Friday, May 24, 2013

Blog Tour Stop: Author Interview with Mark All and Giveaway!

Hello everyone!

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour presented by Pump Up Your Book. Read on to learn more about Mark All, and his book, The Spellcaster's Grimoire, and enter to win!

About The Spellcaster's Grimoire:

Title: The Spellcaster's Grimoire
Author: Mark All
Publisher: Imajinn Press
Published: February 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
Genre: Paranormal Thriller
Pages: 224


Bestselling witchcraft author Trish Sinclair has a shameful secret: she's a lousy spellcaster, and the spells in her books belong to others. So when a dying warlock entrusts her with an ancient and powerful grimoire, she runs for her life from his murderer, psychotic witch Kate Cavanaugh. Kate pursues Trish relentlessly to obtain the grimoire, which holds spells to command the fearsome power of a magic crystal hidden in town-and Kate is determined to have that power. When the town coven refuses to help Trish protect the grimoire, she is forced to turn to cynical warlock Aidan McCarthy, who has a secret agenda of his own, and Rain Devereaux, a novice witch whose spellcasting abilities are even worse than Trish's. As Kate unleashes the elemental might of tornadoes and ice storms on the trio, they desperately struggle to defeat her. But Kate is too powerful, and she manages to steal the grimoire and unearth the crystal. Trish knows Kate will use the stone's power to exact her deadly revenge on Aidan and the town coven unless Trish can manifest her latent magical abilities to save them.

The Interview:

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Do you have any unusual talents or hobbies?

I’m a full-time author after a career in computer-based training. Mostly for healthcare information systems, although I also did a flight attendant training video for a major airline. Before that, I had some unusual jobs, from gravedigger to FM radio announcer to professional rock guitarist. “Professional” meaning I played in a
band for a living, not that I toured with Bon Jovi or anything!

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?

When I wrote a short story for a middle school English class assignment, I realized that creating my own scary adventure was even more exciting than reading books and watching movies. The teacher—and the class—loved my stories, and I knew I’d found my bliss.

Where did the inspiration for The Spellcaster's Grimoire come from?

I wanted to write a story about a lost book full of magic for a long time. That’s always been a popular motif in storytelling, the forgotten or hidden eldritch tome or artifact that holds mystical powers both great and terrible. I think it’s a metaphor for the power within us.

What made you choose to write a book of this genre?

As a kid I loved scary and science fiction movies and books. Buffy the Vampire Slayer came along and put all that in a fun, cool, modern context, which influenced me and probably several generations of paranormal and urban fantasy readers and writers. A movie called The Craft was also inspirational. It was hip and smart, but scary. Then I picked up a book by Kelley Armstrong and discovered the Paranormal/Urban Fantasy genre.

There are lots of books that deal with witchcraft and magic on the market. What makes yours different from all the others? Where did your inspiration for the type of magic the characters use come from?

My books are written like fast-paced, action thriller popcorn movies. I try to keep the reader on the edge of her seat on the roller coaster—and then yank her off. They’re also grounded in very realistic and familiar settings to make them believable, with just that one supernatural element. The characters’ dialogue is, I hope, smart and witty and current, but appropriate to the danger they’re in.

Who is your favorite author?

Stephen King is still my favorite, although I read a variety of genres. I like Kim Harrison, Kelley Armstrong, Patricia Briggs, Dean Koontz, and many more.

Do you have writing routine? A special pen, a certain type of music, time limits?

I write in the mornings, when I’m fresh. Since I’m a musician, I can’t listen to music without becoming involved in it and distracted from writing.

Do you enjoy edits/rewrites, or not?

I love rewrites. The first draft is magic, I set myself free and write as quickly as possible, trying to keep up as my mind generates the story like a movie in my head. Sometimes I’ll intentionally overwrite, so I’ll have more material to choose from during the editing stage. In revisions, you can fix things that don’t work, amp up things that do, and polish. But mostly, I cut. You can cut to make the writing tighter and to achieve a fast, page-turning pace.

Do you do a lot of external research in the process of writing? If so, what's the most interesting thing you've uncovered in your research?

I envy people who research thoroughly, but I hate and avoid it. I used to want to write Michael Crichton type science fiction thrillers, and even bought a college level robotics text. I quickly came to the conclusion that I did not have the background to
do that. Nor can I write about cops or soldiers, I’m doing good to just get around in traffic. So I write about the supernatural and magic, which I can just make up, and about everyday people we can all relate to, who stumble into dangerous situations and have to do the best they can.

Which character was your favorite to write and why?

The protagonist of the current book is usually the author’s stand-in for herself or himself and ends up working through some external problem that’s symbolic of an internal issue the writer has—which the writer then gives to the character in some exaggerated form. But of course all characters are facets of the author’s mind, and if
you’re not enjoying writing one of them, you probably need to change that character so that you do enjoy writing her. Especially since the reader won’t likely want to spend time with that character, either!

