Interview with Mark Wilson

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
My sister read to me first, and it was about a chair that had wings which would grow out of the legs and take children on adventures. I just liked it a lot and wanted to hear more about it, and imagine it. The first one I read myself was about King Arthur, and I read it round and round and round about five times i.e. if I finished it I would immediately start it again. I think, again, the impact was that it made me imagine things, like the Green Knight, sword fights, ancient times, magic incidents, The Holy Grail, The Sword in the Stone, and maybe behind these was an atmosphere of romance and valour which just felt good and exciting to my young mind. I still like these things now, but differently. Interest in The King Arthur Legends eventually - like fifty years later - led me into books like "The Mists of Avalon" by Marion Zimmer Bradley; and I also read a former pupil's very good dissertation about views of Guinevere through the years. Then last year I suddenly thought about how people are always saying that Arthur is the "once and future king", and I thought "Well what would that mean? He just comes back as he was? I mean, it's not like Arthur was that great about Guinevere, for example. She only had happiness from sneaking around with Lancelot, and it didn't turn out so well in the end. That's the truth of it. There was a lot of misery around. Attitudes to women basically sucked. Camelot suddenly seemed to me, realistically, not quite so idyllic as it has been made out to be. This idea led me to begin a poem called "The Eyes Of The Beholder" and it all unfolded from there, prompted by some reactions as I went along from that same former pupil!
Describe your desk
Well, my desk is basically my (our) bedroom, like an exploded desk, but kept quite tidy. Just my laptop, pen and paper are right with me when i write, but other things I might need, like research materials, notebooks, and a dictionary are close by; sometimes they are on the bed (desktop) for a while, but mainly in bookcases, or temporarily on the floor. It all circulates. Because it's my bedroom, there is also TV, a stereo, and a lot of music, plus candles and incense, and a good window with a view of the sky. This room is mostly where I live, it's like a bed-sit, although there are several more rooms. For some work though, like copying my typed film script (The Covenant Men) onto my laptop, I often sit on the couch in the living room.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes I do. I mentioned it earlier: "Several Alternatives". I was around 20 years of age, and had just set off on what I call my 'gap' year, which for me went from 1966 - 1978. I had already worked for four years and I was just getting my own idea about the way of the world, and how it might look if I was running things. I still feel the same way now - no huge changes needed, just a little more kindness and fairness would do the trick. I think that, eventually, that first book is something I will return to, and apply everything I've learned about writing to it. The trick will be to retain the original feeling and style.
Who are your favorite authors?
Thomas Hardy, Paramahansa Yogananda, Ian Fleming, Shakespeare, Erica Jong, William Burroughs, Wade Davis - at the moment I'm reading his "Into The Silence", about WW1 and climbing Mt. Everest.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
At the moment it is my iPod 5. An iPad or Kindle would also be good. I was not originally sure I would even like e-readers, but have found that if the content interests me there is no problem at all, and in some ways I prefer it to a paper book - though I read those also. Pretty soon, when I get in the mood again, I am going to read Thomas Hardy on an e-reader. This morning I began to read a sample of Andre Agassi's autobiography on Barnes & Noble as an e-book, and I found it riveting. I shall be reading the whole book.
What is your writing process?
I get an idea for a story. For a poem it's generally a spark and a feeling. My best poems are written straight out with very little re-drafting. Early on I thought they had to rhyme, and they did in one way or another. Then I thought they didn't have to. And now I believe they should again. Two poets I admire are Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, and I mainly know them as songwriters. As far as I can tell all of their songs, which are easily as brilliant as pretty well any poetry I know of, all have great rhythm and rhyme. What I mean by that is that I think they both actually say much more in songs than in their other writings. They are both very interesting in interviews as well. The upshot is that I now think that poetry should rhyme, and if I could play guitar a little better I would definitely sing all my poems. Finding the right music and arrangement would simply add to the pleasure and strength, and probably the accessibility, of it all. It may happen.
