By E.M. Powell
I’m sure we’ve all come across the ‘Why I Write’ statements. They come in as many forms and in as wide a variety as there are writers. Yet few can beat Kat Martin’s “I write simply to entertain” in its succinctness—and its modesty. Martin has written more than sixty-five novels, with sixteen million copies of her books in print in more than twenty countries. She’s a regular on the prestigious New York Times bestseller list, with her most recent releases, the romantic suspense BOSS Inc novels Into the Fury and Into the Whirlwind both taking top ten spots. By anyone’s reckoning, that’s a heck of a lot of people entertained. Those legions of readers are about to be joined by more with the release of Martin’s third BOSS Inc. title, INTO THE FIRESTORM.
For those who don’t know, BOSS stands for Brodie Operations Security Services, an operation headed up by ex-cop Ethan Brodie. INTO THE FIRESTORM has Ethan’s bounty hunter brother as its hero. Luke Brodie is chasing international criminal, Rudy Vance and $600,000 fee he’ll collect if he brings in Vance. Trouble is, there’s another bounty hunter in pursuit of the despicable Vance, too. And this one is a young female who’s new to the job: Emma Cassidy, less than five feet tall and with the most intensely personal reasons for wanting to get Vance. As this is a Kat Martin novel, the sexual tension between Luke and Emma is there from the start. Add the gritty realism of the world of the bounty hunter that Martin brings to life so well, and you have another high-octane, page-turning read.
Real life has provided some help for Martin’s fiction. She says she based elements of the courageous, likeable Emma on a very well respected bail enforcement agent in Texas. She also had a trusted advisor. “A close friend of mine, Bob Burton, was at one time the #1 Bounty Hunter in the US. I modelled Emma’s mentor, Booth Childers, after my friend. He was also a bodyguard. Bob was enormously helpful in providing info for several of my books.”
I wondered if real life also inspired Martin’s many realistic hand-to-hand combat scenes. “I live in Montana!” she says. “Lots of men around. My guys like boxing and cage fighting.” More reassuringly, she admits that she also watched a lot of videos.
As with all romantic suspense, the action-packed story has to be balanced with a passionate love story. Striking such a cross-genre balance isn’t always easy. “I think suspense books in general are difficult to write,” she says, much to the relief of other authors in the field. “And adding the romance element makes them even harder, although I really love writing the romance so that part comes naturally.” She used to outline but has changed her methodology. “I would love to be able to outline, but it just doesn’t work for me anymore. The stories are so complex that they move the book in unexpected directions. I have to be able to adjust and respond to different situations.”
A major suspense strand in the novel features the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia. Their inclusion brings an intriguing element to the plot. As can happen with research, Martin says she found out about them when looking for something else. “I actually stumbled across the Yakuza when I was working on another novel. I saw photos and started reading about them. I thought they would make great bad guys. The most fascinating thing I found was that they cover their entire bodies with tattoos–even their genitals. When they displease their superiors, they are expected to cut off a portion of their finger. The more mistakes they make, the less fingers they have. Gives me the shivers just to think about it.” With no spoilers, and no pun intended, I can guarantee you that this last snippet is used to maximum and horrifying effect.
Turning to less toe-curling matters, Martin’s covers for her BOSS Inc series are eye-catching and fit the tone of the series perfectly. It’s a feature she’s particularly pleased with. “I’ve had about fifteen gorgeous covers in a row. All of my Against series, my Alaska books, and now BOSS, Inc. I’ve loved every one of them. I think I liked Into the Whirlwind best, though I usually prefer my heroes to have their shirts on. That one was just spectacular.” But that look is about to take a new direction. ‘My next book, out in June 2017, will be the first of three romantic thrillers set in Texas, a little more in-depth series. They are replacing my hero covers with suspense covers, even though the hero of Beyond Reason is Lincoln Cain, 6’5” of gorgeous male. I’m really going to miss my hunky guy covers and I don’t have much say in what the publisher decides to do.”
Yet with every book, it’s what’s between the covers that really counts and crucially, what readers think of it. Despite a writing career going back to 1988, Martin still loves hearing from readers. “My favorite thing to hear from a reader is that they stayed up half the night reading my novel. I love it when they say they couldn’t stop turning the pages. That’s my goal. Keep them reading, unable to stop until they reach the end and then wish the book continued.”
Where those reader reactions are less than favorable, Martin has the most candid and comforting advice for fellow writers. “I hate to read bad reviews. They are devastating. You can have 100 great reviews and one bad review and it’s the bad review you will remember. I try not to read them unless I absolutely have to. It’s crucial to stay focused. You have to remain convinced that you’re a good writer, otherwise you can’t do your job.”
And what a job that is. With her explosive, sizzling INTO THE FIRESTORM, Kat Martin proves that the real BOSS of romantic suspense is back with a bang.
New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. She is married to L.J. Martin, author of western, non-fiction, and suspense novels.
Kat has written more than sixty-five novels. Sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries, including Japan, France, Germany, Argentina, Greece, China, Russia, and Spain.
Born in Bakersfield, California, Kat currently resides in Missoula, Montana, on a small ranch in the beautiful Sapphire mountains. Her last 12 books have hit the prestigious New York Times bestseller list. INTO THE FURY and INTO THE WHIRLWIND her most recent releases, both took top ten spots.
To learn more, please visit Kat’s website, or look for her on Facebook at Katmartin/author.