Interview with JC Martin, author of ORACLE

Interview with JC Martin, author of ORACLE

Today we have Author JC Martin on the blog, talking about her novel ORACLE, which has just been released. I thought it would be fun to share an interview and a little about the book with you all. You’ll find links to connect with JC and to buy her book at the end of this post.

links to buy are below

What inspired you to write Oracle?

I had the idea a couple of years ago when London won the bid for the 2012 Olympics. The big news in all the papers then were problems with infrastructure, budget deficits, transport chaos, etc. I figured, why not add a serial killer to the mix? That would really give the organisers something to fret about! Coupled with some research into the origin and history of the ancient Olympics, and references to Greek mythology, Oracle was born.

What do you see as the major theme/s in Oracle, and do these reflect some facet of your own life?

Family is a recurring theme in the story: we constantly visit the relationship between Detective Lancer and his daughter, between Lancer and his brother, even the killer’s childhood. Whilst all events in Oracle are purely fictitious, I come from a large extended family, with dozens of aunts and scores of cousins. Family is important to me, and I can’t imagine not having a big one to rely on. I chose to make Lancer’s family tiny, because big or small, it’s the strength of the bonds that counts.

If you had to choose, which author in the world would you say is your greatest influence?

Although I’ve only read one of his books, Boris Starling’s Messiah is the gold standard for the kind of gripping, twisting thriller I aspire to write.

What are you reading now?

The Fall by Claire McGowan, a fellow writer I met a couple of times before at conferences. This is her debut novel, and apparently I was the first person to approach her to sign the book. Smile It’s an interesting story told from the point of view of three very different people who share just one thing in common: all three are somehow connected to one senseless crime. It’s been pretty interesting reading.

Quick, you’ve been asked to stand up and read an excerpt of Oracle in this crowded book shop. Which scene would you choose to share with your impromptu audience?

I would read a scene in the middle of the story, as Lancer confronts his brother Reggie about the latter’s involvement in criminal activities. I feel it’s a powerfully emotional scene, a scene that represents betrayed trust, of expectations and disappointment, and it leaves you wondering if the relationship between the brothers would ever be the same again.

It starts this way:

A white van blared at me as I veered into its path and committed no fewer than four traffic offences as I took a turn on squealing tyres. If my mind had a speedometer, it would probably have displayed the same speed I drove.


How long had he been involved with gang crime? Why hadn’t I realised? What kind of big brother am I?

What else is he hiding from me?

Did you learn anything (about writing craft or about something you researched) as a result of writing this book? If so, what was it?

This being my first book, I learned tons about the publishing process: the rounds of edits and proofreading, book cover design consultations, marketing aspects, etc. All exciting, and some rather mind-boggling stuff!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write what YOU want to write, not what’s all the rage at the moment. ‘Hot’ genres fall out of fashion just as quickly, but a story told with passion, straight from the heart, will be a timeless classic.

Thank you for stopping by, JC!

About Oracle:

With London gearing up to host the Olympics, the city doesn’t need a
serial killer stalking the streets, but they’ve got one anyway.

a trail of brutal and bizarre murders, the police force is no closer
to finding the latest psychopath than Detective Inspector Kurt Lancer
is in finding a solution for his daughter’s disability.

into the pressure cooker of a high profile case, the struggling single
parent is wound tight as he tries to balance care of his own family
with the safety of a growing population of potential victims.

One of whom could be his own daughter.

point in every direction as the public relations nightmare grows, and
Lancer’s only answer comes in the form of a single oak leaf left at
each crime scene.


About the Author:

J.C. Martin is a butt-kicking bookworm: when she isn’t reading or
writing, she teaches martial arts and self-defence to adults and

After working in pharmaceutical research, then in education as a
schoolteacher, she decided to put the following to good use: one, her
2nd degree black belt in Wing Chun kung fu; and two, her overwhelming
need to write dark mysteries and gripping thrillers with a
psychological slant.

Her short stories have won various prizes and have been published in several anthologies. Oracle is her first novel.

Born and raised in Malaysia, J.C. now lives in south London with her husband and three dogs.

