There is an entire genre of Santa Slasher movies. It may have started with “Tales From the Crypt: And All Through the House”, though you could say it was Bob Clark’s “Black Christmas.” It led to movies like “Silent Night, Deadly Night” (which even spawned a sequel), “Santa Claws” and at least a dozen others. And apparently, there are books based around the same theme like Hammer and Sleigh: The Rise of the Crimson North.

 

D. G. Martin: I am not the biggest movie buff, and am surprised to learn that there are movies about an evil Santa Claus. Twenty years ago, I did watch “Tales from the Crypt”, with my brother Chris, but I can only remember an episode or two, which is funny in retrospect because I remember episodes of “Brisco County Jr.” in more detail. But I do find it interesting that there is a niche of Santa Based Horror.

 

Tamara Wilhite: What is your book Hammer and Sleigh: The Rise of the Crimson North about?

D. G. Martin: This book, to be honest, was supposed to be a political parody from the very beginning.

To preface this, as a child, my father both read and had us watch George Orwell’s Animal Farm, which to a youth was terrifying. Growing up, that stuck with me as my personal tendencies and political understanding took shape. So, while this book was meant to be more comical, it also had to strike a serious tone; because communism, sadly, is not a joke and it has some serious moral implications. Eventually I realized that if this parody was to take shape, there would have to be violence, to the point of gratuitous.

So this book is about a Santa Claus who undergoes a psychotic break, becomes consumed with revenge, and espouses himself with the radical ideologies of the socialists and communists. It is the story of the radical change, the evil that consumed the North Pole, the suffering of the elf’s, and ultimately, their rebellion.

 

Tamara Wilhite: What led you to write Hammer and Sleigh?

D. G. Martin: My brother Chris and I were standing in my kitchen in late November 2009 talking about the forthcoming Christmas Season, and began joking about how it must be living in the North Pole as an Elf. This sparked some serious imagination. 1) Remote location, isolated from the rest of the world. 2) Everyone wore the same outfits 3) subsidized housing 4) assigned jobs 5) Santa was domineering and basically covered in Red.

By this point, we were both staring at each other, awestruck, and jaws lowered. We had arrived at the same conclusion. “Holy Sh!t, Santa is a Communist!!”

A flood of ideas poured through my mind as what I could only imagine is how Stephen King or Dan Brown must have felt when this idea landed in their lap, and they had to start writing a book about it.

I looked at my brother Chris, and immediately told him that we needed to write a book about this revelation. Chris immediately retorted that in fact we (pointing to the both of us) should not write the book, but rather that I should write the book.

 

Tamara Wilhite: Did you intentionally release your book in July as a parody of Christmas in July?

D. G. Martin: Actually no, which is even more hysterical, because I remember all of the silly advertisements on T.V. about “Christmas in July” sales. To compound this, the day of the release was July 15, which is the day after my son’s birthday, and the same day I was honorably discharged from the Marines in 2007. So this milestone is a bit more awesome than I realized.

 

Tamara Wilhite: What do you think of the entire genre of movies where Santa is the villain?

D. G. Martin:  I think the idea of Santa and making him into an antagonist is creative – it really goes against the grain of what virtually every Santa Believer is accustomed to. This is how some really great books and movies come about – something we know, but not accustomed to. That spin on stories, good vs. evil, simple vs. complex; it can become something fascinating.

 

Tamara Wilhite: This is your first novel. May I ask what your day job is?

D. G. Martin: Right now I work as an investigator dealing with regulatory compliance with the U.S. Government.

 

Tamara Wilhite: And what do you like to do for fun?

D. G. Martin: I enjoy woodworking, home improvement, reading, archery, love cooking, writing, political discourse (of a non-violent type) and logic.

 

Tamara Wilhite: It took you a decade to get this novel published. Do you have anything else in the works?

D. G. Martin: At this point, no I don’t have anything in the works, but, you never know where the future will take me.

 

Tamara Wilhite: Is there anything you’d like to add?

D. G. Martin: I really hope this book speaks to the reader, is thought provoking, and ultimately enjoyed by them. Thank you so much for this opportunity, Tamara. Semper Fidelis!

 

Tamara Wilhite: Thanks for speaking with me.