An Interview with Trevor C. Smith, Author of Year of the Rooster


Trevor and I met in the Twitterverse in August last year. You can find him on Twitter here. And, while sometimes Twitter People are Nuts, Trevor is creative force to be reckoned with. He’s also the author of Year of the Rooster, a novel published in 2010 by Rebel Satori Press: tt

Johnny Means used to make a living. Now he has a Life. Sick and tired of the revolving door, the same old jobs, the same feeling of faceless anonymity at work, the mind numbing grind, Johnny is in the mood for mutiny. And he’s going to do something about it. He wants his revolution. He’s had his wake up call, and now he’s going to send a message to The Man. With the rawness and grit of an untreated wound, Year of the Rooster explores one man’s powerlessness and his passage to the heights of power. It taps into the psyche of the masses. The boredom, the pressure to consume, ignorance of the subconscious… and the lies we tell ourselves to distract from the ugliness of reality. Year of the Rooster dismantles the illusions of security, predictability and anonymity that pacify humankind. It exposes common incarcerating binds of society. Greed. The Cubicle Effect. Our contentious relationship with money. Stalked by the unbearable heaviness of Being, Johnny Means hunts his own prey: The Meaning of Life.

quotescover-JPG-20

Other Year of the Rooster Reviews:

“. . . you’ll feel like wanting to take a bath after every chapter. Yet, amongst all the hopelessness, fear, resentment, desolation, death and destruction, there is a sort of purity. By way of friendship, conversation, and their reckless antics, the characters come to realize who they are and what all this (life) could possibly mean. The truth reveals itself in a very surprising and unexpected way.”

A guaranteed page turner you won’t be able to put down.”

. . . an awesome read that will suck you in from the first paragraph.”


Trevor’s book is visceral, gritty, and clever. He isn’t afraid to take chances. And, his blog is just beginning to take off, with posts that center around writing. Go check it out! Recently, Trevor agreed to an interview for Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins, and so it’s my great pleasure to introduce him and his work to all of YOU.

Me: Hi Trevor, welcome to Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins!

Trevor Starlord Smith (so sayeth his social media handle): Hi!

Okay, right off the bat, I feel like I should probably ask . . . is your middle name really Starlord?

I’d love to say yes, but it was insisted on by my six-year-old when he realized I could name myself anything on Facebook. He has a writer’s mind.

That’s cute! How many kids do you have?

One. A six-year-old version of Robert Plant.

This Robert Plant? From Led Zepplin?

TrevHaha, yes. But my son is 60 years younger and no goatee.

That’s hilarious. How are they the same?

Long curly hair, huge personalities, charming as all hell and loved by the ladies.

Nice. So, you’re in Hamilton, Ontario (Canada)?

Yeah. It’s a city of acquired taste but it gets a bad rap. I like the honesty and grit of the place. Was in Toronto before that for the most part. But moved to Hamilton after some time travelling.

I’ve never really heard much about Hamilton, to tell you the truth. It’s by Lake Ontario, right?

Yes. Hamilton is directly south of Toronto off Lake Ontario. A great deal of Torontonians flock here because of the affordable real estate. If you weigh the cost of living with quality of life you can decide pretty quick if it’s worth living in a place. Toronto is out of control as far as I’m concerned.

5Where I’m from originally is a little town nestled in southern Ontario between highway 7 and highway 401 called Campbellford. I lived there until I was 18. Had to get out. Just wanted to experience life too much.

Let’s talk about your book, Year of the Rooster.

Haha, if I had the choice I’d change the title.

To what?

Summer of the Dog. Year of the Rooster had its own meaning at the time. I was born in the Year of the Rooster and was finishing it in the Year of the Rooster. For some reason it fit. I don’t know, maybe I should leave well enough alone.

I like both titles, actually. How is Year of the Rooster relevant to the story?

That’s the thing, it’s not. I suppose it just felt important at the time to the process. Which makes the title more about the act of writing than the story itself. Kind of like Tropic of Capricorn I suppose.

quotescover-JPG-71So–what used to seem appropriate doesn’t really work anymore?

You can get away with it with a novel. But as I’ve been transferring it to screenplay I decided the title should be more relevant.

You’re transferring Year of the Rooster to a screenplay? That’s ambitious. I suppose, given your background in film, it would be a natural transition. You do prop and set building right?

