Tesla and Holmes: An Interview with Author Martin Hill Ortiz

Martin Hill Ortiz has written many novels that explore the thrilling side of history. Açedrex editor Jessica Knauss asked him about his process and his literary heroes.  A Predator’s Game debuted on March 30.

 

JK: What’s special or different about writing a prequel? Was the inspiration or process the same?

MHO: While putting together the publicity for the first book, A Predatory Mind, I assembled the research I had undertaken into the lives of Nikola Tesla and Henry H. Holmes and I realized just how fascinating they are. They had taken up maybe ten percent of the first novel and they were the best part. I decided to devote an entire novel to their interaction.

Instead of a prequel, I chose to take an event that was mentioned in passing in the first novel—that Holmes had gone to New York and stolen Tesla’s invention—and make that into a full story. The form is sometimes called a “throughquel,” but that’s an ugly word.

JK: Do you feel a special responsibility to get it accurate because you’re using real people as characters?

MHO: My answer might seem strange: with Tesla, yes; with Holmes, no.

Tesla was wonderfully contradictory: two parts saint, a man who set as his goal the betterment of the world; and one part intolerant who couldn’t deal with individuals. As Linus Van Pelt once said in an old Peanuts comic: “I love mankind, it’s people I can’t stand.” I wanted to be true to Tesla’s character.

Holmes, on the other hand, was an inveterate liar and exactly who he was is up for debate. It is possible he was a rank, measly sadist and I didn’t want to write him out that way—I didn’t want to spend time with that character. It is possible he was not terribly bright. Medical education was different in the nineteenth century. In 1869, when some at Harvard Medical School proposed to include a written final exam, the dean complained that “more than half of them [the students] can barely write.” I created a Holmes character for my novel who was more suave, more intelligent, and more self-disciplined than the murderer. I made him reflect Moriarty.

 

I have posted extensively on my blog about the lives of Tesla and Holmes.

JK: Do you write for yourself or for your readers?

MHO: I write for my readers. I want to tell a good story and I am happy enough when that is accomplished. I am the first of my readers, so I am demanding in satisfying myself.

JK: What is your least favorite word?

MHO: Unmicrowaveable.

JK: Do you have a favorite author?

MHO: I used to. I used to read up everything a particular author has written. Two of these were James Thurber and Milan Kundera. Now I find myself author jumping, trying to sample a hundred and one authors to see more of what’s out there. I spent a considerable time last year reading selections from the list of the all-time best mysteries. It was a topic of my blog and I managed to scratch off my reading list another forty of the hundred best.

This year I have told myself I will read up on the works by female fiction authors and more contemporary novels. So I’ve been reading Laurie R. King, Sarah Waters, and Marisha Pessl, along with some others.

JK: What are you currently working on?

MHO: I have the sequel to Never Kill A Friend almost finished. Then I’ll crank a short story or two I’ve been waiting to write. After that I’ve been plotting a Y/A magical realism novel in the back of my mind.

JK: We’ll all look forward to those!

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A Predator’s Game is available in ebook and softcover in the following venues:

Kindle | NookKobo

Indiebound SoftcoverSoftcover | Amazon Softcover

Thrilling! A Predator’s Game Now Available

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A Predator’s Game, long-awaited prequel to A Predatory Mind, was released March 30. You can order it now and get it instantly for Kindle, Nook, or Kobo. Be sure you’re ready to chase clues all over turn-of-the-century Manhattan! For slightly delayed gratification, order the softcover at the links below (more coming soon) or request at your local bookstore or library.

Kindle | NookKobo

Softcover | Amazon Softcover | Indiebound Softcover

Manhattan, 1896.

When the author Arthur Conan Doyle meets Nikola Tesla he finds a tall, thin genius with a photographic memory and a keen eye, and recognizes in the eccentric inventor the embodiment of his creation, Sherlock. Together, they team up to take on a different, evil Holmes. Multi-murderer Dr. Henry H. Holmes has escaped execution and is unleashing a reign of terror upon the city. Set in the late nineteenth century in a world of modern marvels, danger, and invention, Conan Doyle, Tesla, and the madman engage in a deadly game of wits.

Surprises at every turn and many moments that are so clever, you’ll wonder how the author came up with it. He must’ve had Arthur Conan Doyle at his shoulder as he wrote. Don’t miss it!

 

Coming March 30: A Thrilling and Cerebral Adventure

APG 1Great news for fans of Martin Hill Ortiz’s exceptionally imaginative thrillers!

A Predator’s Game, long-awaited prequel to A Predatory Mind, will be released March 30. You can preorder it now for Kindle or Kobo and get ready to chase clues all over turn-of-the-century Manhattan to end up at the classic venue for thrillers, Niagara Falls.

