Creative Corner – Martin Skate
Meet: Martin Skate
Martin Skate clearly doesn’t like to waste time, and when one morning on his commute to work his Kindle battery ran out he began to write his own collection of short stories, within one journey he had sketched out the first story, within one week he had written one entire short, and then in the space of a few months he had completed ten short stories.
Working in the travel industry and having covered half of the globe on cruise ships, Martin Skate always left a trail of creative writing, either in blogs or within travel articles. This is Skate’s first publication, a collection of short stories entitled ‘The Spike Collection’.
Martin lives just outside of London, he has held a variety of roles including working at sea, on land, antique furniture removal man (for one day), creator, singer, marathon runner, and most recently avid dog-walker. This is his first attempt of writing something that does not involve monkeys, superheroes, or monkey superheroes.
- Welcome, Martin. Thanks for joining me here on Creative Corner. What should my readers know about you?
- Thank you Clara, ummmm, well, hmmm, oh wow and this is just the first question?! I am an introvert pretending to be an extrovert, I struggle to be serious, I like to keep things fun and interesting. Sometimes if things are looking kind of dull I go BOOMMMM KERPOOWWWW and generally capitalize things and try and inject SOME ENERGYYYYYYYYY LET’S GO! Oh wait, you mean tell them something about me! Right, right… I live on the outskirts of London UK, I am well travelled, I used to work on cruise ships (passenger and on the merchant navy) and so got to go to a lot of random places, I still work in travel and regularly go to different places (mainly across Europe). Travelling keeps your eyes and mind open and for me is essentially the source of creativity, I love the places, but it is more the diversity of the characters I meet that keeps my enquiring mind tickled. I love to write, and hope to publish a lot more.
- What are the 3 words that best describe you?
Just three? Does that count as 7 words already? Egocentric, hyperactive, ok ok relax, I will. I’ve had a lot of a coffee A LOT. Well not that much. Wait what was the question? Is Elvis a word? Hmm, three? This is too hard. Can I come back next week? Ok ummm. Three? Sheesh. I’ll go with (1) Fun (I try) (2) Thoughtful, and (3) Positive ++++++
- Tell us about your work.
I’ve always liked to write. It falls out of me (not alwayyyys a great thing. I have been known to ramble on. Why use three words when you can use mannyyyyyyyy!). Two years back I published my first book, a collection of short stories (The Spike Tales), and I’ve recently completed a novel (although it’s not out yet). It has been a fantastic experience for many reasons. I set myself a challenge to see if I could write stories or something more meaningful than just random blog posts. Originally I thought I would start with short stories, find out what my ‘thing’ was and then go from there. It’s possible my thing is sci-fi comedy, but I feel just as comfy in humourous situations, comical disasters, that kind of thing, I’m getting there slowly and having a lot of fun on the way.
- Which piece of work are you most proud of?
In my short-stories there is one I am particularly happy with, but it’s the forthcoming novel that makes me smile just at the thought of it. I am proud of it even if I never sold one copy, it makes me happy to know I completed it, that I worked hard on it, and that KERBLAMMMMM it will soon be published.
- What other creative endeavors do you enjoy?
Well I wrote my first proper poem this year, a friend ‘forced’ me to read it aloud and he put it to music, I’ve got a feeling I am going to try some more poetry at some point. Ohhh and I am enjoying my foray into the world of Instagram, I’ve given myself the challenge of posting a pic every day. I do a lot of running and this fits perfectly with Instagram I’ve found. In the week if I am in the office I go running across London, and at the weekends I go across the country with the dog, this all combines to hopefully posting fairly interesting pics of London & the outskirts (and my dog a cocker spaniel). So if you like London & cockers…!! Instagram is fun, I’ve really enjoyed this app, very creative, and addictive too.
- Are you a publicity-lover, or publicity shy?
Both, depending on my mood. Ultimately I am an attention-seeker, but the real me needs to hide away for a while to recharge.
- I love music, and I’m always interested in the musical tastes of my friends. Tell me your 3 favorite songs.
Come on! Again with just three! I love music too. Generally when a new favourite comes along I listen to it a billion times until I can’t bear it any more. I am a big Prince fan, but if I say that then you’d probably ask me what my top 3 of his are right? Top 3 top 3 top 3 ummmmmm. Alrightttttttttttt, let’s say
- Fun – We are young
- Elvis – I just can’t help believin’
- Amy Winehouse – Tears dry on their own
(any one of those can be swapped with Queen ‘Who wants to live forever’ or any literally annnnyyyyyyyyy track from the Flash Gordon soundtrack, or ‘I want to break free’).
- What song best describes your life?
Daydream Believer (The Monkees) not sure the words describe me but the melody does J or Gorilla by Bruno Mars, again, not for the words just the whole feeling baby, you know what I mea eeeeee eeeennnnnnnnn.
