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My First Time...with Martin Nathan

October 1, 2018

 

After time at medical college, Martin worked as a labourer, a showman (a year working on ‘Hello Dolly’), a pancake chef, a fire technician, a train engineer and a signalling engineer on the Underground. He studied philosophy and exploring the ‘pitiless atheism’ of Heidegger and his journey to the limits of language. Then he began to write…

 

We are thrilled that Martin will be joining us at The Riff Raff on Thursday 11 October where he will be reading from his debut novel, A Place Of Safety.

 

Get your tickets here >>

 

Describe the exact moment you decided to write your book.

I was clearing my parents’ house and I began to think about how traumatic events gets embedded in a location. 

 

Also I was aware of how quickly elements of life were changing in the area around South London and I wanted to capture the feel of that particular time.

 

What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before starting to write it?

I would have been more rigorous in planning the timeline. I have four narrators with overlapping parts of the narrative and I ended up having to do a lot of rework. 

 

What did you enjoy most about writing it?

Reworking after the first draft.

 

Read more My First Time interviews >> 

And the worst part?

Reading the proofs.

 

What’s your go-to procrastination method?

Coffee.  Roast your coffee beans.

 

Go-to writing snacks?

Coffee.

 

The book that changed you?

Journey to the End of Night by Celine.

 

Buy the book >>

 

 

Your pump up song?

'God Don’t Like It' by Blind Willie McTell/Kate McTell, or 'Cemetery Polka' by Tom Waits.

 

If you could share a bottle of wine with one writer, who would it be?

Joel Lane (given that he is dead I would get a good share).

 

One piece of advice you’d give first time writers hoping to get published?

Be clear on what makes your voice and insight unique and interesting. Then develop that. 

 

Why do you write?

I have an unusual range of experience from my family background, working life and study.  I use writing to develop and enrich that experience, regardless of any prospect of publication.

 

 

 

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