Monday, July 26, 2021

Q&A: Martti Nelson, Author of LYSSA STRATA #Q&A #Interview

Martti Nelson is the author of comedy novels Lyssa Strata and Attack of the Rom-Com, which is due out later in 2021, as well as some love letters to Totino’s in honor of their fine Party Pizzas. She’s been featured on such luminous sites as Weekly Humorist, The Belladonna, Robot Butt, Daily Drunk Magazine, and Slackjaw. In addition to writing brilliant stuff that is often referred to as “stop mentioning menstruation so much,” Martti enjoys yard work with power tools that make her feel important. Martti creates funny books because she believes that humor can inspire joy, bring people together, and save the world, even in times of darkness. This bio has gotten a tad deep, so she will end on another joke.



Thanks for this interview, Martti.  Congratulations on your new book! Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regards to getting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing?  Can you tell us about your journey?

Writing Lyssa Strata was super fun. It felt like gathering all the girlfriends in my head to have one big, slightly naughty, Martti party. But for some reason, comedies about women behaving badly are a tough sell to the literati. How can that be?! I had a ton of interest, but nobody pulled the trigger until I met Marty and Andy from Humorist Books. It’s funny—I was actually pitching another book to them (Attack of the Rom-Com, releasing early 2022!) when I brought up Lyssa Strata. I sent it to Andy so he would know I’m able to, ya know, actually finish a book…and then he ended up wanting to publish that one, too! Got two for the price of one, and I couldn’t be more delighted.

If you were to pen your own autobiography, what might the title be?

Probably long and with at least one pun you’d roll your eyes at. But I haven’t lived it all yet, so I daren’t commit.

When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation and/or fun?

I have an amazing husband I adore being with…he might call it “annoying him,” but  tomato/tomahto. Besides following him and our cat, Otis, around, I love to do yard work and gardening. Hedge trimmers, leaf vacuums, lawn mowers, giant pointy cutty things—I’m Freddy Kruger in the back yard—weeds and stray bamboo, beware! Sweating in the beautiful California sun brings peace to my heart, I love it so much. If only my back loved it, too. When I’m too sore to tangle with vines, I love to read and sew. At 5’ tall, I have a lot of pants to hem.

What makes your book stand out from the rest?

One of the authors who agreed to read my book and give me a blurb, Jenny Trout, said, “If you’ve ever wondered what it would have been like if Terry Pratchett wrote The Handmaid’s Tale, this is the book for you.” Margaret Atwood meets Sir Terry is a pretty unique way to be, for better or worse. I just love writing comedies for women that reflect what it’s really like to be us. To live in the world as a modern woman. My ultimate goal is to make every lady, no matter her creed, color, age, origin, gender, sexuality, or anything else, feel like a superheroine by the time she closes the book. I’ve been pretty damn low in my life, and my girlfriends lifted me out of the mire into the light. I want to pass on the love.

Can you give us the very first page of your book so that we can get a glimpse inside? 

Chapter One: § 4-1 Immoral Female Items

Lyssa Strata pushed up her glasses and prepared to say the words “birth control” to the entirely male Athena, Massachusetts Town Council, the average age of which was 80. It would’ve been higher if not for her stepfather, Councilman Daniel Park, who, at 42, brought the average from “nursing home” up to “Viagraville.” The last time most of these men needed birth control, it had come in the form of a chastity belt.

“People—er, gentlemen—of the Town Council,” Lyssa began. “We’ve heard you promise for decades that you’ll eliminate Athena’s centuries-old, degrading laws pertaining to women, yet nothing changes. The statute outlawing birth cont—”

“Young woman!” wheezed Councilman Thomas Pickle, aged 89.

She waited for more.

Pickle coughed up something so alarming, Lyssa feared he’d be the second Council member to die on the bench this year. But he merely sucked on his dentures and glared at her wateringly. At least she’d grabbed his mummified attention. Most of the time, glances swept right past her to settle on something flashier, like an empty sidewalk.

“As I was saying…” Lyssa swallowed a sigh. “Statute 4-1 from 1829 outlaws birth control, marital aids, and red panti—er, underthings—”

“Except for pirates!” This from Councilman Thomas Mayweather, aged 91.

Lyssa forced a smile. “Yes. Pirates are allowed to wear red knickers, but I am not. You’re probably afraid my flat butt will become too powerful if clad in scarlet.” She snorted a laugh.


Ohhh-kay. Nothing like referencing one’s own backside on the official record. She should have given some pirate facts instead. Taken as a whole, they possessed more rights than she did in Athena.

“We can’t see your posterior in that dress,” said Mayweather. “But I enjoy its modesty.”

Lyssa spread the skirt of her reproduction Puritan dress circa 1657. She figured she’d get more attention in the getup after many failed pleadings before the Council regarding birth control laws, witch laws, and laws against dancing; maybe she should’ve dressed as a character from Footloose

If your book was put in the holiday section of the store, what holiday would that be and why?

Maybe Halloween, because my sex-striking ladies are declared a coven by the angry town fathers based on the very antiquated town laws the women are protesting. They even get thrown in the stocks as witches! Rude. But after a little arson from some delightful old ladies, the women of Athena dance around the flaming remainders of the stocks, doesn’t that sound like fun? Who wouldn’t want to be a witch sometimes?