Kindle PreOrder | Kobo PreOrder

Manhattan, 1896.

When the author Arthur Conan Doyle meets Nikola Tesla he finds a tall, thin genius with a photographic memory and a keen eye, and recognizes in the eccentric inventor the embodiment of his creation, Sherlock. Together, they team up to take on a different, evil Holmes. Multi-murderer Dr. Henry H. Holmes has escaped execution and is unleashing a reign of terror upon the city. Set in the late nineteenth century in a world of modern marvels, danger, and invention, Conan Doyle, Tesla, and the madman engage in a deadly game of wits.

Surprises at every turn and many moments that are so clever, you’ll wonder how the author came up with it. He must’ve had Arthur Conan Doyle at his shoulder as he wrote. Don’t miss it!

Softcover | Amazon Softcover | Other stores coming soon! Request it at your local bookstore!

Bestsellers 2015 and What’s to Come in 2016

It hasn’t been a great money year for Açedrex Publishing. But Açedrex was founded for the love of books, so in 2016 we’ll persevere and get even more great reading material out to you readers of the world.

As usual, our best selling book of 2015 has been

9781937291525

These journals are fascinating reading, whatever your opinion of Columbus. You should read his story in his own words in order to make better arguments for enshrining his achievements, vilifying him, or forgetting about him all together.

Other great things that happened at Açedrex this year:

New releases

Our first nonfiction from Rook’s Page, Skinny Zen, is revolutionizing the diet scene. Unpredictable Worlds was published and recognized with a five-star review from Reader’s Favorite. Tree/House is out in a new edition and is our first foray into audiobook!

Something else great coming in 2016:

New release early 2016

A Predator’s Game by Martin Hill Ortiz from Rook’s Page Publishing.

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You’ve heard of Tesla, Arthur Conan Doyle, and maybe even H. H. Holmes. You haven’t seen them like this. This is the thrilling sequel to Ortiz’s fantasy thriller A Predatory Mind, coming to you in early 2016.

Açedrex and Rook’s Page will keep on bringing you books we love and that we hope you love, too. Happy New Year!

A First for Us in a New Book Ready for Pre-Order

SKZ4Açedrex has a few non-fiction works available, but nothing like this. And that’s the whole idea. There are too many diet books out there to count. This one is different.

Rook’s Page proudly presents Skinny Zen by Jan Holmes Frost. It features a positive, meditative approach to weight loss with a simple scoring system for meal plans and little gems of useful advice, all with a unique sense of humor. You won’t dread turning the pages of this encouraging essay.

“When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” ~Zen proverb

Think happy, think skinny, think Skinny Zen. Slow down, focus, take a deep, mindful breath, and learn strategies for your body’s particular needs.

Everyday diet books set a negative vibe when it comes to weight loss management. They even set negative goals for you! Skinny Zen shows you how to accentuate the positive and become in tune with your true weight loss regime. Frost’s wry wit will have you forgetting the D-word (diet) as you check out the numerous website links and learn new habits. Namaste.

Skinny Zen releases on May 10. Get a new attitude just in time for those summer clothes. It’s available for Kindle preorder now. Get it on release day automatically! Other formats and a softcover edition coming soon!

The Best Short Stories, Our Three-Volume Series, Now Complete in all formats

The Rook’s Page imprint of Açedrex Publishing is proud to announce that our first multi-volume series is now complete in all formats. Fifty of the greatest shorter narratives ever written in three attractive volumes!

Have you read the 50 best short stories of all time?

Rook’s Page Publishing is here to make it easy to meet that goal! This three-volume set in ebook and softcover formats commemorates the hundredth anniversary of a critical moment in the history of literature.

In 1914, the New York Times asked the most highly regarded authors of the day to name the best short story in the English language. Many of their responses have maintained consistent fame through time. Others have become hidden gems. All are essential literary experiences that will make you love to read again.

These masterpieces are collected here for the first time, masterfully copyedited and with an introduction by Martin Hill Ortiz, PhD.

Volume1Volume I includes:
An Introduction to the Times survey and the stories
A Lodging for the Night—A Story of Francis Villon by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Outcasts of Poker Flat by Bret Harte
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The Pavilion on the Links by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Maltese Cat by Rudyard Kipling
The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe
The Purloined Letter by Edgar Allan Poe
Will o’ the Mill by Robert Louis Stevenson
Wolfert Webber; or, Golden Dreams by Washington Irving
The Ring of Thoth by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mark Twain
The Door in the Wall by H. G. Wells
Gifts of Oblivion by Dorothy Canfield

Volume I is available on ebook:

On Kindle in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, India, and Japan

In the USA, the UK, and Europe for Nook

Worldwide at Kobo

Vol1 Weband in softcover (more than 500 pages!) at Amazon | CreateSpace | Barnes and Nobleyour favorite indie bookstore | request it at your library!