Yes, I do art department work. I love working in film. It’s very satisfying. On shooting days I do Art Deco and whatever else is required.

What are you working on now?

Just finished a film called Mobile Homes. I think it will be good. Then I went straight to a CBC special series called The Story of Us. It’s a Canadian history piece. That will air this summer, for Canada’s 150th anniversary.

Wow! That’s interesting.

I also worked on a CNN special series called Race for the White House. It was actually the highest rated, most viewed CNN series premiere. Kind of a big deal, haha.

Sounds like a wild ride! You’re a tattoo artist too, right?

Periodically, yes. Picked it up a while back and every so often my friends and family convince me to do art on them.

2So, with all that going on, how do you find the time to write??

Film and TV gigs last for a certain period of time, could be 6 weeks, could be 6 months. But mostly I have my weekends and down time between to write.

I would almost compare your writing style to Chuck Palahniuk (author of Fight Club and Choke). Would you say that’s a fair association?

I love crazy characters with bigger than life personalities and strange quirks and traits. That comparison was made by Random House when they read it, too. I take it as an enormous compliment.

That must have been a huge pat on the back, coming from Random House.

It really was. It was a huge boost for me because (Palahniuk) is definitely one of my all-time favorite authors.

Has he influenced your writing, would you say? Or is it just a coincidence that your styles are similar?

He definitely influenced me, along with Hunter S Thompson and Irving Welsh. But it was almost a validation of my own voice when I went to see Fight Club in the theatre.

Hunter S. Thompson’s work is pretty amazing, but I don’t think I’ve read Irving Welsh.

I would definitely recommend it. Along with Mary Woronov’s two novels; Snake and Niagara.

How much of yourself do you see in your main character, Johnny Means?

He was an amazing vehicle to expunge frustrations with the establishment through. It’s fun to use a character to take it to an outrageous level to make something entertaining though. I had to work hard to keep him charming though, because the things he does aren’t socially acceptable.

Like dog fighting?

A lot of people ask if I’ve been to a dog fight and the answer is no. I did however grow up in the country and saw my fair share of fighting between neighbor’s dogs.

quotescover-JPG-35Did you begin with a theme in mind, or did it come to you later?

I decided to use the dog fights as a metaphor, and also a way to shake people awake. You can write all the human on human violence you want, but you start killing dogs and suddenly you’ve got everyone’s attention.

And, you are GREAT at drawing people in. I like the first line, but the next paragraph is killer.

Thank you. One day the entire opening first page sequence came to me while walking down Queen Street in Toronto, at the corner of Augusta to be exact. And I was forced to stop, pull out a pen and paper and write it out.

Just like a light went on. I love those moments. How long did the story take to complete?

Much longer than I would have liked. In total I’d say about 4 years. Since then I’ve learned how to write quicker in my own way. It wasn’t my first complete work, but I knew as it was tumbling out of my head and onto paper it was special. At least I thought so. Funny thing as a writer, if you write something you believe in someone else likely will too.

I liked the advice on your blog the other day. About getting published by not worrying about getting published. Is that what worked for you?

4Yes. While writing YOTR I did research into how to get published. Basically the end advice was vague but direct. Write your absolute best, keep it to 50 thousand words. So that was my goal. I was cocky. As I wrote it I assumed it would be published and didn’t worry about it. Put it out of my mind.

A little cockiness is mandatory in writing I think. Self-doubt can be crippling in this business. Obviously it worked, because your book is great.

Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it! (The thought process) was foolish and naïve when I look back on it now, but it worked. Eventually I realized that if the idea of getting published is at the forefront when you write it will inevitably affect you and influence your writing. And almost always in a negative way.

Are you working on another book?

I actually received an author’s grant from the Ontario Arts Council for my second one which I completed about a year ago. Since then I’ve started another as well.

An author’s grant is an opportunity a lot of authors would love. Was the process of getting it tough?

At first it was embarrassingly easy. First application ever, I received it. Since then I’ve applied and been turned down. But hey, they have to share the wealth with a lot of talented writers out there.

What a great opportunity! So, what’s been the most satisfying moment of your writing career?

quotescover-JPG-82Most satisfying moment for me is always finishing a novel. But finishing YOTR was huge for me. Getting signed for publishing was the most satisfying. I just felt validated for all my hard work. And it felt like credibility. That, and the author’s grant definitely had me dancing at the mailbox.

