An Interview with Author Gail Z. Martin

by Gail Z. Martin

(reprinted from the Solaris Books site)

Q:  Your short stories are all set in a magical world that’s different from your books.  Can you give us a quick introduction?

A:  The stories I’ve written so far in my short stories range in time from the 1500s to present day, and focus on Sorren, a vampire thief, and his immortal colleagues in a small, secret organization that makes sure that cursed and malicious magical objects stay out of circulation.  Sorren works and his human partners risk everything to steal dangerous items and secure them before they can cause damage or death.

Q:  Sounds like urban fantasy.  Why the change from your usual epic adventures?

A:  It’s fun to write stories in different settings.  Epic stories are great when I’ve got 500 or 600 pages to play with, but when I’m telling a story in 30 or fewer pages, it’s difficult to set up the world, the characters and the plot and keep it on an epic scale. I’m also really intrigued by the idea that malicious magical items are out there in private collections, museum archives, warehouses (think Raiders of the Lost Ark), and curio shops.  They might find their way out of obscurity because of an estate sale, a theft, or the actions of a clueless (or magically influenced) owner, but once on the market, these items could cause serious harm in the hands of someone who understands their power.

Q:  Where did you get the idea for a series about cursed objects?

A:  I grew up going to antique shows, flea markets and estate sales with my father.  I was always drawn to items that seemed to have a story begging to be told.  I loved to find out the history—provenance—of pieces from the antique sellers and booth keepers, and if no one could tell me an object’s tale, my imagination made one up.  A lot of antique stores give you the feeling that you’re rummaging through someone’s attic.  I don’t mean the modern “shabby chic” boutique places that handle hand-picked collectibles.  I mean the kind of place you find on a side street, run by a crabby old proprietor, in a storefront that is itself over a hundred years old (or older, if you’re outside the U.S.).  These places are treasure troves for the imagination.  They’re kind of creepy because things are stacked everywhere, covered with dust, and it’s really easy to imagine some dangerous, cursed item just biding its time, waiting for the right person to take it home.

Q:  Your stories have found an audience on both sides of the Atlantic.  In addition to Magic, where can people find more about Sorren and the Deadly Curiosities series?

A:  My stories are featured in two other UK anthologies, “The Bitten Word” and “The Mammoth Book of Women’s Ghost Stories”, as well as two US anthologies, “Rum and Runestones” and “Spells and Swashbucklers.”  I’m offering excerpts of the two newest stories, “Buttons” and “Among the Shoals Forever” in my Days of the Dead blog tour, and readers can find the other complete stories for download on my site.  I’ll be bringing out more original stories set in this universe through my web site and Amazon, so stay tuned for new details!

Enjoy an excerpt from “Buttons,” my short story in the Magic anthology:


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