Interview with Mark Terence Chapman

Who are your favorite authors?
Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Keith Laumer, Anne McCaffrey, Tom Clancy, John Grisham, Michael Crichton, and many others.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Playing golf, gardening, watching TV with my wife, writing crossword puzzles, and DYI home improvements.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Sometimes I stumble upon them, and sometimes by recommendations from family and friends.
What is your writing process?
I come up with a basic premise (such as, a retired air force pilot is recruited to fight space pirates, or a private detective is kidnapped by aliens) and then start writing and see where it goes from there.
What do you read for pleasure?
Mostly sci-fi, but also some political/military thrillers and legal thrillers.
How did you get started writing novels?
In one of my many jobs within IBM, I found myself writing hundreds of technical database articles (describing how to do this or how to diagnose and fix that). My work was praised to the point that I eventually compiled that and other information into a series of online books in 1989 (long before PDF), and made it available both internally and externally to customers.

Next, I decided to try my hand at writing a printed book. The result was the "OS/2 Power User's Reference: From 2.0 through Warp 3.0", published in December 1995 by McGraw-Hill. The book is still listed on Amazon.com, although long out of print.

Then I decided to try fiction writing, but couldn't come up with a worthy project at first. In 2000, I took at stab at the children's picture book market, writing "With a Name like Jeremy Hippenzoodle". My next project was a novel. Most writers would have started small, with short stories, and worked their way up. But not me. No, I had to start at the top. It took until 2003 before I decided to finally sit down and just do it. (Sorry, Nike.) From the first day to the last, including significant editing along the way, the first draft of "The Tesserene Imperative" took all of 69 days to write. Then it took another four years of editing and polishing before it was ready to publish.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I sold my first two novels to a startup publisher in 2007. The publisher went bankrupt 7 months later. Then I sold my third novel to another small, but established, publisher in 2009. They went bankrupt in 2014. Between the two publishers, my three novels sold fewer than 200 copies. I got fed up with that route and semi-retired.

Then in mid-2014, I decided to try self-publishing, and boy am I glad I did. I sold more than 13,000 books in the first 3 months.
What do your fans mean to you?
It's wonderful to hear how much a reader enjoyed one of my books and that they can't wait to read the next in the series, or another of my books. Most of us have enough frustration in our lives that it's nice to be able to escape from all that in a good book. I'm glad I can provide that escape from time to time.
How do you approach cover design?
It depends on the artist. Some want to be told specifically what to put on the cover, while others ask for a chapter that contains a scene the author wants illustrated. I'm sure there are other processes used by other authors, as well.
How do you get inspiration for your books?
Sometimes an idea just pops into my head and sometimes I'll see something that gives me an idea. I got the idea for "My Other Car is a Spaceship" from a bumper sticker, and for "Sunrise Destiny" from the sign in front of a Sunrise Biscuit Company restaurant.
Published 2014-11-16.
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