Haha, I bet. YOTR was published by Rebel Satori Press, right?

Yes. They were a writer’s dream, really. I was fortunate that my brother found them and suggested I might fit their publishing style. Rebel Satori left the editing up to the author. I’d finished the novel and put it down for a while, then in Fiji I decided to finally give it a once over to polish it up properly. Still missed something like two dozen typos!

Oh, I bet that was a kicker. Those typos can sneak up on you.

Speaking of typos, what’s with texting autocorrect? That shit can get dangerous.

Autocorrect is VERY dangerous. I have never in my life tried to spell ducking.

Lmao, me either.

Writing and publishing has changed dramatically in the last ten years. How has it changed the way you look at your future projects?

I’m seriously thinking about self-publishing my next few pieces, and doing it all through my blog

Like Andy Weir and The Martian?

Possibly. I’ve been seriously thinking about simply releasing it as a PDF on a pay-what-you-can format. Or simply releasing the PDF for free on a donation basis. Then charging only for orders of the physical book. I also considered releasing a page a day on Instagram. The industry has changed so much even since I was published. It reminds me of the music industry back when it started to fold.

6Oh, wow. It’s true, there are so many ways to get your work out there these days. Keeping an open mind as far as publishing may give you an unexpected advantage.

You said you’ve found a way to write a little faster now that your debut novel has been completed. Does that involve outlining?

It does, however I love the organic effect of writing without really planning too much. I found for my second one that keeping the theme and message prominent was very helpful. It gives your characters a focused goal. I like my story and characters to surprise me. I write out a shitload of notes before I engage. I like the idea of a wall of yellow sticky notes. That could be happening very soon!

What does your writing space look like now?

It looks a lot like a living room with three computers, two cats and a six year old playing video games. Eventually I’m planning on moving into a spare room upstairs and making it my own.

Haha, my five year old always becomes incredibly hungry when I sit down to write. It’s clockwork.

They have impeccable timing.

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

I did from when I was about 13 or 14. I could just feel the need to write a story. Which I did. It was nonsense but it got me started. Who am I kidding, it’s still nonsense!

All right. It’s almost time to wrap this up. So let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Spice Girls or Pussycat Dolls?

That’s a loaded question. The answer depends on how many whisky I’ve had.

1Haha. What type of whiskey do you drink?

I like Jameson. But there’s a local distillery from Stoney Creek I enjoy. 40 Creek it’s called. They make a few interesting blends that are reasonable on the pocketbook.

Well, I just want to say thank you for agreeing to this! It was a great insight into the mind of a writer. I hope my readers have enjoyed it, and will go check out your work for themselves.

And thank you for making time for this. It was great getting to chat!


Talking with Trevor was a lot of fun. Did you know he’s also a consecutive participant in the Scribble on Cocktail Napkins Sunday Scribble Challenge? His entry this week ROCKED IT. The prompt was to get your reader to root for a villain in as few words as possible. This is Trevor’s entry:

Willem is a killer without conscience. He feels no guilt for the atrocities he commits against the innocent. He barely understands it himself. His preferred tools are an AK-47 and a machete. Today alone he killed three women and seven children between the ages of two and eight years old.

Tomorrow he will die acting as a human mine detector.

Willem is a 11 year old child soldier in Sudan.


Ah-may-zing. YOU can write an entry to the Challenge, too! Check it out here: #SCC2, and don’t forget to vote!


How to Get Published: Advice From the Other Side


quotescover-JPG-25Since I began admitting that little ol’ me was writing a book, a funny thing happened. Other people started telling me that they wanted to write books too. I quickly realized what I was getting myself into. EVERYBODY wants to write a book. Only a fraction of those people get around to finishing their masterpiece (because writing is actually kinda hard), and only a fraction of that fraction get published.

Recently, Greg Bardsley, an author friend of mine (whether he agrees to it or not), took time out of his busy schedule to help me with a few questions I had about attracting agents/publishers, as I creep ever closer to writing my new two favorite words in the entire history of the world, THE END.

finalcover_withps_shadowIn July, 2011, Greg received the news from his agent that ALL aspiring novelists want to hear. He was going to get published. And not by just anyone, but by Harper Perennial, an imprint of Harper Collins. Since then his book Cash Out has garnered countless rave reviews from everywhere including The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. His writing style is fresh, twisted, and funny as hell. It’s easy to see how he got to where he is today, and it’s fair to say I’m pretty stoked for the release of his second book, next year.


