Editor’s Note: This exchange is part of a series of brief interviews with emerging writers of recent or forthcoming books. If you enjoyed it, please visit other interviews in the I’ve Got Questions feature.
- What’s the title of your book? Fiction? Nonfiction? Poetry? Who is the publisher and what’s the publication date?
Shadow Dance, Novel (Fiction), Regal House Publishing, December 4, 2023
- In a couple of sentences, what’s the book about?
A young soldier goes AWOL after experiencing the horrors of guarding prisoners of war during two tours in Afghanistan and disappears in the nightlife of Los Angeles, where he becomes entwined with the dysfunctional and deadly family drama of an Iranian strip club owner, working as a bouncer, trying to discover who he is this world of false names and lost dreams.
- What’s the book’s genre (for fiction and nonfiction) or primary style (for poetry)?
Thriller, Urban Noir, Literary
- What’s the nicest thing anyone has said about the book so far?
“With more plot twists than an Oklahoma tornado [and] a roster of interesting characters…Shadow Dance by Martin Ott will have a very special appeal to readers with an interest in military and crime suspense thriller fiction.” – Midwest Book Review
- What book or books is yours comparable to or a cross between? [Is your book like Moby Dick or maybe it’s more like Frankenstein meets Peter Pan?]
Shadow Dance follows in the footsteps of novels that portray life for vets returning home such as Yellow Birds and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk with a touch of urban noir as in the film LA Confidential.
- Why this book? Why now?
The war in Afghanistan, as well as our involvement in conflicts are the globe, is not something to sweep under the rug. These military engagements have deep ramifications for our soldiers and our responsibilities to the citizens in other nations.
- Other than writing this book, what’s the best job you’ve ever had?
Running my own copywriting business for more than 5 years – it was great to pick my projects and clients, and to be able to arrange work-life balance with my creative writing.
- What do you want readers to take away from the book?
I will never forget the people I met in the military who were on the run: from poverty, from risks of violence, from drug use, from brushes with the law. These souls end up in the nooks and crannies of our lives, like West and the dancers in the gentleman’s club in Shadow Dance. Their stories are intense, compelling, and almost never get told as far too many of them disappear in the shadows.
- What food and/or music do you associate with the book?
I can’t help thinking about the Cajun food from Louisiana, where West lived as a child, and how the scents and smells, along with memory of the jazz and rock from that time period kept surfacing in my mind as I wrote Shadow Dance.
- What book(s) are you reading currently?
Wayward Pines by Blake Crouch. I have been reading speculative fiction nearly exclusively as I finish the draft to my novel-in-progress Future 2.0, that I am developing with the help of my agent.
Learn more about Martin at his website.
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