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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Author Interview: Mark Edward Hall

Today I am pleased to present to you all the 54th in a series of Author Interviews. Recently I sat down with the Pink Floyd loving Mark Edward Hall and our conversation went something like this:

Paul:  I like to start my interviews by asking if you have any writing rituals?
Mark:  Nothing astounding. I try to write six to eight hours a day.

Paul: What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
Mark:  I like a variety of stuff: Horror, thrillers, good science fiction, and fantasy. My favorite authors are Dan Simmons, Clive Barker, James Lee Burke, Stephen King, Robert McCammon. These are just a few of my favorite authors. I like them because they successfully transport me to other worlds. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of independents like Allan Leverone and Kealan Patrick Burke. If I want a good entertaining fast-food read I’ll pick up a James Patterson or Lee Child.

Paul:  If someone had the power to step into your creative mind what would they see?
Mark:  A lot of confusing stuff that they probably wouldn’t understand. There’s a lot of garbage in there. I’m always putting together pieces of stories.

Paul:  What is a typical day for you?
Mark:  I sit down at my desk when I get up in the morning and work until about noon. I take several hours off in the early afternoon in order to do other necessary things, and then I get back to writing in the late afternoon for several more hours. Sometimes I work in the early evening as well.

Paul:  In all the years you’ve been publishing your work, what is the biggest mistake you made that you could share so others can avoid making it? 
Mark:  Signing away my book rights to a publisher.

Paul:  How do you find the time to write?
Mark:  I write full time, so finding the time is relatively easy. I have other obligations, of course, just like anyone else, but writing is my top priority. 

Paul:  What is one thing you hope I do not tell the readers?
Mark:  I can’t think of anything off hand so I guess you can tell them anything you’d like. Within reason, of course.

Paul:  If you are self-published, what led to you going your own way?
Mark:  Three of my books are still with a publisher. I’m working now to get my rights back. I have seventeen self-published titles and in the past several years have had several offers from publishers who want my books. I’ve said no to them all. I went independent for several very good reasons: complete control over my work and how it is presented to the public. As an independent I don’t have to beg my publisher to make changes to my manuscript or my book cover or the product description. But the big one is royalties. I earn approximately 17.5 percent of the list price with my legacy published books. I earn as high as 70% with my independent titles. It’s a no-brainer. Unless I get a fabulous offer with crazy piles of money I will never again sign with a publisher.  

Paul:  Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Mark:  I rarely plot my stories. It’s too limiting. At least for me. There are lots of great authors who plot, but I prefer not to. If the story decides to change direction half way through I go along with it. If I had a set plot it would be more difficult.

Paul:  Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Mark:  I edit constantly as I write, which leads to manuscripts that are mostly formed. But of course they still need an editor. Every writer needs an editor.

Paul:  Do you have to do much research for your stories?
Mark:  Depends on the story. Most of my books require a bit of research because I don’t know everything about all the subjects I tackle.

Paul:  What is your most recent book? Tell us a little about it
Mark:  Apocalypse Island: It’s about a guy who can’t remember his childhood because it was wiped clean by a government organization that used him and other children in terrible experiments. It’s his search to find his identity amid a backdrop of murder and government cover-ups. A fast-paced thriller full of twists and turns.

Paul:  What inspired you to write this book?
Mark:  I’m fascinated by government conspiracies. I ran across an article on a secret CIA program called MK-Ultra in which children were used as guinea pigs in mind control tests. It sparked my imagination and out came Apocalypse Island

Paul:  Do you also write any poetry, non-fiction or short stories?
Mark:  Yes to all of the above. I’m also a song writer.

Paul:  Do you enter competitions? Are there any you could recommend?
Mark:  The only competition I have ever entered was a short story contest sponsored by the Book of Dark Wisdom back in 2004. They were looking for a story of exactly 666 words. I wrote a story called The Swamp and it won first place. First prize was publication in their magazine along with an interview.

Paul:  How much marketing do you do for your published works or for your ‘brand’?  
Mark:  More than I like to. But it’s part of the game when you’re self-published. No one’s gonna do it for you.

Paul:  What’s your favorite / least favorite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Mark:  My favorite aspect is the writing itself. I love creating characters and worlds. My least favorite is promotion. Nothing surprises me. 

Paul:  What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have any hobbies or party tricks?
Mark:I play music. I have my own band. We do originals and probably far too many Pink Floyd covers.

Paul: That was great, Mark. Many thanks and I wish you continued success.

About Mark Edward Hall: Mark Edward Hall is the author of six novels, several novellas and more than fifty short stories. His new novel, Apocalypse Island is available worldwide. He can be contacted through his website at:

Mark's Blog: Mark Edward Hall
Mark on Twitter: @markedwardhall
Mark on Facebook: Mark Edward Hall
Mark's latest book: Apocalypse Island (Amazon)

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