BUT, Greg didn’t get to where he is today by sitting on his ass waiting for a published to fall out of the sky and onto his book:

He has worked as a Silicon Valley speechwriter, a newspaper reporter and a global communications leader. His ghostwriting for high-profile business executives has appeared in Newsweek, USA Today, and the Financial Times. His award-winning short fiction has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. His debut novel, Cash Out, was listed by The New York Times as one of five notable novels written about Silicon Valley.


A lot of rumors circulate writing communities about just what it takes to get published. Hopeful novelists will chuck around advice ranging from “Create a buzz,” to “Get your name out there,” to “Dance around a wishing well in the rain on the third Wednesday after the Winter Solstice.”

Sorting through some of the vague and downright counterproductive tips can be tough, which is why I flagged Greg down to cut through some of the bullshit and into the proverbial publishing meat. His answers were incredibly eye-opening, which is why I figured some of YOU might want to get in on the goods too.  cropped-newbanner2014bSo, with no further ado, meet Greg Bardsley, author of Cash Out, the upcoming novel, The Bob Watson.


Welcome to Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins, Greg!

Thanks, Jenny. … By the way, that Winter Solstice dance doesn’t work (I learned that the hard way).

We met through a mutual friend, Mark Richardson, author of Hunt for the Troll. You both live in California, right? How do you two know each other?

gregYeah, I live near San Francisco. I met Mark a long time ago. We were both on the communications team at a large technology company in Silicon Valley, and we started up a defacto writers’ support group with another writer there, Al Riske. The three of us spent a lot of lunch hours talking about writing fiction, and helping each other with our stories and manuscripts. We’re still great friends—and each of us has since become a published author. Seeing our books in print has been satisfying. But really, the best part was growing with Mark and Al, and having so much fun along the way, and just the friendship.

One thing I’ve noticed about the writing community since I stepped out of my comfort zone is how eager writers seem to be to help each other out. Why do you think forming an alliance is a good idea?

I think that, as writers, we’re already putting ourselves out there, so we know how great it feels to have a little support along the way.

The crime and noir community is super supportive. I hear from friends who veer more into literary and general fiction genres, and it seems like those areas can be a lot more distant and indifferent, and very clubby. I am not sure why the crime/mystery/pulp writing scene is more inclusive, but it seems to be just that, which is really cool. Even though my books fall more into the satire and general-fiction category, I still get a ton of support from many of these good souls.

quotescover-JPG-77I didn’t plan it this way—it just happened. I would place a short story with a zine or a journal, and then I’d really get a kick out of the other stories. We all reached out to each other, and some really strong friendships (and writing partnerships) were borne. We are all still pretty tight. In hindsight, I realize now that these bonds enriched the whole experience (not to mention my writing), and opened the door to finding the right agent and even my publisher.

So I often say the same thing established authors told me back in the day: Get involved, be real, do selfless things for your writing buds (without expecting reciprocation), have a blast, learn from each other, and create a new group of “up and comers.” Read each other’s unpublished manuscripts; get your stories into the same journals and zines, if you can, and maybe even produce an anthology or yearly zine with them. If you all produce some good work, have fun and support each other, one side effect might be that there’ll be a “buzz” around your work. Astute agents (and even some publishers) will notice. Even if the buzz doesn’t happen, you’ve had a lot of fun, you’ve grown and you’ve made life-long friendships.

If you all come up together as writers, you’ll do anything for each other.

I’ve heard that terminology before: create a buzz. How exactly could a buzz translate into a book deal?

I am not sure if it does. But it can help. I know if you really do have a buzz (you’re getting anthologized, you’re getting recognized for your shorts, maybe you’re winning a few awards, or have lots of readers on your blog), you can use that as a selling point to agents, and they can do the same to publishers.

