Please welcome Mark in the Hot Seat and let's see what he has to say about writing, life and fun.
About your writing:
How did you get started as a writer?
I've always been an avid reader and as such, I would occasionally write a short story, mostly for my own entertainment. Once a friend recommended a mystery to me that she enjoyed. I started reading it and within thirty pages I figured it out. I forced myself to read the whole book, to see if I was right. I gave it back to my friend and explained that it was too easy. She said, “So go ahead, hotshot, and write a better one.” Taking that challenge to heart, I gave it a try. My first attempt was pretty bad, but it gave me the motivation to take a creative writing class in college. That was incredibly helpful.
Why do you write?
I write because I have to. It’s part of being a storyteller. Writing helps me tell a story, to entertain or maybe inform someone. To be able to spin a tale that captures someone’s imagination, takes them away from their day and makes them think of your characters as old friends, is an amazing thing. When someone enjoys a story I've written, that makes all of my efforts worthwhile.
Have you ever had a day you wanted to quit and never write again?
No, but there have been times when due to the demands of my job or family, I've been unable to spend as much time writing as I would like. But when I can carve out an hour or two at the keyboard, it’s like being welcomed back by an old friend. I must admit that there are times when I can’t get to the computer where I’ll still work on a story idea, while walking in the park or if I’m stuck in traffic.
Do you feel lucky to be doing what you are doing?
Absolutely. Writing is a passion and it’s something I truly enjoy. Seeing my stories published just encourages me to keep going.
Tell me how you got to where you are today?
A few years ago, Travis, my oldest son, saw a posting about a new ebook publisher. He encouraged me to submit one of the novels I had written for consideration. That led to my first book being published. Unfortunately that company didn't last long, but it motivated me to keep writing.
How do your family/spouses react to your work as an author? Do they know what you write?
My wife and sons are very supportive of my efforts. They will help proofread early drafts and point out obvious errors, or give me insight into certain topics that I want to use in the story. Occasionally, I’ll incorporate an action from early family life that fits in with a character. But I always change the names to protect the innocent!
What are you passionate about in life?
My family, books, music, cooking, the great outdoors, travel, friends, the arts, great food and great wine are all passions of mine. I enjoy meeting new people and discovering different cultures.
If you had to give a thank-you speech at the Oscars, who would you thank and what would you say?
I would thank my wife, Kim, for understanding that murder and mayhem are only part of my world as a writer. I would thank my sons, Travis and Cameron, for keeping my life filled with love and laughter and new experiences. I would thank all of my professors for challenging me to go further, to reach higher. And I would thank the producers, directors and those talented actors who brought my words to life on the screen.
What are the three most important life lessons you've learned that might make life easier for others?
In writing, develop a thick skin so you can deal with rejection and never, ever stop trying. In cooking, there is no such thing as a perfect recipe, no matter how many times you try it. In love, find someone who makes you think, makes you laugh and takes your breath away and hold onto them, no matter what.
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional. Whom would it be and why?
I would like to trade places with Elmore Leonard. He is such an amazing writer and his characters are so realistic that you’d swear you've seen them walking beside you. I met him once years ago and he was as cool as Chili Palmer, the protagonist in “Get Shorty”.
What's the worst thing you did as a kid?
I broke a window at the Catholic School when I was about 12 years old. There were probably 200 witnesses. I had to march into the principal’s office and take responsibility for my actions. The sight of a nun can still make me hyperventilate.
What do you do to have fun?
Hiking, exercise, visit Lake Michigan, watch movies and read. Books are everywhere in my house.
Share a funny incident in your life.
I was driving and carried a tape recorder with me to get down story ideas or scenes. It was summer time and I had the windows down. As I pulled up to a red light, I started talking dialogue between two characters, one of whom was using a thick Hispanic accent. In the middle of this conversation, I glanced over at the car beside me and realized the lady there had been listening to me talk to myself using two voices. Our eyes met. Grinning, I raised the tape recorder so she could see it. She gave me a timid smile, reached over and put her window up AND locked the door.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see play the lead role as you?
That would be Jamey Sheridan, who was the captain on Law and Order, Criminal Intent. He’s smart, clever and a good leader with an occasional bit of humor thrown in.
If you were a type of food, what type of food would you be?
Shrimp, because there are so many possibilities and many people enjoy it.
What is your favorite color- food- song- movie?
My favorite color is red, favorite food is Italian, favorite song (which is very difficult to choose) would be “Pride and Joy” by Stevie Ray Vaughan and the favorite movie (which is equally difficult) would be “Field of Dreams”.
What's the funniest pick up line ever used on you?
“I would pay to shave your legs.”
What's the one thing you can't live without?
You are driving along in your car on a wild, stormy night, it's raining heavily, when suddenly you pass by a bus stop, and you see three people waiting for a bus: -An old lady who looks as if she is about to die. -An old friend who once saved your life. -The perfect partner you have been dreaming about. You can only fit one person in your car, who would you choose to offer a ride to?
I would give my old friend who once saved my life my car and tell him to take the old lady wherever she wanted to go. This would leave me alone with the perfect partner and we could spend our time getting to know each other while waiting for the bus.
Thanks Mark, I have just one more question that I'm sure everyone is wanting an answer to. Did the pick up line work, how much did you charge and did you enjoy having your legs shaved?
Mark has kindly offered to give away an ebook copy of Devious. To win simply post an answer to this questions from Mark in the comments section - "If you could take a two week, all expenses paid vacation for two to anywhere in the world, where it would be and who would you take along."
(This competition is now closed and a winner has been selected and notified.) Lastly, here's a little bit of info about Mark latest book, Vanishing Act, the link where you can buy all his works and also ways to find out more about him.
Vanishing Act by Mark Love.
Jamie Richmond is still discovering her way in the romantic relationship with the mysterious Malone when her best friend Linda Davis comes home. The beautiful Linda suddenly finds herself swept up in a whirlwind romance of her own with an older man, Dr. Vincent Schulte. But not everything is all champagne and flowers for Linda. She suddenly realizes she’s become the target of a stalker. The problem escalates. Jamie is determined to protect her friend, but even she is at a loss when Linda suddenly disappears one cold, snowy day. The police are searching for clues. Despite Malone’s attempts to keep Jamie on the sidelines, she is driven to find out what happened to Linda and where she could be. Despite her best intentions, Jamie has once again put herself in danger while trying to unravel the mystery.
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