Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Indie Author Interview: Mark David Albertson

Indie Author Interview with Mark David Albertson - Author of the Thriller Steaming: A Sea Story.

Mark David Albertson is what some of his friends have called a Renaissance Man, which in Mark’s mind is a great term for someone who couldn’t decide what to do in life. 
Mark practiced law for over 30 years in Washington State before returning to his beloved Texas. Along the way, he owned a private investigation agency, a hypnotherapy practice, and pursued other various and random distractions. 

Interview with Mark David Albertson

Author Mark David Albertson
Author Mark David Albertson
Alan Kealey (Indie Author News):
 
What is your (writing) background?
Mark David Albertson: In my former profession I wrote and/or contributed to a number of books and articles on the law business.  I was published internationally and had over a dozen law journal articles published when I was working. I have always loved writing, and like many other people have always wanted to write a novel.  When I had the opportunity to retire, I made my mind up that I would write the novel.  I enjoyed the process so much that I’m half-way through my second novel.
 
Who are your favorite writers, your favorite books, and who or what are your writing influences?
I have several favorite writers from different genres.  I’d have to say that on the top of my list is Carl Hiassen.  I love how he creates wacky characters, impossible plotlines and ties it all up in a great mystery/thriller. Second to Carl is John Le Carre, the best spy thriller writer I’ve ever read.  Third is Dan Brown, who has the ability to weave history, myth and science into a page-turning thriller. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is my all-time favorite book, next to whatever Carl Hiassen book I’m reading.  I enjoy authors who take the time to paint a vivid picture for me of their characters, surroundings and feelings.

"[...] it took me 40 years to write my first novel"
 
When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
I have always enjoyed writing, and it has never been a burden for me.  I wrote short-stories when I was younger, just for the fun of it.  I knew I had at least one novel in me when I left the navy forty-some years ago.  Although it took me 40 years to write my first novel, it was so much fun that as soon as it was published I started on my second novel, which I hope to finish in the next couple of months.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I do, and I think my mother still has the story in her keepsake box.  It was about a boy with the power to become invisible and the adventures he has fighting crime.

"My goal is to get at least 2000 words in each day."

Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a writing routine?
Living on a small ranch in Texas means that there are a lot of diversions that can keep me from writing. So, yes, I have to keep a routine.  In the summertime, it’s cool in the mornings, so I get my ranch chores done in the morning.  By noon it can be pretty hot, so I take a shower and write for about four hours.  In the winter, the routine is reversed.  It’s cool in the mornings so I’ll write for about four hours and then go do chores in the afternoon.  My goal is to get at least 2000 words in each day.  Sometimes I don’t come close to that, and some days, it’s much higher.  When I’m done writing for the day, I’ll do a quick edit of the chapter I wrote, but nothing extensive.  About once every two weeks, I’ll read everything I’ve written to be sure I have the right flow and continuity.  Once the book is done, it’s hours of re-writing until I’m happy to send it to the editors to crucify! 

Please, describe your desk/workplace.
I share a very nice library/office with my sweety, Karen.  We have one large desk in the center of the room that we share, facing toward one another (by the way, she’s a writer also).  The library has a small wood stove that keeps things cozy in the winter, wood paneling that was built by hand by the man who built the original ranch house, and French doors out to the patio.  I can look out the French doors and see live oaks, cork oaks, a maple tree we planted, thick, greenery, and bird feeders with cardinals, mourning doves, finches, sparrows and more, and I can watch our three dogs trying to chase down squirrels. I keep my desk clear of everything but my computer and a coffee cup so that I have no clutter to distract me.  

"[...] the hardest part of writing [...] is restraining my 'inner critic'."
 
What do you find easiest about writing? What the hardest?
My head is filled with stories, and for me the easiest part of writing is creating the story, the characters and the plot.  Probably the hardest part of writing about me is restraining my “inner critic”.  I’m very hard on myself; OK, I’m a perfectionist, and I can find myself writing and re-writing chapters to the exclusion of all else.  Because of this I have to force myself to get my story on paper and comfort my inner critic by telling him that he will have plenty of time once the story is done to edit.

"Once that piece of writing is completed, it is incredibly satisfying [...]"

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I have always been a creator.  I love taking the raw materials to something and building a creation with my hands.  Writing, for me, is an extension of that passion for creation.  I never fail to get excited about taking a raw idea and turning it into a new creation.  Once that piece of writing is completed, it is incredibly satisfying to see it in tangible form.

Mark, please tell us a little about your Thriller Steaming: A Sea Story.
Although this is definitely not an autobiography, Steaming builds on my observations of the world, and particularly the US navy at the end of the Vietnam conflict.  My hero, Matt “Bert” Bertram, is a young man, fresh out of high school, who has little or no ambition to do much of anything other than enjoy a good adventure.  When he sees the tagline of the navy at the time, “It’s not just a job, it’s an adventure” he falls hook, line and sinker for that spirit of adventure.  The story starts as a little bit of a coming of age book, but also tells the story of how someone can rise to the occasion, even when they are in way over their head.  Also I wanted to remind people of the heroism that so many military veterans faced, even in that final year of Vietnam, and how seeking adventure can lead to danger, challenge, and even, quite possibly, death.  It’s intended to tell all of the funny, quirky life of a young sailor who ends up facing the greatest challenge of his life.

