Mark currently resides in Florida with his wife and four children. He has achieved some success as a Kindle Best Seller and having one of his short stories selected as a winner in the Florida Writer’s Association Short Story Collection. Growing up in Kansas, Mark graduated from Sumner Academy of Arts and Sciences and received his Bachelor’s in Film from the University of Kansas.
Mark has written numerous novels, screenplays, short stories and digital series. Many of his stories are geared for the classroom. He has explored his spirituality, writing both with his father and daughter. Inspirational stories with positive messages are his goal with everything he writes and publishes under his imprint, MillerWords.
Welcome to my blog, Mark. Where did you get your inspiration for The Empyrical Tales?
My goodness, this has been an amazing experience. First, thank you for having me on the blog today. I have to be honest, this is not a new book. My writing adventure started 10 years ago, so asking me where my inspiration came from will take some cranking up of the WayBack Machine. Book 1 of the Empyrical Tales was my first traditionally published novel. There were lots of ups and downs, until, finally, I recovered my rights and am now able to publish it under my own imprint in a revised edition with a fresh new layout and a beautiful cover. So, that tells you some of the back story, but the inspiration was simple enough. I wanted a story that I could tell my children. I wanted it to incorporate the books and movies that I loved as a child (and now). The land of Empyrean is a place where myths, folklore and fairytales exist after their familiar stories have ended. It’s a place where we can escape from reality, like Oz or Narnia.
Please give us a description of book one: Journey of the Fourth Queen.
This is the start of a planned 8 book epic. At its heart, it’s the story of two sisters, Zandria and Olena. Personally, I like surprise and don’t like spoilers, so you won’t get me to give too much away. I will say this is the literal and metaphorical beginning of their Journey. Empyrean is ruled by four queens and one of them mysteriously disappears. Zandria and Olena go on their journey to find the Fourth Queen.
Tell us about book two: Search for the Lost Queen.
Book 2 starts the very next day after the end of book one. Can’t say too much without giving away the ending of the first one, but it is Zandria and Olena’s search for their mother. It expands the their world and introduces new characters like the tough, sarcastic elf Dew Lantisphere. She is forty-four years old, but because elves in Empyrean age slower than humans, she looks to be about the same age as 11 year old Zandria. Other main characters have their own subplots, but the whole thing comes together because the fate of Empyrean is always in the balance.
Did you have to do any research for this series?
Absolutely. Research, in my opinion, is essential to any writing. The old adage is “write what you know”, but if you don’t know it, research it. I wanted to bring a huge variety of myths and fairytales to life, so I had to dig deep. I’ve done so much research and incorporated it into the series, that I sometimes forget where it came from. Each book, however, has a different influence. Most of it is European and North American. However, Book 3: Mystery of the Secret Queen has a strong Egyptian background, while Book 5 will have an Asian influence.
You love to write Fantasy. What intrigues you most about this genre?
I write in most any genre from early reader adventure to adult non-fiction. An author friend of mine is fond of saying he goes where the story takes him. However, fantasy is in my heart. I was born in the 70’s, but I’m a child of the 80’s. I grew up in a fantasy world. Two words: Star Wars. Some might think it is sci-fi, but it’s actually an old-fashioned sword and sorcery adventure. That pop culture of books and movies shaped me and when I wrote a story for my daughters where the characters can magically live forever, that has preserved my own memories.
Where is your website so my readers can check out your recent and past books that you have written?
I have a landing page at www.MillerWords.com, where I happen to be giving away the full novel of Journey of the Fourth Queen to anyone who signs up for the MillerWords quarterly newsletter. Most of my activity is done on our Facebook page – www.FB.com/MillerWords
Thank you again for hosting me! This has been a treat to switch out of my publisher hat and into my author disguise for a little bit. I hope you don’t mind me mentioning that MillerWords is accepting submissions at YourBook@MillerWords.com (guidelines are on both sites above).
Thank you, Mark, for this very interesting interview. I hope my readers check out your books.