Thursday, December 4, 2014

Interview and Giveaway with Mark E. Lein

Please share a little about yourself, your genres, any other pen names you use.

I am an extremely passionate reader. For as long as I can remember, I read. Whether it was historic America or Europe, Narnia, Middle Earth, or the Four Lands of Shannara, I spent hours of each day of my childhood in the worlds authors had created. Before kids, my Mother had been a high school English teacher and she taught me and my siblings the joy of reading. By the time I was 12, she had read A Tale of Two Cities, The Hobbit, Les Miserables, and Where the Red Fern Grows to us, among many, many others. 

 Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott, James Fenimore Cooper, Robert Louis Stevenson, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Arthur Conan Doyle were as influential in my life as Louie L’Amour, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Terry Brooks, Timothy Zahn, Isaac Asimov and Dr. Seuss. 

I wrote for fun in high school and college, thinking I was a better writer than I truly was. I attempted poetry, short stories, and even a song or two with little to no success. I wrote in some ways because it was easier than to verbalize what was inside. I never was good at speaking in public. When I did, to include briefing generals as an Army officer, the number one thing I did to prepare and have success was write a “speech” to make sure I truly internalized what I had to say. In that way writing has helped me speak.

Tell us a little about your latest or upcoming release.

I published book #2 of The Seeker’s Burden series May 2014. Book, Path of Darkness, continues the search for a way to combat the enemy forces that are overwhelming the land. Old and new friends do much to support the main characters. 
Book #3 Secrets Revealed, will complete the trilogy and I hope to finish the draft of by mid-spring and publish it by early summer 2015.

Are you a parent? 

I am the father of three wonderful, crazy, beautiful children ages 4, 3, and 7 months.

If yes do you find it hard to juggle writing and parenting?

Desperately so. I work a full time job and then attempt to give whatever energy I have left to my kids and spouse, with mixed results... After the kids are all played out, fed, and cleaned they are wonderfully deposited in bed. By this time, my brain has shut down everything but a couple receptors that allow me to do little but sit on the couch and watch TV. 
I have to fight for time to do anything especially writing which takes focus and time, time, time. It is worth it though and I have been able to write two books though my hair is whiter since I began.

Have you ever based your book or characters on actual events or people from your own life?

I used past experiences to build parts of the world. The Savoq and their lands are based off my time in Iraq and Kenya, while a few of the situations the characters go through are ones that closely resembled ones that I lived through. 

Specifically, the main characters, Oliver and Ethan, both represent traits I have or have aspired to throughout my life. I more easily connect with Oliver’s character as I was, and in many ways still am, equal parts timid, curious, and overwhelmed by life. On the other side, in Ethan I see parts of myself in the desire to do good, martial ability, and leadership, though it comes more easily for the character on the page. So yes, I relate to and aspire to be like the main protagonists of my books.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

I am an Army Major and have been serving for almost 11 years now. I can also knit, throw a hatchet, bake, and I love PC-based video games. I grew up without TV, listened to classical music, and even worked at a historic (1700-1800 era) plantation doing anything from plowing with mules to picking cotton.

What book are you reading now?

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Mystery, by Alan Bradley.

An Emerging Threat
The Seeker’s Burden
Book One
Mark E. Lein

Genre: High Fantasy/ Epic Fantasy

ISBN: 1493592890

Number of pages: 176
Word Count: 33,000

Cover Artist: Glen Wilkinson

Book Description:

An evil stirs, casting a shadow across the Islands. Two men begin quests to find the source of the darkness. One is a young scholar, given no choice but to follow the path ahead. Tragedy shapes him, nearly driving him to despair; an inner struggle pervades his journey.

The other is a warrior forced to the task through a sense of responsibility. His royal blood and his knighthood drive his course. Their searches, though separate, have the same goal: to find whatever or whoever may be responsible for the darkening of their world.

This book tells the story of their journey and the creatures, both friend and foe, that they meet along the way.

Available at Amazon

Excerpt 5:

  OLIVER STOOD IN THE cavern far below the Citadel and tried to make his brain work. Until now he had been running on adrenaline with little more than murky goals. Panic now seized him. He was alone. All he knew and loved had been destroyed. His mind fought the truth of solitude, as it at­tempted to make up for the absence of others to talk to, to relate thoughts to.
  Shaking with overwhelming fear he sank to the cold stone floor and hugged his knees, rocking back and forth. Tears streamed down his face, and if someone had been there to see, his young years were cruelly evident. The stone was wet beneath him by the time he unwrapped himself and stood on shaking legs. He slowly pulled the moonstone from his pocket and once again let the warmth flow through him until it faded completely, leaving the stone dark and cold. He sighed as he placed it back in his cloak and gathered the items on the table into a pile.
  He took the book, the map, and the dagger. The weapon was now light in his hand as the power that had exploded from its pommel had left the simple metal oddly empty. Placing the items in the pockets of his cloak, he walked to the far side of the chamber where a natural hallway led into darkness. As there were no lights, Oliver used his glove again to project a floating orb before him. It continuously hovered just ahead as he moved through the passage. It wasn’t long before he saw a hint of natural light and pressed the switch on his glove causing the orb to dissipate in a shower of sparks.
  Hearing the sound of water crashing on rock, he headed around the next bend and found him­self in a cave open to the surrounding lake. Rock floors turned to sand, leading to a small dilapi­dated dock. A small rowboat, in surprisingly good condition, rocked next to it. At least he would not have to build a raft to make his way off the island.
  With the method of his passage across the wa­ter now dealt with, Oliver headed back through the rocky passage, through the cavern, and up the winding staircase into Magnus’ rooms. He took a large leather pack from a closet and left the house, making his way through the strewn bod­ies and dried blood that covered the streets to the school housing area. He had a small room for late night study with some articles of clothing and he meant to begin his preparations there. The stench of decay was overpowering so he used his cloak to block what he could.
  Once there, he packed the few clothes stowed under the bed and the wool blanket that covered the mattress. Heading into the common areas, Oliver found the kitchen doors ajar and gathered what he believed would be enough food to last a week or two.

  His pack nearly full, he left the room and made his way up the curved staircase of the tower that thrust skyward from the center of the school grounds. Reaching the platform that stood high above the Citadel’s walls he looked out over the island that had been home his entire life. His mind raced as he tried to focus on the familiar land­marks, attempting to maintain sanity as he stood in the silence. How had he survived? In some ways he wished he had not. At least then he would not be alone.

About the Author:

Mark grew up in small towns across the country, spending most of his childhood in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains of Northwestern Arkansas. 

Throughout his life, his favorite books have been sci-fi and fantasy, anything Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Terry Brooks and a little Isaac Azimov. 

Graduating from college in 2004, he became an Army Infantry and Intelligence Officer and continues to serve to this day. While deployed to Iraq for 14 months back in 2007-09, he began writing with this book in mind. His civilian work includes Intelligence Analysis and providing expertise with military training programs. 

He now lives in Tampa, Florida with his wife of 9 years, Emily, and his three children, Oliver, Lucy, and Alexander.

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1 comment:

Mark E. Lein said...

Thank you for the post! I am available to answer questions, etc.