Author: Mike Martin
Narrator: Francis G. Kearney
Length: 9 hours and 16 minutes
Series: Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series, Book 5
Publisher: Mike Martin
Released: Mar. 21, 2022
Genre: Modern Detective
A weekend visit to picturesque Newfoundland by a large crew of outlaw bikers leaves behind another mess for Sgt. Windflower to clean up. This time, he’s facing violence, murder, mystery, and intrigue. This adventure has Windflower questioning everything he thought he knew. There are troubles on the home front, cutbacks in the policing budget, old friends leaving, and new ones not quite here yet. Windflower is seeking to find answers in territory that is both dangerous and unfamiliar. This installment in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series has our hero dashing all over the beautiful little island of Newfoundland. Along the way, he never wavers in his pursuit of justice. But he stills tries to find a way to enjoy the natural beauty that lays all around him, and to bring out the best from everybody he meets. A Long Ways from Home is about more than just homicides or the dirty dealings of outlaw bikers. It is also about helping people and communities face up to and overcome new and very difficult challenges. Windflower relies on his friends and allies, including some four-legged ones, to help him and them find the answers. He also discovers that we are never really alone, even when we are a long ways from home.
Mike Martin is the author of the award-winning Sgt. Windflower Mystery series set in beautiful Grand Bank. There are 4 audiobooks so far with more in the works. They include The Walker on the Cape, The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, and the latest audiobook A Twist of Fortune. Mike is Past Chair of the Board of Crime Writers of Canada, a national organization promoting Canadian crime and mystery writers and a member of the Newfoundland Writing Guild and Ottawa Independent Writers.
Francis G. Kearney is a former actor/performer, and aviator. He has worked on films & TV programs. He describes his evolution into narration and the joy of storytelling is the culmination of many years of a life fully lived and is reflected in a voice of experience.
Q&A with Author Mike Martin
- Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
- This is my fifth audiobook and the fifth book in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. It was much easier the second time around, but still exciting as we wait to see what the reaction to A Long Ways from Home audiobook will be. So far it’s been great.
- Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format?
- I do think that mystery stories work quite well as audiobooks because they can engage the listener in following along with the story and plot development. A series is particularly good because readers can listen for their favourite characters to appear in each audiobook.
- Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
- I never really imagined an audiobook version of A Long Ways from Home when writing the story. Although I have listened to the character’s voices in my head for so long, maybe it’s not so surprising that they have found their outside voice.
- How did you select your narrator?
- Again, this time it was much easier to find my narrator, just like the rest of the process. I used Frank Kearney again and he was as wonderful as the first time. He captures the flavour and essence of the story and is able to translate that through the characters and throughout the audiobook.
- If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
- I would certainly use it, to go back in time. I’d love to be close by as Charles Dickens wrote his stories or by the bedside of JRR Tolkien’s children as he told them his fabulous stories. I would not however want to live there. It is much more comfortable and pleasant here in the modern world.
- What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
- Listening to an audiobook is just another way of reading, of enjoying the written word, the stories. It is not for everybody and that’s okay. But listening to an audiobook adds something extra to a ‘reading’ experience and is something that everybody should try at least once.
- How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
- There is a great whoop of joy whenever you finish a project like this. I try and enjoy the moment and give the book the best launch I can out into the world. Every book is like a child to an author. We send it with good intentions and then we watch its progress. Once this book is safely on its journey, it will be time to start thinking about the next Sgt. Windflower Mystery.
- What’s your favorite:
- Food: Pizza
- Song: Stairway to Heaven
- Book: Lord of the Rings
- Television show: Lucifer
- Movie: Avengers
- Band: Arcade Fire
- Sports team: Toronto Raptors
- City: NYC
- Are any of those things referenced in appearance in your work?
- Pieces and parts of me show up all the time. Sgt. Windflower and Sheila often watch movies together that are some of my favourites and there may even be a song or two of mine that slip in as well.
- What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
- Write and read, as much as you can and don’t stop. You will learn from others by reading and grow your writing skills through practice. Stay with your dream and be brave enough to share it with someone else. Welcome feedback and always try and be a better writer.
Author Mike Martin’s Top 10 Literary Inspirations
- Charles Dickens
- Stephen King
- Donna Leon
- Elizabeth George
- JRR Tolkien
- George Eliot
- Michael Ondaatje
- The Velveteen Rabbit (Margery Willams)
- Anne Lamont
- Agatha Christie
Q&A with Protagonist Sgt. Windflower
- How old are you and what do you do for a living?
- I am an RCMP officer, a Canadian Mountie. I’m a Cree from Northern Alberta who is stationed in a small fishing community on the east coast of Canada, called Grand Bank.
- What would I love the most about you?
- I think you would love my honesty and basic decency. I try and treat everyone and everything with respect. Somebody once called me the ‘nicest Mountie’ in Canada.
- What makes you laugh out loud?
- Eddie Tizzard, my long-time friend and side-kick always makes me laugh. He has these funny sayings that all Newfoundlanders use that make no sense at all, and he is a true innocent in the world. That makes him a joy to be around. I smile every time I see him, and as soon as he opens his mouth, I almost always start laughing.
- What is your most treasured possession?
- My most treasured possession is an eagle feather than once belonged to my grandfather who was the chief of my nation. I use it to smudge in the morning. Smudging is part of my spiritual traditions. You light a bowl of sacred herbs and medicines and then use the feather to pass the smoke over your heart, your head and your body.
- Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?
- I think so. Sometimes he screws up and gets things a bit wrong, but then I give him a gentle nudge to help him get back on track. I wish he wouldn’t always be pointing out my faults, especially to the love of my life, my wife, Sheila Hillier. She loves that.
- What is your idea of a perfect day?
- A perfect day for me would be a run with Lady, my dog, in the morning. Then breakfast with my daughter, Amelia Louise and my wife, Sheila, followed by an afternoon spent picking blueberries. I love the quiet, meditative act of picking berries. Plus, Sheila might make a blueberry buckle for dessert later. The perfect ending would be an evening in with Sheila and some special time together, if you know what I mean.
- What are three must haves when shopping at the grocery store?
- Bread, home-made or a fresh baquette. Cheese, several varieties including hard and soft and if they have it, a Stilton with mango pieces. I could eat the whole thing in one sitting. And some fresh fruit, whatever is in season is the best.
- Who is your best friend?
- I have three best friends. Eddie Tizzard who I describe above. My wife and confidant, Sheila Hillier who I trust with my life. And Lady, my collie who truly is this Mountie’s best friend.
- Do you like to cook? If so, what is your favorite thing to cook?
- I love to eat. But I also love to cook. My specialty since I came to Grand Bank is pan-fried cod with something called scrunchions. They are small pieces of fat-back pork that are fried to a crisp and sprinkled over the top of the perfectly browned cod fish. I’m hungry just thinking about it. Aren’t you?
- Will you ever leave Grand Bank?
- You’ll have to keep reading the books in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series to find out. I love it here, but Mounties often get transferred and I’m not sure Sheila like the idea of being married to a policeman forever. So, changes will come, but for now I love the salt breeze in my hair and the sun rising and setting over the ocean.
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