Thursday, January 17, 2019

Meet the Author: Mark H. Jackson, Author of 'The Atlantis Deception'

Mark is a qualified solicitor who splits his time between protecting the rights of academics, writing thriller fiction and raising five mostly lovely children. He studied Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Birmingham with a nod towards alternative theory, focusing on the relationship of the Giza complex to the stars; portolan maps; and the origins of civilisation and religion. It was within this flame the plots for his future novels were born.

Mark’s writing career extends back over a decade and his diverse portfolio includes three novels, a number of short stories and even a six-part sitcom. Long listed for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, he is currently a featured author on the popular writing website, Wattpad, with over 6,000 followers from all around the world and well over one million reads of his first novel. Aside from Wattpad, Mark is an active member on a number of other writing websites, spending his spare time offering editorial and structural advice to fellow authors. Up to now Mark has considered writing as a creative outlet for the myriad of characters and ideas roaming about his head. The time has come to tease them out of hiding and breathe a little life into their lungs.

His latest book is the adventure/thriller The Atlantis Deception.

What first inspired you to write or who inspired you?
I suppose my mother is possibly to blame for fueling my interest in reading and writing, but I always wanted to read. I was that child under the sheets late at night with a torch and my latest book. I loved reading and writing just seemed a natural bedfellow. I remember attempting to write an Enid Blyton style mystery at primary school, so I guess it was in me from an early age. I was quite a solitary child and just enjoyed the escapism it offered.
In what feels like a different lifetime, I studied Archaeology and Ancient History at university with a nod towards alternative theory, focusing on topics such as the relationship of the Giza complex to the stars; portolan maps; and the origins of civilization and religion. It was within this flame the plot for The Atlantis Deception was born.
Can you name three writing tips to pass on to aspiring authors?
I can’t pretend adventure books of the type I write are easy to construct. First and foremost, one must know one’s subject inside out, be it theories, artifacts, myths, legends – the research phase is all important. Poor research will result in a poor book and I have certainly seen even established names fall into this trap (particularly once they have a number of books behind them and the ideas are running thin). Planning the plot, at least at a basic level is also a must. Some novels can meander, dictated only by the tip of your pen and the whimsy of the particular day one chooses to write. Adventure novels cannot be created in this manner. They must be gripping from the start and sustain that level or risk losing the reader. I’m not sure anything I say can make the journey easier for any budding Dan Brown. There are no real short cuts, but if you are dedicated and put in the hours, the rewards are certainly there.   
How often do you write?
I write whenever I can sneak it in. I’ve got a one-year-old, four older children and a full time job at the local University. It can be hard fitting everything in, but I believe if it’s worth doing and the will is there, once can find the time. At the moment I tend to write late at night or early in the morning. Any other time and I’ll have a tiny person on my lap wanting to tap the keyboard like his daddy!
Are you an avid reader?
I think you have to be a reader first and a writer second. I believe Stephen King famously said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.” I tend to read in the same genre that I write, both for pleasure and research. My favorite authors at the moment include Steve Berry, Andy McDermott, Clive Cussler, Scott Mariani, David Gibbins, Michael Crichton, and Robert Harris. They are all masters of their craft.
What are you reading now?
Having cited all the above, at the moment I’m reading “the President is Missing,” a collaboration between James Patterson and Bill Clinton. It’s building to be one of the best political thrillers I’ve ever read!
What are you currently working on?
I am working on two novels at present in the same series as, The Atlantis Deception. The first, Roswell, The First Shot Fired, is complete and awaiting the editing phase. As the title suggests, the book offers an alternative to the Roswell narrative and throws my protagonist, Dr John Hunter, into the deep end of a world he doesn’t understand. It is a fast paced action adventure and takes in locations ranging from the Soviet era Russia, the Americas and Europe. The truth is out there! 

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