ARM: Where do you get the inspiration for your stories or characters?
LM: Most of the inspiration for the bard stories come from Bardic Tradition, particularly the Duties and Rights of old-school Bardcraft. For the Arthurian stories, I take canon and, again, Bardic Tradition, tease out a little thread, and take it sideways. For The Ladies of Trade Town anthology I edited,and wrote the title story for, I pulled from a filk song I wrote. Sometimes, a story results from a title or first line than pops into my head.
Characters tend to begin with what a particular story needs, and combine aspects of people I know with strangers I’ve observed. Now and then, I’ll base a character on someone or a couple of specific people. “Lady Blaze” owes a lot to my paternal grandmother, with a bit of my maternal grandmother in the mix. And, of course, there’s that fine old saying: “Anger not a writer, for you would make a lovely piece of sword fodder.”
ARM: Do your characters talk to you?
LM: Talk, whisper, taunt, cajole, threaten, berate, seduce, and wake me up from a sound sleep at three in the morning. Most of them have their own distinct voices, vocal inflections, accents, and cadences that translate into the dialogue I write for them.
ARM: What other authors would you suggest to fans of you work?
LM: For who got me hooked on genre in the first place: Anne McCaffrey, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Robert Heinlein. For authors for whom I’ll drop whatever I’m doing to read the latest book to fall into my eager little hands: Elizabeth Moon, Charlaine Harris, and Jim Butcher.
ARM: What are some things that you would like your fans to know about you?
LM: Let’s see: that I’m older than I look, younger than I feel, and that they don’t call me “Hell on Wheels” for nothing.
ARM: Do you have a current work in progress?
LM: Being primarily a short story slinger, the answer is “several”. I’m also pulling together a collection of my short fiction, hopefully for publication next year, and advancing the word count on two novels between deadlines..
ARM: What are you excited about doing or seeing at Fandom Fest?
If last year, and what I’ve seen coming together for this year, are any indication, the Writer Track programming is going to be a great deal of fun. I’m excited about the prospect of working with a mix of folks I’ve paneled with before – John Scalzi, Jim C. Hines, Robin Hobb – and writers new to me and to doing panels in general. Steve Zimmer has a good eye for panel topics and panelist mixes. I’m also looking forward to the venue – The Galt House – and visiting with the great fans in that area.
And if I happen to cross paths with James Marsters and John Rhys-Davies, two actors whose work I’ve long enjoyed, I look forward to testing my ability to maintain my professional demeanor.
ARM: Where can we find out more about you and your books?
LM: For the latest on me and what I’m up to, my website can be found at http://www.HarpHaven.net. If you click on the “HarpHaven Merchanter” link from the main page, you’ll find some of my books – including the trade paperback of The Ladies of Trade Town – , an audiobook, and a filk CD available for sale directly from me. If you’re partial to ebooks, you’ll find the Kindle version at http://www.Amazon.com and the Nook version at http://www.barnesandnoble.com
I also maintain a presence on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lee.martindale and a blog at http://lee-martindale.livejournal.com.