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!

New Preorders for November

Two of Jessica Knauss’s masterful works have been in limited distribution until now. We’re proud to announce that at last, as well as the Kindle editions you’ve come to know and love, Tree/House and Unpredictable Worlds will be available on all the other ebook platforms, too!

Both books of fiction have received critical praise and are perfect gifts for the book lover in your life during this holiday season.

The magical day is November 20. Let these books be your other literary activity as you get ready to watch the last installment of the Hunger Games.

Tree House NEWTree/House is already available in softcover in many venues:

Softcover | Softcover at Indiebound | Softcover at Amazon | Softcover at Barnes and Noble

And in Kindle and Nook.

It will be waiting for you at your favorite alternative ebook retailer on November 20, or preorder today at Apple iBooks and Kobo and it will download to your device on release day.

Unpredictable 5StarUnpredictable Worlds has a lovely softcover edition available now:

Softcover | Softcover at Indiebound | Softcover at Amazon | Softcover at Barnes and Noble

And is ready for you in Kindle and Nook.

As with Tree/House, Unpredictable Worlds will be waiting for you at your favorite alternative ebook retailer on November 20, or preorder today at Apple iBooks and Kobo and it will download to your device on release day.

Please note that because all the stories (and more) from Rhinoceros Dreams have been revised and included in Unpredictable Worlds, Rhinoceros Dreams will no longer be available after November 20.

Thank you for supporting Açedrex Publishing’s mission to bring original books to a wide audience.

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!

New Amazing Book Available for Bargain Preorder

Unpredictable WorldsAçedrex is proud to present a new book of short stories!

A teacher controls her students with an edible microchip. A reporter turns into a rhinoceros. A couple’s efforts to eat local go frighteningly awry. If you’re looking to be surprised, puzzled, or just plain entertained, pick up this omnibus. There’s something for everyone!

More than twenty years in the making, Unpredictable Worlds contains all of Jessica Knauss’s published and prize-winning short fiction as of March 2015 and a few of her best stories never before seen in print or ebook. Zany plots and outrageous characters will stretch your belief and tug at your heart.

WARNING: These stories contain exaggeration, elision, and disregard for “the real world.” Some even exhibit a tone of blatant optimism. However, they respect human speech patterns, admire good grammar, and hold proper punctuation in the highest regard.

Unpredictable Worlds will release for Kindle on May 15, but you can preorder it now at the special reduced price of only 99 cents. Save 66% off the post-release price and get this unique book delivered to your device on release day so you can start enjoying it before anyone else!