Welcome back dear readers. Today I have a refreshing take for you. A short interview with none other than horror author extraordinaire, Mark Tufo! He’s taken on a whole new genre with his latest release, Dystance: Winter’s Rising, and today we get to find out a little bit more about why he decided to go there. So sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.
If you’ve been living under a rock and have never heard of him, Mark Tufo was born in Boston Massachusetts. He attended UMASS Amherst where he obtained a BA and later joined the US Marine Corp. He was stationed in Parris Island SC, Twenty Nine Palms CA and Kaneohe Bay Hawaii. After his tour he went into the Human Resources field with a worldwide financial institution and has gone back to college at CTU to complete his masters.
He has written the Indian Hill trilogy with the first Indian Hill – Encounters being published for the Amazon Kindle in July 2009. He has since written the Zombie Fallout series and is working on a new zombie book.
He lives in Maine with his wife, three kids and two English bulldogs.
Well, now that the introductions are over, let’s get this shindig kicked off!
Me: What is the title of your latest release?
Mark: Dystance: Winter’s Rising
Me: Can you give us a spoiler-free quick description of it?
Mark: From birth to death, The War is all the citizens of Dystance know. As children it is drilled into their heads that war is the purpose behind all existence.
Winter doesn’t agree. She’s stumbled across remnants of life the way it was before The War began and now she longs to be as free as her ancestors.
With help from her best friend Cedar and the boy she is forbidden to love, Tallow. She believes she can do it. Winter can see a life beyond the Pickets, beyond the constant hunger and the threat of death, beyond the war machine.
Can one teenage girl and her dream of a better life really change the whole world?
Me: What (if anything) makes this one unique?
Mark: Well for me this is my first foray into the YA realm.
Me: Bold move for somebody that is so well established. Can you tell us about your lead character? How are you able to play on their strengths/weaknesses?
Mark: Their strengths are also their weaknesses. They’re young and with that comes impetuous behavior, acting without realizing the consequences of their actions. But also most young people have very strong views of what is right and wrong and will act upon those feelings.
Me: True enough. And anybody who has raised kids has plenty to draw on for ‘experience’ for their characters. So, what was your first experience with Young Adult stories? What made you decide to go this direction?
Mark: I guess it was the Harry Potter series that really made me delve into the YA scene and I’ve been sucked in since.
Me: Ah. I enjoyed those as well, but I think the series that really pulled me into the YA genre would be Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games trilogy.
Okay, so Pop Quiz: The Apocalypse is now and you can choose ONE weapon as your only weapon during the EOTWAWKI. What is it and what do you think your chances at survival are?
Mark: I’d take a Ruger 10/22, very reliable gun and the ammunition is light enough.
Me: Excellent choice. Probably my go-to weapon as well. Okay, carrying on here. Can you give us a list of authors who most heavily influenced your work?
Mark: It really does go back to Stephen King, I’ve been a fan of his writings since I was 10 and he scared the bejesus out of me with IT.
Me: Yeah…no. Me and clowns don’t get along. Ever. Ever-ever.
Now to get personal. How do you balance your ‘writing time’ with ‘family time’? Do you find your wife encouraging you more now that you have a HUGE fan base?
Mark: I have a very difficult time balancing work with home time. Being self-employed there is ALWAYS more things I need to do. If my kids weren’t grown this would be an impossibility. In a normal week I work anywhere from 70 to 90 hours.
Me: Oh man…I wish I could devote that much time to writing. Okay, one last one and I’ll let you run off cuz I know you’re busy…when last we spoke, you said something about having a series in as many genres as possible. Diversification, expansion on your writing. Is there an underlying driving force at work here?
Mark: First and foremost I write in multiple genres because I love reading multiple genres. It really is as simple as that.
Awesome. Well, there you have it folks. Mark Tufo and his latest release, Dystance: Winter’s Rising. Look for it on Amazon or wherever you like to pick up your favorite books.
If you’d like to be able to reach Mark or send gifts or whatever, here’s how to visit him:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mark-Tufo/133954330009843 for news on his next two installments of the Indian Hill trilogy and upcoming installments of the Zombie Fallout series.