So, without further ado, let ‘s let Mark introduce himself…
From the same author who bought all the Harry Potter books! Mark R. Hunter, author of the Storm Chaser series and the best novelist on his block that he knows of, now answers seven questions in a way much less evasive than most politicians.
1) How do you describe your writing style?
I don’t—therein lies madness. Oh, okay: I have a kind of light writing style, long on sentence fragments and short on technically proper grammar. In fact, if I analyze my writing style, I’m ashamed. It’s possible that I was more formal back in high school, but after twenty-five years of doing a humor column, I’ve learned that being effective is more important than saving your former English teachers from high blood pressure.
2) What has been the high point of your writing career?
At this point, I’m not sure I have a good answer to that. My seven books have been self-published, small publisher published, and big publisher published (not each of them—let’s not get silly). There’s always a thrill in that moment when a publisher says, yes: “We want to take a chance on you, don’t screw this up”. You never forget that first time, of course; but for me that first time came during a truly horrible weekend, and my emotional response was delayed.
On the other hand … maybe the high point was the first time someone I didn’t know recognized my name as a writer. It was when my wife and I went camping, and the gatekeeper at Chain O’ Lakes State Park recognized me as the author of Storm Chaser. Part of that book actually takes place in the park, so it may be a cheat, but it counts!
3) What one thing to do with writing most makes you want to scream?
Self-promotion. I hate promoting myself. Hate it. Not only does it go against my nature to blow my own horn (I’m surprised every time I do it that my grandmother doesn’t psychically slap me around), but worse, you never know if it’s actually working.
4) Where do you get your inspiration from?
That depends on what you mean by inspiration. Story ideas, I’m fond of saying and probably stole from someone, are like a snowstorm: swirling around me constantly, and sometimes so thick I have trouble concentrating on one of them.
If you mean what inspires me to write, it’s the knowledge that I can get full retirement in just six years, but it won’t be enough for me to live on. In other words, if I don’t want to memorize the phrase “welcome to Wal-Mart”, I’d better keep at the writing until I’m doing more selling.
If you mean what inspired me to write to begin with … I don’t know. I’ve been doing it since I was six years old, and if I go for longer than about a week without working on something I go into withdrawal. I write because I can’t not write.
5) What are you working on now?
A Snicker’s bar. Oh, you mean writing? I’ve finished a humorous space opera story (I hope it’s humorous), and my wife is going over the rough draft. Meanwhile, I’m on the second draft of a humor book about Indiana State History, which I hope to get out early next year as part of the state’s bicentennial celebration. After that, I’ll have to see what snowflake lands on me next.
6) Of all the characters you’ve created, which is your favourite… and why?
What? Why not ask me to choose between my children, or pick out which chocolate candy bar I prefer? (It’s Snickers.) Oh, okay. Of my published stories, I think my favorite character is Ian Grant, who’s just so much fun to write. He’s a good guy at heart, yet he loves to sew chaos and challenge authority. He’s kind of a literary Bugs Bunny.
I also have a soft spot for Beth Hamlin, the 15 year old sister of a main character from Storm Chaser. She’s appeared in four of my books now, including her starring role in The No-Campfire Girls. I love her energy and enthusiasm, and she’s got an impish quality that gave her and Ian Grant some surprise friendship chemistry when they appeared together.
7) The Seventh Question… What question do you wish people would ask you, and what is the answer you’d give?
“Do you mind if I give you some cash for your books?” Oh, I don’t know. I love talking about publishing and the writing process, to a fault I’m sure. I think, though, that it would be fun to have people ask me questions about my characters, or the plots of my novels. I’d tell them to grab some refreshments, sit down, and get comfortable, because now we’re talking about my kids. Well, my other kids.
Mark and His Books
Mark R Hunter is the author of two romantic comedies, Storm Chaser and its sequel, The Notorious Ian Grant, as well as a related story collection, Storm Chaser Shorts. He also wrote a young adult adventure, The No-Campfire Girls, and a humor collection, Slightly Off the Mark.
In addition, he collaborated with his wife, Emily, on the history books Images of America: Albion and Noble County, and Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights: A Century or So With The Albion Fire Department. Mark’s work also appeared in the anthologies My Funny Valentine and Strange Portals: Ink Slingers’ Fantasy/Horror Anthology.
Mark’s humor column appears Monday in the Kendallville Mall, at http://www.4countymall.com/mark-hunter—slightly-off-the-mark. His website is at www.markrhunter.com, where links can be found to all his books, including the good ones. He blogs at www.markrhunter.blogspot.com/.