Wednesday, 29 April 2009

An interview with author, Mark Sadler

Tell Me a Story - Interview

I’d like you to meet a Facebook friend of mine, author, Mark Sadler. I don't know about you, but I just love finding out what makes other writers tick. Each one seems to be unique in their experience and approach. Mark is no exception


Hi Mark, I wonder if you’d like to introduce yourself.
Hi AJ. Life began in a small caravan in my grandmother’s garden in Dudley England, May 1956. By the time I graduated from Codsall Comprehensive in 1974 a future in writing seemed to be taking a clear path. The following year I immigrated to the States on a student visa to attend Ambassador College Big Sandy Texas and majored in journalism and speech.
In 1979, I was offered the opportunity to write an editorial column in a new publication, OKC Sports Fan Forum, covering the progression of soccer as America hosted the World Cup. A family started, two boys.
By 1993 employment opportunities took me to Tucson AZ, where I remarried and had a third son and live to this day, trying to start up a second career as a novelist; something to tide me over as retirement creeps nearer every year.
Mark, it's rare today to find an author who does nothing but write for a living. Do you have a 'real' job other than writing, and if so, what is it? What are some other jobs you've had in your life?

For the past thirty years I have worked in the debt collection business with a variety of collection agencies. I have also worked as a shop hand in a steel mill, been an employment counselor, sold furniture, made cheese burgers & fries, sold loft installation, had a stage act at a comedy club, performed voiceovers for radio commercials, and wrote an editorial column for a weekly sports magazine, but never swept streets as my father had once suggested was all I was capable of doing.
And just what was it that compelled you to write your first book?
After my last divorce I left town in the middle of the night and disappeared for a month. I ended up humping a sixty pound backpack over some of the most desolate and hardy terrain I had ever been on; the Appalachian Trail in northern Georgia.
The power of healing that the trail possesses is so far beyond anything one can imagine without having experienced it first hand and I wanted to capture that feeling a la Bill Bryson, Rick McKinney or David Miller but their stories were so compelling that I knew I would have a hard time competing; my story seemed diminished in their shadow so I took it to another level and built a murder mystery out of the scenario and fictionalized the story instead.
Okay, perhaps you could tell us a little bit about your book, let us know what it’s about.
Blood on His Hands is a contemporary thriller/mystery that examines the internal battle we all face at some point as to what we will tolerate in our lives when it comes to doing the right thing, the eternal fight of good v. evil.
It is manifested in the book when a cheating wife is caught red-handed by her husband. After killing them the husband leaves town. On the run he examines his life up until that fateful moment. Will he turn himself in and admit to a crime of passion, throwing himself on the mercy of the courts, or live life on the run?
We run with him as his journey takes him from rural Oklahoma to the glitz of Las Vegas and finally out on the Appalachian Trail in northern Georgia where he is forced to deal with the question of what to do with the rest of his life.

And are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?

Well I’m not sure how soon, soon is but yes I am building a series of at least five crime thrillers featuring Nate Duarte, a Tucson police detective whose mother was an illegal alien and his father a border guard.
Look for lots of current action bringing in the daily headlines involving illicit drugs and illegal alien crossings. Duarte is, however, a sex crimes detective so each book will have a juicy crime to solve at the same time.
Mark, let’s go back in time. When growing up, did you have a favorite author, book series, or book?

As a teen my tastes ran to Louis Lamour and Alistair McLean however I also enjoyed intricate relationships and to this day by favorite book is Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence. I still read that one at least once a year.
And what about now: who is your favorite author and what is your favorite genre to read?

Currently I am fascinated with Jim Crace but I still fall back on thrillers and espionage as my main stays as far as genre is concerned. Patterson, Higgins, Forsyth all spin a great yarn.
How about bringing us into your home. Set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk

Well seeing as I am there as we speak it’s not hard to do. Low light, a lamp illuminates from behind the computers monitor. I have all my research notes to my right and opposite all the writing tools, dictionaries, editing rulebooks and Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird for a little inspiration if I just can’t figure what to write next.
I peck at the keyboard, one finger on each hand is the standard, right into the computer, often referring to hand written notes, or Google references as I go. My glasses sit on top of the printer, I can’t see with the damn things on! Guess that’s part of being over fifty! Oh and in the evening there is usually a Dewar’s White Label, neat.

I like the idea of Dewar’s – always good for the imagination…. Focusing on your book, tell our readers what genre it is and what popular author you think your writing style is most like.

I had a hard time really putting a boilerplate label on the genre of Blood on His Hands. How about a contemporary thriller/mystery?
The story line is well-worn one; the struggle of the power of evil over good but the way it is told is unique. I was unable to pin point anything similar. I can’t compare myself to another writer but there are definite influences, Crace for one. His Being Dead was the inspiration for the scene after the bear attack.
I read while looking for inspiration just to see how my contemporaries handle situations, and I must admit that I really admire Norman Mailer’s ability to describe the physical attributes of his characters and I felt almost a type of permission to be a little more detailed after reading his works.
So how long did it take you to write it? When you started writing, did you think it would take that long?

Three years until I had a finished manuscript. It had actually been so long since I written formally that I went back and enrolled in college to take writing courses and work shops and it really helped with the style of my writing, especially when considering whether to write in the first or third person.
I’m glad you mentioned taking a writing course. I always advise newbies to study the nuts and bolts first. For some reason, a lot of them think a writer just sits down and produces publishable work – not so. We all have to serve an apprenticeship.

Mark, It's said that the editing process of publishing a novel with a publisher is can be grueling and often more difficult than actually writing the story. Do you think this is true for you? How did you feel about editing your masterpiece?

Oh I failed miserably. I thought how hard would it be, I surely don’t make more than a handful of mistakes and those would be typos? Well goodness, when I got that first proof back I let a friend read it and between the two of us, I’m embarrassed to say, we found over 200 errors, and not just typos; many grammatical problems, dangling modifiers, punctuation etc. Well it is now my resolve the next time to hire a specialist before sending in that first proof.
Before we finish, would you like to tell us where to find your books, any blogs you may have, or how readers can learn more about you and writing?

The best place right now to find information about my book is my website, It will eventually be available at, and through my publisher’s site, but that will only be after publication in June.
Also you can find me in Facebook, sign up to my fan page for more book updates and follow me on Twitter. If you don’t have access to any of those then just e-mail me at and I’ll do what I can to help you find a copy of the book.
Thank you, Mark Sadler. Hope we see you name in lights soon.
End of post - An interview with author, Mark Sadler

Looking for a good read? Try:-

Past Sins - Contemporary fiction


Janet Jarrell said...

I really relate to this interview - thank you! I, too, work in collections - for the government. Really all I want is to write, but we all need to eat at times; how inconvenient.

I like that he reads Sons and Lovers – wonderful. Also, I just reserved Bird by Bird at the library – though it sounds like I should invest in it.

Tom & Deborah Starrs said...

Interesting. When the time comes, I know a copy editor for you, Mark. Cheers!

Tom & Deborah Starrs said...

Interesting. When the time comes, I know a copy editor for you, Mark. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

where can I find an author to tell my story of extreme abuse

Anonymous said...

where can I find an author to tell my story?

ajbarnett said...

Hi, Anonymous. I presume you're looking for a ghost writer?

If you email a VERY sketchy outline of what you're after, I'll post it on the blog to see if any of my author followers pick it up as a job.