May 11, 2014

Author Interview with Martin Hill

Hi, Martin, first of all, could you tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m the author of two Indie books – “Duty” a collection of mystery and suspense short stories, and my latest, “The Killing Depths,” a military mystery thriller. I’ve been writing for most of my life. In fact, I was a journalist for many years before switching careers ten years ago and going to work for the Navy as an analyst in combat medical capabilities. Besides fiction, I still write nonfiction, mostly on military history and things like wilderness survival and disaster response, for magazines and a website. When I’m not working or writing, I spend time with my wife and son, and spoil our two cats silly.

What do you think makes your genre special?
I don’t think the mystery genre is any more special than any other genre. I love science fiction and historical fiction as well. I fell into mysteries for a number of reasons. I started my journalism career as a police reporter and wrote a lot about crime. Plus, my father-in-law was the late mystery novelist Robert Wade who, with his partner H. Billy Miller, wrote some 30 mystery and suspense novels under the names Wade Miller and Whit Masterson. Bob influenced me a lot. The military also influences much of my writing because I’ve been in the military reserves much of my adult life.

What do you think makes a great story?
I think character is the most important factor. You can have gun battles, explosions and damsels in distress from here to doomsday, but if the readers don’t like your characters and empathize with them, they won’t read your books.

What is your latest book called and could you explain to us in 20 words what it is about?
It’s called “The Killing Depths.” The first coed crewed US attack submarine is on a covert mission while threatened by a serial killer onboard.

Which kind of reader do you think will enjoy your book?
If you like mysteries, you’ll like “The Killing Depths.” If you like military thrillers, you’ll like “The Killing Depths.”

Is it a Standalone, or part of the series? If it the latter, how long do you think will it go on?
“The Killing Depths” features NCIS agent-afloat Linus Schag, who made his first appearance in the short story “Destroyer Turns,” published by Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. I’ve got a couple more Schag short stories in the can, but I haven’t decided on another Schag book. I’ll wait and see how “Depths” does.

What influenced or inspired you writing it?
For centuries, going to sea was a way for a man to get away from the pressures of civilization, including women. That changed for the better when the naval services started allowing women to go to sea. For a long time, however, submarines were the only male-only ships in the U.S. Navy. Now the Navy is training women to serve aboard large ballistic subs, but smaller attack subs are still an all-male domain – for now. So I started to think what if …?

Why did you choose especially this title? Was it your first choice?
I think it was my first choice. It probably came to me while I was lying in bed thinking about the book. I do a lot of book thinking in bed, lying awake. Obviously, I don’t sleep well…

What was the hardest part for you working on your book?
The research. Submarine operations are classified, so you can’t easily learn a lot about them. Submariners aren’t called the Silent Service for nothing. I was lucky enough to get a tour of a Los Angeles-class submarine. I also reached out to submariners on websites and in person. Since I have a military background, I was careful not to include anything in this book that might broach on classified material. I just asked for clarification for stuff I was able to find in the public domain.

Was there a scene that you didn’t want to add or remove in your finished work?
Not one I didn’t want to add or remove. Several, though, I knew I had to change drastically. I had drafted a background for the killer before I finished my research. Once I did, I had to change the back story of the killer. That meant changing several scenes where the killer appears.

Do you already know what to do next?
I have a new mystery in the can that takes place in the 1980s, but I put it aside to work on a sci-fi story. Well, it started as a short story, but it’s been getting bigger, so it may become a novella.

Where can we find more about you and your books?
You can find more information about me and my books on my author’s page on My books are also available on Barnes & Noble. Or you can visit my web page at

Any last words?
Just to thank you for this opportunity and to say I hope your readers will support Indie authors like me.

The Killing Depths

A killer lurks beneath the waves of the western Pacific Ocean. The USS Encinitas, the first attack submarine crewed by both men and women, stalks the Crescent Moon, a renegade Iranian sub armed with nuclear-tipped missiles. But another predator hides aboard the American sub, a murderer who has already left a trail of dead women behind on shore. While the crew of the Encinitas plays a deadly game of hide-and-seek with the Crescent Moon, NCIS investigator Linus Schag must discover the killer’s identity before his – or her – blood lust leads to the submarine’s total destruction.

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