Meet Absolute Author
What is your name, the name of your book, the genre and if it is fiction, or non-fiction? The True Believers
Tell the readers a little bit about yourself. Let them get to know you. I’m a 33 year old writer living in Southern California. I write professionally for several sites. I love the work and the money is finally starting to come after grinding it out for years. I’ve been studying martial arts since I was twenty. It’s my passion outside of writing, and a big part of my identity. And since I write mainly about martial arts, I guess you could say it’s my profession too!
Who published your book and the year. If you are self-published, say that and be proud of it. I published on Amazon KDP in December 2017. Since then we released a 2nd edition last month to celebrate one year. I think self publishing is such a great avenue for new writers like me to learn the book business. With social media and distributors like Amazon, it’s more viable than it’s ever been. You retain all the ownership, and it can still be profitable!
What is the reason you wanted to become a writer? I’ve always loved writing but I never considered that I could become “a writer”. I had a lot of random jobs in my twenties and somehow I would subconsciously nudge my way into writing things for each of them. When I finally wrote a book, people would ask me if I had a writing background and I would always say no. It took me awhile to realize that writing is the one thing I’ve been consistently doing my whole life. Now, I’m finally becoming comfortable telling people I’m a writer and letting that settle in as an identity.
Are there any authors who influenced you the most? If so, who and why? I hope I’m not the hundredth person to say “Stephen King” but he truly is a big influence on me. His book, “On Writing” really gave me a template for creating good writing habits. What I love about Stephen is that he stresses writing as craft more than art. To me, successful writers are grinders. They’re in the office, every day, banging out a thousand words. They don’t wait for inspiration, or even amazing ideas. Maybe one in ten ideas they have are great. But because they write so much, they get better and better. King gave me a workman’s like mentality. It’s been especially helpful in freelance writing, where you have to produce content at a steady rate.
Who is your target audience? Why? My book is about how a cult was created, almost unwittingly. I touch on issues of codependency, groupthink, and giving purpose to people that are disenfranchised. The book involves martial arts, but you don’t have to know anything about martial arts to enjoy it. I think my audience is very broad, but I know there are many subcultures out there that walk the fine line between community and cult. I’m hoping them in particular can find this book.
Tell the readers what your book is about. It is all right to use your book’s synopsis, but if you make it personable, you are more likely to engage your reader.Well, first off, this is a true story, or at least true from my perspective. In 2006, I fell in with a martial arts school in Monterey, California. I was a very young and impressionable young man. I wanted to learn how fight and impress girls, that’s how simple it was for me back then. Like many martial arts schools, we organized around a charismatic leader with a very tight knit community. Sure, we learned punching and kicking and all that stuff, but we also had a “philosophy” that we would practice and develop. We saw our training and the dojo as place where we could change lives and help people. It was martial arts, but with a mission of service. What followed was a crazy, seven year journey in which I rose higher and higher in a community that morphed into a full on New Age religion. We had spirit animals, alternate names, and a complex etiquette system, just to list a few things. Our students became younger and more isolated from the outside world. We lifted our leader up higher and higher, began to compete for his attention and approval. At the apex, our group had over twenty schools in several countries. Amongst this, practices of financial abuse and emotional blackmail began to emerge. People willingly gave small fortunes and kept themselves in poverty to show their commitment to the art and it’s leader. Dissent and disagreement could be meant with being isolated and pushed out. Finally, allegations of sexual coercion emerged, prompting a huge split in our community. I’m there for all of this in the story, including leaving the group in protest, only to return a year later to confront my master one last time.
Tell us a little about your protagonist – the main character. The protagonist is me, albeit a much younger version. Louie-from-the-past, is what I call him in my head. Louie is a young man, looking for some purpose and community. He moves to a new town and is at an age where he is wondering who he’s going to be and what his purpose is. He’s a good person, but maybe a little too easy to influence. Seven years pass in the story, so we see Louie finish school, start a job, and even get married. But the group is always present in his life. As he becomes an individual, he starts getting his own thoughts and ideas, separating him from the group. It’s a painful process, one that forces him to explore his own codependency, but eventually he comes out on the other end stronger for it.
Tell us a little about about your antagonist in your book. The True Believers, and the constant pull to become one, is the main antagonist. There are no evil villians in the story, just well meaning people who create something that gets out of control. I talk a lot about the shared responsibility of cultism in the book. Like most cults, we had a charismatic leader who’s powers of persuasion bordered on mind control at times. But we also were a group of people eager for identity. Mot of us were missing something in our lives and we thought he could provide it.
What was the most challenging part of writing this book? It was definitely telling the story with respect and integrity to all of the parties involved. I got into some very serious subjects of financial, emotional, and even sexual abuse. It was important to not be malicious, and also not to be exploitative. I’ve had many, many members of this group reach out to me after this was written and offer support, which was a huge relief for me.
Where did you get your inspiration for the plot and the characters of your book if is is fiction. If it is non-fiction, where did your inpiration come from? There was a book written in the 1950’s called “The True Believer” by Eric Hoffer. He wrote about the lure of fanatical ideology on young people. At the time, he was chiefly writing about communism and how it was appealing to the disenfranchised youth of Europe. After reading it I drew a lot of parallels to the cult I was in. We also appealed mainly to the young and disillusioned. I researched the topic and found that very few books had been written on the topic of martial arts and cultism (“Herding the Moo” was the lone exception). The story of how I spent seven years ignoring signs, paying money, and losing friends in a martial arts cult was wild. But it also felt important, because the story would never be told if I didn’t write it. That’s how it all started.
What would you hope a reader would get by reading your book? The truth is complicated. This is a nuanced story of how really good things get corrupted. There are people out there seeking truth that have the best intentions, but sometimes they get caught up in ideology and groupthink.
How do you deal with writer’s block? I think it’s a natural thing that you just learn to weather. When you’re on a roll during a writing session, keep going as long as you can. That’ll make up for the times when you stutter. When writing, you HAVE to build momentum and keep it. That means writing at a preset time and place consistently. Once you build the habit, the writing will get easier. I’ll just be something you do. So when you get stuck, write something else that day, but don’t stop writing.
Describe for our readers your routine of writing. Nowadays, I like to write in the morning. I get up, make coffee, play with my cat until he gets tired and will leave me alone. I kiss my wife goodbye and then get writing. I like to write standing up, I don’t know why. I also like to take a break and walk around the neighborhood to get clarity of the story. Finally, most days I write for only an hour, but about once a week I’ll hit gold and pull out a four hour writing session. I’m working on getting into that rhythm more consistently!
Please list other books you have published. If this is your first, say it and be proud. This is my first book.
With so much competion and so many books, why should a reader purchase yours over another? Many people have said my book a a quick, easy read. I currently have a 100% five star rating on amazon, with several reviewers commenting that they read the book in one sitting. My writing style is informal and very readable. But most importantly, I think this is a pretty good story and I know it’s special.
What are your future plans in writing? Do you have something special up your sleeve. I write for three websites currently and always have ideas in the works! I’ve love to try my hand at fiction some day.
What is your link to your author website?: https://www.facebook.com/truebelieversbook
Connect to the author on Facebook.: https://www.facebook.com/truebelieversbook
Where can our readers purchase your book?: https://www.amazon.com/True-Believers-Louis-Martin-ebook/dp/B078QJGW35/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
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