about martina


I was born in what is now the Czech Republic and moved to the United States when I was seven, so I spoke several languages before I had to pick up English. My first year here, my teacher made fun of me in front of the whole class for not being able to make the “wh” sound. I promised myself right then I was going to master every single word in the English language. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m still trying. And the more I try, the more I love to play with words and sentences, with characters and themes.

My experience wrestling with words came in handy when my husband and I discovered that our daughter struggled with reading. She and I got addicted to her favorite YA books together, and for me it was a short step from reading to writing. I’m now writing for both teens and adults.

There’s nothing more fun than having a flash of an idea and watching it come to life. That can take weeks, or months, or even years. Sometimes it makes me want to pull my toenails out. Most days I know I will never achieve on paper anything remotely close to what I see in my mind. Every now and then though, I get that perfect moment, that gift of surprise where I don’t know where the words or ideas came from, and I remember exactly how much fun it is to write.

Just the way the books my daughter and I read together helped her become who she is today, the books I read when I was a teen have stayed with me all my life. Now I get to create new worlds and write about characters who change their worlds. How great is that?

Compulsion, my first book from Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse, is a SIBA Book Award nominee, an RT Book Reviews Top Pick and Editors’ Best of 2014 selection, a USA Today “Must-Read Paranormal,” and a Goodreads Best Book of the Month and Best YA Book of the Month. It’s an Okra Pick from the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, and a Kansas State Reading Circle selection. Persuasion, the second book in the trilogy, was released in 2015, followed by Illusion, the final book in the trilogy.

My first romance for adult readers, Lake of Destiny, is set in the magical Scottish Highlands and features a cast of quirky characters, a beautiful setting, and romance to swoon over. It is available now for pre-order and will be released in April of 2017 by Mayfair Publishing.

When I’m not writing, there’s a lot of diversionary other stuff to keep me partly sane. In addition to my kids, I’m passionate about literacy and I’m on the board of the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia. I’ve also started the CompulsionForReading.com campaign to get books to underfunded schools and libraries, and I manage AdventuresInYAPublishing.com, a three-time Writers’ Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers site, and YASeriesInsiders.com, a site that promotes reader engagement and reading fun through young adult series fiction. In addition, I’m a founder and permanent mentor at the 1st5PagesWritingWorkshop.com to help ease aspiring writers into the publication process and a strong opening for their novels in progress.

I love to ski, ride dressage horses, travel, and read beautiful, slightly-twisted fiction. I eat Nutella on pretty much anything, adore marzipan, have guilty cravings for stale sugar-free licorice, drink chocolate-flavored tea with milk, and watch Doctor Who, Chicago Fire, Nashville, Top Gear, So You Think You Can Dance, Graceland, Suits, SupernaturalWalking Dead, Game of Thrones, Grey’s Anatomy, the 100, and Downton Abbey. I’m on the fence about The Blacklist, and I’m done, so done, with Scandal.

My husband and I live in Virginia with two kids, a shetland sheepdog puppy, a shelter cat, and a backyard visited by hummingbirds, butterflies, rabbits, groundhogs, foxes, bald eagles, too many deer, and even the occasional curious bear.