Interview with Marcus A. Hennessy

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Aside from the more obvious rewards that come from fiction writing--good feedback from readers, some notoriety, monetary benefits--there's the "mental health" aspect of writing that has driven me for the past several decades. Creating fiction allows me to make some kind of sense of the world, and stimulates alot of disparate and desultory ideas into a coherent strain of perspective, of logic, and of some kind of order. With "Gunsanity," the novel helps me to cope with intense feelings I have about gun violence in America--rage, disbelief, sadness, a call to action--rather than simply venting and sniping on social media. It's not that I want to explain my perspective with the novel; I want to create a perspective that can stimulate thoughts and dialogue among readers, and perhaps compel them to take positive action to make our society safer and more humane.
Why should people read your novels?
A novel should provoke and stimulate ideas in the reader, as well as provide satisfying resolutions to life's problems. Good authors have a responsibility to frame the joys and hazards of life in a socially responsible context, and that's what I've tried to do with "Gunsanity," and other work that's been produced on stage. Using irony, humor, strong visual imagery and even some vivid scenes of sexual intimacy, my novels strive to impress readers with a reality they can relate to, and empathize with. Yes, the violence in "Gunsanity" is graphic and raw, but isn't that what we read about virtually every day in the news, raw and graphic violence, often amplified by gun carnage? We need to become more caring, more compassionate, and more humane as a culture, as a society, and I want my novels to push us towards that end.
Who are your favorite authors?
I really enjoy the work of Joseph Heller, Philip Roth, David Mamet, and yes, ol' Bill Shakespeare. I think Erica Jong's "Fear of Flying" was a seminal novel in the women's progressive movement, and I thought Elizabeth Gilbert's "The Signature of All Things" was a bold exploration of a strong, non-traditional female heroine.
What is your writing process?
My writing process is rather simple: get out of bed, have some coffee, feed the cats, and attack the keyboard. I've become a big proponent of outlining and blocking story ideas, so that's the foundation I build now--often with index cards and post-it notes--before embarking on exposition and dialogue. (I love writing dialogue; I think it's the best way to tell a story, but I have to be careful to stay "on point" with the ironic verbal intercourse.)
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Well, I need to feed my cats early each day, and then I have to resolve serious conundrums relating to multiple story ideas that begin to stream through my brain after that first morning cup'a coffee. Oh yeah...I usually cook dinner for my wife, so there's all that shopping and meal-planning business to attend to. Not sure how "inspirational" that is, but it keeps me going!
What are your five favorite books, and why?
My five favorite books...mmm. Okay, these come to mind immediately, in no special order:
Catch-22: a model of ironic deprecation and sophistry about the horrors of war and human conflict. Brilliant.
Letting Go: One of Philip Roth's early novels, about Jewish angst and intellectual obligation. With sharp, piquant dialogue.
The Sun Also Rises: Hemingway's bold romantic adventure, funny and tragic at the same time, that altered modern literature.
Moby Dick: Herman Melville, America's Dickens, examines the dark obsessions of the human heart through the cruel expediency of the whaling art.
Beyond Freedom & Dignity: B.F. Skinner's much-misunderstood treatise on human behavior and the influence of environment on our perceptions and actions.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I bought my house, a bona fide fixer-upper, I didn't really appreciate how much fixing and upping was actually involved. So that continues to occupy my time, as well as the occasional round of golf, some gym time, and most importantly, spending quality time with my wife on weekends (she works and commutes over 12 hours a day during the week).
What are you working on next?
Right now I'm working on promoting "Gunsanity," and getting the novel's unique narrative on gun violence into some kind of public conversation. I honestly believe the story makes a deep, dark, significant statement about our gun-obsessive culture, and does it in a highly thrilling and entertaining way.
What do you read for pleasure?
Subtitles to French movies and a lot of non-fiction, to learn stuff. I love a good novel but honestly, those are few and far between. Right now I'm reading "Deliverance," James Dickey's story on which the excellent movie was based.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans? Wow. Well, the few fans that I have now are like family to me. In fact, they ARE family. No, I'm kidding. I'm still in hard "fan-building" mode, so the fans that I DO have...I cherish them.
Published 2015-10-25.
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Books by This Author

Price: Free! Words: 58,340. Language: English. Published: October 31, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Luke Mandrake blogs about America's obsession with war, guns and killing, and attracts the demented attention of a ruthless sniper who's murdering drivers in Los Angeles. After Luke's wife dies in a Southland Sniper attack, his aggressive blogging leads him into taboo relationships that culminate in a deadly cat-and-mouse game to save his family, and himself. "A dark satire and a riveting ride!"