Debrah (D.B) Martin

I would describe myself as the ultimate multi-tasker. Sometimes I even have to remind myself who I am for the day! That’s because I write under three different pen names and in three very different genres.

As Debrah Martin I write literary fiction. I also plot fast-paced and compelling thrillers as D.B. Martin and of course also pen my YA teen detective series as Lily Stuart.

So why not stick to just one name and one genre?

Variety is the spice of life, I reckon - and I have all these ideas – they have to come out somehow! My past careers have spanned two businesses, teaching, running business networking for the University of Winchester and social event management. I now make do with chairing the Wantage (not just Betjeman) Literary Festival in my hometown when I’m not writing. I also have two daughters and a dog to organise. See – more multi-tasking…


1. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My daughters have a nickname for me – ‘Inappropriate Mother’ – mainly because I have a tendency to try out things that other mothers don’t. That means I’m guilty of paragliding off a 6500 foot mountain, flying a balloon, and generally wondering how I’ve ended up doing what I’m doing form time to time. But mainly, it’s because I write what I want to write, not what I’m expected to write, and at the heart of it, there’s always something I really want to say, albeit buried within the story. Even my very first novel was a somewhat controversial story about a transitioning transgender, published in 2013. It’s now out of print but I will be re-releasing it in 2015 because it had as much to say about attitudes and beliefs as about the characters stories. 
My first foray into writing was a – terrible – children’s book I started writing in my twenties and abandoned almost immediately, apart from some of the illustrations I produced at the time. (I also studied Fine Art). The next was many years later, just after my husband died and when I was looking for something to do close to home. My daughters were still too young and shell-shocked by the whole horrible experience of cancer for me to go too far afield; indeed, we all were. I joined a local adult education programme and wrote my first short story. It, too, was terrible, but I persevered and the next one was better. My older daughter – by then sixteen – introduced me to NaNoWriMo ( and I found I could break the 50,000 word barrier – if shakily. After that the writing bug bit in earnest – and the rest, as they say, is history. 
I realise now I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have had such wide-ranging life experiences, even though it may not have felt that way at the time, and it’s these I draw on to write. Writing is therapeutic and also fascinating. I wouldn’t ever dwell on the bad experiences – such as cancer – but they do open doors to explain the human character and the things about it that inspire bravery and cowardice, good and bad, love and hate. 
I used to work in business, PR and event management – including for the University of Winchester, UK. Now, I just write!

2. Describe your book Patchwork People (Patchwork People series Book 2) in 30 words or less. 

Never count your blessings until all your curses are numbered… Lawrence Juste QC should know that; his are only just adding up – to murder and a disturbingly unavoidable truth.

3. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Probably keeping the characters, their backstories and their part in the plot straight. With a complicated plot, it’s all too easy to forget a minor detail and get it wrong later as a result. That’s why proofing and editing are so important. A good editor will immediately pick up on the inconsistencies the author overlooks because they are too close to the story. Of course self-editing is absolutely vital too, but an objective and detached reader is the difference between credibility and fantasy – but not in a good way! Editors are the unsung heroes of all good books. 

4. What books have had the greatest influence on you?

As a child I steadily worked my way through the local library’s book shelves, starting with Enid Blyton, then onto Ruth Rendell, P.D. James, Patricia Cornwell via Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers and so on, until I reached Dan Brown –as everyone does. I also read thousands of other psychological and crime suspense novels in between. I love a good thriller, especially if it’s a brain teaser. Gone Girl was good too, but I worked the plot out about five chapters in, and that showed me how much the psychological thriller format eventually worms its way into your psyche. 
All that reading taught me how to write thriller plots, but my reading background is far wider. 
I studied English Literature at university (too long ago to dwell on) and through it, developed a love of all kinds of genres – Shakespearean and Jacobean Revenge tragedy particularly amongst them. If I took an overview, I can even see little traits of them in Patchwork Man, as well as the kind of moral twist there is in books such as Harper Lee’s  To Kill a Mocking Bird, which will always be one of my all-time favourites. It’s maybe also why I write in more than one genre. There is too much I love to read to stick to just one, and also too much to say in so many different ways!

