Interview with Mark Conte

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy is in the actual writing. The book signings and pats on the back are nice, but it's in the writing where I lose myself in that particular story. Sometimes the ideas come so fast I can't keep up typing them and I feel like shouting, "Slow down, I can't type that fast, but there is no one in the room but me, so I just try to keep up.
What do your fans mean to you?
The fans mean everything to me. To hear that they have bonded with one of my characters means I have accomplished what I needed to do. A reader once told me she cried for two days after reading the ending of Of Flesh and Stone, which had a tragic ending. Her husband said, "Why are you crying? It's a fake story, He just made it up." She said "I can't help it. I felt everything she felt." That's high praise for any writer.
What are you working on next?
I am working on two books. I often do that. One is about an American Sailor who falls in love with a Cuban woman at the time of the Cuban revolution.
The other book is about a teenager who commits a horrific crime that goes unsolved for 30 years, then is caught and arrested in another town in another name, but he is now a beloved doctor who has saved many lives with procedures he creates for heart surgery.
Who are your favorite authors?
F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Hilton, Don Dillilo, James Dickey, Edwin O'Connor and James Joyce.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I n my old age, I seem to forget how to hook up my computer or attach my cable and other little things I did with ease when I was young. However, I still have a passion for writing that keeps me going. When I begin a story, I get a song for the story. Whenever I hear that song, I think about the characters I create and how they would react to the situations. After a while, they sort of take over the story and let me know what they will or won't do and I am happy with them sad with them and suffer with them because they will always be a part of me. They are like my children now.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I usually wor out three times a week. There is no substitute for exerciize if you want to live a healthy life. I occasionally write a guest column for national and local newspapers when I am angry enough. Sometimes I write a review of a publisher or a book. If I find a newspaper that prints literary columns, I write that from time to time.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Online search.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. When I was eight years old, all the middle aged Italian women would come to my house every Saturday night and I would tell them a story. It was always about an orphan and it always had a tragic ending. The women loved it.
What is your writing process?
I usually have quite a few ideas for a story in my head before I sit at my computer. Seeing it on the computer in sentences and paragraphs and chapters if like magic.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Lost Horizons, James Hilton. I wanted to create different worlds too.
How do you approach cover design?
I have no clue for covers. I leave that up to the publisher.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Last Hurrah, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Libra, Foucaults Pendulum, Slaughterhouse Five.
Each book taught me something. Chips was a masterpiece of chapter endings. Hurrah was a brilliant story of politics, Libra is still the best book ever written about the JFK assassination. It's a fictional account that is closer to the truth than many documentaries. Slaughterhouse opened the way for new authors and the new novels.
What do you read for pleasure?
I don't read much these days. I have notes for seven more books and I am just hoping to live long enough to write them all. Maybe after that I'll start reading again.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My computer.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Newspaper reviews and book signings.
Describe your desk
Wow. I have two desks. One is very large and It is never organized. The other is my computer and I only have my computer and printer on it.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
South Philadelphia. There are more stories than I can write in South Philly.
When did you first start writing?
I didn't actually finish anything until I was 40 years. I have ben going since then.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The Easter Lamb is due any day. It's a middle grade book about a family that buys a live lamb on Good Friday, fatten it up Friday and Saturday, then have it for their Easter Feast. However, the children see the lamb as a pet and try to save it from being slaughtered..
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wouldn't say I am an indie author. I have published fiction, poetry, articles and guest columns in 67 publication and have published two books of poetry and six novels by publishers that are well known.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I am fairly new here and can give you a better answer in six months.
What is you goal in writing?
An award winning best seller
Do you still teach young writers.
Published 2015-03-31.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Ghost
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 50,900. Language: English. Published: February 26, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
A decaying body of an eight-year-old girl is found near a sand dune on the Navarre-Pensacola Beach road. The law enforcement officers soon discover she was actually the second victim and the terror begins in Northwest Florida. Although every precaution is taken by parents and school officials, the killings continue.
The Death of Sherlock Holmes & Other Stories
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 55,170. Language: English. Published: June 12, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
A collect of stories that appeared in journals and magazine, headed by The Death of Sherlock Holmes with the master detective solving yet another crime in London and his untimely death, which answers every question readers have wondered about for years.