By Gabriella Vaccaro | The Duquesne Duke
What do you plan to accomplish by your senior year? Well, if you’re S. Alex Martin, then you’ve written and published not just one, but two novels. Martin is an English major with math and physics minors, and has revisited his studies at Duquesne after ending his first book tour, promoting “Embassy,” in the spring of 2014. The Duke caught up with him to talk about his return back to the Bluff and the recent publishing of his new book, “Resonance.”
Q: The last time we talked to you, you had to take a break from Duquesne to promote your first book “Embassy.” Can you tell us about the experience of coming back and what it was like getting used to life at Duquesne again?
A: Coming back was a transition back into school, and getting motivated for classes again was a big part of it because usually I’m just writing and [had to find] motivation to get back into academic life. That’s the biggest problem … balancing writing and schoolwork has always been the biggest challenge for me.
Q: How was your experience on the first book tour? How did you use that to promote yourself as an author as well as your story?
A: I did a couple radio interviews, I had a live television interview in Harrisburg and I had a couple newspaper interviews. I’ve actually gained a pretty large following on Tumblr.
Q: Did you find writing the sequel easier or more challenging?
A: Both, because I’m used to writing and I’ve been doing this for 11 years and these are the two [books] that really pushed me to [make them] as good as I can. It was easier because I already had the characters and the story and the world to go off of, but the challenging thing was I didn’t have the main plot flushed out yet in the first book so the sequel I was able to focus on the main plot of the entire series.
Framing book two off of the facts and history of book one was a big challenge. The first book, “Embassy,” is an internal emotional character journey. The second book is more scientific, a lot more plot driven than book one … I spent 86 days straight writing [the sequel] and spent the next year editing it.
Q: When did you first know you wanted to be an author and write?
A: Back in 2004, with Christopher Poalini’s “Eragon.” He was young and published as an 11 year old. I thought I could do that too and I basically spent my entire high school career writing two books … it was the inspiration behind Poalini that pushed me back into it.
There is a lot more substance to these newer books than they were back then. Back then they were all about the action … and now I’m actually putting depth in and trying to make you care about the characters, and care about the story, and show political, social and environmental issues that are actually going on in the world today so it impacts people and inspires people. I’m a lot more driven with what I’m trying to achieve rather than just doing it for the fun of it.
I’m putting [“Resonance”] more into the space exploration community, planetary sciences, and I’m pushing it onto that area of society. I want people to get interested in that part of society.
Q: What would you say to younger writers or even college students that want to get published?
A: Experience something and find something that you’re passionate about to tell the world and go off of what you know and what you’re passionate about. Don’t just do it to fit a frame for someone else do it because it stimulates your intellectual side.
Q: In the future do you plan to write more books in this series, or just in general?
A: I want four or five total in the main series, but I haven’t started the third one. I’m taking a break to focus on school. But I have been focusing on a lot of extra content, I actually created a website for the books and a lot of people told me that if they didn’t know it was for these books, they would think it was real … I have expanded it outside of books.