Q: Let's start with something off the wall. Who's your favorite dwarf in The Company and why?
A: Part of my answer will surprise you, since my genre of choice is Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I hate the Hobbit movies. I guess my favorite dwarf is Thorin Oakenshield. He's driven and a strong leader. There's also a darker nature lying below the surface that I appreciate since my writing tends to lean toward the darker side of human nature. So, back to the Hobbit movies. As a teenager, I devoured all the books, from The Simarillion to the Return of the King. I consider the LOTR movies to be cinematic masterpieces in every way: character development, plot, stunning imagery, all worthy of Tolkien's epic tale. The Hobbit movies feel more like a bloated, large-scale video game. any scenes are unforgivably cheesy. I will plop down money and watch Battle of the Five Armies when it is released, but you won't find the DVDs on my shelf at home.
Q: If you could have a chat with anyone from history, who would it be?
A: There are so many.
- Jules Verne
- Thomas Edison
- C.S. Lewis
- The Apostle Paul
- Albert Einstein
- King Solomon
- Abraham Lincoln
Q: I love the world you've created for Whispers, especially how Eversong is tied to music in almost every way. Can you tell me about where you got the inspiration for all that?
A: It started with the "Creation Song" in the very first novel I wrote many years ago. Crossway books considered publishing it, but eventually passed. The story was a fantasy retelling of the creation story from Genesis, where God sang the universe into existence. I incorporated some elements from that novel into Whispers and just added to it. From there, Eversong was born. I enjoyed playing with the musical theme. Some readers caught it.
Q: Can we expect a sequel to Whispers? If so, tell us about it.
A: There is a sequel. The working title is Blood Tithe. The portal that opened between Earth and Eversong in the first novel also freed faeries from the Winter Court (the Unseelie) and Summer Court (the Seelie) to run amok on Earth and cause major troubles for Jason Snider. I'm really excited about how two parallel plot lines between Jason on Earth and the elf Strum and Magus Sinngh on Eversong unfold.
Q: I know you're working on a project called Medieval Mars with author Travis Perry. What can you tell me about that project?
A: The concept is interesting. The world of Medieval Mars takes place in some future time after humans colonized Mars. Over time, though, technology and scientific knowledge was lost and society degraded to a feudal system reminiscent of the Middle Ages. What little technology that survived is referred to as coming from the "Time of Magic." The stories primarily take place in the area from Olympus Mons eastward to the Chryse Planitia that is now a shallow sea in our world. I really enjoyed exploring the region and the society that lives there within the stories.
Q: Let's talk briefly about the writer's group Pittsburgh East Scribes. We have both been involved since the very beginning. Can you believe it's grown as much as it has? And all the writers have gone in so many different directions.
A: I am humbled by the success of Scribes. I started the group with one goal in mind: to provide information, resources, and encouragement to help aspiring authors pursue their dream of seeing their work published. We've assembled a great group of writers that I think covers most genres. The energy and passion and commitment I feel at every meeting is so encouraging to me. Every time I suggest a summer or holiday break, I'm shot down. Everyone wants to meet. I can't tell you how that makes me feel.
Q: I feel like I know you too well that I can't think up any good questions. So let me see here... I know you love kayaking and basically the great outdoors. You told me not long ago that you saw a bear! If you could go and do anything in the world and you had no restrictions, what would it be?
A: After my rafting trip through the Grand Canyon a couple of years ago, I have 3 items left on my bucket list.
- Hike to Everest base camp. I don't want to climb Mt. Everest, but I think the 16 day hike through the Himalaya Mountains in Nepal to base camp where the expeditions are launched would be spectacular! (I have a feeling I would not be doing this with my wife, Kathy.)
- A cruise to Antarctica.
- Explore Alaska by rail and hopefully do some kayaking during the trip.
Q: Do you still make time to read?
A: With a full time job and many obligations, finding time to do everything I want to do is really a challenge. The only way to fit in everything is to give up on sleep. That isn't going to happen. Thank God for my kindle and kindle app on my smart phone. I have a 45 minute commute to work on a rideshare van. That's when I do the majority of my reading as well as my critiquing.
Q: What kind of traditions do you and your family keep around the holidays? In other words, how much does your Italian show?
A: For Thanksgiving, we're traditional with the turkey and stuffing. For Christmas, though, we keep the tradition of the "Feast of the Seven Fishes" on Christmas Eve. Menu items vary from family to family. We've added a few items to our menu over the last couple of years.
- Linguine with a red anchovy sauce
- Orange Roughy in tomato sauce
- Baccala (salt cod)
- Whiting (fish)
- Smelts (fish)
- Bagna cauda (warm anchovy dip)
Q: And on a fun note, what do you think about Twitter? Do you like it or would you rather keep what you had for lunch today to yourself?
A: I've always been uncomfortable with the marketing and social media end of the writing business. I'm basically a private person. But Twitter and Facebook and blogging and Goodreads (I could go on) are all necessary evils. So, I tweet and do all the other social media stuff that's expected. Am I as active as I should be? See my response to question 8 about making time to read. :-)
Thanks for the interview, Mark!
Check out Mark's blog to stay updated about his stories: www.markventurinijourney.blogspot.com
Also find Mark on Twitter (@Mark_Venturini), Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/markkventurini/ ), and Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7173590.Mark_Venturini?from_search=true ). Mark is also a contributing author to the Colony Zero series, up on Amazon now! Links to his chapters are below.
Colony Zero -Volume 1 -Contact http://www.amazon.com/Colony-Zero-Contact-Travis-Perry-ebook/dp/B00IC86952/ref=asap_B00G14LU1W?ie=UTF8
Colony Zero -Volume 3 -In the Midst of Sorrow http://www.amazon.com/Colony-Zero-Volume-Midst-Sorrow-ebook/dp/B00JFZJXLI/ref=pd_sim_kstore_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=1GYBGEXEYZ9WF4YC4JVQ
Colony Zero Series II -Volume 2 -For the Children http://www.amazon.com/Colony-Zero-Series-II-Children-ebook/dp/B00OGOXBFM/ref=pd_sim_kstore_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=1SGBER1JZ36S7WD0X2Z7