MARK PETERSON: A WIDE RANGE OF STUDY MAKE YOUR STORIES MORE INTERESTING
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Mark Peterson published in July his new novel Killzone: Book 1 of the Shadowkill trilogy. It was his seventh production in his writer’s bio. Mark loves different genres. Let’s her from him about his new book and many more interesting things that we were able to discuss.
– What is your last book Killzone: Book 1 of the Shadowkill trilogy about?
– Killzone is about two college students, Lucas and Tre, who win an MMOFPS video game competition and find themselves recruited by the United States government to control a team of robotic soldiers called SHADOWs (Strategic Hazardous Android for Defensive Operations and Warfare). It’s an alternative history technothriller set in mid-2006, at the height of the war on terror in Iraq.
– How did you decide to write the story?
– I got the inspiration for the novel based on the video game “Star Wars: Battlefront.” I was playing it one day and thought, “What if these were real soldiers I was controlling?” And the story grew from there.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– Time management always seems to be my biggest hurdle. I have to be deliberate in how I spend my time, so I set aside small blocks of time here and there daily to write or edit. I usually write in the mornings, before the rest of my family gets up. And, while I’m at my full-time job, I spend my breaks and lunches writing or editing.
– Tell us something more about your main character?
– Is it close to someone from your real life? The two main characters are Lucas Simmons and Tre Paxton, who are friends from neighboring towns in small town Minnesota. They also went to the same college together and spent a lot of time playing video games together. Little about the characters is actually taken from real life, except that I also went to the same college as them (Bemidji State University) and I also grew up in a small Minnesota town.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– I got the idea for this story back in 2004/2005 time frame. Originally, this was going to be a straight technothriller, told at the time when the story was going to take place during the US War on Terror in Iraq. I wrote the first half-dozen chapters, then got sidetracked into another story and Killzone got put on the back burner. Last year, I decided to take another shot at it and came up with an alternative history slant to it—the story about the war on terror the government didn’t want anyone to know about. I chose the summer of 2006 as the setting and wrote the rest of it in about 3 months. I then published Beholder’s Eye as well as an inspirational novella called Gabriel’s Hope in late 2013. Afterwards, I went about the task of editing Killzone and published it July 5th, 2014.
– What may you say about your other two popular books: Guest Of Honor: A Novelette and Beholder’s Eye: A Thriller Novel?
– Guest Of Honor: A Novelettewas my first fiction publication (also indie-pubbed) in April 2013. It’s about a teenage girl, Megan, who decides to hitchhike from her farm in northern Minnesota down to the Twin Cities. She gets picked up by a man and accompanies him to a nearby farm, and the family who resides there is not what they appear to be. It was inspired by the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies and the real-life exploits of Ed Gein. Beholder’s Eye is a thriller based on the premise, “What if a serial killer videotaped his killings, and then sent them to the cops?” Kolin Raynes is an investigator with the Minneapolis PD, who, while investigating a serial killer, finds his daughter is abducted by the killer. While he races against the clock to find her, he discovers the truth behind why he was targeted.
– Who are you?
– I am an author, blogger, husband, and father — and not necessarily in that order of importance. I’ve lived in small-town Minnesota all of my life, and love to read from a wide range of genres, from thrillers and horror to science fiction and fantasy.
– What are your writing habits?
– Mornings are typically the best times for me to write, but I’ve been known to write after the kids are in bed too. One of my strengths is tuning out the environment around me. I can sit in a crowded cafeteria and get right into the zone, ready to write.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of the book and do you plan another one?
– It’s easy to get sucked into the task of checking your sales rank several times a day, and I’ve been known to do that from time to time. However, I feel my time is best spent planning and writing my next book.
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
Writing the next book. I dislike it when authors write just one book, and heavily promote it, when there are no more books in the funnel to follow it up with. I believe it was Dean Wesley Smith who said an author shouldn’t start promoting a series until they had at least three books in.
– Why you didn’t concentrate on just one genre, but you write thrillers, horrors, sci fi, fantasy and non-fiction?
– I don’t recommend doing what I’ve done. I typically write the story that I’m urged to write. Currently, I’m working on the next two books in the Central Division Series (Beholder’s Eye is the first in the thriller series) and then I’ll tackle the final two books in the Shadowkill Trilogy.
– You graduated in criminal justice and psychology, how does it help you in your writings?
– As a writer, I believe in a wide range of study to make your stories more interesting. Both the criminal justice and psychology courses have especially helped in Beholder’s Eye, because there is a psychological aspect to the thriller that I was able to use.
– How important is to participate in creative writing courses as you did? How have those studies affected you?
– What I have found interesting is how similar many writers think. Many have the same struggles, whether it’s with writer’s block or managing their time or any other host of challenges. I also believe it’s important to bounce ideas and writing off of each other, because writers will know how to “fix” a story if it needs fixing.
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be? (Don’t forget to answer).
– One question would be, if I could go back to my college self and, knowing what I know now, how would I change my writing process? I treat writing as a business. And with that comes a business mindset. Your business should be three parts: R&D (research and development), Production, and Sales. And if all three are done well, it translates into monetary compensation. The R&D part of the writing business is done by reading and learning about the publishing industry. The Production side is writing and finishing of stories. And the Sales side is either submitting to a publisher/agent/trade publication or self-publishing. In the past, my strength has been on the R&D and the Production, but not the Sales part. I wrote five novels before I decided to self-publish. What I would change is submitting more to either trade publications or literary agents. At the time, self-publishing consisted to printing a trunkload of books and hoping they’ll sell.
Check out more about Mark at his web page
Take a look at his books
Killzone: Book 1 of the Shadowkill Trilogy
Guest Of Honor: A Novelette
Beholder’s Eye: A Thriller Novel (Central Division Series, Book 1)
If Walls Could Talk: A Terrifying Short Story Collection
Debt-Free I Do: 99 Ways To Have A Memorable Wedding On A Shoestring Budget (Mr. Shoestring Book 1)
Gabriel’s Hope: A Novella
The Things They Collected