As for stories: from somewhere comes a basic, and fairly 'big' idea, which once it enters my head just stays there and forms into a story by degrees. Firstly as a basic plot which will express my theme, and then the plot begins to 'thicken'. At some point, and it could be a matter of years, I feel that it really is necessary for me to start putting something on paper.
Then it becomes a little more complicated: I begin to write the story, and the first thing is I find the characters. In The Stoning of Albert, the characters were people I actually knew, but I used them as actors in my story. I even used their real names. It seemed perfectly natural to do this, because I knew it was fiction, and my friends were actors portraying my characters. But in my more recent work, say, over the last twenty years, I don't use people I know as actors for my characters any more. The characters themselves emerge from within. I do recognize parts of them, but far from me directing them, they show me what the story really is all about, and I recognize it and say "Yes!"
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I think it makes more sense to persuade readers than publishers - and publishers can be readers.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It's such an interesting question. It may be hard to analyse beyond it makes me feel good in a very self-contained way - mentally, and spiritually mainly. The physical is not ignored, but it needs physical exercise, movement and fresh air, good things feeding into the senses like nature, mountains, rivers and that also helps the ability to exercise the mental and spiritual.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Well, as you have seen, my desk is my bed, so I get out of it and on to it. Most of the things I need for indoors are quite close by, except kitchen/bathroom stuff. I guess the need for a bite to eat is the main thing that inspires me to get out of bed, or the need for some outdoor exercise. Other than that, I just get on the other side of the covers and do whatever comes to mind. This is not very disciplined, although I am generally thinking about something or other, and I can do that lying down, or walking.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I could be doing many, many things which are not the physical act of writing. But, I find that I get the words I need, to make my thoughts accessible, anywhere and everywhere along the way. I always have a notebook, but don't always need to use it. So, although I do lots of things that may not look like writing, really I always am to some degree.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read all sorts of books, a lot of them are biographies and autobiographies - I prefer the latter usually, but, for example, I have read very good biographies of Cary Grant and David Lean. I read Thomas Hardy a lot, and books about Indian philosophy, such as "Autobiography OF A Yogi". I also like books by sports stars, and about sports - such as ice hockey, or soccer. But just recently I picked up "The Woman In White" by Wilkie Collins and at the moment that book is giving me a lot of pleasure.
Published 2015-08-10.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Eyes Of The Beholder
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 3,900. Language: English. Published: December 18, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
Through fifteen hundred years, people await the return of King Arthur. What exactly are they hoping for? Camelot? Where Queen Guinevere was a trophy wife for whom he had no time, left to dally with Sir Lancelot? Who would treat a friend like that? King Arthur is back with a whole new plan.There's only one person who's not convinced, Guinevere!
Price: $2.00 USD. Words: 143,540. Language: English. Published: April 22, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Two teachers, working side by side, go through hell, to find each other!
You Are An English Teacher!
Price: Free! Words: 35,190. Language: English. Published: January 28, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Education and Study Guides » Language experience approach
A Guide To The True Basics - for Parents, Pupils, Pedagogues, Politicians...Presidents and probably even Prime Ministers. A trip through the learning of English as a mother tongue from minute one onwards. The resurrection of common sense, intuition, and the syllabus that’s always been here.
True Life Adventure!
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 9,880. Language: English. Published: December 19, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry
Subtitled: Part One: My Gap Year 1966-1978 This is a collection of my early poems. These poems could be characterized by the title of the first poem: "It furthers one to cross the great water..." (taken from the fortune telling book The I Ching, which I was using a lot at the time).
The Present
Price: Free! Words: 64,570. Language: English. Published: December 6, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
The story of the president's epoch making space flight to The Planet of the Sky God.
The Stoning Of Albert
Price: Free! Words: 52,860. Language: English. Published: October 31, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Coming of age
Albert, Bev, Ronnie, Mary Lou. Montreal, around 1968. No longer teenagers, becoming adults, how did they embrace life and make the changes? Contains Love, soul-searching, travel, and a strong supporting cast. If you were there, of course you won't remember this. If you weren't, the sixties were nothing like you've heard about! Unavailable 'til now!