1. What inspired you to write The Mark of Man?
Initially it was three short stories that I’d been developing for quite some time. However following an extremely vivid dream, where I woke up believing I was living in the environment of The Mark of Man, I had finally found my premise with which to link the three together and therefore was able to embark on a triptych. The result is a thrilling ride which provides a window into mankind’s soul, whilst casting a glance on our constant internal struggle with science vs. religion and nature vs. technology.
2. What was the development process like?
The entire process took me two years to the day. I started writing the treatment to The Mark of Man on September 10th 2012 and I had my first launch on September 10th 2014.
The treatment took me three months to create the story arcs, develop the characters and then create the alternative timeline. It took another eleven months to get the entire story down in raw form.
It took me six months to find a publisher and then another three months to get it out there, for all to see. In its original state there were more than 200,000 words, of which I kept only 116,000 after the final (publisher) edit.
3. What was the hardest part about writing this book?
Ensuring that there is a beating heart to the story - that it never waivers nor meanders. When you construct such a web of deception and hidden truths, it sometimes gets hard to keep control of your characters. Once I felt satisfied that this was so, my ultimate focus was to leave the reader enlightened by their journey, as if they were either one of the two main protagonists. I believe that The Mark of Man meets these targets and pushes us on further – I would like to think that the readers will agree…
4. What was the best part about writing this book?
I guess, as we all broaden our horizons through our use of technology, we re-educate ourselves and therefore reach the point where it is acceptable to question our own beliefs and convictions; those that were formed before the advent of the web.
The story provided me with a blank canvass to posit my theories and ideals, without necessarily hurting anyone in particular. It gives me a clean slate to start over again; with our culture, our systems and the environment. I can challenge the reader without alienating them and I can keep them guessing because there are no rules.
5. What do you hope readers will gain from your book?
The Mark of Man’s central premise concerns a mark on the wrist which indicates the death age of the bearer - contrary to other similar tales; this is posited as a genetic anomaly. So the race is not a simple chase and pursuit tale from evil overlords with a reliance on the familiar clichés and tenets, but one that concerns the whole of humankind and compels everybody (including the reader) to try to find an answer to this ticking doomsday clock.
The book is an adventure yarn with the protagonist counting down the days he has left, whilst trying to come to terms with losing the love of his life. Fate however seems intent on throwing them back together.
This is a novel about a future where humanity’s cannon of accepted philosophies are challenged and our passive inertia is confronted.
The Mark of Man is a philosophical romance, more than anything else, and just because most of the world is clamouring for the next vampire saga or Game of Thrones clone, I’m of the conviction that the world is now ready for a more intelligent and challenging story. Science fiction shouldn’t just be about shiny spaceships or flesh eating aliens, it should challenge and create discussion; perhaps even arguments.
6. What inspired you to be a writer?
Through a love of literature and film – I studied English Literature at university and then worked in TV & Film afterwards, until family life took over and I felt compelled to move into real estate investment. However one’s interests and skills never leave them and with almost another 20 years living a varied existence, one would hope that I have acquired enough life experience to be a social commentator.
7. What do you like best and what do you like least about being a writer?
Control over creativity and lack of control over your audience – it’s incredibly liberating – cathartic at best, frustrating at worst.
I had my heart set on a career in the creative arts from an early age and, after gaining a degree in English Literature in 1998, I broke into film and television. At first I worked in London, then Madrid and finally settled in Los Angeles with my own production company.
However, outside pressures eventually forced me to adopt a more conformist career path and I moved into real estate investment. After gaining a Masters from Cass Business School, I moved to The City and what followed was a relatively meteoric rise through the ranks, where I secured a directorship within a FTSE 250 company, before eventually setting up my own International Real Estate Business in 2008.
However I became jaded with the environment in which I worked - the global recession was a major contributing factor. At this crossroads I once more turned to my first love – writing - this time I had a profound, thoughtful and challenging story to tell.
8. Who are some of your favorite authors?
Philip Pullman, Martin Amis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Louis De Bernieres would have to be up there as my greatest influences but then again there are so many more. It really depends on who’s asking.
9. Are you working on anything right now?
When is an artist ever satisfied? This is the 1st part of triptych, in that I have another two stories to tell, which are in principal unconnected. They will take a look at the human condition but perhaps from another stand point, whilst being set in a similar paradigm. I am currently writing the treatment to The Dark of Man as we speak.
10. And, finally, what do you think is in store for the future of Latino literature?
Not long ago Latino Literature represented the whimsical and fantastical but then Gabriel Garcia Marquez came on the scene in the late 60’s and cast a surrealist influence on everyone
Through the 80’s, and 90’s the interest in this Boom generation has disappeared and neo- realism has taken its place, where writers have fled Marquez's mystical landscapes and crash landed in the hard-boiled, decidedly un-magical, realm of the crime novel.
During the last ten years, narconovelas have flooded the bookstores, sparking interest among Mexican readers and foreign critics in a new strain of Latin American exoticism and displacing magic realism as the region’s characteristic genre.