Interview with Mark Chapman
- Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’ve been married for almost 28 years to my amazing wife Barbara. (We’ve been together for 31 years.) We have two wonderful twenty-something daughters, Catherine and Jennifer. I’m a technical writer by day and a novelist by night. I’m a former MENSA member (former, not because I got stupid but because I stopped paying my dues). And I’ve written five novels (and started two others), plus authored or co-authored four nonfiction books (three of them about computer technology and the other about writing).
- Who are your favorite authors?
Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Fred Saberhagen, Anne McCaffrey, Keith Laumer, David Weber, Tom Clancy, James Patterson, John Grisham, and so many more.
- Tell us a bit about your books.
I like to try different things, so I’ve written hard sci-fi (The Mars Imperative and The Tesserene Imperative), soft/paranormal sci-fi (Sunrise Destiny), military sci-fi/space opera (My Other Car is a Spaceship) and a sci-fi/zombie hybrid (Aliens Versus Zombies). I also like to throw a “left turn” in what otherwise might be a straight-forward story.
For example, Sunrise Destiny starts out as a near-future private detective story. The protagonist, Donatello Sunrise, is hot on the case of some missing girls. In the midst of the investigation he’s abducted by telepathic aliens and ends up having to save both the aliens and humanity. In Aliens Versus Zombies, the remaining few million humans struggle to survive against fast, cunning, living zombies, Then, in the middle of the zompocalypse, aliens invade with 20,000+ ships and two million troops. It should have been an easy victory for the aliens. Little did they know.
I haven’t written any fantasy novels, but I have written a short story that crossed over from fantasy into sci-fi (Selamere’s Quest). Probably not one of my best stories, though. J
If I may brag a bit, My Other Car is a Spaceship rocketed (pardon the pun) to #1 in the Amazon military sci-fi category in September 2014. Sunrise Destiny was a finalist for the 2010 EPIC Award (sci-fi category). The Mars Imperative and The Tesserene Imperative have 4.3 and 4.6-star ratings, respectively, on Amazon. And my latest, Aliens Versus Zombies, currently has a 4.4 rating after six weeks of sales. (all 5-star reviews but two).
- If you could travel back in time to any place and period in the past where and when would you go?
When I was young, I was fascinated by dinosaurs and considered becoming a paleontologist. That fascination continues today. I’d love to be able to go back and see the dinosaurs in person—from a safe vantage point, of course. (I’m not entirely crazy…) If that time machine allowed me to go forward, I’d love to see the future, a century or a millennium from now. Will we have survived that long? If so, what is society like? Did we eventually travel to the stars? If so, did we meet any other sentient beings? Was the meeting peaceful or warlike? And so on.
- What attracts you to writing in your genre?
It’s fun to invent alternative universes, future technology and societies, other sentient beings, and the interactions of people with those technologies and societies. With a typical Western story, cop drama, romance novel, or most other genres, the author is limited in what he or she can write about. Period cowboys can’t use death rays or machine guns, cops can’t use flying cars, and romances can’t involve spaceships or time travel—at least not without some sort of sci-fi or fantasy aspect to them. I love the freedom sci-fi affords me, the ability to write about anything under the sun (or inside the sun, or through the sun).
- Tell us a little about your books. I see you like to delve into many different genres.
(Essentially the same question as #3.)
- Are you planning to participate in any anthologies? Any hints about your story?
I have already, with a story called “Fallen Star, Rising Star”. It’s about two boys who find a “falling star”, which turns out to be an alien probe sent to investigate humanity. The boys have to find a way to save humanity.
The anthology is called The World Outside the Window. The concept of the book is that all of the authors are looking out the same window, where we see a number of people in a park across the street. They’re doing various things: two boys playing catch, a young couple sitting on a park bench, etc. The 19 authors had to pick some of the characters and write a story about them. The stories could be in any genre except erotica. We ended up with romances, paranormal chillers, sci-fi, and various others. Quite an assortment, and all of them good reads. (Mine ended up being the lead story.) Here’s the URL for it: http://www.amazon.com/World-Outside-Window-DON-HARPE/dp/0979170192/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8. It’s out of print now, but there are still new and used copies available. I’m considering publishing a collection of my short stories and funny rhyming sci-fi poems (such as Escape From Gilligan’s Island). Some are humorous, some deadly serious.
I have had a number of short stories, humorous essays, and rhyming sci-fi poetry published in various magazines. Some are available to read for free on my website.
- What do you like to do to relax?
A lot of things: I play games with my girls (when I can get them both together, which isn’t often), I golf (made a hole-in-one in May 2013!), I bowl (once bowled a 276 game and 655 set) and I swim. More passively, I watch TV with my family, I write, and I read (though not as much since I started writing). Leisure writing includes crossword puzzles. (I actually had a few published in a magazine when I was in high school. It was a hospital in-house publication, so it wasn’t seen by more than a few thousand people, but hey they were published.)
- What are you currently working on?+
I have two novels (Mooncrash: The Fall of Mankind and The Galactic Imperative: Book 3 of the Imperative Chronicles) that I started writinga few years ago and never finished. Mooncrash is about the final days of Earth before a rogue moon falls and ends life on Earth, and the struggle for a few hundred people to get to Luna and survive there. The Galactic Imperative is a sequel to both The Mars Imperative and The Tesserene Imperative (which are stand-alone books set in the same fictional universe), bringing characters from each book together for a new adventure).
Both books are more than half-done, but I got stuck on each of them and haven’t yet figured out how to finish them. L I’m currently trying to unstick them. If that doesn’t work, I have some ideas for sequels to Sunrise Destiny, My Other Car is a Spaceship, and Aliens Versus Zombies.
- How can readers connect with you?
Easy. Send me a PM on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MTChapman.Author), or leave a comment on my website (http://MarkTerenceChapman-Author.com). (My website has a blog, and if I get enough people to enroll, I’ll start sending out newsletters as well). Readers can also reach me via Twitter at https://twitter.com/MarkTerenceChap @MarkTerenceChap or http://twitter.com/chapman208 @chapman208.