Joining me today on my blog is indie author Mark W. Sasse for an interview – of sorts. We hope you enjoy it.
I’ve decided to interview myself from the perspective of a prospective reader. I’ll play both parts. The reader is the one wearing the funny hat.
READER: Excuse me, who are you?
WRITER: My name is Mark W. Sasse. I’m a writer.
READER: Sorry, I never heard of you. Does that hurt your feelings?
WRITER: No, not at all. I don’t need to be heard of. I just like to write stories. You might even enjoy them.
READER: Congratulations. Who publishes your novels?
WRITER: Oh, I self-publish. I’m an independent author.
READER: (chokes on coffee and throws up a red flag) Oh, I’m sorry. I don’t read Indie authors. Doesn’t it mean that you aren’t a good enough writer to get a book deal?
WRITER: Well, I like the readers to be the judge of whether my books are worth reading, not some stuffy agent or book executive. Power to the people! That’s what I say. If people enjoy my books, that’s all I care about.
READER: What have the people said about your books?
WRITER: If I wasn’t being modest, I’d say that the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Check out the reviews on-line and see for yourself. Perhaps you, too, will like my books!
READER: But aren’t those reviews on-line just made-up? I mean, I’m sorry to say this, but aren’t they just posted by your mother and uncle?
WRITER: I assure you, my on-line reviews are real! I wouldn’t want it any other way. If I post fake reviews to entice readers but then write a crappy book, I’ll lose those readers forever! That’s the last think I want to happen. I want to find readers who will be loyal to my stories because they like them. Doesn’t that make sense?
READER: Actually, it does! So what are your stories about? Vampires? Aliens?
WRITER: Absolutely not, they are about people.
READER: People? Sorry to yawn, but that sounds kind of boring.
WRITER: I disagree. I think there is nothing more fascinating than human relationships and struggles. We can all relate to them, but in story form, they can soar into poetic strips of awesomeness.
READER: What does that mean?
WRITER: I don’t really know, but I think it means you’ll like my stories.
READER: Prove it.
WRITER: How do you get a beautiful, young Vietnamese woman to fall in love with an overweight, middle-aged American loser if they are 12,000 miles apart?
READER: You can’t! Unless you make it up.
WRITER: I did make it up. It’s called fiction, and that’s the premise of my first novel, Beauty Rising.
WRITER: It has 82 reviews on-line. Check it out.
READER: You mean those real reviews?
WRITER: Did you just roll your eyes?
READER: OK, I believe you. You got anything else?
WRITER: My second novel just recently released. It’s called The Recluse Storyteller.
READER: What, does she sit at home and tell stories to herself? (laughs)
WRITER: That’s exactly right!
READER: I was joking.
WRITER: She tells stories about terrorists, about a set of twins in the 19th century, and about a horrible massacre in Vietnam. Don’t worry. It’s not gory.
READER: So she just tells herself stories?
WRITER: Let me finish. The stories are inspired by her neighbors whom she watches daily. But what they don’t know, and will eventually find out, is that the stories hold secret meanings for each and everyone of them.
READER: Like what?
WRITER: You have to read it to find out.
READER: And this novel has some of those “real reviews” too?
WRITER: Absolutely. So what do you think? Will you give me a shot?
READER: All right. Your books aren’t expensive, are they?
WRITER: No, they’re not.
READER: I’ll try one.
WRITER: Great, thanks! You won’t be disappointed. And if you do, please write a fake review.
The twins, beckoned by an ominous streak of light across the sky, climb Harper’s Hill to encounter an apparition of their missing father.
The reverend stands on a muddy ridge, the barrel of a rifle in his neck, looking down on a Vietnamese village, scarred by war and regret.
The stories come to Margaret at all times, but they are anything but random. A fractured view of Michael Cheevers’ red hat through a discreetly cracked door sends her off on adventure. A glimpse of the Johnson twins from apartment 2D takes her to the lonely hill on a Midwestern prairie in 1887. The regular letters from Reverend Davies, who has tried to look after Margaret since the death of her mother, brings her to the brink of exhaustion, staring intensely into the heart of war deep in the jungle of Vietnam.
Margaret is not insane, at least not in a clinical sense. She’s like a midnight raccoon, painfully aware of her surroundings, gleaming crumbs of information at every turn; eyes peering incessantly in the night, stealing glances of neighbors behind partially opened doors.
But the tales that she weaves were not meant to merely hold empty court to the receptive dead air of her apartment. Her stories were meant to embolden the lives of the inhabitants of that drab apartment block because her story is also their story—and everything would be different if they could only hear her stories.
The Recluse Storyteller weaves five stories into one as the loner Margaret not only searches for meaning from her reclusive life, but also gives meaning in the most unexpected ways to the troubled souls of her apartment complex. Part adventure, part tragedy, and part discovery, The Recluse Storyteller bridges genres, bringing hope, life, and redemption to the broken relationships of modern society.
About the Author
Mark W Sasse was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania, but he has lived in Asia (Vietnam & Malaysia) for most of the past twenty years. He has been an independent author for about a year, publishing his first novel, Beauty Rising, in December 2012. He is passionate about live theater and has written, directed, and produced nine full-length productions for the stage. His script, “‘No’ in Spite of Itself” won “Best Script” recently in Penang’s Short & Sweet Theatre Festival. His third novel, The Reach of the Banyan Tree, is finished and is set to release mid-year 2014. He is also working on writing a full-length musical which will debut at the Penang Performing Arts Center in May 2014.