Meghan: Hi, Mark. Welcome to Meghan’s House of Books. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Mark Slade: Not a whole lot to tell. Been writing off and on my entire life. I am the author of A Six Gun & the Queen of Light, Blackout City Confidential, Witch for Hire (An Evelina Giles book), and Mr. Zero (A Barry London Novel). I also write and produce audio dramas Blood Noir and Daniel Dread.
I first wanted to write after seeing the Twilight Zone episode Mr. Denton on Doomsday. I loved how cowboys and weird stuff was happening. I wanted to know who did it, who Rod Serling was. Plus, my older brother had tons of paperbacks and the Twilight Zone magazine. That’s where I learned about Serling. From there it was Bradbury, Ed Mcbain, and Richard Matheson.
Meghan: What are five things most people don’t know about you?
Mark Slade: Those secrets are buried with anyone who knows them! I don’t know. I think people know a little more than I want them to, but I can’t shut up. Well, my favorite movie isn’t Crime or fantasy or horror related. It’s a British film about WWII called Hope & Glory. John Boorman film. People may not know that. I am controlled by a Chihuahua through his psychic powers. I’m a Brit TV enthusiast. I love British Television programs, especially old ones. I’m a huge Dallas Cowboys fan, but I think the world knows that. I’m also a jazz fan, but I love Rock n Roll. Guitar music, big Waylon Jennings/outlaw country fan… You know, I don’t think many people know I like Sade’s music.
Meghan: What is the first book you remember reading?
Mark Slade: Where the Wild things Are. I saw a guy on PBS reading parts of it. I loved the art. But he left the ending. I think I got it from a school library and read it or maybe thought I read it. I probably made up my own story in my head. Second book, was an issue of Spider-Man. The death of Gwen Stacy, I think. Holy cow, it brought me to tears.
Meghan: What are you reading now?
Mark Slade: Jim Thompson’s After Dark, My Sweet. And a biography of Ross Macdonald. Ross Macdonald was another writer that has cast a HUGE shadow over my life. Everywhere I go, his stories stay with me.
Meghan: What’s a book you really enjoyed that others wouldn’t expect you to have liked?
Mark Slade: Well, when my sister was reading Anne of Green Gables, I read it, too. I really liked it even though I wasn’t a young girl. Just a good story.
Meghan: What made you decide you want to write? When did you begin writing?
Mark Slade: Well, like I said before, I attempted when I was ten after that TZ episode. But at 14 I saw a movie on Elvira, Mistress of the Dark and thought “Yeah, I can do better than that!” So I wrote a story about a father who threw his kids down a well. Naw, I couldn’t do better than that.
Meghan: Do you have a special place you like to write?
Mark Slade: Convenient place is more like it. Dining room, Dining room table.
Meghan: Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?
Mark Slade: I think about what I’m writing way too much. Takes over my life. I also try to listen to music that might inspire stories and characters.
Meghan: What books have most inspired you? Who are some authors that have inspired your writing style?
Mark Slade: Definitely Richard Matheson, Ed McBain, and Ross Macdonald. Sparse style, lots of dialogue. Get to the story as quick as possible. Writers I see in print now that I am influenced by a lot are Paul D. Brazill, ever since I discovered his story Drunk on the Moon – I’ve always wanted to write a story as good as that – and G. Wayne Miller. Everything he has written, non-fiction, or fiction, especially We Who Are His Followers. Great stuff.
Meghan: What do you think makes a good story?
Mark Slade: Let the characters tell the story. Who cares about literature or styles of putting words on a paper. Lit, that’s a made up marketing tool. Best stories and writers come from the pulps. No lie.
Meghan: What does it take for you to love a character? How do you utilize that when creating your characters?
Mark Slade: Flaws. If they are truly a well-rounded character they can’t be completely a good person all the time, nor a bad person.
Meghan: Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?
Mark Slade: Oh, crap! I hope none of them! They do some awful things. Might be some interests that are the same, other than that, none.
Meghan: Are you turned off by a bad cover? To what degree were you involved in creating your book covers?
Mark Slade: No. Not at all. If the plot on the back interests me, I’ll read it.
Meghan: What has been the hardest scene for you to write so far?
Mark Slade: Ah man. Some sex scenes are hard, or they were. Now its not as big a deal. I think in my new book it’s a scene The Klu Klux Klan chase somebody. And its set in 1956. That was tough.
Meghan: What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?
Mark Slade: That I do not know. We all feed off each other. No ego or lack of can change that. I just want people to like or give my stories a chance.
Meghan: What makes you feel more fulfilled: Writing a novel or writing a short story?
Mark Slade: Short story is definitely an art form. I just started novels. Getting it done and hitting a word count, plus making the story work. I write crime mysteries now. That’s a tough nut to crack.
Meghan: Tell us a little bit about your books, your target audience, and what you would like readers to take away from your stories.
Mark Slade: Not sure if I have a target audience. I’d like to have a general or mass audience, if that’s possible. Maybe people who enjoy Crime, Horror, and fantasy stories. Taking away from my stories, I think good characters. I hope. A story that sticks to your ribs, like good food. A story they’ll never forget.
Meghan: Can you tell us about some of the deleted scenes/stuff that got left out of your work?
Mark Slade: For Blackout city Confidential, two scripts and one story was left out and some artwork by Lissanne Lake. Lots of murders, lots of great art left in the cold. Too bad.
Meghan: What is in your “trunk”?
Mark Slade: A collection of all my short stories would be nice. One huge book. In the audio drama world, I’d like to do two projects: One an adaption of the Lew Archer books or Ed MacBain’s 87th Precinct. That would be really great. Another, Dangerous Duos, would be the title where unlikely fictional/or historical characters get involved in some sort of action story. The other part of the series would to take fictional characters who would go together and have adventures, like Mrs. Peel and Honey West. Or in the case of real people, Bruce Lee and John Holmes break up a white slavery ring. Or Jim Brown and Truman Capote investigate Ted Bundy.
Meghan: What can we expect from you in the future?
Mark Slade: I have a book being edited by Next Chapter called Strange Corridors. Illustrated by Cameron Hampton. Its about a little girl taken by a mysterious Jester into weird lands. And I’m writing a book called Yardbird about a man doing the bidding of an oil tycoon, such as investigate murders, blackmail payoffs, get rid of dead bodies.
Meghan: Where can we find you?
Meghan: Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you’d like to say that we didn’t get to cover in this interview?
“This whole world is wild at heart and weird on top.”
—-Lulu from David Lynch’s Wild at Heart.
Barry London is a Fixer by trade, lent out by his boss to other crime lords. He is sent to his hometown of Geneva, New Jersey to deal with corrupt cops at war with each other over a missing video, dealing with an ex-girlfriend who happens to be a cop, the wife of a good friend who also wants to sleep with him, both looking to tame the wild and rough London. On top of all that, London finds himself looking several murders and Firebug who torched a nightclub. The key to it all is cracking the mystery of Mr. Zero.
Do you need a potion? How about a spell? Maybe… murder someone? Evelina Giles is a witch chosen by magic, just like her father. She operates a shop in a sleepy college town in Virginia. When a businessman approaches Evelina for a spell so he can steal a project from his boss, Evelina’s practical joke turns deadly. Or did it? Now, along with her assistant Mungo and her Journalist-friend Jeanie, Evelina must investigate not one, but multiple murders.