I haven't highlighted a flash fiction author in a while, so I'm excited to bring you an interview with Jayne Martin, author of the recently released collection Tender Cuts. Described as the love child of Joy Williams and Raymond Carver, Martin's bite-sized tales provide snatches into lives both ordinary and extraordinary. Illustrated by Janice Whitby and Indigo Roth, Tender Cuts is a deceptively quick read that deserves to be savored.
Who: Jayne Martin
Latest Book: Tender Cuts
What advice do wish someone had given you when just started out as a writer/author?
I started my writing career writing movies for television and did that for about 25 years before writing a word of fiction. Back then the advice I received was mostly about how to get an agent. I wish someone had told me not to take myself too seriously, that no one cared whether I wrote or not. The world was not waiting breathlessly for my next script, so I shouldn’t wrap my entire self-esteem up in whether I was “succeeding” or not. Write because it gives you joy to do so. Whatever comes of it is largely out of your control.
Who or what is your spirit animal?
The hummingbird. I have a tattoo of one on my right shoulder. Their combination of energy and stillness as they hover in one place – that intense focus -- is the same combination I need in order to write.
What’s the most creative thing you’ve done to market or promote your books?
I had bookmarks made with the book cover on them to give away, and at my book launch luncheon there were heart-shaped cookies with “Tender Cuts” written on them. I’m planning on ordering candy hearts with the same for AWP giveaways.
Do you have a secret for handling bad book reviews? And, yes, what is it?
I’ll let you know when I get one. Undoubtedly, it will be coming because a reader’s response to a story is entirely subjective. A writer can’t possibly please everyone, nor should they try. I don’t expect to be devastated by it. I’ve been a professional writer for 40 years. Likely, I will just think whoever wrote it is a moron. Conversely, I will think anyone who gives Tender Cuts a good review is a genius.
Have you ever been embarrassed to tell someone that you’re a writer/author?
Yes. When I was just starting out in Hollywood it was tough. It seemed that everyone was a “wanna-be” something. The first question would always be, “Oh, what have you done?” Meaning, what have you gotten produced. Well, nothing yet. Or "who’s your agent? I’m looking for one." Nobody wanted to know you. It’s still tough for new writers, and I see a lot on Twitter, for example, calling themselves “aspiring writers.” I always tell them, if you’re writing you’re a writer. You may not yet be making a living at it, but don’t let the world’s insatiable need to assign monetary value to everything define who you are.