The Glamorous, Dangerous Romance Section:
- You are offered, free for one year, the use of either a customized, fully staffed jet (say a Bombardier Learjet 40XR), or a fully-staffed luxury yacht (perhaps a 150-foot vessel built by Palmer Johnson). Which do you choose?
The Yacht for sure, flying is a faff, and the sea is beauty & grace.
- Fabulous! Where are we going?
When I worked at sea I found that some of the mellowest moments are where you’re in the middle of the ocean, away from it all, drifting ahhhhh swwuuushhhhh, I am already relaxed imagining the waves.
- Who are we bringing with us?
People that know how to drink gin n’ tonic.
- I love to shop! And guess what? An eccentric billionaire has offered us his charge card for a day of shopping; with one caveat…we can only go to one store. Where are we going?
Ohhhh you choose, do they have wi-fi there?
- What do we buy there?
Ok, firstly I get to buy all the Doctor Who memorabilia that I foolishly sold back in the 90s, maybe they also sell shirts that have brilliant prints of animals, or or or we get to design our own shirts and suits, ah yes suits, let’s have some tailor-made suits (that we design too obviously).
- Which of the following soap operas most resembles your life: All My Children, Grey’s Anatomy, Dynasty or The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills?
Hmm, uhhh, well that’s tricky as out of those I’ve seen only a couple of episodes of Grey’s, but I did grow up watching and loving Dynasty (in the UK it’s called ‘Din-asty’ (vs Dine-asty). Dynasty seemed very real, I was properly in love with Kirby, Claudia, and Pam? Wowsery wowser wowsersssssss, I saw an episode recently and I cannot understand what even held my attention for a minute let alone 45, OMG what a riot though, Blake was awesome, even though he was a goody he was a badass, and as for Alexis YESSSSSSSSSS hahahhahah genius, best character ever (next to the friggin awesome Dex Dexter, brilliant). Wait, what was the question?
- Which celebrity would you most like to star with in a romantic movie?
You. But also Pam (was it Emma Samms? She had it whatever it was, whatever she did to my 7 year old mind when I watched it, she had it).
- The setting for this movie is a private island. Where is it located?
That’s private sorry.
- What do we find there?
Nothing, nothing to see here (oh no, it’s Pam’s husbanddddddd Jeff(?) he’s found us the bloody blundering blighter, it’s lights out for Jeff time).
- Now comes the danger…This lover’s paradise has an unforeseen danger. What is it?
There’s literally no gin or red-wine anywhere.
- Naturally, this danger imperils the love of your life. How do you save him/her?
Time travel, if Superman can save Lois lane from an earthquake, plus her car also gets mysteriously repaired too, then it’s Time Travel (it fixes everything), although technically I’m not sure that flying around the globe and making the world spin backwards constitutes actual time travel, but hey, let’s just go with it, I guess we accept he can fly and that he’s actually wearing a full lycra suit underneath his business clothes. I mean the cost alone of all the shirts Supes discarded in the interest of saving Lois (& Jimmy of course), must have cost a fortune, so let’s give Supes the benefit of the doubt ok.
Interviewee’s Choice: (please answer 3 of the following questions)
- If you could trade places with someone for one day, whom would you choose?
A Tamahumara runner, I love my running, without it I would be a mess, running helps me create order and normalcy to a crazy world, it is where I work everything out. I started running in 2003 and from that point everything got slightly better. Christopher McDougall’s book ‘Born to Run’ is essential reading, he writes about the Tamahumara, a reclusive tribe in remote Mexico renowned for ultra-running, they run 100 miles effortlessly. I want to do that! I want to know how it feels to run without limits for long durations and distances.
- You’re throwing a party in a magical world where anyone, living or dead, real or fictional, will show up if invited. Who are the first 10 people you invite?
This sounds like the perfect opportunity for a super-group concert. Fronted by Prince, he’d bring on Elvis, Janis, Jimi, and Jim Morrison, plus they’d be Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Elton, Freddie Mercury, and Stevie wonderfullllllll.
- If you could go back in time and tell your younger self one thing; and one thing only, what would it be?
Things that you think are impossible are not impossible. I ran the London Marathon for the first time in 2004 (I’ve since ran it almost every year since). Before the first marathon I just assumed it was impossible, there was no wayyyyy I could do that (or publish a book, be in a band etc etc), I couldn’t even run 2 minutes without stopping, yet through training I realized that maybe it could be done, and then boommmmm crossing the finish line for the first time changed my whole outlook; the things I thought impossible were no longer impossible, you really can do anything you want to do, the only barrier are those you create yourselves. Butttttt knowing the know-it-all I was before 2003/4 if I told my younger self that I would have just said to my future self ‘yeah whateverrrrrr!’
The Personal Touch:
- What do you like best about writing short stories?