For me, it was the short stories. You could take chances with shorts, and you could get reactions from readers much sooner than with a book—and I met all these great people.

untitled2One such person was Anthony Neil Smith, the editor of Plots with Guns. He was a big supporter and eventual mentor, and PwG had a passionate following. Long story short, over the course of years, one of Neil’s good friends introduced me to his agent, who later would represent my third try at a novel, Cash Out. Neil also told me about Cal Morgan at Harper Perennial, who also had a short story zine called 52 Stories. Neil suggested I submit some stories to Cal; and that’s how I got my writing in front of Cal (he didn’t accept any of my stories, but he liked them). A few years later, when Cash Out was ready for submission, my agent David Hale Smith came up with a great list of editors, but he still asked me if there were any other editors we should pitch to. I thought of Cal—DHS happened to know Cal and included him in the initial pitch to six editors. Out of those first six submissions, we had two takers—Penguin and Harper. We went with Cal and Harper. Anyways, none of this (getting DHS, landing with Harper) would have happened, had it not been for my amazing group of friends and mentors.

The one thing I notice is that sometimes people fail to understand is how long it can take (if it ever happens). People want the book deal to happen now. But in reality, it almost never happens on your timeline. People get super bummed out. They are devastated. Hell, it’s a fucking jungle. Tough sledding. Whatever euphemism you want to use. That’s why I advise people to diversify their emotional investments in terms of writing—do shorts, create a zine, be sure you grow as a writer, be sure you’re having fun. quotescover-JPG-34 Try not to think about book deals. In most cases, it’s really premature. Focus on the craft—the writing, the stories, the growth. Keep working. It will take years and years and years—and then more years. And statistically, the odds are still against all of us. So, be sure that you’ll be okay if you never get a book deal. Be sure that you’ve had an amazing adventure regardless of what happens.

And at the end of the day, the thing that will get you a deal is writing a great book.

Is having a buzz around your work what worked for you?

“Buzz” did not land me a deal. But it might have encouraged people to read the first few pages of my manuscript. After that, the only thing that was going to get me a deal was an editor “falling in love with the book.”

After more than 15 years and three manuscripts, I finally made it work. That’s the part (decades of trying, several failed books that will never be published) that makes some aspiring writers go pale. The reality is, very few published novelists get their first manuscript published.

But like so many others, I just have to write fiction. It’s just too much fun.


Greg gave us a rare glimpse to the other side of writing. Yes, many people want to write a book. It’s a saturated market. BUT, even though it might be difficult, getting that elusive deal is possible. Stick with it. Enter short story contests with clout. Get published in literary magazines. And, even though the words might be a bit cliché, they mean something . . .  so, stir up a buzz, dammit.

quotescover-JPG-84

Hunt for the Troll: Mark Richardson


Many of you follow Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins because you want to be an author . . . someday, in the hypothetical land of far, far away. tn5xnBut, I recently met an author who proves that even with a busy family life and successful career, that dream is still an option . . . now.

As new author myself, when I come in contact with the few who have made it, who have climbed the mountain of writing a book and then *eyes widen in wonder as mouth unceremoniously unhinges* getting it published, I have a ton of questions.

I talked about my love/hate relationship with Twitter before, here. To be fair, most of the time I do love Twitter. I’ve had some pretty neat conversations with people I would have never come in contact with otherwise. On Wednesday, when Canada’s new Prime Minister was sworn in, I logged in to read up to the minute updates about his cabinet. As a writer, I follow hashtags like #amwriting which often lead to the incredible, free writing resources that are invaluable to self-taught writers like me.

Last week in the Twitterverse, I met a budding author whose debut novel, Hunt For the Troll, was picked up and released by the independent publisher, New Pulp Press. We got to talking, which got my curiosity up, and I checked out his book.

A-may-zing. His characters are out of this world. You need to read it to believe it. Here’s a quick look at the blurb:

mark


It all starts when twenty-something software programming genius is visited while he sleeps by a mysterious figure referred to as the Troll. “We’re going to change the world,” the Troll tells the narrator. Soon we’re introduced to an assortment of off-beat characters: a red-haired, one-eared, female temptress; a pot-smoking tech reporter; a computer-generated Halfling; and a few venture capitalists who are all interested in finding the Troll. Mostly taking place in San Francisco, Hunt for the Troll is a quirky hybrid of mystery, pulp, and modern fairy tale.”


The author, Mark Richardson, graciously agreed to an interview for Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins. I just knew most of YOU would be interested in hearing about everything from the process of writing a novel to getting it published, too.

With no further ado, here’s Mark!

So, you’re from Chicago, and now you live in Northern California?

Yes. I grew up in Winnetka, Illinois, just north of Chicago. I went to school at the University of Iowa. And have now lived in California for a number of years. I feel like a Californian at this point.