So Trish Sinclair is my favorite in the Spellcaster’s Grimoire. She’s met with outward success in her life, but feels like a fraud, like she hasn’t lived up to her own standards and those she imagines her mother had for her. Then she’s thrown into a situation, partly of her own making, that forces her to fulfill her potential.

That being said, Rain Devereaux, whom Trish and the hot warlock refer to as “Goth Girl,” was actually more fun to write. Young, snarky, and full of an optimism verging on naiveté, which the Heroine and Hero find both endearing and annoying.

How do you come up with your character names?

Character’s names often just come to me, and feel appropriate for that person. I also have a baby name book and a phone book. For some, I have an actor in mind and use a first and last name from different characters she’s portrayed. Hopefully no one will ever make that connection, because the character should have her own identity, and the reader should construct that character in her own mind. For that reason, I try to keep physical descriptions to a minimum, but it’s hard not to paint the details of the picture I see in my mind.

Please tell us a little bit about your journey to publication.

Aspiring writers should be aware that most published authors write from three to ten books before they’re producing publishable manuscripts. Revise each to the best of your ability at the time, send it out, but then move on—you’ll grow more by writing the next novel than by beating a dead horse. Of course, some people write great novels on their first or second time, you never know, and that’s what keeps us going.

I wrote three novels before I wrote my first published book, Mystic Witch. Try to find an agent, and if you can’t interest one, then look to the small presses. If it comes to it, self-publish, but only when you’re sure the novel is as good as other books on the market. There are some remarkable self-publishing success stories, and many advantages to doing it. I won’t rule it out in my future. But the big names are the exception, most self-published books sell very few copies. The real challenge is making people aware of your book out of all the hundreds of thousands being published.

What is the hardest part of being a writer?

Keeping going may be the hardest part. It’s a lot of work, there’s a lot of rejection, even for the big names, at least early in their careers. You have to love doing it.

Are there any common themes that you feel are particularly important to write about?

I believe each writer inevitably writes about what’s important to her, it’s as inescapable as the characters reflecting their creator. Whatever issues trouble us and we need to work through, or inspire a passion in us we want to communicate, will come out in our books. Most authors discover after writing a number of books that they all feature a “core theme” specific to that writer.

When you're not writing, what are your other hobbies/passions?

I was a working musician for years, and I still practice the guitar and record at home, and occasionally play gigs.

Are you working on any new projects?

I’m finishing a dark supernatural thriller, still with a love story, but more serious than my two Witches of Milton County books. It’s called Penumbra, and it’s about a washed-up musician whose songwriting partner returns from the dead to complete their final album—but the music turns listeners into homicidal maniacs. Don’t
worry, the Spellcaster’s Grimoire is nowhere near that dark, it’s an exciting but fun book!

Quick Fire round:

Coke or Pepsi? I don’t consume sugar or high fructose corn syrup, so it’s water and Starbucks for me!
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate! Usually as ice cream made with Splenda!
Rainy winter days or blazing hot summer days? I’ll take the summer—sunny skies fill me with hope.

Hard Copy or e-book? Hard copy. I admit I read e-books of novels I’m not sure I want to keep on my shelves. This saves money, but there’s at least one I’m going to have to buy the hard copy of after reading the eBook!

Favorite book? Stephen King’s It.
Last book you read? American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett.
What's a quote that inspires you? “Never quit, never quit, never quit.” -- Bill Clinton
What's your favorite comfort food? Macaroni and cheese!

About Mark All:

Mark All is the author of paranormal thrillers The Spellcaster’s Grimoire and Mystic Witch, published by ImaJinn Books in trade paperback and eBook formats.  He has won two international writing awards and contributed to Computer Legends, Lies & Lore.

Mystic Witch received a 5 Star review from the Paranormal Romance Guild, and 3½ stars (out of 4½ possible stars) from RT Book Reviews.

Mark is a full-time author after a career as an instructional systems designer at a Fortune 16 company. Prior to his work in computer-based training, he held jobs ranging from gravedigger to FM radio announcer to professional rock guitarist.

Mark presents writing workshops and taught his “Planning Your Novel” course at the Spruill Center for the Arts.

He earned a Masters degree in computer-based education and a Bachelor of Music cum laude.

You can visit Mark All’s website at

The Giveaway:
One lucky reader will win a paperback copy of The Spellcaster's Grimoire!

The Rules:

This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada.

This giveaway is not in any way associated with or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or any other social media site.

The author NOT Melissa's Midnight Musings is responsible for the shipment of the prize to the winner.

All entries will be verified, any false entries will be removed.

The winner will have 48 hours to respond to their notification email before a new winner is chosen.

The giveaway runs from 12:00 AM Pacific time on May 24, 2013 to 12:00 AM Pacific time June 7, 2013.

Enter below to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

night owl in IL said...

f I had the power to cast any spell you wanted, what kind of spell would it be?
That's so hard to answer. How about a spell to give me more spells? A spell for good health? Maybe a spell to find somebody to share my life with where we'd be happy together until one or both of us died.

Thanks for the contest/giveaway!

Lea Ellen {night owl in IL}