Interview with Mark Jenkins

When did you first start writing?
As an attorney, I write almost every day. I recently took a sabbatical and began trying to write fiction as a way to fill my time. What I found was that I had a story that needed to be told and, until I did, I couldn't write anything else. So, I wrote the first draft of The Sepia Girl in one marathon sitting. Getting that out of my system was a tremendous relief for me and, oddly enough, helped me deal with the issues I had confronted in that story.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
After writing The Sepia Girl, I felt like I had written something that could help other people. But it was very personal and I knew that I couldn't tolerate the usual publication routes of submitting it to journals, waiting for months, and hoping that someone wanted it. Later at night than I care to admit, I came across an indie publishing site and on a whim I submitted it. I had my first sale that day. After a few months, hundreds of people had downloaded my book. The ability to get a story out there so quickly and to have control over it and how it's presented is an amazing blessing.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Its permanence. When I walk in a library or bookstore, I am often struck by the thought that many of the books' authors are long gone. But while they lived, they devoted some of their time to writing: to finding a way to share their knowledge through stories. At this point in my life and career, I have some free time and writing gives me a chance to join those others and, perhaps, help someone else learn from my mistakes.
What do you hope readers take from The Sepia Girl?
The availability of horrific images online is unprecedented. I think most people underestimate the possible trauma from viewing someone else's suffering. We see "traumatic" scenes in movies and some cable television and we think, "I can handle the real thing." Maybe it's true. But what I think people don't realize is that there really is no way to predict how an image will affect you. You can see hundreds or even thousands of horrific things and not flinch. But that has no bearing on what the next image will do to you.

I went into working on a child pornography prosecution too cavalierly. I had seen pornography before, seen blood and guts and suffering. I had even seen child pornography before (in another prosecution). But one brief video, referenced in the title, got me more than I think anyone could have predicted. I hope that readers will consider mine a cautionary tale in that regard.

But I also hope that readers will recognize that when they are affected by trauma, they should not keep it to themselves. Traumatic events can haunt you and cannot be ignored. Although the format of the story simplifies it, I hope readers will recognize that my life was much more difficult when I kept it to myself and much better once I started talking to others about it.
Published 2015-05-20.
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Books by This Author

From 150 to 179 on the LSAT
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 8,510. Language: English. Published: March 26, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Education & Study Guides » Study guides - LSAT, Nonfiction » Career Guides » Legal
A 29-point improvement on the LSAT? Jenkins did it and in this book he explains how. Straight-forward advice on the LSAT and a reminder that - no matter how important it seems now - the LSAT is only one step along the road. (One that will be forgotten once law school begins.) Lots of authors claim LSAT expertise. Jenkins put his score report on the cover.