An avid reader since he first discovered the Hardy Boys books in the second grade, Duane L. Martin spent years being educated by some truly great authors. His first attempts at writing a novel came in the early nineties, when he was deeply involved in reading every Forgotten Realms novel he could get his hands on. This first attempt was created on a spiffy Apple ||c computer, using the Bank Street Writer word processing software. Unfortunately, writer’s block struck a deadly blow, and the novel was never finished. Even more unfortunately, he made several more false starts on various novels over the years, but time and time again writer’s block would get in the way, and these attempts all fell along the wayside.
In 2013, while sitting around bored and staring blankly at his screen, a germ of an idea began to form in his brain, and he decided to make one last attempt at writing a book. This book (Origins) took on a life of its own as he wrote it, and it ended up turning into a full on series, ending (he thought) with book 21 (Genesis) in 2015. Fast forward to 2021. Looking back on the series, he decided to re-edit all the books into second editions so that they would all measure up to his current writing ability, while at the same time adding a considerable amount of material to each of them in the process. This was both tedious and time consuming, as each book not only required two editing passes (42 editing passes in total for the existing series), but for the first time a print version was being created for each book, which was even more time consuming. Speaking of time consuming… When he reached the final editing pass of the last book in the series, which was actually written to be the final book of the series, he felt like he wasn’t yet ready to let go of his characters. So, seven years after Genesis, he set to work on Aftermath, which was designed to be a slice of life sort of a book about what happened to the characters immediately following the events that concluded Genesis.
Oddly enough, the book poured out of him like it was meant to be. He slipped right back into the characters once again like a comfortable old shoe, and in no time at all, the story was finished. Will it be the final book in the series? Unlike Genesis, Aftermath wasn’t specifically written to feel like the final book, so who knows? Perhaps there’s still more to tell when it comes to the Unseen Things universe. Only time will tell.
Aside from his writing, Duane is also a musician. He took his first bass guitar lesson in 1987 and has been playing bass ever since. He also plays some guitar, and a little keyboard and some percussion as well, with a particular focus on hand drums. As he’s always been a great lover of music, he often has it playing quietly in the background while he writes.
Born and raised in Northern California, he would later move to Idaho, where he lives the quiet life of a relative hermit with his wife Sharon, and their two dogs.
Ok, that’s all the stuff that’s in the “About the Author” section of the books. Now, here’s the stuff I left out… (Warning: This is a bit long winded.)
My life has been full of experiences that have shaped not only my writing, but my view of the world. One of those experiences is the long distance relationship I shared with my wife Sharon for over a year. I was living with my family in Northern California at the time, and she was living with her family in Jerusalem, Israel. Falling in love with someone you can’t be with and only being able to share words on a screen with them or a voice on the phone really makes you appreciate what true love is. I even attempted at one point to pack up my belongings and move to Israel so we could be together, but unfortunately for various reasons that didn’t work out and I had to come back home after a few weeks. Leaving her was the hardest and most painful thing I’d ever done, but in the end I didn’t have any choice. In June of the following year she came to live with me in the U.S. and a couple of weeks later we were married, which opened up a whole lot of immigration garbage we had to deal with, but we managed to get it all taken care of somehow.
You’ll notice that the characters in my books share great loves with one another, and this is the reason why. I know and appreciate what it means to love someone to the point where they’re simply an extension of yourself, and you’re an extension of them, and I’ve given that type of love to my characters. Not just on a romantic level, but on a familial level as well. Is it realistic that they would all share those kinds of relationships? Probably not, and some readers who thrive on reading about other people’s conflict may not appreciate them as much as someone who’s tired of reading such things in other books and is looking for something a little different, but it would be far less realistic to have them in the situation they’re in with them all constantly fighting with and irritating one another. My characters chose to become the family they have. They chose to be together, and as such, they all love each other and get along quite well, which is why their relationships are what they are.
