Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Q&A with Owen Lewis


Owen H Lewis had his heart set on a career in the creative arts from an early age and, after gaining a degree in English Literature in 1998, he was able to break into film and television. At first working in London and then Madrid, Lewis finally settled in Los Angeles with his own production company. As well as making promotional videos for big named business, the company also produced two shorts films scripted by Lewis. However, outside pressures eventually forced him to adopt a more conformist career path and he reluctantly put aside his creative ambitions, moving instead into real estate investment.

After gaining a Masters from Cass Business School, Lewis moved to The City, where his rise through the world of real estate commerce was relatively meteoric. He rapidly secured a directorship within a FTSE 250 company before eventually setting up his own International Real Estate Business in 2008.

But Lewis became increasingly jaded with the environment in which he worked – at this crossroads in his life he once more turned to his first love – writing. And this time he had a truly profound, thoughtful and challenging story to tell.

Coloured by his experiences, Lewis started work on what was to become the ground breaking The Mark of Man, a novel about a future where humanity’s cannon of accepted philosophies are challenged and our passive inertia is confronted.

Owen currently lives in Kew, with his wife and two children, and is already writing a companion piece to his debut, which promises to be darker and even more contentious.







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 clich├ęs 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.

 
The future will no doubt see a dampening of these narco-flames and we’ll see a return to the fantastic as these stories become more and more mystical, in order to win back the hearts and minds of the very people that grew tired of it in the first place.










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