Interview with Wesley Marks

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in North Texas, in the small town of Cleburne. My grandparents lived there, so I spent the summers with them and finally at age twelve we moved there permanently. Growing up in a small town has affected how I write, because people in small towns people are concerned about relationships and family. If you live in a small town for very long it gets into your blood and you become one of the family. It is that atmosphere that has dictated who I am as a person and as a writer
When did you first start writing?
I have always loved to write. I am that weird kid who would rather write an essay than take a multiple choice test. My scores were usually higher when I wrote. I cannot remember a time when I was not writing poetry or at least short notes for people. My girls will tell you they often found a note from their father on the napkin in their lunches. While working on my Master's Degree a Preaching professor forced me to manuscript my sermons instead of my usual style of using cryptic notes, which I learned to use as a debater in High School. From that point on I wrote everything and instead of it being a burden it became a passion. But it was not until I began to teach that I embarked upon writing for my students. I found that they paid attention better when they read what I had written and out of that response came my first book.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I get great joy out of seeing my students respond to my writing. If I give my students a fiction writing assignment I almost always write a story with them. So seeing students respond to something that I have written with enjoyment, laughter, and appreciation has been a great motivator to continue to write. I will not deny that I found it rewarding to finally see my name on a book cover after all of the thousands of books I have read.
What do you read for pleasure?
I love to read mystery and adventure novels. It is rare to find me with just one book, because usually I have several I am reading or a list waiting to be read. As a child I started reading Agatha Christie mysteries and became hooked on reading and specifically that genre. My absolute favorite author is Jack Higgins. He is a master at using words to create a clear picture in the readers mind. He also blends into his adventures history in such a way that you relive the events in your mind. The other authors I love to read in that genre are Clive Cussler, Lee Childs, and Tom Clancy. My reading is not relegated to just adventure, I also read biographies of great historical figures to get a sense of what true heroes look like. There are also several Christian authors I enjoy reading including; Max Lucado, Joel Rosenberg, and Calvin Miller.
Describe your desk
The desk that I work at My is over 100 years old and covered in red leather with brass buttons around the edge to hold the leather down. You can tell how busy I am by how clean my desk is. The busier I am the more it is covered in papers, books and computers.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I teach 8th Grade Honors English and was disappointed at how few of my students read frequently. It was out of my frustration to reach my students that I decided to write a book hoping they might read it and get hooked. So I took my love of adventure, the age of my students and my passion for history and created the story for Dead Men Do Tell Tales.
What are you working on next?
I have already started working on a sequel to Dead Men Do Tell Tales. Even though I had not officially published the first book the second book seemed to just begin to flow out of me. It will follow the boys and others as they track down the source of the treasure they found.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Jokingly I would say it is my dog wanting to go outside, but that is not my inspiration to get out of bed, it only motivates me at times. I know that each day I get a chance to be with people who have their whole lives ahead of them. And I have the opportunity to teach them about life and help them see a better future than what they are currently experiencing. I know that when I walk into my classroom I will face students who have never dreamed of living a different life than what their parents are living. Even if they did dream of a better life they have no concept of how to reach their dreams or to live successfully. So my job is to get up, help them dream and help them get on a track to accomplish those dreams.
What is your writing process?
I try to be a very organized writer, but it does not always happen that way. My message is what I begin with. I try to answer the question what do I want my reader to learn or what do I want my reader to feel or know? When I have that then I have to determine how I am going to make that happen in a story and more specifically how I want the story to turn out. With the end in mind I begin to create characters and then actions they will take the story to the end. I do create a plot summary, just like I teach my students in class, with character descriptions, setting, conflict, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution. In that plot I try to create twists and turns and descriptions and details that will keep my audience engaged as they move through the story. Once I have a good frame work I begin writing. If something I write does not fit into my story line well I save it for another story, nothing is wasted. Once I have finished the story I go back through and edit it. I ask question like: Can I say this in a better way? Do I really need this in my story? Is this really important? Then I read it out loud to see if it flows to the ear. After I am satisfied with that I send it to my editor who then does the same thing but from a perspective of a reader. During that process we often talk back and forth about details and ideas so that my final product is what I intended the reader to get. Finally, I reread it making any changes and again it is edited for publishing. Every time I take a short cut I find that I make errors that could have been avoided.
Why do you write to youth?
Being a teacher I see everything my students experience in life. They are surrounded by immorality, broken homes and language that they, nor anyone else, should be subjected to. So I choose to write about accomplishing dreams, and about family and friends working together. I choose to write about how faith can accomplish great things. I want to be someone in my student's and my audience's life who does not sound like the world constantly telling them they cannot succeed. Instead I want to be that positive influence who tells them they can succeed if they try. Our youth need more positive role models and that is where I try to influence the youth I come in contact with.
Published 2017-08-14.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Everything I Learned About Christianity I Learned From My Dogs
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 19,390. Language: American English. Published: July 15, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Christian Life / Spiritual Growth
A light hearted look at discipleship from the example of faithful dogs. It helps answer questions about faith for some and provides examples of what true faith looks like for others. Most of all it is about improving ones faith with a splash of amusing dog stories.
Dead Men Do Tell Tales
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 41,180. Language: English. Published: August 14, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
Having not been seen for over 500 years, El Dorado, a Spanish ship lost in a hurricane, sits untouched in the swamp hundreds of miles from it original course. Two teenage boys, spending the summer in Florida, discover items that cause them to research and find El Dorado, all the while being stalked by two men who desire what they might find.