Martyn V. Halm is the author of the Amsterdam Assassin Series, featuring freelance assassin Katla Sieltjes, a specialist in disguising homicide.
Martyn lives in Amsterdam, with his wife Maaike, two children, two cats, and countless imaginary characters vying for attention.
Writing realistic crime fiction is hard work. Martyn is a stickler for verisimilitude in fiction, even if that requires learning new skills. When your protagonist is a seasoned killer, research can take you right up to Nietzsche’s abyss. Luckily, things get easier after the first kill. And, apart from being an accomplished prevaricator, Martyn already possessed several skills that qualified him to write the Amsterdam Assassin Series.
Like Bram, Martyn studies the game of Go, although he wouldn’t be able to play an entire game with his eyes closed.
A former bouncer, Martyn trains in aikido and koryu bujutsu. The combination of street-fighting and martial arts provides him with the experience to write realistic fighting scenes. Plus he knows how to wield a Japanese sword convincingly.
His knowledge of Namikoshi shiatsu is reflected in Bram Merleyn’s mastery of acu-pressure massage.
Like Katla, Martyn is a former motorcycle courier and loves to go for rides on his motorcycles — both to commute in the congested Randstad and for recreation. His personal motorcycles are a tricked-out bedlinered BMW R1100GS, a dented Vespa PX200E motor scooter, and a Moto Guzzi Mille GT with EZS sidecar that he uses to cart the children around. His wife’s Suzuki 650 V-Strom Black Rhino will do in a pinch.
Martyn shares his protagonist’s fondness for sharp implements and projectile weapons developed before the age of firearms. His expertise with catapults, throwing blades and darts, and (cross)bows notwithstanding, he knows how to handle light firearms. And spud guns.
While he is as fastidious about tea as Bram and as critical about coffee as Katla, Martyn prefers a cappuccino over an espresso, and drinks his Lapsang without sugar.
While Martyn is nowhere near as handy with lockpicks as Katla, most household locks are unable to resist him for long.
Although Martyn also shares some of Katla’s lethal and unorthodox skills, he doesn’t feel the need to use them for illegal activities. Crime might pay, but writing about crime provides a steadier income with less risk.
Martyn always enjoyed stories about assassins, but his opinion on assassins differed from the books he read. Since most fictional assassins are antagonists, they are often warped individuals, with freaky childhoods. However, Martyn has come across mercenaries (basically the same field), who are pretty regular people. Sure their view of the world differs from ordinary citizens, but they’re not ‘warped’. This made him want to write about an assassin who has no deep-seated frustration or abused childhood, but who just realised that killing was what she was good at and who had the appropriate world view and lack of conscience to pull it off.