Today, I want to feature Mark Goldberg. Six years ago, I joined John Dufresne's Friday Night Writers, meeting regularly at the Florida International University Biscayne Bay campus. Mark had already been attending for years, and was quick to point out the group's simple rules: Bring at least 20 copies, double-spaced in Times New Roman, and read and comment on everyone's submission, if you want your own to be read. Mark always has a new chapter or two of his current novel ready to go, and no matter whether things are high or low for him personally, he keeps writing and critiquing and bring his warm humor to every meeting. It's been refreshing, for an ego-maniac like myself, to see someone be so consistent and persistent. When I decided to self publish the stories I'd been submitting and placing in online journals, he saved me from a full week of frustration getting the text I wanted on to the artwork I'd chosen, and giving Believable Lies a classy looking cover. He did all this while we sat in Border's bookstore, talking about writing. You'll see his side business advertised here, Mark's Covers, and trust me, if you want inexpensive professional help from someone who is easy to work with, Mark is your man.
Mark's books have always struck me as movies in print. The images are graphic, and lend themselves to visualization. In one novel, a Claudia Schiffer look-alike wanders down Biscayne Boulevard with no memory of how she got there, and is molested by a woman she thought was going to help her. In the book we're discussing today, a six foot young woman trained in martial arts dons leathers and her motorcycle boots to hunt murderous pedophiles, assisted by info from a computer wizard known only as Source. The Jada Agenda offers readers a chance to witness vigilantte justice brought to bear on society's most loathsome criminals. There's a movie here, folks! Get the popcorn going!
Here's our Q&A:
Q&A for Mark Goldberg
Mark, The Jada Agenda deals with a citizen dispensing justice in her own way. Tell us the storyline, and how you developed the lead character.
Aubrey Carlisle is a First Grade teacher. She's also a masked, 6'2", leather-wearing, motorcycle-riding, vengeance-driven killer of pedophiles. She finds them before the cops do. Then she calls and has them clean up after her. She goes into overdrive when her favorite little student, Jada, is kidnapped. All of Miami thinks Aubrey is a man. That's why the papers have mislabeled her Mr. Vengeance. But murder is still murder and the part that bothers Aubrey is that she has no feelings one way or the other about what she is doing. Was it born out of an experience she had in college or something she experienced when she was much younger?
The papers are filled with stories about abused children these days. Especially in south Florida. I believed it was time to have a hero address this problem. I enjoy reading Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels. I was surprised to learn that sixty percent of his readership is female. What could be of more interest to the female reader than a Reacher-type female hero?
Is there a sequel to this book?
I’ve just begun working on The Virginia Agenda, which would be the second book in the series, and deals with abused women.
Who do you enjoy reading? Who influences your writing?
I mentioned Lee Child. I also enjoy Robert Mccammon, F. Paul Wilson’s Repairman Jack series and Tess Gerritsen’s mysteries.
Tell us about your other Smashwords books.
My own favorite book is Walk Into The Sun, which is a tale of New York City after the default. SatanWorld is the first book in the Tempest Trilogy (it’s a vampire book without the teen angst). GangWay, book two, will be available in about a week, and concerns a gang war instigated by Tempest. Lara’s Special Summer is a tip of my hat to my daughter. Seven-year-old Lara wakes up one summer morning and discovers she has magic powers. She is assisted by her talking dog, Sir Basil Smythe-Woofington. Her only rules; she can’t do anything for personal gain and she can’t tell anyone her secret. LSS brought me my first fan mail, from an eleven-year-old girl who loved the book.
What are you working on right now?
I’m heavily into IceAge. It’s the final book in the Tempest Trilogy. All the Tempest books have historical sections that show the vampire’s evolution. SatanWorld covered the Spanish Inquisition and Columbus’ discovery of the New World. In the present time, Tempest is a televangelist. For GangWay, Tempest dons a priest’s robes and the back story revolves around the Salem Witchcraft Trials. For IceAge, I’ve researched the Mary Celeste, a brigantine that was found floating near the devil’s triangle in the late 1800’s with nobody on board. In the present time, Tempest is now a rabbi, in charge of a Jewish senior citizens’ home. IceAge also brings together all the characters from the previous two books.
You helped me get a great cover for my book. Tell us what you can do for the SBR readers who need covers for their eBooks and PODs.
I use my experience as a graphic designer for the past MANY years and combine it with my innate understanding of what a writer feels. Of course, a writer needs to be able to explain the story and the main character to give me a basis from which to give me a starting point. It’s all spelled out on my web page – www.markscovers.com – along with examples of some of my covers. And everyone should remember that ebooks just get a front cover. But if you’re doing POD, it needs a back cover and a spine, as well.
Is paranormal a good description of SatanWorld?
Actually, I like that better than “horror,” because it involves magic and mysticism, too. Tempest can control the weather and lesser beings and, in GangWay, he also begins his shape shifting. He carries that further in IceAge.
I see you have a children’s book for sale as well. Tell us about that.
Lara’s Special Summer is so special to me that I’ve already mentioned it. I like to tell people that, at $2.99, it’s cheaper than an ice cream cone and will last longer.
Where else are your books available?
All the books are available at Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and Apple via your iPad and iPhone. Some are up on kobobooks.com, Sony and diesel.com. Four of the books are in paperback (POD) and can be ordered from amazon.com.
Anything you’d like to add for our readers?
How about a thank you gift? If you purchase The Jada Agenda from Smashwords.com, and use the coupon code NH57D, you can get one dollar off the price of the book, from now to November 27, 2010.
(Neil's note: Check out Mark's books and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org)