Interview with Mark R. Turner

Published 2021-06-25.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The sense of being on a progression into the unknown where I will discover more of my true self and my part in the greater reality into which we are all flowing. I am optimistic of heading into the ultimate creation power which we call Love.
When did you first start writing?
Honestly, in elementary school I wrote a hybrid of play, film and commercial in the little understanding I had at the time! Looking back, I recognize what I was trying to do. But from then on, writing has been central to my expressing ideas, persuasion, entertainment, and exploration of reality.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
A very early one was sometime around second or third grade. It was a spoof of a TV commercial. The last line was "Awk! Awk!" spoken by a large bird.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Stories were given to me from infancy, first in telling, eventually in telling with pictures and finally in reading. The saga of the formation of Israel is very formative in me to this day, from the mysterious Abraham to the upheaval of the Christ followers. From this has sprung a host of culture forming expressions through people like me.
Who are your favorite authors?
People who help me reach beyond my limits. Right now I am thankful for Richard Rhor, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Daniel Boorstin, Robert McKee, Bernard Grabanier, Louis Catron, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula Le Guin, Thomas Merton, T.S. Eliot. Of course there are many others but if you look at these you'll get some idea of where I am currently.
What is your writing process?
Every morning I rise at 5:30 am, drink water, and sit in contemplation with accompanying coffee. I contemplate an image of deep space, read scripture in a "lectio divina" way, wait for and commune with God, and read modern contemplative literature. I write ideas, inspirations, poetry, and philosophical/theological thoughts in my journal. After about two hours, I rise and have breakfast with my wife who is my soul mate and has done her own version of the above. We discuss what we have been contemplating and anything that seemed especially significant. Soon I am in my office working on one of my creations, be it a play, poem, book, visual art, film, music composition, or hired work from a client.
When writing, I have grown into the practice of outlining to organize the progression, even if the whole thing is felt inside my mind. Stories require much interior work to discern characters and their relationship, their universe and what it allows. So, I can be seen sitting extremely still and silent for long periods of time before suddenly typing furiously all the life that has gone on inside. As I have grown in experience, I have been able to keep the flow of a piece going through interruptions by means of extensive notes, sometimes typed, sometimes scribbled into a notebook. The first draft is usually equivalent to several drafts of interior formation and so usually ready to get a beta reader's reaction and the re-writing begins.
What are you working on next?
I have recently adapted the psychological stage play "Ray of Lightning" to novella form. This makes the story more accessible while we wait for theaters to open again. RayAnne started working miracles when she was eight years old. Eddie became a famous film score composer. Their greatest accomplishment awaits their collaboration after they turn ninety.
After launching that one I adapted a previous play "Revival" which is a sci-fi/metaphysical story set hundreds of years in the future. Adapting stage plays and screenplays to the narrative book makes the reading feel immediate, like it is actually happening in the room with you. Now I am considering a book of poetry from the last few years and may match the poems with artwork. My book "Verse and Visions for Advent Christmas and Epiphany" came out as an e-book for Christmas 2019 and I published it in print for the 2020 season. I have just published the e-book version of my first volume of poems back in 2000, "Monthly Stimulants Vol. 1". I will probably publish volume 2 within a year.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I feel no one should have to wait for those in power to approve of them. I, like everyone, have much to contribute to the conversations of the world. Thankfully today there are more ways to contribute than the old traditional publishers and I encourage everyone to make their contribution regardless of approval from the "gatekeepers" of publishing. Indie publishing also has the potential to build a closer relationship with one's readers and I value that more than the chance possibility of "being known" to the masses. My stage and screen plays have an extremely limited potential of reaching audiences, but through adaptation to book form I am able to make the stories and messages accessible to people sooner. This may also be attractive to producers looking for a good story without committing to reading someone's script.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am making something. Usually a story, poem, visual, film, or music composition. I develop online sites where my visual artwork can be purchased in various forms. I also apply my capacities to making a monthly magazine and maintaining the website for St. James by-the-Sea, La Jolla, California. I direct the non-profit arts organization Horizon Gate Productions which includes a monthly blog post, and Art Conversation Events that can be readings, discussion groups, stage and film productions, exhibitions, workshops and publications. Oh, yeah, with the help of my wife I try to put in time that all indie author/artists have to put in -- driving traffic to our works online.
How do you approach cover design?
As a graphic artist I get the dimensions required and make or find a public domain image which is simple enough to allow the title and author to be legible as a thumbnail image. Title and author are the most important elements and must attract the viewer in a split second. Of course, titling the work is a verbal challenge to attract also. The image must support the title in an instant as well. I don't always succeed in these goals and need to go back and rework some of my covers.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Mark Coker, through Smashwords, has opened the door for everyone to contribute to the world conversation by explaining in detail how to publish ebooks and market them. It has opened a tremendous avenue for me to expand my output beyond stage and screen plays which have a very speculative life. Mark's concept that an ebook can have an "eternal launch" is very liberating to promoting my books.
What do your fans mean to you?
To have anyone pay attention to what I write is priceless. It means I have found the rare kindred spirit who will take the time to consider something I am passionate about and that maybe I can, in turn, serve their quest for growth and enlightenment. It is like finding a comrade on my journey. Even if they do not agree with everything I write, we are listening to one another. More comrades means a broader community of respect which can unite to encourage the world. Ultimately that is Love creating the universe.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.

