Mark Stallings

Rob Howell
Mark Stallings

Biography

Mark Stallings is an Amazon Best Selling author, member of Pikes Peak Writers, speaker at International conferences on Technology topics, is a writer of Wuxia, Fantasy, Thrillers and Military Sci Fi.  He is a competitive shooter, avid martial artist, drinker of craft beer, and motorcycle enthusiast. He currently lives in Colorado with his wife and children.

You can find Mark:

– on Facebook at facebook.com/markwstallings

– on the web at www.markstallings.com

– on Patreon at patreon.com/markstallings

– on Amazon at amazon.com/author/markstallings

Interview with Mark Stallings

Why are you here? I happen to have been in a room where this project was being discussed. Since i had just paid for dinner, it would have been awkward to not include me. Seriously, though, I have a significant background in business as well as proficient at writing fantasy.

What are your influences? I grew up reading Lloyd Alexander and that led me to The Hobbit. From thee I read Raymon First, David Eddings, Dennis L McKiernan, Margaret Weis/Tracy Hickman and Robert jordan. I developed a passion for the deep worlds and characters they developed.

Who are some favorite other creators? I have an equal passion for pulp Fantasy novels of the 80’s: Gary Gygax, Thieve’s world, Forgotten Realms. I played a lot of D&D and these were mind candy

What made you a creator in the first place? Reading got me though some really difficult periods of my life. I want to write entertaining stories that might help someone else though their own period.

Why did you choose to create what you create? I have a passion for history and fantasy. I love magic and the arcane. Tales of the past and tombs filled with wondrous artifacts of a bygone era.

Describe your great Lab of Creation?  I have a MacBook Pro running Scrivener and powering a 34″ Utrawide monitor with LED lights stuck to the back of it

Where do you work? Home? Coffee Shop?  I work from home. i predominately write here too. Early on I heard stories about how some authors need dead quiet and no distractions. I don’t think that’s ever I mode I want to be in so I can write at the pub, or coffee shop or conference hallway.

Do you listen to music? If so, give some examples. I crafted specific playing lists for my first fantasy book – lots of Female led Metal. I like listening to Rock when I write and Two Steps from Hell – thematic music – when I edit.

What other things exist in your productive environment? I have an unburned pineapple candle. I love the smell of the essential oils in it. I have a very large monitor. I like to have my outline and Scrivener open side by side as i go. I have stacks of reference books. While I like ebooks, I like technical books as physical copies

What things have you tried that haven’t worked? I tried to fly once. three cracked ribs proved I need more work on that. I tried to run with the bulls, they are very fast.

What are your superpowers? Networking and Instant-Sleep

What kinds of things do you like in your creations? I like some humor. I’m not writing Comedy, but books need moments of levity or they just become grim meat grinders.

What are specific techniques you do well? ​I like to think I do dialog well. I definitely like the up from ideation and structure of a story. I’m a software guy, I like a plan.

What are some favorite successes you’ve achieved, especially things you had to struggle to overcome? My first attempt at a story was a complete dumpster fire. i had no concept of pacing or story structure. With my first book, The Elements, I was able to put the structure into place and it led to a really nice story.

What will Lex Luthor use to defeat you?  Yeah, if he were to slide out a double pepperoni, double cheese pizza from Dion’s I might be done.

What are some of the challenges you have faced that frustrated you? Motivation after a rough day at work. I feel beat up and need to still try and make words.

Do you have any creative failures which taught you something? What were those lessons? My first attempt at a book. It was rough. No idea of story, hooks, character development, motivation. Thankfully, there were couple of people in the writer community who took mercy on me and got me moving in a good direction.

How do you overcome normal slow points like writer’s block? Because I am a meticulous plotter, I don’t get writer’s block in the ‘I don’t know what to write’ sense. For me, it is more a motivation thing. Between life, a wife i like to hang out with, and a soul-crushing DayJob, It is really difficult to sit down and push out the word count.

Which mistake would you try to keep other creators from making? Pace yourself. slow and steady wins the race. a thousand words a day will produce 4 novels a year. Consistency is key

If you could go back and tell yourself anything about writing, what would it be?  DO IT! there were 5 movies about sharks in a tornado. No idea is worse than that. Write the story.

Lightning Round

  • Favorite Muppet? ​Grover has a special place in my heart. But favorite from the show is Swedish Chef
  • Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard of? ​Yello – people know ‘Oh Yeah’ from Ferris Bueller’s Day off but not the band that did it.
  • Favorite Superhero? ​Spider-man
  • Favorite 1970s TV show? ​Charlie’s Angels
  • Favorite Weird Color? Heliotrope
  • Favorite Sports Team?  Phoenix Coyotes, San Diego Chargers, LA Dodgers, Manchester United FC
  • Best Game Ever? The Milton Bradly gamemaster series game of Shogun
  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? ​Fall. I love the smell of the leaves and where it is just beginning cool enough to wear long sleeve shirts
  • Best Present You’ve Ever Received?  In 1981 I was getting into D&D. My mom went into Hampton to a game store and got me the blue box Advanced set, the AD&D Players hand book, the Monster Manual and the Fiend folio. the fact that she took the time to research where to go next in the game was amazing. Love you mom.
  • What Cartoon Character Are You? I am Calvin
  • Your Wrestler Name? El Jeffe
  • Your Signature Wrestling Move? The Power Elbow
  • What Do You Secretly Plot? How to get my friends to a financially secure place so we can go on adventures around the world
  • How Will You Conquer the World? I will bury them in Ink
  • Best Thing From the 80s? The music. It was so full of hope, fun, love and partying. Later music seemed to have lost it’s soul to pander to the mindless
  • Favorite Historical Period? To Study? The Crusades.  To live in? The 1980’s
  • Most Interesting Person In History? Teddy Rosevelt. He was a warrior, politician and conservationist.
  • Steak Temperature? I prefer Medium-Rare but most steak places can’t his that so I usually order Medium
  • Favorite Chip Dip?  Guacamole
  • Favorite Cereal? Coco Pebbles
  • What Do You Eat For Your Last Meal? 16oz Prime rib, medium rare, garlic mashed potatoes and green beans.
  • Beverage(s) of Choice? Iced Tea, no lemon</li>
  • Do You Have Pets? I have 2 cats
  • What Actor or Actress Should Portray You in Your Biopic? Mathew Lillard in Bosch
  • What Question Should I Add to the Lightning Round? If you could be any kind of animal, what would you be and why?