With us today is author, Mark Scioneaux. Here is what he has to say:
Tell us a bit about yourself...I was born in New Orleans, LA and from a young age I’ve always loved to write. It is my greatest passion, and also my greatest regret because I wish I had the courage to follow it earlier. The need to tell a story or craft a tale was always inside me, but something I repressed throughout my high school and college years. It wasn’t something I took seriously, or maybe I just wasn’t mature enough to see it for what it truly was: an outlet to entertain. You read about the big time writers and think “That’ll be me some day. I’ll write the great American novel on my first shot and be famous and rich.” If you go in with that attitude, you will fail. It’s a slow process, and a craft that must be taken seriously and perfected over time. I’m not perfect, and I’m in no place to tell others what they should or shouldn’t do, but I have a set of goals and achievements I set for myself starting Day 1, and I’m slowly scratching them off the list.
It was in 2006, a few months after graduating from LSU, that I started my career in writing. The first thing I wrote is actually my current release that I’ll discuss more later. I thought I was so good at the time, and upon looking back at what I’d written, I was so bad. My style was messy and all over the place. I used quirky phrases and dialogue, trying to sound clever but failing miserably. I look at it now and laugh, and cringe. But, I can say I’ve grown as a writer. I wouldn’t be able to recognize that person’s work today, and that’s a good thing.
To say I’m a normal guy is an understatement. I love sports, both watching and playing them. My wife, Jessica, and I have been married for over a year and together for six. Our home in Baton Rouge is occupied by two mutts who take up more space in our bed than I do. I work as an industrial hygienist when I’m not moonlighting as a horror fiction writer. The funniest compliment paid to me was someone saying “you don’t look like someone who writes horror.” I’m still not sure what we should look like.
Could you tell us what work you currently have available?
I have a few things out there, some I’m proud of and some not so much. My first novel, HOLLOW POINT, was written under the name Mark Christopher. I also edited an anthology titled BIGFOOT TALES under the same name. My past projects are rough, and show my progression from a novice writer. My novelette, THE GLASS COFFIN, has received high praise on Amazon, and I have a few shorts stories set to release soon with Hazardous Press, Evil Jester Press, and Bloodbound Books.
Tell us about your latest release...
My latest release, and reason for this blog tour, is my zombie serial, HOLLOW SHELL. This is the first thing I ever attempted to write. I was 50,000 words into it when I decided to just stop. It’s been collecting dust on my computer ever since. One day, I opened the file and started reading through it. It was so bad, that even I shook my head a few times. But the story, I felt, was solid. It’s about a guy, Chris, who meets up with a younger woman named Dawn during a zombie outbreak. Together, they travel from Louisiana in hopes of reaching West Virginia, where Chris’s wife is visiting her mother. He can’t reach her by phone, so he embarks on a journey to save her. The story is filled with tension between the main characters, zombie attacks, and a variety of horrific and interesting people they encounter on the journey. I plan on releasing a new installment every quarter, with each part being approximately 10,000 words. The story is outlined to the very end, but I’ve changed so much since I wrote that outline, that I’m positive some news ideas will pop up as they go about their journey.
I don’t think I have a particular style of writing. When I write, I try to envision the story as if it were a movie. Then, I’d have to describe the scene to someone who couldn’t see what I saw. When I write dialogue, I put myself in the situation as my characters, and respond how I’d respond. I’ve been praised for my character development, and I pay close attention to making them very human and full of various emotions. I have characters I hate, love, despise, or frighten me; and I want my readers to feel the same way. To sum it up best, I write to tell a good story, and if the readers comes away entertained, then I feel I did my job.
What else do you have in the pipeline?
There are a few projects I’m working on and I hope that 2013 will be a big year for me. My novelization of Dante’s Inferno, THE CITY OF WOE, is currently being considered by a literary agent. I co-wrote a novel, INSURGENT Z, with my friend and talented writer Dane T. Hatchell. It is an intense zombie thriller with a military twist, and it is currently being considered by a publishing house. I also have a novella entitled FAMILY DINNER up for consideration as well. My current is work in progress is a fictional account of the Salem Witch Trials, currently titled THE DEVIL CAME TO PLAY. I hope to jump on it soon and finish it by the end of November 2012.
Which writers have had the most influence on your own writing?
There are many writers who influence me, all very different in terms of career accomplishments. For those who inspire me to shoot for the stars, Stephen King and Clive Barker would be tops. Two who have inspired my writing style when it comes to zombies are award-winning authors Joe McKinney and Jonathan Maberry. I consider both to be at the top of the zombie genre, and the reason is because they pay attention to character development and style over gratuitous amounts of gore and violence. Their works are what the zombie novel should be. I’m also inspired by up-and-coming authors like Dane T. Hatchell, Robert S. Wilson, and C.W. Lasart. These are people I speak with daily about all matters of writing. They drive me with impeccable work ethics and a hunger to constantly improve. There are many more that I could name, but the list would go for another page. Big or small, everyone can learn from someone.
What was the last thing you read?
The last book I read was THE SINNER by K. Trapp Jones. It is a unique novel in that a farmer is sent to a cave where he encounters a different demon each day, representing the Seven Deadly Sins. It is written in a poetic style, and being a huge fan of The Inferno, I had to check it out. It is published by Bloodbound Books and they did a fine job with it. For my next read, I’ll be diving into submissions for my publishing company, Nightscape Press. I have a lot to catch up on.
Anything else you'd like to tell u about?
I would like to take this section to draw attention my publishing company, Nightscape Press. I co-own the press with Robert Shane Wilson and his wife, Jennifer Wilson. Together we make a great team, and I am so happy to be a part of this venture. Our current line-up of books have been well received, both publically and critically, and I encourage everyone to check us out and read the works from our talented authors. Our current line-up consists of works by Peter N. Dudar, Trent Zelazny, Richard Salter, and L.L. Soares. We also have future releases scheduled for Peter Giglio, Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Jonathan Templar, Stephen Graham Jones, and Rena Mason. We are growing, and span genres of dark fiction, including noir, horror, and science fiction.
You can buy Mark's latest release here.