Interview with Mark James Wooding

When did you first start writing?
To answer that question, we have to go back to one of my past lives.

It was more than five thousand years ago. I was farming somewhere between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and I kept losing track of the number of bundles of hay that I'd harvested during the day. The next day, after tying each bundle I then immediately made a charcoal mark on the back of one of my kids. That was when I first started writing. The rest is history.

Everything before that is prehistory.
What is your writing process?
I start with the beginning, then I move on to the middle. Whatever point I'm at when I get tired of writing that story, that's the end.
What inspires you to keep writing?
1. Poverty
2. Desperately not wanting to be anyone else's employee ever again.
Making a financially successful career out of writing fiction is a longshot. Do you really think success is likely?
I don't know, but I'm in my fifties now, so the struggle is coming closer to its end, one way or another.
What is the hardest part about writing?
I've been taking care of my mother, who has Alzheimer's, for the last few years. After changing her diapers multiple times per day, the notion that there is anything difficult about writing seems absurd.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
The consensus is that I haven't grown up yet. According to the few people who have read any part of my stories, my immaturity is evident on every page.
How do you spend your free time?
I don't spend it. I save it so I can live longer.
What is the highlight of your life?
My two wonderful daughters have been and continue to be the highlights of my life.
Why did you become a vegetarian?
Members of other animal species seem to want to stay alive just as much as I do. If I needed to eat them for my own survival, I would do so without qualms. It's the circle of life, and all that sort of thing. But if I can survive and let them live too, then why not let them live?
Do you think you're always right, and everyone else is always wrong?
No, of course not. When other people agree with me, then obviously they're right too.
What are your favorite bumper stickers?
1. Jesus is coming, and man is He pissed.
2. If a man is alone in the woods, and there are no women around, is he still wrong?
3. Married men don't live longer, it just seems like it.
Are you politically active?
Not without a condom. Politics are icky.
Are you a dog person or a cat person?
If someone else takes care of them, then I love both dogs and cats. They're wonderful animals.

However, if I have to clean up after them myself, and feed them, and let them in and out, or walk them, then I can happily live without them. Tropical fish are much less trouble.
If you could be anyone in the world at any point in time, who would you want to be?
I'd want to be me in 2003 so that I could raise my kids all over again.
What do you think is necessary for a marriage to succeed?
There are a lot of variables, and there are no guarantees. However, my opinion is that the following are necessary for a long term relationship to endure:

1. Each person must respect the other. If they sincerely enjoy each other's company, that's a plus, but it isn't strictly necessary.
2. Each person must have the same goals for the relationship. If one person wants to have kids and the other doesn't, or one person wants to give their possessions to charity but the other wants to accumulate stuff, or one person thinks they should be monogamous but the other person doesn't, they're going to have a very serious problem. The single most important goal is wanting the relationship to work. If one person is indifferent to the relationship's success, it is not likely to endure.
3. All parties must be in agreement with regard to each person's role in the relationship. Are one or both of you going to provide income? Does one of you expect to stay home with the kids? Is one person going to do all the housework, or will it be shared? These things should be clearly understood before making a long-term commitment.
4. Each person must fulfill that person's expected role in the relationship. It's not enough to agree on the role you are to play, you must be able to fulfill it.