A Sea Story (Mark David Albertson)
Click to Read an Excerpt

What inspired you to write the book?
As I mentioned, my own experiences as a young sailor inspired the focus of the book.  For me it was an amazing time in my life, and most people have no idea what a sailor faces in his enlistment.  I was also inspired by the heroes that I met both while I was in the navy, and during my life since then. While the story is fiction, as are the characters, the people and experiences that I have had, I hope, lend some authenticity and credibility to the story.
 
Who do you see as your target audience?
Perhaps the people most interested in reading this book will be veterans, but I really wrote the book for people who might not ever pick up a naval thriller.  Just as the masses read and enjoyed “Catch 22” in the 1950’s, I’m hoping that anyone who wants to read a good story with humor, adventure and thrills will enjoy this book.

"[...] with plenty of quirky characters and no shortage of plot twists."

What makes your book special?
I would like to think that the story is one that most people have never heard, but I worked very hard to tell it in a humorous way, with plenty of quirky characters and no shortage of plot twists.  The feedback I have received so far has been great, and people I would never have expected to pick it up are telling me that it’s a great story that everyone should know.

How would you describe the success of your self-published books so far?
While I was writing, I was also educating myself on how to market my book.  I realized early on, that even if I went with an established publishing house, it would be my responsibility to do the bulk of the marketing.  I’ve always enjoyed marketing, and there is plenty of information available to marketing the book effectively.  There is an investment of time, and plenty of trial and error, but I just see that as one more fun challenge. I would say that as far as this book goes, so far, so good, and I continue to educate myself in this area.

"Put your inner editor into a box until an appropriate time, but first, just write."

Can you give some advice for other Authors regarding the writing process?
As I hinted with one of your other questions, my advice is just to turn on the creative plug and just write.  Put your inner editor into a box until an appropriate time, but first, just write.  Setting goals for numbers of words works well for me, but I know that everyone has their own style. Additionally, be humble enough to ask for feedback from others.  This book is a far different one than it would have been had I not asked for feedback from people who are close to me. Finally, find and pay for a good editor. Every great writer has a great editor, and I would put my budget dollars in a good editor before I spent money on anything else.

Are you working on another book project? Can you tell us a little about it?
Yes, I am.  The working title is “Spying: A Sea Story” and is a continuation of Matt Bertram’s adventures.  I had so much fun creating Matt, that I realized, even before I finished the first book, that Matt has a lot more adventures in him.  This book will take him to an entirely new place, the world of cold-war era espionage, and promises to be a true thriller, while at the same time still incorporates the world of the US navy.

"[...] I’m still very attached to books with paper"
 
Where do you see the book market in 5 or 10 years? Will there be only eBooks and will book stores disappear like record stores disappeared?
Everything I see points in the direction of eBooks and online marketing.  Because of my age, I’m still very attached to books with paper, but even I mostly read eBooks.  I think the current assessment is that 60% of all book sales are eBooks, and I would expect that to continue.  There will always be a market for paper books, but, unfortunately, small and independent brick and mortar book sellers are an endangered species.
 
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I’m a Kindle guy, mostly because I’m an early technology adapter, and Kindle was really the first out there, not to mention the huge number of books available. I have friends who are die-hard Nook fans, and I don’t criticize it.  It’s just that once you’ve created a habit, it’s hard to give it up!

Do you write full-time or do you have a day job? When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
As I mentioned, we have a small ranch that occupies much of my attention.  Dogs, horses, chickens and an array of equipment all need love and care.  I’m currently trying to clear much of the ranch of Texas cedars and am uncovering so many beautiful trees.  Additionally, we have planted an orchard with pecan trees, apricot trees and peach trees, and have a large garden which all take time.  If any of the readers are from Texas, they know about fire ants, and I am currently fighting a losing war with them, but I’m not giving up!

"I’d love to get connected!"

How can readers connect with you?
They can email me directly at Mark@journeytalker.com, or they can always check out my website at www.journeytalker.com.  I’d love to get connected!

Thank you very much for the Interview, Mark.



About the Book Steaming: A Sea Story 

A Sea Story (Mark David Albertson)
“It’s not just a job … it’s an adventure!” is the recruiting slogan of the US Navy in the mid-1970’s, at the end of Vietnam.

Americans have been told the war in Southeast Asia is over. Seaman Matthew Bertram, expecting a Navy enlistment of travel and adventure discovers that the war is not yet over.  

When he finds himself on charges for diving into Subic Bay to save his Chief’s dentures, he discovers that the life of Navy adventure will take a sudden and catastrophic turn as he takes on a mission that will change his life forever.




Links to the Book

Link to the Paperback Steaming: A Sea Story on Amazon

Link to the eBook Steaming: A Sea Story on Amazon




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