By AK Dale
AUSTRALIA – He was born in England, moved to New Zealand as a wee lad and has lived in Australia for the past 10-plus years.
Marty Young, an author, editor, and publisher, is just as versatile as his background illustrates.
He would have to be in order to have a day job as a “palynologist,” a person who studies
microfossils such as dinoflagellates and spores/pollen, and use these fossils to determine the age of rocks and their palaeoenvironments.
“I write to keep myself balanced,” Young admitted. “Before I started writing, I was quite a wild child, with the whole sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll lifestyle. I was spiraling out of control. I was arrested a couple of times for drunk and disorderly, playing chicken with trains, car surfing, car crashing, knife fights, hallucinations, month-long binges, and too many sordid affairs to remember. It was lot of real dumb shit.
“I’d always loved reading and found writing a way to placate my inner demon,” he continued. “No doubt this angst I was experiencing and expressing through my actions was born from childhood problems, so I guess writing is a way to write out these problems. As I say, it keeps me balanced. I imagine a psychiatrist would have a field day with me.”
Now that he has found his love of writing, Young finds a way to the keyboard as easy as he would have discovered a party in his previous life.
“I write at nights and I look forward to this time,” Young said. “I’m tired when I get home from work, but I sit down, read a bit, watch TV, have dinner, and around 7:30 p.m.. I’m ready and eager to get stuck into my writing or editing. It helps when you enjoy it, too.”
Young wrote his first short story around 1992 and was rejected by the magazine he submitted to – “I still have the rejection letter from the magazine” – and saw it as very positive and encouraging. He went to university to study English and ultimately got “sideswiped” by Geology, not writing again until 2003
“In 2002, I started setting up the Australian Horror Writers Association, and that took up most of my time, so it was only really 2010 that I began writing seriously,” Young said. “That was after stepping down as President. I’ve had some short stories published over the years, some of which were nominated for awards, one reprinted in an Australian Year’s Best, and several given honorable mentions in various lists. But I’m focusing on novels now.”
He has written two novels, 809 Jacob Street and Finding Safe Ground.
“I sent 809 Jacob Street to a London-based agent who had asked to read it, and he ended up saying that while this one wasn’t quite for him, he really liked my writing and wanted to read my next novel when it was ready,” Young said. “809 Jacob Street has also benefitted from having my HWA mentor, Sarah Langan, go over it and offer some comments and suggestions, which I’ve since taken onboard. The revised version is now being edited by a professional editor, and my plan is to submit it by the end of June. But then the whole self-publish or not to self-publish dilemma hits me and I sit here looking confused.”
He hopes to get both books sent out to agents in anticipation of finding a publisher.
Young has learned plenty of the pitfalls of the writing craft.
“The hardest part is how long things take,” Young said. “You can finish and submit a short story, then have to wait months to hear back. If it’s rejected, you send it elsewhere. It can take a long time from submitting a story to seeing it in print — although of course this is changing now with self-publishing, etc. Novels take even longer.”
Young is married to an Australian woman who “keeps me in line” and he enjoys the company of two horses, two cats, and a dog as well.
He is also the executive editor of Midnight Echo Magazine and manages the HWA Horror Roundtable.
“I’d like to get an agent and to have my novels published,” Young says of his goals. “Once I hold my published novel in my hands, I’ll be content—for the moment. Then I’ll want something else. A best-seller, a movie made of my book, lots of screaming fans asking for their breasts to be signed…”
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