My friend Martha is crushing it this year. She’s already had a collection of short stories published (I interviewed her about it here) but now she’s got a novelette out called Speak My Name, which picks up on characters from some of her short stories in her Psychic Surgery collection and expands their stories. Your Cruel Fingers Will Close My Eyes and Speak My Name, Part 2 will follow soon.
Martha J Allard is a writer of contemporary and dark fantasy. Her short fiction has appeared in magazines like Talebones and Not One of Us. She was the editor of Nice Tattoo, the Magazine of Shadow Fiction, and co-edited the anthology Out of the Green: Tales from Fairyland. Her nonfiction has appeared in the anthologies Lend the Eye a Terrible Aspect and Death’s Garden. Her novel Black Light is a tale of love, sacrifice, and rock and roll in the 1980s. Her short stories are collected in Psychic Surgery. You can find her blog at Martha J Allard.com.
About Speak My Name:
Before time began, Frank was an Angel who followed his beloved Lucifer into battle. They were defeated. Frank lost his wings and was cast downward. He’s been falling ever since. Now he’s the sole tender of Dark’s, a bar at the edge of reality that is owned by hell. He longs for the company of his brother demons, the scorch of Lucifer’s heat. Instead he spends his nights serving drinks, tempting souls. Every night that passes is the same night. Each human that stumbles in is the same. Lost. Desperate.
Mica is neither of those things. Human, but able to see through Frank to all his true forms. Mica seems sure of what he wants: not a savior, not an annihilator of souls. He wants Frank.
But Frank is still tethered to Lucifer and Hell and he knows that demons are made for destruction, torment, not love. Until Mica touches him, he’s never wanted for more. For Frank to find the humanity he needs to return Mica’s love, he must travel back to the depths of hell to break the bond Lucifer set in his heart. But when he gets there, Lucifer has already released Frank. Now his attention is fixed on Mica’s soul.
Did something in the real world inspire Speak My Name?
I’m pretty sure it started when I was a kid. I very seriously told my mom that I would have an easier time believing in God if there was a Devil to believe in. She was horrified and explained that our church taught that the Devil was a concept. I thought: but a really interesting concept. Angels also got short shrift, relegated to Christmas or Easter stories, or gazing down from the stained glass windows. And I thought, what story are you not telling me? There were lots of other influences, including your As Above, So Below books with Brian Thomas, both Lost Angels and the next one, Angelus Rose. But I think that childhood conversation was the start of it.
What is your favorite scene in the book?
There are a couple. First, I think, is when Frank wakes up after the first night with Mica. He thinks, this must be what mortals feel like when they fall in love. Then he thinks, I can’t have this, I will break it and I will break him. I felt terrible for him when I wrote it. The other scene I really love is when Mica meets Lucifer for the first time, in a comic shop. It dawns on Mica slowly who this stranger is with the stained-glass eyes. Lucifer’s the bad guy, but he’s also pretty fun.
What was your process while writing this book?
I worked on Speak My Name and Your Cruel Fingers Will Close My Eyes at the same time, so it was a matter of shifting between two really different tones and voices. I had more rewriting to do on Speak My Name, since it’s been rolling around for a while, so that takes different muscles. I’d like to say I had a hard and fast schedule, but that’s hardly ever true for me. But this is the first book I’ve put up for preorder, so it gave me deadline to contend with.
What was the best thing that happened during your promotion of the book?
I did a reading in mid-October at the Witchtober Fest in Flint, Michigan. Also, as I said, I did a pre-order for this book, which is a new thing for me. We will see what happens with that.
What do you have planned next?
Oh, so many THINGS. Next is the prequel to Black Light, Your Cruel Fingers Will Close My Eyes, which will be out in November. It’s about Albrecht Christian and his first true love, the Loch Ness monster. Then part two of Speak My Name, which will be out at the beginning of December. It’s called Breaking Heaven. Early next year I will have my full-length neo-Victorian novel, The Night Was Not, done. Finally.
I can’t wait! In the meantime, you should pick up a copy of Speak My Name: https://amzn.to/2MfwmGi
Or see all Martha’s books on Amazon: https://amzn.to/31jL9nQ