Latest books by This Author

Monthly Stimulants Volume 1
Price: $3.00 USD. Words: 5,160. Language: English. Published: June 25, 2021. Categories: Poetry » Spiritual
Contemplative thoughts accompany one poem for each month of the year as a help in personal meditations. This volume was compiled in 2000 and updated 21 years later as an e-book. Inspirational speakers will find this helpful in preparing to speak on certain seasons, scriptures, and spiritual insights. Scripture references are given for each poem and a scripture index linked back to each.
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 15,920. Language: English. Published: October 2, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Screenplays » Sci-Fi
The year 2449. Aurenne Bahn's project of recomposing energies from ancient people is confiscated by agent Anton Epps for his plans of revolution. She hides in a secret place where she discovers the corpse of Hedge Daunican, a revolutionary in 2050. She is about to be the recipient of Daunican's energies when Epps invades and insists on being the recipient. Can she do it? What will he become?
Ray of Lightning
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 17,300. Language: American English. Published: July 31, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Visionary & metaphysical
Grace and the well-known African American composer DeMark both know stories of RayAnne, famous for her miraculous healing ministry in the 1930’s. Grace reminds him of the ministry’s music director Eddie and the publicist Brad who used him to destroy the ministry and the love between Eddie and RayAnne. DeMark hides a past which still torments him. Can Grace reach into the past and heal his wounds?
Verse and Visions from Advent, Christmas and Epiphany
Price: $3.00 USD. Words: 3,330. Language: English. Published: December 15, 2019. Categories: Poetry » Spiritual
13 poems paired with 13 images created over 22 years of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany seasons. Often surprising with fresh illumination to the ancient celebrations taking a cosmic sweep to explore the significance of the past to now and the future. Images use the camera, oil paint, pastels, stage sets and costumes. This is an excellent volume for contemplative disciplines of the season.
Marking the Journey: Holding the Past, Reaching Ahead
Price: $1.50 USD. Words: 2,550. Language: English. Published: December 14, 2017. Categories: Poetry » Spiritual, Fiction » Inspirational
Images in a variety of art forms, including photography, collage, digital painting and hand work, expand the poems with which they are paired. Mark R. Turner's 16 poems and imagery contemplate life's journey full of mystery, challenge and the call forward. Containing faith and doubt, with hope supporting onward growth, this volume will facilitate the reader's contemplative practice.
Your Table of Creation
Price: $2.00 USD. Words: 6,980. Language: American English. Published: February 7, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Personal Growth / Success
This is an inspirational read about the creative process meant to stimulate the reader to create, invent and build in a fuller, more thorough process. Many people create without giving place to all the aspects of their projects, such as thorough pre-production, or final release. This arts leader gives prompts in each stage, inspiration, execution and exhibition, resulting in richer results.
Pulling Back the Earth
Price: $2.00 USD. Words: 18,180. Language: American English. Published: April 15, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » American, Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Cultural interest, general
For believing there are other people beyond this world who may be able to save humans from extinction a young couple is banished to a quest outside the world to return only if they find other people. She is 9 months pregnant by the time they discover their own sacred writings in a strange camp guarded by large, pale, babbling creatures trying to steal their words. Group discussion guide included.
The Lost Kids Spy Christmas
Price: $1.50 USD. Words: 9,600. Language: English. Published: September 6, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » American, Fiction » Holiday » Christmas
A crook gives kids a hide-out home on the roof of a skyscraper in exchange for their services as pickpockets. Three Swappers turn the stolen goods into cash to grow the "money baby". The cops are closing in and the Swappers are double-crossing him. He must choose between his kids and his cash when they beg his help to rescue a real baby. Great for group reading, help is provided for the activity.
From Here to Kingdom Come
Price: $1.50 USD. Words: 9,210. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Alice Wondrel is taken away in a whirlwind to a ghost town where the Mayor sends her on a mission with the Gospel Train. She finds the Conductor and passengers off-putting and tries to escape only to find herself out to sea. She is then washed overboard and swallowed by a whale. You won't put this comic journey down until you find out how it could all start out in a simple committee meeting.
You After All
Price: $1.00 USD. Words: 3,430. Language: English. Published: April 17, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » American
A strange tale about off beat people living on the edge in the middle of normal society. Poetry seems to be normal conversation for them. Yet, their circumstances are very concrete in the work-a-day world. A desperate family needs their mysterious leader to come and help them, but he is too late and all seems lost. This story contains four poems also found in Turner's ebook "Beautify, Oh".
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