Connect with J.C. Martin: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Check out CIAO by Bethany Lopez

Check out CIAO by Bethany Lopez

Happy release day to author Bethany Lopez, whose book Ciao–Book 3 in the Stories about Melissa series, comes out today! Bethany’s having a giveaway on Goodreads. So, hop on over to win your free copy:

About the book:
Melissa has had a fantastic summer, hanging out with her friends and making new ones. Life as she knows it will change when they all come together to begin their sophomore year at Dearborn High. Connections will be made and friendships will be tested. Will Melissa’s family and friends be able to help her through the challenges she will face in the upcoming months.

About the author: Bethany Lopez was born in Detroit, Michigan, and grew up in Michigan and San Antonio, Texas. She went to High School at Dearborn High, in Dearborn, Michigan, which is where she has set her Young Adult novels. She is married and has a blended family with five children. She is currently serving in the United States Air Force as a Recruiter in Los Angeles, California. She has always loved to read and write and has seen her dream realized by independently publishing her contemporary Young Adult series, Stories about Melissa. Ta Ta for Now! and  xoxoxo are available now. Book three, Ciao, comes out today! Click here for a link to all three books on Amazon.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

A week after the SCBWI conference and I am still living in this strange floaty place in my mind, wishing there was a way to articulate how singular this experience was for me.

From each of the stellar keynotes to the amazing breakout sessions and one awesome manuscript critique, I came away with an almost tangible sense of being exactly where I needed to be over the course of those four days in Los Angeles.

I’ll probably continue to share parts of my conference weekend as time allows,
but deadlines and school being back in session for the smalls are going to make for some
interesting time management challenges that will require old school ninja skills to

One special part of this conference was the opportunity to hear Ruta Sepetys speak. Having read her book and knowing some of her story, it
was impossible to hear her talk called: You Can’t Break the Broken: Writing Emotional Truth without shedding tears and feeling my heart clutch in my chest.

Besides the amazing book and the absolutely incredible talk, I got the chance to meet Ruta during the conference–at Starbucks of all places. While waiting for our drinks I told Ruta how her book moved me, and just how special I thought it was, how I never knew about Stalin’s brutality during the war. She was lovely and gracious and well…we had a moment there in the hotel lobby.

Her book BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY is stunning. A NY Times Bestseller, this book has been nominated for numerous awards and honors and won a Golden Kite Award at SCBWI in LA. Read some reviews here.

In her debut book, Ruta tells the story of Lina, a 16-year old Lithuanian girl who is deported with her family during Stalin’s reign of terror in 1941. We follow Lina, her brother Jonas, and their mother as they are separated from her father and sent to Siberia, where every moment is a struggle against starvation, disease, the impossibly harsh climate, and human brutality. But there is also love, and kindness, and the desire to triumph in spite of everything.

The chilling part about reading this book is that while it has been fictionalized for the purpose of telling this story, this story is true. Many of the things that happened to the individuals in this story were related to the author by survivors and incorporated into the book.

Ruta signing my book. Sorry it’s blurry!

Another reality brings a layer of weight to the book: Sepetys’ grandfather was an officer in the Lithuanian military. When the war came to their door it set events into motion that the author herself only discovered when she returned to her ancestral home and had the chance to speak to her family there.

Check out this video featuring Ruta talking about her book. Watch it to the end. I just. Just. *sigh*

I can’t recommend this book more highly. I could not stop reading without knowing how it ended. If my gushing and the volume of 5-star reviews at and the starred Kirkus and Booklist reviews are not enough to convince you, check out the link to the video above.  You will not be disappointed.

Words from LA12SCBWI

Words from LA12SCBWI

During the Opening Ceremonies at the 2012 SCBWI Conference in LA this past weekend, each of the faculty were asked to introduce themselves and say one word to the 1,234 of us who were waiting with bated breath.

I was able to jot some of those words down and thought I’d create a wordle for you to enjoy. I thought it was interesting how “SCBWI” and “community” ended up appearing so prominently in the design when I clicked “go”.

Coincidence? I think not.

This was my first time at the SCBWI in LA and I have to say: Mind? Blown. I am looking at my notebook which I used for notes and such at each session. It is so full of amazing memories, incredible people, and so. much. learning.

If I could add some of my own words to this cluster, they would be: Powerful. Moving. Tears. Meaning. Honesty. Pay Attention. Lucky. Peers. and Aayyyyyy (see below).

Childhood fantasy #4 realized at last.

I’m sure I’ll be distilling what I’ve learned forever, and hopefully will be able to share some of it with you here on the blog. But right now I am still just so overcome with the experience. It was truly something else.