Would you consider turning your book into a series or has that already been done?

Lyssa is a standalone right now, but you never know when a sex strike will be necessary, so be warned.

When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or full-time profession?

No. I never considered writing novels until I started getting a lot of admiration on a website known for its hilarious commentariat. I hadn’t really considered myself funny per se before that, but as time went on, I thought…why not? So I wrote a story. Then, a book. And people laughed! They called me funny! I’d rather be called funny than just about anything else.

Did any of your books get rejected by publishers?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHHAA! Does anyone say “no” to this question?! I get a lot of “this is hilarious, I couldn’t put it down, but I don’t know how to sell it.” Just call me Martti Nelson, Professional Weirdo.

What is your view on co-authoring books; have you done any?

I have teamed up to write a book! Years ago with my best friend—we sent it back and forth over email. It was an amazing experience, and maybe someday it’ll see the light of day. I’d adore that. And I’d welcome another collaboration for sure. Just like working with editors, I imagine working with another author would be a fantastic learning experience.

What’s next for you?

My next book is called Attack of the Rom-Com, and it will be released by Humorist Books in early 2022. It’s a about the least frou-frou-ey, rom-com-ey lady in the world being kidnapped in, your guessed it, a rom-com. Here’s the blurb:

Proud misanthrope Sophie Sweet is trapped in a magical rom-com of the teenage hi-jinks variety. And the pretty princess kind. Wait—Jane Austen old tymey shit, too? None of these calamities would have happened if Sophie hadn’t mocked Tiffani the Psychic, but how else to convince a heroine made of barbed wire that true love really is for everyone?


Author: Martti Nelson
Publisher: Humorist Books
Pages: 205
Genre: Women’s Fiction / Commercial Fiction / Humorous Fiction


She’s mad as hell, and she’s not gonna give it up anymore.

Librarian Lyssa Strata has long begged the Town Council of Athena, Massachusetts, to repeal its disgusting old misogynist and racist laws. But the Council, an all-male entity for 400 years, has blown her off as a redheaded spinster—who, according to a 1673 law, should legally be run out of town at the end of a musket upon a poor fiscal year. So Lyssa seeks to invade the male bastion as the first woman ever on the Council. The men in charge treat her candidacy as a hilarious joke, which does not impress the female townsfolk.

The women are damn tired of being second-class citizens. For example, it’s illegal for them to use a toaster, as the manipulation of buttons is thought to impede brainwaves and cause menstruation. They decide to wield the only power left to them: Lyssa leads them on a sex strike as a revolt against inequality. The fellas are enthusiastic supporters! LOL no, they protest and issue death threats. Yet, when the national news shows up to cover the contentious election, everyone finally starts to listen to the ladies.

In retaliation against the motley crew of sex-strikers, the Council enacts the antique laws they assured Lyssa were merely charming historical trivia. She is accused of witchcraft and thrown in the stocks! Now this bookish dork, once content to hide in the stacks and distribute quiet feminism via checkout, is burning down her torture device and sending the evils of the past to the dustbin. When you want something done, do it yourself.

Or don’t do it—they’re on a sex strike, after all.


“If you’ve ever wondered what it would have been like if Terry Pratchett wrote The Handmaid’s Tale, this is the book for you.” —Jenny Trout, USA Today and Internationally Bestselling Author

“Funny and rage-inducing is a tough balance but Martti Nelson has written a book that is equal parts laugh riot and just plain riot. I want be Lyssa Strata’s best friend!” —Jen Mann, New York Times Bestselling Author of People I Want to Punch in the Throat

“There’s a lot to be frustrated about: the pink tax, politics, old white guys. Nelson deftly satirizes local politics and the patriarchy in Lyssa Strata. The ladies of Athena, Massachusetts may cherish a secret, but I don’t—read this book.” —Brooke Knisley, Your Local Redheaded Succubus. Oh, and Also Writer.

“Nelson’s deliciously laugh-out-loud spin on an ancient Greek tale shreds modern-day sexism with OG feminism.” —Marta Acosta, award-winning author of the Casa Dracula series

“Fans of Parks and Recreation, rejoice—there’s a new Leslie Knope to be found in Martti Nelson’s Lyssa Strata. Packed with callbacks to the Greek myth on which it’s based, this book will make for a satisfying read for any woman who’s mad at hell at the patriarchy and isn’t going to take it anymore, but also wants a laugh a minute along the way.” —Lana Schwartz, author of Build Your Own Romantic Comedy: Pick Your Plot, Meet Your Man, and Direct Your Happily Ever After

“A wickedly clever, sly take on the Greek classic that will have you rolling in the aisles of your own home as hard as the ancient Greeks rolled in the …aisles? Of their…. Ancient theaters??? Whatever, I didn’t read the original Aristophanes and neither did you. Save yourself the trouble and read this hilarious reimagination of it instead.” —Emily Flake, Saint Nell’s Proprietrix & Cartoonist, New Yorker

“Martti Nelson has created a character in Lyssa the librarian who anyone could love, admire and relate to—one who has had enough of the BS and does something about it. This novel will make you feel alive, or at least awake.”

—Jessica Delfino, author of Amazon #1 bestseller Dumb Jokes For Smart Folks


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