“Don’t try to read too much into the stories, just enjoy them.”
I was born in Marysville, California in 1968. My family had always been poor, but we worked hard to maintain our needs. Being raised, I was always the oddball. What I mean by that is, I always focused on the bigger picture and paid very little attention to the details. My mind was full of wonder and excitement. I loved school and meeting new people so that I could hear their stories.
After graduating from High School, I traveled around a bit, meeting new and interesting people. Getting my fill of that, I enlisted in the Navy, the discipline learned there was good for me. I then worked many jobs after leaving the service. I was a mechanic, a cook, a garbage man, a secretary, and did some stints in management.
I then got my Masters degree in Medical Administration through some online technical institutes and later finished up at Wichita State University. I continued my education by getting my Doctorate for Cultural Philosophies from another major university. I am now currently working on getting a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice with another online technical institute. I told you that I love school…lol.
I started writing seriously about ten years ago. I started out with short stories and eventually worked my way up to fictional novels. I have been published in MOM magazine, Alfred Hitchcock, Albany Democrat-Herald, and now at Publish America (www.publishamerica.com). The things I look for in my stories are topics that most people are uncomfortable with talking about. So I tend to gravitate towards the paranormal. I have had a lot of good leads given to me by my friends, family, and readers. Sometimes my stories do stem from personal experiences.
I must add here though. Most writers know the first rule of a successful story and in-depth, characters is to write about what you know.
Although my books are fictional, I do use the emotions (ONLY) of what I know with my characters. None of my characters are true to form of the people I have met in my life. Nor are any of the characters me. So don’t try to read too much into the stories, just enjoy them. – Mark Miner
What inspired you to write your first book? I was always into the paranormal even as a young boy. I had so many stories and experiences that I wanted to get them out. But I wanted to do it in a way that would allow the reader to know me, but not know anything specific about who I am.
Do you have a specific writing style? Not really. I get annoyed when writers try to over think their work. Even back in Neanderthal days when the story teller would get around the fire and tell stories, he never rehearsed or edited his/her material. A story is to be shared and enjoyed, not staged and perfected. I went to your site and read some excerpts from your books, my favorite was The Spell of Deception.”
What inspired that book? All my books were inspired from real stories. This particular one was a story of Wiccan believers that refused to allow their six year old to see a medical doctor, and she died. This caused the city of Albany, Oregon to prosecute the members, it caused a big stink in the 1970’s. A great story, I just went and fictionized it a little.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? I want everyone to get the idea that there is more than beyond what they consider normal. Many people wear blinders in order to protect themselves from anything odd or scary. But what if we embraced that? Would it really be that bad?
How much of the book is realistic? I would say about 60% of it is real. 30% is real from historical events, and the other 30% is real because I used characters from my own life and experiences and reactions from my own life. There is a lot of my life in those books.
Are experiences based on someone you know or events in your own life? Every main character in my books are someone that I have issues with, and while writing the stories I am essentially dealing with those issues as I go along. Sort of like doing a pro’s and con’s list. About 50% of the experiences in my books have been achieved by me. I am what you might call an investigative writer. I hunt down stories and do interviews.
I also see you are a Parapsychologist, & Paranormal Researcher? What made you interested in pursuing this type of work?The field of Parapsychology is vast and still unexplored scientifically. I want answers to some experiences and ideas that I have had all my life. For some sort of reason, the paranormal and I have always gone hand in hand. On my website www.ospr.weebly.com every month, I tackle something paranormal. Whether it be about ghosts, vampires, werewolves, Bigfoot or like this month I am researching the UFO phenomena in Albany, Oregon. As you can see, Albany is a hotbed of paranormal events. One reason why I moved here.
Do any of your stories come from your paranormal experience?
Sort of. Let me explain. I take historical events that have happened in the Albany/Corvallis, Oregon area, use that as my base story…then I take experiences and people I know to finish it all up.
What was the scariest Paranormal experience to date?
When I agreed to meet with five gentlemen who agreed to prove to me that they can change from human form to a wolf form. They claim to be real werewolves. However, when I arrived, I was ambushed in my car. They tried to open my door and was pounding on the windows trying to get in. I put the car into reverse and got out of there. It was so stupid of me. The next day I received an email from one of the girlfriends of the men, where she told me that they were seriously going to kill me.
What books have most influenced your life most?
To Kill a Mockingbird. Because the characters are real, so real. And the story offers mystery, romance, and intrigue. A truly brilliant book.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? He may not be new, but I discovered him recently and love his work. Steve Berry. He has a series that is so awesome.
What are your current projects?
Well, I work a full-time job as a Chef and a part-time job as a Baker. I also have the investigations for the Oregon Society for Paranormal Research (www.ospr.weebly.com). The next book I’m writing is about a little boy who doesn’t realize that he is dead and is creating his own spiritual journey but realizes at the end. And then something big happens…but you’ll have to read for yourself. lol
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I allow for my characters to take over. I have a technique of how I write. I have to be in a locked room by myself when I write because I act out all of my characters as I write. If you were to watch this, you’d think I was crazy with over a hundred different personalities. lol. The challenging thing for me is to not allow the characters to take over too much.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
One of my favorite authors, and once a neighbor in the Garden District in Louisiana is Anne Rice. I love her work because she talks about the paranormal world and brings it to life with story and feeling. Her characters are very interesting and alive.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
know when I first started writing, I got into the whole world of literature. I went to the conventions, I did the book signings, I made the lectures and appearances; it got old really fast. I was losing my time to write and my time in finding the adventure of new stories. So now I don’t travel for my books anymore. I have traveled a bit for some paranormal research, but that is all.
What was the hardest part of writing your book? Letting go of my characters when I am finished with the story. I usually take a month after finishing the book to “purge” the characters out of my head and life. They become that real for me. I have to start fresh when I start another project.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yeah, don’t over think your work. Sit down with a friend, have a tape recorder running and just start telling a story. And before you know it, you have a book written. Don’t worry about sentence structure, format, or anything like that…just write. All the details will come later and with the help of many friends. Trust me on this.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I have always adored my readers. They are really helpful to me with ideas, reviews, and critiques. Without them, this experience would be flat and void.
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
When I happen upon a story, I have a ton of research to do. Within that research, I have to create a sort of like a bio on each person involved. I have to get to know them and understand why they do what they did or do. A story is only as good as it’s characters right?
Mark, what was your favorite recipe in the Caveman’s Cookbook?
What I’m making tonight. Southern Fried Chicken. Love it. Not just you’re regular chicken, but southern fried. This recipe (for myself anyway) calls for Lard, not oil. This is why I love Paula Dean because she cooks like a real Southerner. Sometimes you have to say “what the heck” and just eat one meal a week that is not healthy. You owe yourself that.
Again Mark thank you for sending the recipe to include on our fine dining page. You will see it being promoted in the next few days, and thank you for this interview.
You can buy my books at www.publishamerica.com. Just go to the home page and search for Mark Miner and all my books come up.