Tuesday, July 17, 2012

15 Questions with #Fantasy #Author Mark Tierno #AuthorInterview

Today, we have Mark Tierno, author of the Maldene Series. Mark has literally built a planet and a new set of physical laws where time and space are computed differently than in our world.

Q:  Tell us a little something of your background.
A:  Well, I have a Masters in physics and second BS in Math, spent about a couple of decades helping my Mom out with my Parkinson's Disease stricken father, then another 8 years after he passed taking care of her.  I spent the 15 years of that parental care writing my books.

Q: I'm sure it gave your parents happiness to see you doing something creative. When you were young, did you always want to write?
A:  I was always a heavy reader, particularly of fantasy and science fiction, and someplace around about age 12, I began to see myself writing up some sort of story.  Problem was I hated the physical effort of handwriting or typing and wasn't yet sure what that story would be.  Well, fast forward a while and I'd been assembling the story in my head and then the Eaton Canyon fire happened.  My grandpa's old house burned down- he'd been long gone but my Mom had never had the heart to sell the place.  It did, though, bring in insurance money, which gave the household a bit more freedom (the Parkinson's having drained all financial reserves).  I got a computer, and with it a word processor.  No more handwriting, no more liquid paper, hallelujah!  So I started on my books, and as a side effect the act of doing so injected a much needed feeling of hope into the household.

Q: That is wonderful. The act of creation injecting hope. What is the genre of your work?
A:  My "Maldene" series is basically epic fantasy, but later in the series some strong SF elements creep in there as well.  I like doing mixed genre.

Q:  Me too. So hard to narrow myself into a genre bucket. Tell me a little something about your current work.
A:  Maldene is the start of an epic fantasy that begins with a group of characters seeking fortune and destiny, unknowing that they are to be key players in a battle that has raged for all of what is known of as recorded History.  A wizard named Miro (pronounced My-Ro) is an evil of legend, feared, it is said, even by the gods.  Throughout History he has been responsible for the destruction of many a civilization, but what his exact motives and goals are a complete mystery.
This first novel is currently published as 2 volumes, has about 20 characters, and is about the length of the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy.  There are 13 books in all and a lot more characters, places, and plot lines.

Q:  You certainly have a lot on your plate. When working on a book, what is your  typical writing schedule like?  How long do you work, how much do you write, and how do you keep at it?  Do you have to have a certain type of environment (music, at home or in a cafĂ©, etc..)?
A:  I start in the morning, go for about 8-10 hours, and crank out around 12,000 to 13,000 words, sometimes more.  At night I edit, then the next day I finish up what's left of the chapter.  Day three I go back and edit and spell-check the whole thing, outline the next chapter, then start the whole process over again on day four.  I just seal myself up in my room, put on some music, and have at it.

Q:  Yikes! 12-13K words a day. How much discipline is required when working on a book and how hard or easy is it for you to maintain it?
A:  It's real easy once I get the music going.  If you love what you're doing, then 10 hours is nothing.  I come out of a long writing session often feeling refreshed.

Q:  How much background detail do you generate for the world in which you write, and how much of it actually directly ends up in the story?
A:  I have a lot of background details.  From weather patterns to my own alphabet, I have an entire notebook of notes, enough to fill out a complete world.  I even have a database with complete info on each and every character.  Some of the detail does end up directly in the books, others indirectly in the way of what some characters will say or do. 

For instance, my map is of the entire world, even places where the characters might never go.  They may, however, mention some in passing, such as the running gag of a place called The Farlands.  Never a place anyone ever wants to go to, more like escape from, it is a lackluster place populated by the descendants of shipwrecked sailors.  So being said to come from a place like the Farlands, means you really lived out in the sticks.

Q:  Definitely what Tolkien did. He created his own language and everything. Was there anyone particularly influential in, or supportive of, your writing?
A:  My Mom was a great support.  During times in which I was down on myself, opening criticizing myself for my lack of success and employment, she would tell me "Mark, you have 2 jobs:  taking care of me and your father and you're an author.  Now shut up and get back to work."  Or words to that effect, but she always meant it in a good way.  My Dad also became supportive in his own way.  he went from "when are you going to get a job" to "when are you going to get a publisher."  He had no idea how funny I thought it was to hear him say something like that.  I also found out years after he'd passed away that in his youth HE had wanted to become a writer.

Q:  I'm glad you were so close with them. In a way, you fulfilled their dreams. Have you ever suffered that dreaded writer’s block and how do you cope with it?
A: Writer's what?  I always prepare myself properly before each book, and seem to have an imagination that won't quite.  Writer's block to me is a thing I hear about but never suffer.

Q:  Me either. I have writer's run of the mouth. What is the easiest aspect of writing and what is the most difficult?
A:  Easiest is the writing part.  Hardest is anything having to do with the real world, like finding a publisher or agent.  I prefer my fantasy world.

Q:  How much rejection did you have to go through with before getting your first novel published and how to you deal with it?
A: Tons!  I inquired with about 150 literary agents.  Seems as the words "Fantasy and SF" along with "new guy" are a deadly combination.

Q:  What is the current status of your book and where can we get it.
A:  Currently I am prepping for a relaunch, starting with a new custom designed cover, which can be previewed in its in-progress state at my site, www.maldene.com.  Once the cover is done expect to see Maldene with an entirely new publisher.
Also at maldene.com you can read a sample chapter, or listen to a recording of me reading it myself, not to mention all sorts of little extras.

Q:  What final words do you have for any potential authors?
A:  Write what you love, what is in your soul, and do no write the market as others would advise.  Only when you write the story within you will you ever be able to do your very best.

I agree. And it's been great chatting with you, Mark. I wish you great success with your writing and the relaunch of your Maldene series.


FB Profile: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000010117263&ref=tn_tnmn

Maldene Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maldene-Fan-Page/117102904979088

Maldene Group on FB: https://www.facebook.com/groups/208436755919482/

Twitter:  @MarkAnthonyTierno


  1. Fantastic interview! I wish I had the time to have your writing schedule.

  2. Hi Mark, thanks for visiting on my blog. I enjoyed getting to know you and wish you lots of success.

  3. 12 or 13K a day? That's insane!! And creating maps and an alphabet. I can't imagine how hard he must work.

    1. Mark is unable to reply, but here's what he says: "It's easy when you're having fun."