I bet you love California winters.

It’s funny: I am not sick and tired of perfect weather!

That is funny. And, I hate you. (Did I mention we got 18 feet of snow last year???) So, Hunt For the Troll is your debut novel. I HAVE to ask, where did you get the idea for the book? It almost seems like a mix of The Matrix and Alice in Wonderland.

It is sort of like those books, although not really exactly. It started out as a short story. I am a big fan of Haruki Murakami, and I really like his story, “The Dancing Dwarf.” It is a fairy tale. And I wanted to write something similar. So I started writing a story called, “The Internet Troll.” The short story didn’t really work; I spent 2-3 months trying to make it work. And then one day . . . it just kind of became a novel.

Wow! So how long did it take you to write?

It took about a year. I have a family and a full-time job, so I couldn’t write every day. But I just kept plugging away.

Would you like to explain how Haruki Murakami’s writing affected your work, to people who may not be familiar with his style?

He’s definitely one of my favorite authors. You should check him out. He’s Japanese and probably one of the most popular writers in the world. Many (although not all) of his stories have magical elements (magical realism). And he writes in a very accessible style. So the books are easy to read, weird things happen, and I find them very fun to read and interesting. The first line of “The Dancing Dwarf” is: “A dwarf came into my dream and asked me to dance.”

That is a killer first line.

You find out later that the narrator works at a factory where they build elephants. So weird stuff.

mark 2


Your characters are pretty out of the ordinary. Were you ever concerned that people might not love them as much as you did?

Concerned probably isn’t the right word. I think it is unlikely that everyone would like my book. I think a fair percentage wouldn’t, and that is okay. But hopefully some would.


I think that’s a bold move, though. The books that try to please everyone are hardly worth reading.

Exactly. And it is frankly impossible anyway.

So did you focus on a certain theme while writing your book?

It did not come naturally. There was a lot of thrashing around to figure out what the book is about. I didn’t outline, and after writing about a third of it I had to go back and re-write it.

You aren’t saying you’re PANTSER, are you?!

Not sure what that means…

Plotters plot, and pantsers wing it. I am a die-hard plotter, and madly jealous of all pantsers . . . who can pull it off

I think I am a pantser. I kind of wing it. At least initially. I have started a new book and did storyboard it. But now finding myself going madly off what I had planned!

Do you use any kind of standard outline? The Hero’s Journey?

No, I really didn’t. Although it is kind of a hero’s journey story. Maybe starts out as stranger comes to town, but then the hero goes on a journey to find him.

You say this was supposed to be a short story. Have you written many others?

I’ve written around 10 short stories that have been published. That’s how I started out writing fiction.

Where can we find them?

I listed some of them on my webpage. My favorite is “Tears of the Platonic Man,” although my wife likes, “Tattoo Woman.”

You are married, with two kids and an active career . . . so how do you find time to write?

It can be tough. I write for my job, so the periods when I was really busy I just couldn’t write the book. But there were also weeks when I wasn’t that busy at work, so I would block off an hour or two and work on the book. I’ve found if I just keep at it the words can pile up.

How did you feel about the whole editing process of publishing?

Mine was pretty easy. My publisher, New Pulp Press, is an independent publisher, and they hardly changed a word. The editing process at my job is much more arduous.

unnamed


Really? So what do you do in your Clark Kent time?

I work for a tech company in Silicon Valley. I write speeches and white papers and sales guides and other documents. Webpage stuff, too.


That’s interesting. Do you find writing fiction hard after slogging away all day in the real world?

If I am working on a big project at work, then I’ve found it is hard to dedicate the mental energy to the book. But I think the fact that I write so much at work also helps me be a better writer. The whole idea of putting in ten thousand hours. I haven’t put in ten thousand hours of fiction writing, but I have definitely done that and more as a writer. And I think the fiction writing makes me better at my job.

How so?

I’ve gotten very good at starting with a blank page and creating something. And I can kind of slip into that dreamy state where time flows by and you’re just focused on what you’re writing, if that makes sense. I have to create things for work, so I have learned to just buckle down and do it.


Let’s face it. A blank page can be very intimidating, especially when writers have so many other aspects of daily life to contend with. But, even though Mark has an active home life and successful career, he still pumped out a great book.

Because the only difference between writers and everyone else, is that writers write.

Check out Mark’s book here. You won’t be disappointed!