Interview with Mark Lemke

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Roseville, Minnesota, in the 50's and 60's, on a Norman Rockwell kind of street with 80 kids, and where we took over the streets to play baseball and fly kites in the summer time.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing my first book, Red North! over fifteen years ago, on a whim. Working full time, I just thought it would be fun to write a story. It was quite an ordeal, not having any formal training in "writing" other than technical writing. Probably couldn't have done it on a typewriter. Amen for computers and word docs! After that first novel, it kind of opened the flood gates and I started my next book, Off The Grid, then my third, two years after that.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, The Elephant's Foot, uses the tragedy of Chernobyl as a backdrop. I was on watch in the control room of a nuclear power plant in California two days after the Chernobyl accident (back in the 80's) when we picked up the contamination from the plant on our radiation monitors. Working in nuclear power, I recognized the horror of what happened. It always stuck with me and was the inspiration for the book.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Actually, my neighbor is Martha Beck, a New York Times bestselling author, steered me in this direction. She generously offered me advice on self-publishiing as opposed to the traditional "brick and mortar" store concept. I felt I can reach a wider audience as well because I can charge less for the books. I just hope people will find them, read them, and enjoy them.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Well, first of all, I wouldn't say I'm a success yet! But Smashwords allows me a forum to get my books out there for people to read.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing is fun and rewarding in and of itself. I don't consider myself "an author", but then, I'm not sure what really qualifies someone to be "an author". It's gratifying to write a story (which takes me about two years), and then have people read them and like them. It's gratifying to get better at the craft of writing (and I'm certainly on a steep learning curve there.) I enjoy any and all positive comments. We writers have fragile egos, so I probably won't enjoy any critical comments. Having said that, I learn the most from constructive criticism, even if I don't like hearing it :-)
What do your fans mean to you?
Right now, I only have about five fans, and I'm related to most of them. I will answer that question when I get a true fan base.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on a fourth book, called "Fracture". I've learned not to tell people what the new book is about because when I write a story, it's a fluid thing until I'm done.
Who are your favorite authors?
I like Michael Crighton, Dan Brown, Vince Flynn, Lee Child, Clive Cussler, Tom Clancy, Michael Baldacci, James Michner, Ann Raynd, and others. I read a variety of indie authors, who I've never heard of (such as myself).
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Spitting firewood, karate. Now-a-days, I seem to spend a lot of time actually in one form or another of the writing process.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
When I was in high school, I read James Clavel and Jame Michner books. If a book wasn't at least 1,000 pages, I wouldn't touch it. Strange, I know...
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I am partial to thrillers, mysteries, and suspense. I like a good page turner. I only read a few pages a day so I need each page to be a grabber.
Published 2016-05-14.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Elephant's Foot
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 118,240. Language: English. Published: March 28, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
A test goes horribly wrong at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, initiating an explosion of unimaginable power and destruction, melting the core, creating a deadly radioactive mass nicknamed The Elephant’s Foot. Decades later, Dr. Landon Finn, gets a cryptic letter from a woman living in the shadow of the derelict plant, claiming The Elephant's Foot has medical qualities related to his cancer research.
Off The Grid
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 100,120. Language: English. Published: March 28, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
The USS Batfish, the meanest nuclear fast attack submarine ever built, sits on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, deserted, but still operational—20 years after her decommissioning. The President sends Nick Connor, ex-Green Beret, to find and board the ghost ship and retrieve information that could explain it’s existence, while helping expose a powerful Washington cartel, trying to keep it secret.
Red North!
Price: Free! Words: 115,760. Language: English. Published: March 28, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
Jansen and Stone bobbed up and down in their boat offshore from The Headlands Nuclear Power Plant, looking like they were fishing instead of making plans to seize control of the plant, which they do. Nick Connor, ex-Green Beret, now security specialist, must develop an impossible strategy to break in and take back the most secure nuclear plant in the world.