Like I said, there are no guarantees, but if the four points mentioned above are met, the odds of success are good, in my opinion.
What is the meaning of life?
Life has multiple meanings. Take your pick.
Published 2019-01-10.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Eadgar of the King's Guard
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 50,010. Language: English. Published: January 30, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » General
When the Denisce (Vikings) invaded, Eadgar was prepared to go on a one-man war against them, picking them off as the opportunity presented itself. However, with the help of the beautiful Hrothwyn and old-man Wynstan, they were able to do far more damage as a team of three.
Primal Man
Price: Free! Words: 1,290. Language: English. Published: October 13, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
Two women wonder what life would be like if their video-game-playing men were more like their mammoth-hunting ancestors.
The Suggested One
Price: Free! Words: 2,300. Language: English. Published: October 10, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
The Oracle at Delphi spoke: Behold! A hero will be born who may or may not rescue the people of Alfalfion from an impending doom! And this hero shall be known as the Suggested One!
In Another Universe
Price: Free! Words: 3,310. Language: English. Published: October 1, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(3.00 from 1 review)
Dr. Gefiltefish developed an alternate theory regarding the nature of reality. This theory allowed him to create his own small universe. But when he went to explore his new domain, he found something totally unexpected.
The Earthdead
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 23,570. Language: English. Published: September 17, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Undead
(4.00 from 1 review)
A certain fungus brings corpses back from the dead. After the dead revive, they become stronger, faster, and smarter than they were. They can also travel underground. And there's only one item on their menu: human flesh. Two local lodges, the Community of Men and the Community of Women, must once again step up to defend the county against an evil that most people don't even believe exists.
For What Price?
Price: Free! Words: 1,710. Language: English. Published: September 4, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(5.00 from 1 review)
It's easy to say that you'd never trade a certain thing for money, until the day comes that someone offers you a lot of money for it.
My Brief Sojourn Among the Living
Price: Free! Words: 770. Language: English. Published: September 2, 2018. Categories: Essay » Literature
For most of human history, I did not exist. For most of the rest of human history, I will not exist. But I'm glad to be here now.
Price: Free! Words: 970. Language: English. Published: August 29, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(2.00 from 1 review)
Seven-year-old Tommy puts on an athletic display in his backyard to impress a pretty girl who might be watching him.
They're Back!
Price: Free! Words: 3,280. Language: English. Published: August 23, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy, Fiction » Horror » Undead
(4.00 from 1 review)
Transylvania had been free of vampires for a hundred years. Three British naturalists thought it would be a good idea to reintroduce them to their natural range.
Over the Edge - To Revenge
Price: Free! Words: 10,050. Language: English. Published: August 19, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
A soldier returns from Afghanistan to find that his wife has been unfaithful. He seeks revenge not only against her, but against her lovers as well.
Justice for Custiss
Price: Free! Words: 3,340. Language: English. Published: August 18, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Arnold Custiss was in prison for improperly passing a frozen dessert truck (and for murder). He escapes to set his driving record straight, and is befriended by a family of rats who change his life.
Street Smarts
Price: Free! Words: 1,000. Language: English. Published: August 11, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Business
On a slow night, two prostitutes discuss investment strategies.
Her Face Is Familiar
Price: Free! Words: 1,770. Language: English. Published: August 11, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
A brief trip into what might be going on in the mind of someone with Alzheimer's. It is based on several years of observations.
El Rancho del Amor y de la Muerte
Price: Free! Words: 1,060. Language: Spanish. Published: July 19, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
En este capítulo, Don Reynaldo se entera que su enemigo, Don Diego Federico Esteban, ha cometido un asalto imperdonable al honor de Don Reynaldo. Entonces Ana, la esposa de Don Reynaldo, descubre que su esposo le ha sido infiel.
The Ranch of Love and Death
Price: Free! Words: 1,050. Language: English. Published: July 18, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
In this episode, Don Reynaldo finds out that Don Diego Federico Esteban has committed an outrage on Princesa, the prize ostrich. Also, Don Reynaldo's love affairs catch up to him, and his wife isn't happy.
The Case of the Mailed Man
Price: Free! Words: 8,590. Language: English. Published: July 12, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
(5.00 from 1 review)
Daniel Davis was blinded when he was fifteen years old, but he still achieved his dream of becoming a medical examiner. Working for a small Virginia county, he didn't make much, but at least he had a job. When a severed head was mailed to one of the county's residents, Dr. Davis knew it was his destiny to help solve The Case of the Mailed Man.
Sasha & Samantha Save the World
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 114,710. Language: American English. Published: August 24, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Humor
A powerful sorceress has been reborn. This time she wants the world, literally. But she made the mistake of kidnapping the wrong idiot. His daughters are much smarter than he is (a low bar, to be sure), and they set out to get their father back.
Price: Free! Words: 6,030. Language: English. Published: December 26, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
(4.00 from 1 review)
The House and I love it when we have guests. They're such a treat.
The Fantastic Adventures of Chuck Spunk: Russian Into Trouble
Price: Free! Words: 5,820. Language: English. Published: December 4, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Chuck Spunk, Professor Liverwort, Tokyo the Ninja, and a Pekingese attack dog named Black Death plan to shut down an illegal laxative gas factory in Russia. Colonel Caviar and the Lemming Patrol intend to stop them.
Price: Free! Words: 460. Language: English. Published: November 20, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Sometimes inconveniences seem like tragedies, but perspective can make things clearer.
The Fear
Price: Free! Words: 3,430. Language: English. Published: November 20, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
A wealthy couple open their home to a few less fortunate individuals, but things don't work out the way the hosts anticipate.
For I Have Seen The Wind
Price: Free! Words: 510. Language: English. Published: November 17, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(3.00 from 1 review)
Things are real, but only for a moment. Time changes everything, even things that seem to last forever.
Seek Wisdom, Practice Kindness
Price: Free! Words: 19,070. Language: English. Published: August 15, 2010. Categories: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Religion & self-improvement, Nonfiction » Philosophy » Contemporary philosophy
(5.00 from 1 review)
Seek Wisdom, Practice Kindness is a personal philosophy as well as a theory on the workings of the human mind. Topics dealt with include honesty, knowledge, evolution, impulses, emotions, status, sex, marriage, religion, gods, death, violence, abortion, boundaries, and reflection spaces. The book has evolved over the years, and this latest version is the third edition.