Wednesday, August 3, 2016

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Mark Minson

Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?

I’m a Software Developer in Test which is a fancy way of saying I write the software that tests the software that is delivered to customers. I live in Herriman and have been writing since elementary school. My older sister and I used to come up with elaborate plots together. She encouraged me to take creative writing when I went to high school. I found a real talent for poetry but my prose was a bloodbath of grammar and imagery. Thankfully, time and writing conferences have cured that.

I love to sing and do impressions/accents. I like a lot of sports – some to watch, others to play. I’m a Green Bay Packers and Utah Jazz fan. I love to read which also cuts into my writing time. I’ve also taken a liking to wood working since I released my first book, Kyle by Fire. I’ve gotten into pyrography (wood burning) and I make wands that I sell at all of my book signings.
  
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How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

My writing time is very hit and miss. With 5 kids and a wife that likes spending time with me, finding time to write is not as easy as I would like. More often than not, I write on weekends and at night. Occasionally, I’ll pound out some words on lunch. This is why my first two books took so long to publish.

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a laptop or some other method of getting your words down?

I write on my laptop because I can type SO MUCH faster than I can hand write and I won’t even go into the legibility factor. I’m a focus writer so I really need at least an hour of uninterrupted time to write. I tried writing for just 15 minutes and the result was a carousal of plot and character. I do take notes and jot things down if I don’t have time to write but an idea comes to me.

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

I love getting lost in the story I’m writing. I outline because otherwise I know my plot would wander. However, I often have to revise my outline because as I write, my characters surprise me with what they do. Least favorite is editing. Mostly because going back through this story I think is awesome and seeing so many mistakes is kind of a downer. But I know sometimes, all I care about is getting the words down and that editing will fix the yucky-ness.

How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?

When I got back into writing on a regular basis, it started with a small writing group of friends. We conducted a round-robin writing challenge where we drew 3 random words and had to write one to two pages of a story using those words. Of course I procrastinated until the day we were supposed to trade stories and started a story about a kid who had to study all summer because he got bad grades the year before. This was the premise for Kyle by Fire. It took 4 years to finally publish my first book and 3 years to do the second. My wife has dictated that I don’t have that long to finish book 

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

Mostly author events and a few group marketing sales. I didn’t write my books with the idea of getting rich. I just wanted to make them available for people to read. Someday I hope to invest more time and resources to writing but right now I have family as a priority.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

I just released book 2 of the Phoenix Cycle Series – Will from Ashes. I’m currently working on book 3 but have a lot of other projects in progress on the sidelines waiting for me to finish this story.

Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

I have multiple on the back burner. A story I wrote in high school called The Mysterious Prince is currently in re-write. It’s a story about the courting of a princess and one prince who steals her heart. I’m also excited about another fantasy story about Elves who were driven underground by dwarves. They concocted a plan for vengeance once they could rebuild their population but something has gone wrong.

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

Hone your skills. Attend writing conferences (there are tons in Utah) and join a writing group. I highly recommend The League of Utah Writers, www.luwriters.org. All of the talent in the world won’t get you published. Someone with no talent can be taught to write a book well enough to get published. And even if you are oozing talent, it still takes effort to mold that talent into something people want to read. Don’t stop writing.



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