Martin was born in Carlisle in 1964 and lived much of his childhood at Botcherby, attending St Cuthbert’s School.
By his own admission, as a youngster he was not a passionate reader but one book he read remains his favourite book of all time. Alexandra Dumas’ The Three Musketeers has it all: action, adventure, romance, intrigue, betrayal.
After leaving school and having a couple of jobs, he started a seventeen-year career with the Post Office, which included a ten-year period living and working in Cheshire. It was when he was living there that he first ventured into writing, publishing his first book in 2000 – an event he describes as ‘a road to Damascus moment’. The book itself was about his inspirational great-great grandfather Isaac Scott and proved a watershed in his career: he left the Post Office and moved back to Carlisle, determined to develop his writing further.
Another inspiration to Martin has always been his home city and its history, which always features heavily in his books. In 2005, he found himself embroiled in an event that will be studied with interest by future historians. He and his wife Wendy lived near the centre of Carlisle at the time and theirs was one of 6,000 homes affected by the infamous floods in January of that year. In an attempt to make a positive out of a heartbreaking negative, he wrote a memoire of their painful experiences. The book – riddled with gallows humour – proved popular with many who had suffered in the extraordinary event.
Apart from Dumas, he lists Bill Bryson, George MacDonald Fraser, Simon Schama and Nial Ferguson amongst his favourite writers and historians; ‘… as my favourite literary characters are Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson, I would have to include Conan Doyle in that list too’.
His fifth book, Anonymous Heroes was published in 2009 and is the second in a series linking his interests in local and family history, with the wider social, political and military history that most people are familiar with.
The Adventure of the Spanish Drums is a Sherlock Holmes pastiche set in Carlisle and was published in 2010. In the book, Martin introduces his own detective, Inspector Cornelius Armstrong.