The Walker on the Cape is a murder mystery set in a picturesque fishing community. Why did you choose this tiny town as your setting?
I had visited this small community on a number of occasions in recent years and it always had a kind of mysterious feel to it. Maybe it was because it was almost always cloaked in fog or maybe it was because it has a history of smuggling during the Prohibition days. In any case it seemed like a great location and setting for a mystery.
The detective figure in The Walker on the Cape is an American Indian sergeant named Winston Windflower. What inspired his character?
Winston Windflower is literally a figure of my imagination or at least of the creative process. Once I knew the setting for The Walker on the Cape he came to me as a character and started telling the story. I have added some of my own meat to his bones but he is his own person.
Do you have a writing process? Or do you wing it as you go along?
I have been a freelance writer for many years and that process is one of research and development of an idea. I found that fiction writing, at least for me, was much more of going with the flow. Once I had the main characters they told the story and I just wrote what I felt they were telling me. Also I found that fiction writing came in spurts of inspiration and when they came I just had to sit and write, sometimes for weeks at a time.
Were there any parts of The Walker on the Cape that you particularly enjoyed writing? Any that you’ve found particularly challenging?
I really enjoyed writing the parts about food and eating. I do like to cook and love to eat, especially fresh seafood, so that was a lot of fun. If you read the book you will notice that it opens and closes with food. The challenging parts were certainly those involving police proceedures and the practices of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. I had to research a lot to get those parts right, especially those involving the RCMP. You don’t want to get that wrong, because they always get their man.
Do you have any anecdotes about The Walker on the Cape or the process of writing it that you can share? Inside jokes hidden the book? Strange places you found yourself writing?
As I noted earlier once the urge to write came upon me I literally had no choice to write. So in a few periods of inspiration I found myself locked in the guest bathroom at a relative’s house with my laptop hoping I would not be missed, or more importantly interupted. I guess if you gotta go, you just gotta go!!
How would you characterize your author voice? Do you think of yourself as writing in a particular style?
I would hope that I have a friendly voice that has a bit of an Irish lilt like my ancestors and while my style is not for everyone I do like to think that it is accessible to readers of all ages and inclinations. I would also describe myself as a story teller first and a writer second because for me the story is what counts. All of the rest is fluff. Fun to write but really just window dressing for the real story.
Are there any books or authors that you think inspired or influenced The Walker on the Cape?
I have long been an admirer of English mystery series on television like a Touch of Frost or Midsomer Murders and while they have influenced me I do not pretend to be in their class. I also love Donna Leon who writes from Venice and features a great detetctive and great Italian food.
What’s next for Sergeant Windflower?
Windflower is coming back and has a new mystery to solve. This time a body washes up on shore near Grand Bank and soon Windflower and his sidekick Eddie Tizzard are back on the case. The new book should be out in May, 2013.
The Walker on the Cape is available at: Mike Martin's Official Website (e-book and paperback, listings on a variety of online and brick-and-mortar retailers)