eSpec Books interviews Gail Z. Martin, author of the Chronicles of the Necromancer series and the upcoming steampunk novel Blood and Iron, co-written with her husband, Larry Martin. Gail is a friend and supporter of The Society for the Preservation of CJ Henderson:


How did you meet CJ Henderson? I’m guessing it was Balticon 2007, when I was just starting to attend as a pro writer and CJ had been a pro forever.  I made the rounds of the dealer’s room to meet the other writers, and CJ pulled me in with his ‘wacky bookmark’ pitch. We had a great time talking, and he made me feel very welcome. I started looking for him whenever I was at a con, and made a point of talking with him when he didn’t have customers. We ran into each other at about half a dozen cons a year, and he always greeted me like an old friend.

What is your favorite memory of him? I loved watching CJ work a room. I thought his ‘wacky bookmark’ and ‘naughty or nice’ magazine/comic book bonus items were genius. (Where did he get that stuff?) And I learned a lot watching him interact with the people who came up to his table.

Of CJ’s vast body of works, which one has impacted you the most? The Stench of Fresh Air. It gave me nightmares. There’s a scene with a kid. I’m a mother. Enough said. It’s just one of those things you can’t un-see. But the one I had the most fun with was Brooklyn Knight.

What was it about his writing that spoke to you? I loved how versatile CJ was and how he could write so well in so many different settings.

What is your favorite part of his sales pitch? The wacky bookmark.

Can you share with us a non-convention memory involving CJ? Sadly, I never had the chance to spend time with CJ except at conventions.

What is the one characteristic of CJ as a person that has stuck with you? His gruff generosity.

If you were to recommend just one of CJ’s books for a new reader to read, which one would it be and why? I loved the Piers Knight books because of the whole concept of drawing energy from places invested with emotional resonance. I had to give a nod to CJ when I was at the Javitts Center at ComicCon this year, since it was one of his ‘places of power’ in the books.


Gail Z. Martin is the prolific author of the epic fantasy Reign of Ash (Orbit Books 2014), urban fantasy Deadly Curiosities, (July 2014 Solaris Books), set in Charleston, SC and Iron and Blood, a steampunk novel (2015, Solaris Books) co-authored with her husband, Larry N. Martin. Find her at, on Twitter @GailZMartin,, at blog She leads monthly conversations on Goodreads and posts free excerpts of her work on Wattpad

NOTE: Gail is also one of the contributors it eSpec Books’ The Weird Wild West. To learn more about the project please visit here:

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And for another interview with Gail about the Weird Wild West, you can view our earlier blog entry:

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