"When I write I have no preplanned outline or sense of story. I sit down at the computer and the movie starts."

Get to know the Author

The Prophecy
     Interview by Darrell Haskell                       April 14 2018
Host: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. I've read all three books and find it interesting that most of your lead protagonists are strong women. Was that planned, like maybe in support of what’s going on now in Hollywood and the professional world?

Mark: (Chuckle) No. I started these books long before Pig Power was finally called out.

H: Pig Power?

M: Yeah, that’s what I call the actions of men who have to demean women or abuse them in order to facilitate their big egos and placate their small dicks…sorry hands.
H: These being fantasy novels, you've created some very interesting characters. Was it difficult coming up with them?
M: No, they  just popped into the movie when the time came to make their entrance.
H: Popped into the movie?
M: Yes. When I write I have no preplanned outline or sense of story. I sit down at the computer and the movie starts. My job is simply trying to keep up with the dialogue…and of course put it in an acceptable format. My characters come complete with names and personalities. It's actually pretty cool. I hear other authors talk about the difficulties of finding names and then of course there are those that create impossible names like "sveulxzi, the lizardman" or something you can't phonetically pronounce. I have a few strange names but they are usually pretty easy to say.
H: That’s interesting. You’re books seem to flow in a consistent manner for having no preplanned outline. How do you make it all work out?
M: I’m totally character driven and typically have no idea where they’re leading me but it all seems to come together in the end. At first, I was really concerned about that, the flow and where it was going, but when I finished The Prophecy, I was amazed at how it all ended by itself. A few people have asked me if I channel the information, and my answer is, "I don't know." 

H: Where does the story or inspiration come from?

M: Again, I don't know. Sometimes it's in the middle of the night and I get all these scenes downloaded in my head. On a few occasions my characters get really insistent and I might get up and 2 am and start typing. Sometimes it's when I'm driving or whatever. I think as authors develop their styles, they know when and who is talking to them and a story unfolds. I usually tell those beginning, just sit down and type when you have that burst of inspiration. It's like working out. The more you do it, the stronger you get and the more it flows. It's called learning your craft and there's always more to learn.
H: As I was reading, I came to the conclusion that you have quite a dark side to you. Most of your bad guys are really evil, or maybe despicable is a better word.
M: Thank you, they thank you. It was the hardest part of writing for me. In the beginning I would let my personal bias interfere and my characters were about as bad as Barney Fife, if you remember him…you might be a little young for that one.
H: I’ve seen re-runs, (laughing). How did you get beyond that?
M: I read a lot and I’ve read some pretty grisly stuff by A-listers that was obviously acceptable. It finally sunk in, that I personally am not hurting anyone in the physical. It's fiction and people want a hero and a bad guy. I love a story where I get emotionally charged and have someone to root for and someone to despise. As an author, you get to play all the parts and you can be as sweet as you want or as evil. Take off the chains and let it rip. An actor typically plays one character, and sometimes gets type cast as that character making it difficult to play other roles in the future. An author plays them all. I had to learn to ask myself, in a given situation, what's the most despicable or heroic thing this character can do to evoke a response from the reader. Once you figure that out, then follow through with description. After a while it becomes easier.
H: Speaking of emotionally charged, there were several places throughout each book that really choked me up. Is it hard for you to write those scenes?
M: Nothing a box of Kleenex can’t handle. (Chuckling) I’m a passionate person and I want to invoke passion in my writing. There are still scenes in each book that I can’t read without a tissue, and believe me, I’ve read each one over and over and over…that part's called editing.

H: Some of the areas in the book I really enjoyed were the flying scenes, where your character discovers their dragon powers, like Leto and then learns to fly in the canyon. Those were really incredible. Was it hard creating those?

M: No, in fact those were the most fun to write. I'm very visual and it was like I was doing the flying. My shoulders would rock back and forth, and my head moving, I was the dragon.
H: Have you always wanted to be an author?
M: Never had thought about it. I was in Ft. Collins, Colorado one beautiful Colorado day, sitting in front of the computer, staring out the window. I had just finished an article for a small spiritual newsletter that I managed at the time about the magical power of energy healing,  and I started getting images of a woman (renaissance period), tending a Prince who had been attacked by outlaws. It was crazy. She then turned into a blue dragon and hauled him off to some realm of elementals, fairies, who were healers and suddenly I couldn’t stop writing. The movie had begun. I was compelled to write and it just kept flowing...every day.
H: You have a lot about healing in your books. I did read that you have a doctorate in Naturopathy, is that correct?
M: Yup. I’m also a reiki master teacher, certified in cranial sacral therapy and was a teacher of meditation for a number of years. I believe strongly in traditional chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, also aromatherapy and herbology. I like to incorporate that into the books when I can.
H: So why don’t you put the title of Dr. in front of your name on the books?”
M: Why should I? I accomplished that for me, not to impress people or hang a shingle for the rest of my life. It was what I wanted to do at that time in my life. I worked with a couple of board certified MD’s in Boulder and Ft. Collins for a while, but got burned out pretty early. People have been spoiled by allopathic medicine and are basically whiners looking for the quick fix. Natural medicine is about healing, not suppressing. It takes a lot longer to heal than it does to pop a pill and make the pain go away and that’s what big Pharma is counting on to keep them in business. You don’t want to get me started on that topic.
H: This has all been very interesting. I wish we had more time, maybe another interview soon. Before we go, do you have any advice for new authors or those desiring to write?
M: Yes, write and read!! Find a good mentor in the beginning. After I completed the manuscript and sent it out, I received a slew of “thank you but this is shit” letters. One was kind enough to say, “It sounds like a great story but you are sorely lacking in mechanics. I suggest using 2nd Draft Critique,” which was a new service being offered by Writers Digest. For $3 a page, 50 page minimum, you could pick one of the authors on their list and send them your copies. They would in turn give you a professional critique. I did so. I chose an award winning romance author by the name of Terri Valentine. She sent back the material about a week later with numerous suggestions and tips. It was tough love at its best but also praised where I did good. I started going back through the book taking her suggestions. A week or so later, I received an email from her saying she was still thinking about the book and wanted to work with me on it to develop it. At first, I thought, “oh yeah, she’s looking for a paycheck at $3 a page and I’ve got 600+ pages here. I asked her that point blank. She said, she had dozens of manuscripts coming across her desk each week but this one had stuck in her mind. It was more than I really wanted to spend but it all boiled down to another education. It was well worth the money. We worked together more than nine months. She was really special and I received a lot more than I paid for, in fact she gave me an endorsement when The Prophecy was finished. Find a good mentor and don’t let them change your voice. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
H: (laughing) Thanks Mark, it’s been a pleasure.​

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