Q. What first inspired you to write?
MC. I grew up in a family of storytellers. We were poor, and often didn’t have a TV, or, when we did, not a very good one. As a young boy, I’d sit on the porch and listen to my aunts tell stories while we shelled peas. As I got older, I’d help my grandpa mend fence or hoe okra. He kept me entertained with stories about his boyhood. My aunt, a librarian, introduced me to Where the Red Fern Grows when I was eight years old. It was one of the first ‘chapter’ books I read. It made me cry. I took it to school and begged my third-grade teacher to read it to the class. She did. It made her cry. Shortly after that, we moved to a farm in central Texas. It was a different time and at ten, I was allowed to roam and explore with my dog. I read Old Yeller and Savage Sam—and started writing what we would call fan fiction nowadays—about brave boys and good dogs and their adventures together.
Q. What comes first to you? The Characters or the Situation?
MC. Sometimes one, sometimes the other—but most of the time it’s the character.
Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?
MC. When it’s going right, that’s exactly what happens. I tend to watch the story unfold like a movie in my head.
Q. What compelled you to choose and settle on the genre you now write in?
MC. I wrote all over the place when I was younger—Fantasy, Science Fiction, Adventure, Westerns. With my background, it was natural that I eventually found my way into contemporary Thriller/Crime fiction.
Q. Are you working on something now or have a new release coming up? If so tell us about it.
MC. Tom Clancy RED WINTER is out now.
Then, BREAKNECK, my next Arliss Cutter novel, a crime fiction series about an deputy US marshal based in Alaska, comes out in April of 2023. I’m working on the next Tom Clancy/Jack Ryan now. After that, I’ll jump back into another Cutter and finish up another Jericho Quinn.
Q. When did you begin to write seriously?
MC. Charlotte Skidmore, my English teacher in eleventh grade, was known to be the hardest teacher in our high school. Early that year, she gave me a C- on a creative writing assignment. I’d written it in pencil when it should have been typed. The format was wrong, and there were gobs of spelling errors. Her famous red pen had bled all over my story. I deserved the grade—or worse. But, at the top of the page, written in pencil, was a note from her that said, “Marc, this looks publishable to me.” Those six words from the hardest teacher in the school changed the trajectory of my life. I tell this story all the time, but when we were fist married and living on slightly over six bucks an hour as a rookie police officer, my wife bought me a bullet proof vest (the PD didn’t provide them then) and a Smith Corona electric typewriter. I spent the next twenty years or so writing short stories and walking to the mailbox for rejection letters before I finally got a story published. My wife was always supportive, but when we received that first little check in the mail, she met me at the door with a rolled up magazine, swatted me on the butt, and said, “Congratulations. Now go write us a new refrigerator.” It’s been fairly steady since then.
Conclusion next week!
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Watch for more interviews with authors. October: Simon Gervais for ROBERT LUDLUM, November: Horror writer, Kevin J. Kennedy, December: Marc Cameron, writing for TOM CLANCY
A few BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK