In one or two sentences, please tell us what genre you write in and what made you decide that particular one is your calling.
Romantic Fantasy. For me, the key is including things beyond normal. As a reader, I’ve always loved Fantasy, Horror and Sci-Fi, so when I started writing my brain went there straightaway. The romance comes in because I’m in love with love.
What time of the day do you write? Are you a morning, night-owl or anytime writer?
Hmmm…I guess I’m an anytime kind of guy. The key for me is getting the ball rolling, once I do I’m off and running.
Where do you write?
I do most of my writing in our family room. Our kids are grown and gone, and my wife goes to work at the crack of dawn. If I have a writing day it’s just our two dogs, the laptop and me. Like most authors, I’m still working, besides writing. I currently substitute teach school, which gives me days in the week to write.
Do you have your own special place?
I have an office and rarely use it to write. I do, however, knock out most of my editing there. That’s mainly because I can run two screens, which I find immensely helpful.
Does the location vary?
At times. I’ve written everywhere from Starbucks to a hospital waiting room.
Are there any particular rituals you do to set the mood / harness your muse?
She seems to like soft music playing in the background. Keren Ann, Jose Gonzales, A.A. Bondy and Carla Bruni are my go to Pandora stations.
What’s the first thing you do before you begin to write?
I’m not a ritual guy, so I don’t do any particular thing. I use a laptop, so maybe that’s it. While I might jot an idea by hand, I never write longhand.
Do you spend much time reading over the previous day’s work?
No. I use Scrivener to write and looking at the title of the previous chapter or scene is all I need. I’m blessed/cursed with a ridiculous memory for things I’ve read. I can’t find my car keys, but if I read a book ten years ago I can still remember the story.
Do you have a special system in place in order to begin writing or go with the flow?
I go with the flow, totally.
Are you a plotter / planner or a pantser?
I’m a poster-boy for pantsers. If I try to plot I get mentally constipated.
Do you edit as you go or prefer to edit after completion of the ms?
My editing brain and writing brain do not mix, maybe it’s part of being a pantser. I have to get it all down first.
Do you have a schedule that you follow for your writing time? Are you a goal setter with your writing?
No, and no. For me, either of those things are anti-pantser. When it happens, it happens, usually to the tune of 500 to 4000 words a day.
Do you use whiteboards, posters, visual aids to help in your creativity?
When I start a novel I randomly scrawl the basic concepts on a 4’ x 7’ mirror in my office. My daughter said it reminded her of the movie A Beautiful Mind or that maybe I’m a little insane. Everything else in the story happens in my head.
Do you take time out to stretch, rest your eyes etc and if so do you do any exercises at your desk or between sessions?
I write till my mind starts to lose focus, then I get up walk around, maybe play a video game and then go back at it.
Can you name five objects that are always on or near your work desk while you write? Since it’s usually a couch or overstuffed chair rather than a desk, let’s see…a water bottle, a sleeping dog, and an Xbox One controller. Everything else is in flux.
Is your writing space messy, organized or somewhere in between?
My writing space is usually uncluttered and includes a view into the back yard. My desk is a mess, maybe that’s why I don’t write there.
What is your favourite form of procrastination?
The internet. It’s a black hole of time suck.
Do you have any tips to beat off that old foe “procrastination”?
Shut off your internet browser. Not just minimise it, quit the program. That way it can’t “remind” you of what Bill tweeted to Sally or the latest sale at the hardware store.
What’s the last thing you do before you finish your daily writing session?
Finish a scene. I can’t leave things hanging or I literally can’t stop thinking about it. The words have to come out. Maybe my daughter is right about the slightly insane thing.
Mending the Shroud, part two of the Shroud Trilogy is available from all good etailers now. Links here.
You can find Mark at his website here.