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Interview with Martin Roy Hill, author of The Killing Depths




Tell us about The Killing Depths

The Killing Depths is a military mystery thriller involving a psychopathic serial killer aboard an U.S. Navy submarine. Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent Linus Schag is sent aboard the USS Encinitas, the Navy’s first coed-crewed attack submarine, to investigate an apparent suicide of a crew member. He discovers the death was murder, but before anything more can be done, the Encinitas is sent on a do-or-die mission to destroy a renegade Iranian submarine. As the crew of the Encinitas battles the enemy sub, Schag struggles to stop the killer onboard before he, or she, destroys the Encinitas.

What genre is it?
It’s a military mystery thriller. Lots of mystery, lots of action.

Complete this statement for us: If you like _________, you will probably love The Killing Depths.
The Hunt for Red October.

Submarines are such great settings for novels, aren’t they? Is it because they are sealed off from the outside world? 
Yes, subs are a world unto themselves, with their own atmosphere and their own concept of day and night. The perfect locale for a locked room mystery.

What kind of man is Linus Schag? Will there be more Linus Schag novels?
 Linus Schag had always wanted to be Navy officer, and he was well on his way to becoming one when a tragic accident forced his dismissal from the Naval Academy. He went on to become a Wall Street lawyer, but gave that up when his wife left him. He became an NCIS agent-afloat so he could at least go to sea, but he still feels like the odd-man-out and that makes him less accepting of Navy rules. He’s not always respectful of his leaders, and that shows in “Killing Depths” when he goes aboard the USS Encinitas to find it’s is commanded by CDR Clarence Thomas, who was instrumental in his being drummed out of the Academy.
Will there be future Linus Schag novels? Who knows? Certainly some short stories. We’ll see how well he’s accepted by readers of this book.

What are you most proud of with this book?
I originally created the character Linus Schag for a short story called “Destroyer Turns,” which appeared in my first book, Duty: Suspense and Mystery Stories from the Cold War and Beyond.  That story was originally published by Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine in 1995, many years before the TV show NCIS. I like to think I was one of the first, if not the first, to bring fictional recognition to Navy criminal investigators.

Which of these marketing tools have you found most effective – Twitter (@MartinRoyHill), Facebook or Amazon reader reviews?
The analytics on my Facebook author’s page show I’m getting a lot of exposure from my posts showing up on the pages of those who have liked my page. But in the end, people who want to read the book wind up at Amazon.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was a journalist for some 20 years, working as a police reporter, then a magazine investigative reporter, then editor of a business newspaper. But I got tired of it and switched careers. I’ve been in the military reserves or law enforcement reserves most of my adult life, doing rescue work and tactical medicine. So I got hired as a Navy analyst in expeditionary medical capabilities. That’s my current day job. On the side I write fiction, of course, but I also write nonfiction on such topics as military history and wilderness survival for magazines and websites. Besides that, I live in La Jolla, CA with my wife, Winke, my son, Brandon, and our two cats, Harry and Alex.

With your background, you sound like a bit of a tough guy yourself. Think you could take Linus Schag in a fight?
 Hah! Me a tough guy? Is that because of my military, law enforcement, SAR and disaster response background? No, I think of myself as a pussycat.
I prefer to think Schag and I might enjoy kicking back, sipping single malt Scotch and swapping sea stories. Besides, we’re both trained in the continuum of force, which means if you’re invited to knife fight, bring a gun.

Have you got a website where readers can keep up with your work?
Yes. It’s URL is Or just Google Martin Roy Hill.

Where can we buy your book?
You can get “Killing Depths” in print from Amazon ( US , UK ) and Barnes & Noble. A Kindle version is available from Amazon.

What’s next?
I have another mystery novel in the can, but I’ve put it aside to work on a science fiction story that takes place in Iraq during the war. It started as a short story, but may end up a novella. We’ll see.

Ooh, that sounds intriguing. Can you tell us more?
I don’t think most people realize Iraq is the cradle of civilization. It was where the first real civilization – the Sumerians – was established. It’s also where the Bible says the Garden of Eden was located, right there between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. So in this story, a group of soldiers, lead by an Army Reserve captain who’s an archeologist in civilian life, is sent to investigate some ruins uncovered by a sand storm. There they find startling evidence of the beginnings of mankind. It started as a short story, but seems to be growing into a novella.



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  1. Pingback: Interview with Martin Roy Hill, author of Empty Places | Indie Author Land

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