An Emerging Threat

Mark Lein’s novel An Emerging Evil creates a world in which evil has cast a shadow over the islands. A scholar and a warrior of royal blood both begin separate quests to find whoever or whatever is responsible for the darkening of their world. Along the way they meet many creatures, both friend and foe, and the story of their journey is told.

I interviewed Mark about his writing and influences this week.

1. When did you first discover you had a talent for writing?

Do I have that? Early in my teen years I found it was easier to put in writing than speak what was going inside. I was very shy and writing gave me a way to communicate. I thought I had a talent for it from the beginning, but it was not until I was 28 or so that I began to receive positive feedback from peers.

2. Of all your novels, which is your favorite and why?

Well I only have the one published (An Emerging Threat)…so…that one! It is Book #1 of The Seeker’s Burden series.

3. Which writers do you enjoy most reading? Terry Brooks, Tad Williams, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Rex Stout, Louie La’mour,

4. Who are the main influences on your writing?

Terry Brooks, Tad Williams, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis. Definitely the single most influence has been the writing of Terry Brooks. I also used past experiences to build parts of the world. The Savoq and their lands are based off my time in Iraq and Kenya, while a few of the situations the characters go through are ones that closely resembled ones that I lived through.

5. Do you believe that books should entertain or educate – or is a bit of both?

Definitely both. First and foremost my novels are meant to entertain, to take the reader on a journey outside of reality. For books in general, the best education I received in my life was learned by reading. As General Mattis (US Marine) said, “The problem with being too busy to read is that you learn by experience (or by your men’s experience), i.e. the hard way. By reading, you learn through others’ experiences, generally a better way to do business, especially in our line of work where the consequences of incompetence are so final for young men. Thanks to my reading, I have never been caught flat-footed by any situation, never at a loss for how any problem has been addressed (successfully or unsuccessfully) before. It doesn’t give me all the answers, but it lights what is often a dark path ahead.”

6. If you could choose 10 books to take away to a desert island, what would they be? Bible (Various), The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien), Sword of Shannara (Terry Brooks), The Last Battle (C.S. Lewis), Wild at Heart (John Eldrege), Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain), Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams), Last of the Mohicans (James Fennimore Cooper), any Louie La’mour novel.

7. Do your characters speak to you when you write?

Yes they do. As I write dialog or an experience that a character goes through, I keep finding more small details about the character that I never thought of before, small nuances and traits. It keeps me involved and interested to find out what will come out of my head next! The ever involving and living world is what keeps me coming back to my writing.

8. Why do you think people enjoy reading your novels?

I think it is the mix of relatable characters, exciting and brutal action, and the mysterious and dark enemy.

9. What projects are you currently busy with?

Book #2 of The Seeker’s Burden series, Path of Darkness. The first draft of the novel will be ready for editing the first week of February and I hope to have it published in early spring 2014.

10. In short, can you tell us a little about your background and your aims as a writer.

I have worked on a dairy, yes milking cows, as a hamburger flipper in a fast food restaurant, and as a construction worker. I have worked as a pest control technician (bug guy), I have produced a short film, I have been a Military Officer for 10 years, and I live in the always too hot state of Florida. I have traveled to Africa, Europe, and the Middle East (and exotic Canada).

My aim is first to write a book I enjoy reading. Yes, it is selfish. Second it is to create a world and experience that draws the reader into the story.

Thank you Mark, I wholeheartedly agree with that aim! These days there are so many writers who aim for a “niche” and write to a formula for a particular type of reader. Writing primarily for yourself, in my opinion, allows you to stand out from the crowd. Wishing you every success with An Emerging Threat and much more to come with Path of Darkness!