Author Mark Everglade began writing as a child; he would often rewrite X-Men comics and what today people term fan-fiction. Soon after turning ten, his tiny hands flurried across the typewriter while alternating Metallica and Schubert on the tape player as each scene required a different tone, and thus, different music to accompany it. Speaking with the Global Trumpeter, Mark said he began writing soundtracks to go with his stories. ‘The music and the writing fed off one another,’ he stated. Nonetheless, as technology began modernising, the author became more intrigued by its possibilities, shortcomings, omens, and false promises and began exploring the cyberpunk works of Gibson, Stephenson, and others. Working a daytime job, Mark takes care of his family. Surprisingly, he has almost never watched TV; however, he may only see a movie or one TV show a year, preferring reading and the arts over watching television.
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No Cypher for This Cyberthriller
B Sudharsan: It is a pleasure having you with us, Mark. To begin with, could you tell us about your published works? How did they happen? Also, what is your latest book about?
Mark Everglade: I publish through two traditional publishers. My latest novel, Inertia, is about a young woman, Ash, and her father; they are trying to solve the global warming crisis in space. Hacking government servers, they uncover a conspiracy to alter the planet’s rotation in order to control its economy and cast half the world back into complete darkness. Ash’s life is put at stake when she uncovers sensitive, classified data, so she must solicit help from her father, Severum. The trouble is that he does not know she exists, so while the book is a cyberthriller, it is also about their relationship.
B Sudharsan: Well, that does sound ‘thrilling’ to say the least. A lot of planning must have gone into writing the book, or… are you a pantser?
Mark Everglade: At first, I did not plot at all, but for every hour of planning, you save about 10 hours later on, so it is definitely worth doing a ten-hour outline.
‘Creativity Knows No Time or Place’
B Sudharsan: I cannot agree more. Do you derive inspiration from any authors?
Mark Everglade: My favourite authors are Iain M. Banks, Charles Dickens, Haruki Murakami, and Catherynne Valente. All four understand culture and character and merge the two so that others can see the intersection with poetic prose.
B Sudharsan: Time I told you Murakami would remain one of my most favoured writers. And that brings me to my next question: Do you, like the Japanese author, follow a rigorous schedule, or do you write when you feel the need to pen down your thoughts?
Mark Everglade: The creative process does not know your place or time and does not conform to your schedule. I make notes throughout the day; I am always writing a line here and there. Writing, therefore, is simply weaving those individual threads, those passing moments in life, together until a cohesive narrative emerges.
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Dealing With the In-Betweens
B Sudharsan: In that case, was becoming an author a conscious decision?
Mark Everglade: Yes. After the 9/11 incident in America, movies and books radically changed. Any publication with characters that were ‘shades of grey’ was immediately a failure. Americans wanted an absolute bad guy and an absolute good guy, so art adapted to its audience. Unfortunately, this ‘good guy bad guy’ mentality has become so strong and polarising in our rhetoric that I decided we needed literature to unite and mobilise the masses from the ground up. So, I wrote books with characters who were all shades of grey from various walks of life, books like Song of Kitaba. Nowhere is the shade of grey protagonist more valued than in the dystopian sub-genre cyberpunk, where anti-heroes roam the pages.
B Sudharsan: Fascinating! How do you juggle writing and other tasks, by the way? What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?
Mark Everglade: I am a musician first and foremost, and music is important to my writing. When I need to write with a certain rhythm, I turn on Red Hot Chili Peppers. When I need to write a lamentable scene, I turn on the indie metal band Soen. My first book, Hemispheres, is actually named after a Rush album.
B Sudharsan: Wow! Tell us a bit about your works in progress. Do you plan on becoming a full-fledged author?
Mark Everglade: I am working on the third and final novel in the Gliese Trilogy, tentatively named Hydrosphere. It will be released in three years and is similar to the Kevin Costner movie Waterworld, but set in space with tons of cybernetic technology.
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‘We Write Since We Have To’
B Sudharsan: And is there anything you wish to tell the budding authors who lose motivation if a few of their works do not do well?
Mark Everglade: If you are doing this hobby for the money, then do not. Even the bestsellers who are hitting number one in numerous Amazon categories are not making even a month’s bills after paying advertising, retail, and royalty fees. If you write, write for your own creative expression with a message that will make the world a better place and inspire others. Authors write because we have to; the act is a fountain of emotion that must be expressed and a labour of love.
B Sudharsan: If there is one thing that you would like to change in this world, what would that be?
Mark Everglade: Inequality. For instance, at Disney World, a custodian would have to work 2,000 years to make as much as the C.E.O. made in one year. The level of poverty that so-called ‘first world’ nations allow is a blight upon the potential of our species. The current system allows for the wealthy to exist in a predatory relationship with the poor, exploiting them to their own ends.
If you write, write for your own creative expression with a message that will make the world a better place and inspire others. Authors write because we have to; the act is a fountain of emotion that must be expressed and a labour of love.MARK EVERGLADE