Author Interview: Mark Anthony Tierno

Question #1: What made you want to become an author?
The more I think about just when it started, the further back I go. Even as a 13 year old kid I remember taking mental notes on what I liked about how an author wrote a given book. I always liked to read and I guess I was just born with a desire to tell a story. It came to a head through at about 14 when i got sick of all the movies where the bad guy kept stalling, telling his plans to the good guys instead of just shooting them, and wanting to see a REAL bad guy… even if I had to write it myself.

Question #2: What genre of books do you write?
I mixed it together a little. I’ve always loved to read Fantasy and Science-Fiction, so that’s what I write but with a little twist. One series of books is fantasy with Sci-Fi elements, while another is primarily Sci-Fi with heavy fantasy elements and a touch of horror. Let everyone else do the straight stuff, I’ll keep it different.

Question #3: How long have you been writing books?
Well… I finished my first Maldene book in 1996 after spending 9 months writing it; part of that time was essentially a bit of self-teaching how to write my novel (as time progressed that same 330,000 words would only take me 3 months). But that was after 15 years of putting together details of the world of Maldene and the plot in my head and in my notes… which in turn was after some odd years deciding HOW I wanted to write, what looked good, etc.

Question #4: Are you self-published or traditionally published? And tell us why you chose either.
Self-published currently, and the reason is simple: Traditional publishers won’t even look at you unless go through an agent, but agents won’t take you if you’re new, then if you also happen to be a fantasy or SciFi author, well that’s a specialty that “others” handle. Between the two of those the only “traditional” publisher that finally took me were a bunch of inept lazy crooks that later ran afoul of a class-action lawsuit. So, I went on my own and got a new cover custom-made from some friends (better than the one “that other” publisher got me).

Question #5: What’s the best tip you can give to a new author?
Don’t write the market like some supposed pros suggest, because the market is always changing and could very well change before your novel is done. Rather, write what makes you enthusiastic, write what you love, write your heart. If you write what you really enjoy doing then you’ll do 110% and keep on finding new limits to surpass.

Question #6: What’s your writing routine like?
At the keyboard by 7:30 in the morning and write pretty much until 4-6 Pm, depending on the chapter. Then later that night I edit what I wrote that day. Day two of a chapter I finish up the chapter I began, edit later. Day three is my “Chapter Edit” day, when i go through the entire chapter, then spell-check, then outline my next chapter. Wash, rinse, repeat. As I write I always have music playing (think movie sound tracks, no lyrics, John Williams, etc.). Then at the end of a section of a book (my maldene books tend to have 3 sections per novel) I go through that section to make that all plot elements going from one chapter to the next are consistent and I didn’t miss anything. At the end of a book I give the whole thing one last go-through.

Question #7: What do you hope readers take away after reading one of your books?
Well, I not only know how to craft a good exciting story, but how to wring emotions out of the written word. So, if after reading one of my books the reader hasn’t gone through at least 4 different emotions, not jumped when a villain finally gets what’s coming, not teared up at least once or twice, and doesn’t feel like he’s just been energized… well then he’s probably not reading one of my books. 🙂
Another point is regards my plots: Chances are one of those innocent little throw-away scenes that you might wonder as to why it’s included is there to set something up sometimes as much as FIVE books ahead of time. I plot far enough advance that I’ll leave clues all over the place, making for some great re-readability.

Bonus Question: Why should a reader want to read your book?
Do you want to FEEL like you’re actually on an alien world? Do you want to engage in a plot that spans entire worlds, that takes you through thousands of years of time? Do you like a villain that’s unforgiving, plans for centuries in advance, and doesn’t make stupid mistakes to drive the plot along? Do you like your hero truly heroic, but also well-written and realistic enough that they could BE actual people? Do you want a story that can draw out the enthusiastic child within you and let it run free? Then start reading into Maldene.

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