrity of the characters instead of imposed by an author’s heavy hand. I dislike writing plot-driven novels (no surprises), so the character-driven model is a hallmark of all my works.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title for this book, The Anesthesia Game, was actually dreamed up by my son. It was a game he played years ago while receiving a lot of medical procedures. I thought it was ingenius. This book/story has nothing to do with him or that experience other than the title and hopefully the authenticity of the clinical environment I created.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
A story should definitely stand on its own without any expected message the author may intend. I only hope that at the end of the book, my readers emerge energized and inspired by the infinite untapped possibility of our human experience.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic ?
As a magical thinker, for me, it’s all realistic. But on the 3-dimensional plane, I would say that Syd’s illness and medical experience are highly realistic, as are the reactions of the older women to the fragility and endangerment of Syd’s young life. Syd’s psychological state of mind is highly realistic, as are those of the women who are attempting to care for her. There are aspects of quantum physics in this book that are also realistic: particle/wave/vibrational qualities of earthly elements, etc. I also know many people who have had deep experiences in the psychic and spiritual realms, including myself. I have represented these in a realistic fashion as well.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The germ of the story is based on a sliver of a real event, but that’s it. The characters are all built from scratch, as is the storyline.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I’m a lover of the Southern writers, including Reynolds Price, Anne Tyler, Fannie Flag, Olive Burns, etc. etc., as well as other visionary books, including Life of Pi, books by Toni Morrison, Ann Patchett, Barbara Kingsolver, and too many others to name.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I just started A Spool of Blue Thread, by Anne Tyler, and just finished All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I enjoyed We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Polishing up a collection of inspirational essays and blogs previously published in Huffington Post, Vibrant Nation, and Charter for Compassion over the last few years, entitled: The Anatomy of a Miracle. I’m adding some new ones as well.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I had a mentor years ago, Gary Provost, who is now deceased. He and his wife, Gail, ran a series of weeks-long workshops called Writers’ Retreat Workshop. They were invaluable to me. My fellow MAW graduates were also a huge support, as were numerous writers’ groups I’ve belonged to over the years. One online group that’s very supportive is Rave Reviews Book Club, as are the folks at Book Viral.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I have to smile at this one : ) since I’ve been doing it for decades, so yes. It’s my career.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’m a very slow writer because I allow my characters to change direction if they have to. So I listen to them every day to be sure I’m not taking the lazy or convenient path. If I know for sure that a better idea is emerging, I’ll stop the presses and incorporate that idea, rewriting what I have to, no matter how far back I have to go. So, no, there isn’t anything I would change, because I’ve changed so much already.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
: I grew up in a huge family—five boys and three girls. This was in the ‘60s when there was no digital entertainment outlet. For entertainment, I wrote plays and acted them out, either with family or friends. There was never a time when I wasn’t writing.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I don’t have to travel, but I enjoy it. I’ve traveled pretty widely, and this is reflected in the deep sense of ‘Place’ I embed in my stories.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Victoria Colotta from VMC Design. She’s a gem.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I waited a decade to write this book, because there were certain elements of the teenage protagonist’s illness (because of my son’s illness) that still disturbed me. I’ve always taught my writing students never to write about a sizeable emotional challenge until the experience is fully digested. It’s a must. Otherwise, the experience comes across too personally and sentimental. Ultimately a story belongs to the readers, not the author. It’s they who have to identify with the experience, not me. It’s they who have to laugh, cry, become enraged…whatever. To make it accessible to my readers, I have to take myself out of it. So the hardest part was waiting that long to write it.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
A great question! Just as we learn so much ‘thinking aloud’ in a discussion with someone else, writers always learn something about themselves and the way the world works when they ‘listen’ to their characters. I learned that I knew more than I thought I knew (or would ever have admitted to knowing) about the mystical universe and its potential for healing.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Learn your craft. Don’t spit out stories at the speed of light just to get them out there. Writers and storytellers in general have an obligation to deliver their best work to the public. The stories we tell mean something. They are records of who we are as humans. I read/see too much indie and digitally published books that are really first or second drafts. Remember, those stories will be around forever. Readers deserve your best.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you; thank you; thank you!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Heidi followed by all the Nancy Drew books.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Absurdity makes me laugh out loud. I love it. What makes me cry are deep, thoughtful acts of kindness (in a good way), and (in a bad way) human tragedy, animal tragedy, or deliberate, reckless endangerment of the Earth.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
So many. Jesus, Thomas Merton, Rumi, Dalai Lama, Maya Angelou, Ghandi, the great mystic–Stylianos Atteshlis, Pope Francis, etc. etc.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Mother of two exceptional humans. Because my children represent the best of me.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Avid exerciser, doggie lover, eclectic decorating.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Anything on PBS, Homeland, The Good Wife, Nashville.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I love hot foods—Mexican, Indian. As for color—all of them, the more radiant the better. I have an open box of 96 crayons on my desk at all times for inspiration. Music: classical, folk, soul, ballads, and southern rock. Love Adele, Train, Leonard Cohen, Dylan, and too many others to name.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I might have been a painter or decorative artist.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Amazon Authors Page