Born in Boston in 1890, Martin was fortunate to be raised in a relatively well-to-do household. His father Christopher was a banker, well respected and admired for his honesty and good-natured humor, both considered rare for a man of his profession. Martin's mother, Mary, was a musician of considerable skill who excelled at both the violin and the piano.
As a result of his parentage, Martin was raised in a bright and cheerful household. Though Christopher had hoped his son would follow him into a career in banking, Martin's exposure to the well-established home library allowed him to develop an interest more in line with his mother's artistic inclinations. The works of Mark Twain and Edgar Allan Poe in particular inflamed his imagination and inspired him to put his own ideas to paper.
In 1907 Martin enrolled Amherst College where he quickly distinguished himself as a bright, studious young man devoted to the arts and especially literature. It was during his education there that he became exposed to the works of Americans who wrote about their lives in Europe: Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound especially. Their writings about life in the Old World stayed with him even as he began to produce his own work about life in New England.
After graduation Martin sought and with the help of his father received admission into Harvard College where he set about his graduate studies with relish. It was somewhat to his dismay when he learned that the educators at Harvard were not so interested in a writer. His last year of study was a struggle to succeed despite the lack of support from his professors. It was at that time that he began to dabble in boxing outside of class as a way to release his frustration.
Despite those trials he received his Master degree in 1912. After graduation he bought a small house in Cambridge and settled down to focus on his writing, finding surprising success almost immediately.
When the United States entered the Great War in 1917, Martin laid down his pen to enlist in the war effort. He fought in France for just over a year before he was sent home again. Though he'd lost a number of friends while fighting in the trenches, and suffered terrible nightmares for years afterward, he passed through the experience almost entirely unharmed aside from a sprained ankle and a glancing bullet flash wound to his left hip that he didn't even know he'd received until after the battle was done.
Honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in 1920, Martin did not return home immediately. He headed over the English Channel instead and spent almost a year in the British Isles, travelling and writing about his experiences in the War. He published two novels based on his experiences: Muddy Valors was a relatively straightforward fiction about the Trenches that ended with the narrator's death from an unfelt wound and Chemical Revelations, an unusual story about an American soldier who had hallucinations after inhaling Chlorine gas. The character was absolutely convinced that what he'd seen -- dark figures moving about the field in a gas enshrouded fog, looking almost like a gas masked combatant until one came close enough for the man to realize that what looked like a mask was, in fact, the creature's real face -- was real even as his compatriots insisted that he was deluded. The novel was written so that it was clear that the protaganist truly had been driven mad by his experiences until the end, when he lay dying from a mortal wound to the chest and a terrible creature with bulging oval eyes and a long snout bent over him and began to suck at the bleeding wound in his chest.
Muddy Valors won Martin awards and prestige. Chemical Revelations did just the opposite and when he returned to Boston he found himself shunned by the same people who had been applauding him on the publication of that first novel.
Martin returned to the States in 1924 and lived as a virtual recluse, writing strange tales that no one wanted to publish. The cream of Boston society rejected him but he found another kind of acceptance from some of the British writers he met and had begun to communicate with via post. Namely Algernon Blackwood, A.M. Burrage and Talbot Estus, all of whom were interested in the same subjects that had obsessed Martin since the war.
In September of 1927, Martin finally left Boston, selling his house and most of his belongings and moved to London, where he bought a modest house in Belsize Park and returned to his work in earnest. He has written and published a number of relatively successful short stories and plays. For the past three months he has been dedicating himself to a new novel, though he spends far more time socializing in the British art circles than writing. For some reason, he feels as though there is something preventing him from working, almost as though a wall has been erected in his mind to hold the story in.