I'm happy to welcome author Mark Gardner to Writer Chat Wednesday and to introduce a fellow Arizona author to my readers. I met Mark at S.A.F.E.Con in Prescott Valley, Arizona and we agreed to keep in touch. I recently caught up with Mark and here is a snippet of our conversation.
NW: What genre do you write?
MG: New pulp / sci-fi
NW: What inspired you to start writing?
MG: I was working for a large U.S. corporation and I was fired on the day Amazon announced Kindle Direct. I looked into it, and dusted off a manuscript I had toyed with for a few years. Once it was finally done and published, I knew I had been bitten by the writing bug.
NW: Do you have a career other than being a writer and if so, does that career/job influence your writing or inspire it?
MG: I don't know that I'd call it a "career," but I work part-time at a national video game retailer and part-time at a local radio station. Since I'm a student of the human condition and human behavior, my daily interactions inspire my writing. In fact, several regular customers at the game store have given feedback on stories in progress. I usually offer these people personalized prerelease copies of my paperbacks.
NW: Please tell us a little bit about your most recent release.
MG: Forlorn Hope is the story of a husband and wife scientist team who are traveling to Yellowstone National Park to see if they can reverse a global ice age. There are those who don't want the couple to learn the secrets of the ice age.
NW: This sounds like an interesting premise. What inspired you to write this book?
MG: I had the initial idea from former talk show host and Professor of Economics Dr. Terry J. Lovell. He was discussing anthropomorphic global warming and had referenced the American Revolutionary War and the fact that it happened during a mini-ice age. "The day after Tomorrow" was a popular movie at the same time so I imagined that movie for my descriptions of the landscapes. Finally, A few friends of mine kicked around plot points during the writing process.
NW: My husband is a huge fan of The Day After Tomorrow movie and he loves natural disaster stories, so I'll have to tell him about your book.
What do you hope people will take away from reading your books? Do you have a message or theme?
MG: My only theme is that there are great stories to be told. I don't consider myself an author, but a storyteller and I enjoy hearing and telling a great story. I self identify as a Libertarian (not the political party, but the social philosophy) so a common theme in my writing is the danger of a too-powerful federal government. Also, I've been known to mess with my readers.
NW: Are you self-published, small press or traditionally published? Self-published.
NW: What influenced your decision to publish in the way that you did?
MG: I don't have a long story about traditional rejection. My decision to self-publish has to do more with my wanting complete control over my art than any statement about indies versus traditional publishing. I want control over choosing beta readers, editors, cover art and pricing. I also intentionally try to avoid "popular" writing and just do my own thing. I sincerely believe my audience will find me if I put my art out there.
NW: I can relate to that, Mark. Sounds like we have something in common there in terms of reasons why we self-publish. Are there any authors that inspire you? If so, who?
MG: My stock answer is Harry Turtledove from a body of work standpoint. I also really dig Chuck Wendig's zany "Art harder, motherf*cker" from an overall attitude towards writing. But, as with anyone influences are a multitude. I've at one point or another tried to channel Steven King, Ben Bova, Janet Evanovich, Kim Stanley Robinson,Jerome Bixby and Ken Grimwood.
NW: What are you working on now?
MG: The next publication will be a short story about a family attempting to escape religious persecution. It's about 9,000 words. Expected publication is Fall 2014.
NW: Besides writing novels, are you involved in any other sorts of writing projects and if so, what?
MG: I do the weekly flash fiction challenge over at Chuck Wendig's site. I'm on my last semester at Northern Arizona University that takes a lot of time I could be writing.
NW: Okay, time for some silliness. Chocolate or vanilla?
MG: Vanilla (with Heath chunks.)
NW: Coffee or tea?
MG: Either, with enough sugar to mask the disgusting taste of both beverages.
NW: Favorite sport?
MG: I like to go bowling.
NW: Beach or mountains?
NW: What three words describe Mark Gardner?
MG: Belligerent, sarcastic & narcissistic. (Submitted by my wife.)
If you'd like to learn more about Mark and his work, please check out these links:
And if you'd like to purchase Mark's books, please follow the links below:
Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, two school-aged children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degree in Computer Systems and Applications and is currently attending Northern Arizona University.