Many of the male characters embody my own personality and experiences, while still having very distinct personalities of their own. For example, Derek and Billy are very into working on cars and other mechanical things. I myself took shop classes in school, including metal shop, electronics and auto shop. Because of that, I had the knowledge to incorporate some of these elements into my characters. For example, in Infestation there’s a scene where Richard applies A/C power to a resistor and causes it to pop like a firecracker to demonstrate something to Jarrod. The only reason I even knew that was possible is because when I was taking electronics in high school, there were some guys in the class who used to do that for fun. It’s just one of many examples of how I’ve incorporated a wide variety of my personal life experiences into the stories and the characters. I’ve noted many others in the trivia section of this site, so you can check that out to find out more.
Something else about me is that I’m a great lover of smoking pipes. I bought my first pipe back in…my god, I don’t even remember how many years ago it was now, but I was visiting a friend of mine in Sacramento and we ended going to The Tinder Box at the mall there. That’s where I bought my first pipe and my first pipe tobacco blends. For quite some time I had stopped smoking pipes, but then about a year or two ago I took up the hobby once again, and I’ve been enjoying it ever since. I’m not one of those people who smokes several times a day. In fact, I don’t even smoke daily, but I do enjoy the occasional pipe in the evening, as I find it both pleasurable and relaxing.
Back in school, I was one of the fat kids. Was I the fattest kid in school? Not usually, but because I was overweight, I suffered through quite a bit of ridicule. Girls didn’t like me and I only had a few select friends because I wasn’t one of the popular kids in school or one of the jocks. I had played little league for a few years until I developed a problem in both knees with dislocating patellas, but after that I was unable to play sports anymore, and as such I continued to put on weight.
My sophomore year in high school I started working our with some free weights that my brother had, and I discovered that I really liked the feeling of my muscles tightening up the way they did. That inspired me to join a local gym and get into weight lifting. I started losing weight and gaining muscle, and by the end of my junior year two things happened. First, I felt a whole lot better about myself. I looked better, I’d bulked up with muscle and generally I just felt better physically. Second, I had a very distinct change of mindset. Thanks to someone at school who started asking me why when I would express certain opinions, I realized that often times when he’d ask me why I felt a certain way about something, I really had no answer other than that was the way I was raised to think. Once I’d realized that, it opened my mind up completely to experiencing new things. For example, I was raised listening to country music and I was very closed minded about ever listening to rock music. When I started listening to rock, I fell in love with the band Queen, which incidentally led to me meeting my wife on an IRC channel I was running for Queen fans back in the early days of the internet. She was a fan as well, so she came to the channel looking to chat with fellow fans. We hit it off right away and that was that. My love of Queen also got me into playing bass, and then later guitar as well. Being able to not only enjoy music but to immerse myself in it by being able to play it as well has enriched my life in ways you couldn’t imagine unless you’re a musician yourself.
I’ve always had a great love of technology as well. Computers, video games (I had an original Pong system), computer hardware, etc… I was a PC technician for eight years before I moved on to other things. Because I spent so much time on the internet, I’ve learned a tremendous number of things that may have at the time seemed rather unimportant, but they were things that I would later use in my writing. I’ve also learned a lot through having to look up things for my writing, such as how big of an explosion different amounts of C4 would cause and things of that nature.
In person, most would probably find me to be a rather boring person. I prefer a nice, quiet evening at home watching movies and smoking my pipe to going out and voluntarily placing myself amongst large crowds full of annoying people. I’m not the kind of a person who talks just to hear the sound of my own voice either, though I’m not the type to just lurk around either. I speak when I have something to say, and I’m not afraid to let you know my opinions on pretty much anything. I also have no patience for political correctness or hand-wringers who feel guilty about just being alive.
I’m just a regular guy. I’m not one of those snooty authors who tries to come off as being intellectually superior, nor do I write in flowery prose. I write in a way that I hope is accessible and real, so that everyone can enjoy reading my work.
I’m always happy to chat with anyone who’s read and enjoyed my books, so if you’d like to contact me, feel free.
That’s about it I guess. If I think of anything more to add to this, I’ll add it later on.