5. Briefly share with us what you do to market your book?

When I first started writing, someone pointed out to me – quite rightly – that the marketing of a book is as important as the writing of it. If no-one knows about your book, how are they going to read it? Yet promotion is probably one of the most difficult things for authors to succeed at because the very nature of what we do – building our own worlds, populated with our own characters and telling our stories – is introspective. We’re not natural self-promoters, yet we have to be; but how? 
Since self-publishing – or indie publishing - first became popular, it has become increasingly difficult to be seen – or read. There are literally thousands of new books being released every day. Getting your title in front of a reading public is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack. Lucky then, that there is an equal enthusiasm from avid readers for good quality affordable fiction, and digital publication has responded to that by making the Kindle, E-reader and other digital formats our reading future. I therefore rely heavily on promotional sites like Bookbuzzr (Freado), E-Reader News today, Booksends and a host of other promotional services to tell just such potential readers about my books, the current offers on them and to make sample chapters and downloads available so readers can decide for themselves whether my style is their style too. I’m also a firm supporter of Amazon’s free Kindle download days. If you don’t know me, get to know me with a free e-book. If you like what I write, I hope you’ll come back for more. Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? 

And talking about special offers, don’t miss out on: 

• Webs – currently 99c/99p on Kindle
• Patchwork Man - currently 99c/99p on Kindle
• Patchwork People – absolutely FREE on Wed 21st January on Kindle

Apart from cost and accessibility, to me, one of the biggest selling points of a book is what other readers think of it so reviews are essential too. I go all out to encourage as many reviews as possible whenever I can. If you see someone else thinks a book is good, you’re far more likely to take a chance on it than if there’s little or no information to guide you. Having said that, it’s not easy to get reviews either. After all, it takes time to read a book, and most readers simply want to read and move on. It’s a rare breed of person who’s prepared to give their time to telling other potential readers what to expect. Hats off to all reviewers, therefore – and to the dedicated bloggers and reviewers who’ve read and reviewed any of my books, a HUGE thank you!
I also use Twitter and social media – although probably not as much as I should. I should blog more, too – talking of which, I’ll have to get on with that. Maybe a blog post about the promotional sites I use most…

6. How do you spend your time when you are not writing?

I absolutely love writing so for me it’s no chore but when I’m not writing I tend to get roped into things, which probably makes me too much of a ‘yes’ woman. The most recent ‘rope-in’ was to be 2014 Chair of the Wantage (not just Betjeman) Literary Festival – so named because Betjeman lived in my current home town. It’s a week-long feast of all things literary and literary-related at the end of October each year, with a bit of fun involved too. Last year’s event was an amazing success, but also a great deal of hard work, so I’m scaling down my involvement in 2015 to merely running a new writers’ group here, with workshops and speakers to encourage its members, leaving me enough time to do justice to my own work.
I moved to Oxfordshire only just over a year ago – a fresh start for myself and my daughters after some rather unpleasant years before and after their father’s death in 2010. So far I would rate my new home town as one of the friendliest places I’ve lived, and am delighted I made the move. I love walking my dog in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside (the perfect antidote to writer’s block too), playing badminton (badly), painting, making stained glass art, dancing – any style – and already have a hectic social life spread between friends, local writing groups and the demands of my two daughters. Long may it remains so!

7. What are you working on next?

I’m currently in the throes of completing the third and final part of the Patchwork trilogy, Patchwork Pieces.  This will be released very shortly – probably March/April of this year. I’ve also recently released my first YA fiction, writing as Lily Stuart – THE teen detective. Lily is sixteen, irreverent, blunt, sarcastic, funny and vulnerable – like most teenagers. She met the exacting criticism of my two harshest reviewers – my twenty year old and fifteen year old daughters – and is now set to forge ahead in her own series. The first in the series is called Webs, and was released on 1st September 2014. Magpies will follow later on this year, with more Lily bite, humour and inspired detective work.
I tend to have too many ideas simultaneously on the boil not to have other books already in the pipeline though, so I have a YA fantasy series also in the melting pot, and a literary and another psychological thriller fiction bubbling away with it. As the pot bubbles over, there will be more about the next new releases on my website and in my newsletter. My newsletter will also tip you the wink about offers, discounts and competitions I’m running, roughly once a month, so if you’re curious, do sign up here: and please - keep reading!

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