With a short story, you can dive right into the heart of the matter, no build up, no back story, you are just right there with the main course, things are immediate urgent now now now. Plus they are great for writing challenges, if you’ve got a quick tale to tell that is not huge, why not put it into a short story? They’re delicious little chocolatey gin n’ tonic blasted treats that deliver quickly, perfect for commute-reading (like I do a lot of), and also perfect if like me you have a low attention/ concentration span!
- What do you find the most challenging?
Finding the time to write (yawn, I know, but it’s true, and when you get the time – finding the concentration, I find I need absolute silence… and in my house that is a tricky luxury!).
- You’re rather famous for your humorous Happy Friday greetings on Facebook. How about a humorous greeting for our Readers?
Hahaha, well flattery will get you everywhere J A long time ago in a galaxy very close I used the ‘excuse’ of it being Friday to get up to (more) tomfoolery than usual, this began with sending a funny email to everyone I knew on a Friday morning, to creating spotify playlists with a quiz, sending out newsletters with (trying to be) hilarious introductions that almost bore no relevance to its main content or reason for sending, and I guess eventually and somehow this has evolved into me posting a random rant on a Friday morning. I use it now as a writing-exercise, I literally sit down on an early Friday morning and write whatever comes out and post it un-edited. It is a rambling mess of words, but it makes some people laugh, and in a world of uncertainty, fast-paced shenanigans, and never enough time to write, it hopefully serves as a small piece of creativity as a minimum each week. I think this post reminds me that I wanted to be a current affairs columnist. My only fear is that now I am becoming to formulaic, I need to up and change my game! The posts normally kick off with something like:
LOOK HERE PEOPLE OF CLARA’s BLOG (look HERE… where? HERE right here, right now look HERE, are you looking? Have you looked yet? How do I know you are looking? Hmmm, not sure I am feeling you look right HERE, ok, let’s do a deal, if you do a dance, a spin with a grin with a gin (Hendricks obvs, man, I only just thought, did Jimi THE Hendrix ever have a Hendricks? Was it around then, or was it more triangle? I bet Jimi never played the triangle, not even in school, he was too cool for triangle-class, who isn’t? Did you play the triangle? I bet you did, I BET YOU’RE PLAYING IT RIGHT NOW DINNNNGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG Ok, I feel like you’ve looked right there now, I feel that maybe I over-stepped a boundary or three, I didn’t mean to shout, well MAYBE I DiD, we’ll never know for sure, I don’t recall any particular thesis that looked into the microcosms of whether anyone intended to shout or now whilst playing the triangle, I mean THE TRIANGLE? It’s such a gentle dainty instrument, I don’t recall any famous Trianglest, no-one ever said ‘Wow man, it’s difficult to say who had the better trainglest out of Led Zeppelin and The Who, although now you (ok me) mention it, I faintly recall the percussionist in Elton John’s band was pretty cool. So, there. We. Looked. Didn’t we? We looked there together, Happy whatever day this is Clara blog people, you’re sexy and you know it, loving that top you’ve got on right now, it’s my favourite.
- You did a night of stand-up comedy a year or two ago. Was that a first for you?
Yes, first and only. It went well, I was very pleased. I always think to myself that stand-up comedy is one of the toughest things to do. I have a towering admiration for stand-ups. I do a lot of presenting at work and thought if I could channel that confidence into where people laughed at least once or twice, then cool. I just wanted to see what it was like and was thrilled with the experience.
- Were you nervous?
All day I couldn’t breathe or concentrate, yes, until I did the ten minute routine I couldn’t relax, but after that, once I’d got over the mountain I felt like the next time (if there was one) wouldn’t be as bad as that. I think it was just first time nerves.
- If you were to assemble an All Authors Comedy Troupe, who would you ask to join?
The funniest people don’t always know they are funny, there’s a couple of ex-colleagues who are simply comedy-gold, but they don’t know it, or don’t do it purposely, these are the kind of characters that make me laugh, I’d bring them on and try and tease out their total comedic presence. One of my favourite authors is the late Tom Sharpe, I imagine he was a hoot to be around. At the moment in this author circle I find myself in on social media, wow with a capital WOWOWOWOWO there are some jackpot bat-crazy maddies out there, I love them so much. We’re only a few steps away from some podcast action J
- If you had to be either a dog or a cat for one day, which would you choose? Why?
Bahhhhhhh well, ummmm, I am a dog and cat person so this is tricky, I’d be a cat if you’re forcing me to choose, I like to do my own thing.
Reach Out & Touch Someone:
- Where can my readers get more information on you?
I have a blog www.MartinSkate.com with some fun posts on, but I haven’t posted anything in a while, I’ve often thought I should put my Friday rants on there too.
- What social media sites do you use? How can my readers follow you?
- Where can my readers purchase your work?
Thank you so much for joining me, Martin! Best Wishes on all your future endeavors!!