 

 

 

 

coverVolume II includes:
Introduction
Markheim by Robert Louis Stevenson
Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Luck of Roaring Camp by Bret Harte
The Brushwood Boy by Rudyard Kipling
Doctor Marigold by Charles Dickens
Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving
An Unfinished Story by O. Henry
The Claws of the Tiger by Gouverneur Morris IV
The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe
Providence and the Guitar by Robert Louis Stevenson
Bread Upon the Waters by Rudyard Kipling
Marjorie Daw by Thomas Bailey Aldrich
Love in a Mist by A. Neil Lyons
His Wife by Stephen French Whitman
Rebecca and Rowena by William Makepeace Thackeray
Master and Man by Leo Tolstoy
The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant
The Piece of String by Guy de Maupassant
Cinderella by the Brothers Grimm
The Story of Ruth Anonymous
“What is the Best Short Story?” The original article as presented in the New York Times

Kindle in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, Japan, and India

Nook in the USA, the UK, and Europe

Kobo worldwide

Vol2 Weband in softcover (almost 500 pages!) at Amazon | CreateSpace | Barnes and Noble | your favorite indie bookstore | request it at your library!

 

 

 

 

Volume3Volume III includes:
Introduction
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
The Haunted and the Haunters; Or, the House and the Brain by Edward Bulwer-Lytton
A Municipal Report by O. Henry
The Man Without a Country by Edward Everett Hale
The Merry Men by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Gold Bug by Edgar Allan Poe
The Cricket on the Hearth, A Fairy Tale of Home by Charles Dickens
The Story of Richard Doubledick by Charles Dickens
The Belled Buzzard by Irvin S. Cobb
An Incident by Sarah Barnwell Elliott
A Journey by Edith Wharton
Beyond the Pale by Rudyard Kipling
Without Benefit of Clergy by Rudyard Kipling
The Stolen Story by Jesse Lynch Williams
The Dead by James Joyce
Biographies of the Selectors and the Selected Authors

Volume III is available:

On Kindle in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, India, and Japan

For Nook for the USA, UK, and Europe.

And on Kobo worldwide.

Vol3 Weband in softcover (well over 500 pages!) at Amazon | CreateSpaceBarnes and Noble | your favorite indie bookstore | request it at your library!

The 50 Best Short Stories of All Time, The Final Volume

Volume3

At last, Volume III of this unique series of the very best literature the English language has to offer has arrived! You can finally read and enjoy all 50 of the stories chosen by the best authors of 1914 for a very low price. These stories stand the test of time.

Have you read the 50 best short stories of all time?

In 1914, a critical moment in literature, the New York Times asked the most highly regarded authors of the day to name the best short story in the English language. Many of their responses have maintained consistent fame through time. Others have become hidden gems. All are essential literary experiences that will make you love to read again.

These masterpieces are collected here for the first time, masterfully copyedited and with an introduction by Martin Hill Ortiz, PhD.

This volume includes:

Introduction

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

The Haunted and the Haunters; Or, the House and the Brain by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

A Municipal Report by O. Henry

The Man Without a Country by Edward Everett Hale

The Merry Men by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Gold Bug by Edgar Allan Poe

The Cricket on the Hearth, A Fairy Tale of Home by Charles Dickens

The Story of Richard Doubledick by Charles Dickens

The Belled Buzzard by Irvin S. Cobb

An Incident by Sarah Barnwell Elliott

A Journey by Edith Wharton

Beyond the Pale by Rudyard Kipling

Without Benefit of Clergy by Rudyard Kipling

The Stolen Story by Jesse Lynch Williams

The Dead by James Joyce

Biographies of the Selectors and the Selected Authors

The final volume of this exceptional series is now available in ebook:

On Kindle in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, India, and Japan

For Nook for the USA, UK, and Europe.

And on Kobo worldwide.

Check back for soft cover editions soon!

Some of the stories you’ll find in Volumes I and II, already available:
The Outcasts of Poker Flat by Bret Harte
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The Ring of Thoth by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mark Twain
The Door in the Wall by H. G. Wells
Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving
The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe
The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant

 

The Best Short Stories Chosen in 1914 by the most prominent authors of the day, Volume I, is available in ebook at the following outlets:

Volume1On Kindle in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, India, and Japan

In the USA, the UK, and Europe for Nook

Worldwide at Kobo

 

 

The Best Short Stories Chosen in 1914 by the most prominent authors of the day, Volume II is available in ebook at these outlets:

coverKindle in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, Japan, and India

Nook in the USA, the UK, and Europe

Kobo worldwide