I’m excited to welcome author N.M. Martinez to my blog today! She is the author of Ruin, which is the first in a planned series. Ruin was released in ebook format in August, and the paperback version will soon be available. I loved Ruin because the world N.M. is so gritty and raw and really sucks you in. If you’re a fan of dystopia, fantasy, or science fiction, I recommend checking out this book!
Ruin by N.M. Martinez
Thirty years ago, there was a revolution.
Humans who had been granted powers through experiments performed upon them against their will, broke free from the labs and burned across the land, creating a dangerous new territory called the Wildlands.
Paula has grown up in the Neutral Territory, never knowing a time without the neighboring Wildlands as a threat. Her government does what it can to protect her people, but they still live in fear of the powerful Wildlanders invading their safe and protected territory.
Then one night Paula’s mother is arrested, and Paula is banned from the Neutral Territory to the Wildlands. Now she must make a new life for herself in a territory of people she knows will not be welcoming.
First, every guest to my blog has to have their own intro music. So what’s your request to add to the blog playlist?
Learn to Fly by the Foo Fighters. (OMG, this was the hardest question to answer.)
Love that song! Great pick.
In your book Ruin, I like that we’re immediately thrown into a life-altering event for Paula when we first meet her. We’re trying to figure out what’s going on right along with her, and the story gripped me from the beginning. What first inspired this story?
Thank you. Well, Ruin, the world, has been a long time in development. It’s been so long, I can’t remember exactly what inspired the first inkling of it.
I do remember that one main influence was the gang problem we have in the city close to my home. Where I live is so quiet and peaceful, but about twenty minutes away there’s a city that has a huge issue with violent crimes. That’s where the original idea for tribes came from. I imagined what would happen if people were left on their own without any force to guide them. Or, what if there was a force, but they felt they couldn’t trust it? So I pictured people banding together, and right away I could see how easily it could go bad.
Through school, I ended up meeting a lot of those kids who had been in gangs or grew up around them. I found most of those kids to be very surprising. People who hear about gangs and youth violence want to believe these kids are monsters, but really, they’re just trying to survive, and in doing so end up pulling other kids like themselves into the same situation. Many of the kids in gangs end up actually becoming responsible adults, especially when they start having their own kids.
In more recent years, I’ve been heavily inspired by the “death” of the nearby Fort Ord and the “birth” of the University within it. In 1994, the old military fort was shut down, and the parts of it that the university hasn’t used are still standing, slowly rotting away over twenty years later. That subconsciously inspired the idea of the Southlands, which in the story is essentially an army living out of a rundown city.
I love the world you created for Ruin, with the different lands and the people. I love how gritty and ruined the world and the people feel on one hand, but also how they’ve still put a civilization back together and are surviving with what they have. How difficult was developing the world-building part of this story?
Not as difficult as I expected. The idea of the world has been with me for a long time, but I didn’t start delving deeper into the creation of it until a couple of years ago. I found that I had questions about the world and life in it. Like how do they eat? What do they eat? Where do they grow their food? Do they have a religion?
When I sat down to answer questions like these, I realized that I needed a solid foundation to start building the world on. Even if this is an imaginary world, I needed to have an anchor to something real and solid, and so I used my knowledge about the middle ages in Europe to craft it.
I’m still gathering information about other, older ancient civilizations, and then letting those ideas settle into my subconscious as I create other parts of the world. One of the plus sides of having a world in decay is that it doesn’t have to deal with large governments, huge political systems, or highly developed cultures. I work in small bits, examining the different groups, and working on their own whys and hows as I go along.
Crafting the world and writing the story can go hand in hand, so long as I keep hold of an idea as to what I am doing and where the story of the world is going.
Will we get to learn more about the Wildlands and the Neutral Territory and what exactly happened to make this world as it is in future books?
Oh, yes. The story of the people is the important part, but I understand that the story of the world needs to be told. (I’m also really curious about it, haha.)
The idea is that, hopefully, as more individual stories are released, a larger vision of the world will come into focus. Every character knows something different about their world and their place in it. Paula only knows what she’s been told. The narrator of the next full-sized novel also only knows what she’s been told, but what she’s been told will differ from what Paula was taught at her state sanctioned schools. There is also a third book, far in the future, that will be from the point of views of a couple of people who went out seeking answers on their own.
I found Jimmy to be both fascinating and horrifying at times. He’s that mysterious guy you want to know more about, but then he’s also pretty scary with the things he does. Will we get to see more of his inner workings?
Jimmy is a fun and disturbing character to write about. I love him dearly for a character that I made up. It’s a little tough to write about him because I like that he’s mysterious, and I don’t want to wreck that aspect of his character by prodding it too much.
But after I sent Ruin off to the beta readers, I started work right away on another story that took about two months to complete. It really surprised me, not just because of how quickly it came out, but because it was Jimmy’s story.
His story was a tough one to write. I expected it would be because of the action scenes and because his mind is so alien due to his experiences growing up, but neither of those were the hard part. It turned out that the parts I struggled through were the rare emotional ones. He is not very showy when it comes to emotions, but he has them, and they’re very strong.
What can we look forward to next from you?
The Two Brothers (Jimmy’s story) will be released in December. It’s a short complementary piece to Ruin, only about 26,000 words, that will sell for .99 in ebook form.
The next story I’m working on is another companion story. My guess right now is that it’ll come in at around 40,000 words and will be released in the Spring of 2012.
And by next fall, the second full novel of the series will be released. So please be sure to check it out before the world ends in December.
Thank you so much for the interview! Readers, you can learn more about N.M. Martinez and her books at the links below:
N.M. Martinez lives with her boyfriend and their two cats in Monterey Bay. She harbors a not so secret crush on Isaac Asimov, loves comic books, and enjoys playing old school games.
Her main project right now is the Ruin Series which will be a series of stand alone stories that will be linked through common characters and crossover moments between stories.