One of the things I have enjoyed most about becoming an indie writer is the chance to connect with authors all over the world creating friendships as well as a new support group of beta readers, reviewers, and editors. One of the paranormal authors I met through Twitter is Mark Everett Stone; a talented writer and a nice guy too. Last year, I saw a tweet for his book Things to Do in Denver When You're Un-Dead. How could I pass up that title? Since then, I have become a big fan of Mark's, and I was honored when he asked me to be a beta reader for his newest release, The Judas Line, which I loved. I had a ton of questions for Mark, and he was kind enough to agree to an interview. Check out the links to his latest release and his other books at the end of the blog.
Me: As you know, I am a huge fan of the BSI (Bureau of Supernatural Investigations) novels. I love Kal Hakala and the rest of the crew. In an ocean of paranormal books, you have created something truly original. How did you come up with the BSI concept and Kal’s character?
Mark: Kal was easy. Physically, he’s an ideal, but emotionally, he is sub par. He may have the brains and the capability, but remains unbalanced. I like the idea of an effective character that is in disharmony with himself. As for the BSI, that was easy…Men In Black/NSA/DEA type of agency. It’s been done, but I wanted to explore it for myself.
Me: You have an amazing talent for integrating the paranormal into history. What inspired you to put a paranormal twist on the past?
Mark: I love history. History defines us as a people, as a nation and as a world. Without it, we’re just a random collection of idiots. If magic was a part of our lives, there should be a history to go along.
Me: Can you tell us anything about the next BSI book?
Mark: “I Left My Haunt In San Francisco”. Kal returns with Canton, Winch and another character from the 1st book. I tried for a James Bond feel to this book. I think all the books should be different from one another to avoid feeling stale.
Me: In your latest book, The Judas Line, you deviate from the BSI series to create a completely different story. In it, you put a paranormal spin on religion. As a religious person myself, I found it fascinating and not offensive. I thought you handled it well. Did you have any concerns about delving into religion?
Mark: Not really. In “The Judas Line”, I tried to be respectful of religion while adding magical elements, treating magic as an extension of the divine. I think if you treat any subject with respect, you will offend only those who are looking for something to bitch about.
Me: Jude is a very interesting character. I love the way you built his relationship with Mike. What did you find to be the most challenging part of developing these characters?
Mark: The challenging part was to have them interact without sounding the same and not going overboard on personality. That and giving them a reasonable basis of trust and friendship despite being so different.
Me: From our conversations, I know you plan and outline your stories before you write them. Do your characters ever deviate from that and surprise you?
Mark: They always do. Every time. As for surprise, not anymore. The first book, yeah, it surprised me, but my subconscious knows what is needed, so when I am suddenly ‘inspired’ to deviate from the planned route, I have to trust that inspiration.
Me: Do you have any writing rituals? Any particular place you like to write? Time of day, music, snacks, drinks?
Mark: Time of day: any. Place: In my office…my sanctuary.My Fortress of Solitude. If it had a toilet and mini-fridge, I might never leave. Snacks: Diet Dew, Diet Coke, anything with caffeine.
Me: Being a self published author, I am always interested in the different options. You have your book with a small publisher. What are some advantages/ disadvantages to that versus self publishing or going with one of the larger publishing companies?
Mark: Well, I never self published or had a big contract, so that is hard to answer. All I know is my Editor, Catherine Treadgold, has been very supportive as well as the rest of Camel Press. One big advantage I can think of is that my editor is easy to contact, so if I need anything, she is there to assist. Believe me, that is a big plus.
Thank you Mark!! You can follow Mark on Twitter @M3verettStone and take a look at his website here. Be sure to check out Mark Everett Stone's books including his latest release, The Judas Line. Available for Kindle and in paperback.
Jude Oliver hails from a long line of assassins. Tired of his family's treachery and wanting more from life than power, he escapes with their secret weapon, the Silver--an ancient artifact so potent, so evil, that it could plunge mankind into a permanent state of ruin and despair.
After fifteen years on the run, Jude receives a surprise visit from a cousin who planned to murder him to obtain the family treasure. So begins Jude's desperate quest to find another artifact powerful enough to destroy the Silver. His traveling companion is an unlikely friend, Mike Engle--a Catholic priest who found his calling on the brutal sands of Iraq. In the course of their journey, the two men clash with evil in many forms. Mike learns the details of Jude's incredible history and the family secret that reaches back 2,000 years.
Before their final, earth-shattering battle, the duo will find surprising allies and the strength to carry on against seemingly insurmountable odds. Will the lessons Jude has learned about love, friendship and sacrifice be enough to save him from his family and destiny?
Check out Mark's BSI series as well!