My First Story: Martha J Allard

by Emerian Rich

My First Story
with author Martha J Allard

Age first started writing: Late 20’s
Location of first writing: I live in Flint, Michigan with three cats and three roommates. We have an old house that has no heat on the top floor.


I was living in L.A., and mostly not enjoying it. It turned out to be nothing like the movies.  My roommate and best friend told me the story of Errol Flynn’s grave up in Forrest Lawn. My friend said that they buried Flynn with a case of scotch. He said that he’d like to drink that scotch with Flynn.

My first story/Basic plot:

It’s called End of an Era. Brian, a young film maker arrives in Hollywood just in time to live through the “big one;” an earthquake that flattens the city. He makes his way to the cemetery Queen of Angels   grave of Roger Peregrine, an old Hollywood legend and my stand in for Errol Flynn. The grave is open, the scotch is there, and so, impossibly, is Roger. Brian discovers that Roger didn’t, in fact die. He’s been fading slowly, like his old films, rotting in their cans. He tells Brian as he is reduced a yellowing flickering image. He tells Brian that this is all that Hollywood ever was, just images that fade if nobody remembers them.

What did you think of the story then? 

I was so surprised to have actually finished it. I secretly loved it.

What do you think of the story now? 

I still love the story. It reminds me of all the good thing about L.A. Elements of it show up in other thing I write. The main characters in the novel I have out now sit in the cemetery that stands in for the real Forrest Lawn. They drink, sitting at the same grave that Roger chooses. Errol Flynn also makes an appearance in Black Light, mostly because of End of an Era. It was the first piece of the world that most of my stories take place in now.
I think I’m still fond of it because it makes me think of all the good things about L.A. that I remember, and also of my friend that inspired it.

How did the story help you on the road to writing? 

Well, I got to write an ending. And also it was one of the stories that got me into the Clarion Writers Workshop, which taught me how to sustain my writing.

Current work: 

Black Light: Los Angeles, 1983. Trace Dellon knows exactly what he wants: the white heat of the spotlight. When his band Black Light is offered a record deal, Trace grabs for it. He will do anything to make it. Bass player Asia Heyes knows what he wants, too. It’s not fame or the adoration of groupies. It’s Trace. It’s always been Trace. Though it’s been unspoken between them, Trace’s other lovers—his audience—push Asia aside. With the record contract, Albrecht Christian comes into their lives. He has everything but what he needs to live: the energy that runs just under Trace’s skin. When everything crashes with a bullet, they all learn the truth. Rock and roll, like magic, requires both love and sacrifice.

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.” Her story “Dust” won an honorable mention in “The Year’s Best Science Fiction,” 19th edition, edited by Gardner Dozois. Her story “Phase” was nominated for a British Science Fiction Award. They are both collected in the chapbook “Dust and Other Stories.” Her first novel, Black Light is out now. You can find her on her blog at

Next time, you’ll hear from author J. Malcolm Stewart.