Interview with Mark Wallace Maguire
I was raised in over a dozen cities throughout the South. I now live south of Atlanta in what I like to call Red Clay Country. My novel, "Alexandria Rising" was published in October 2016. In 2015, my non-fiction book, "Letters from Red Clay Country" was published which featured a selection of my award-winning columns and essays on Southern culture. My writing has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines and literary reviews and he has been honored by organizations such as The Associated Press and The Georgia Poetry Society.
Here is the gist of it without giving away any spoilers: Rand O'Neal, an ambition-less newspaper reporter, is given a single task upon the death of his grandfather: Destroy a mysterious map. What should be a simple errand thrusts Rand into a journey across three countries chased by unknown pursuers into a world he never could have imagined. This book is labelled an action adventure, but contains elements of science fiction, suspense and mystery. It is also the first in a trilogy and a series of prequels. It is also linked to a multi-media website which allows readers to engage with the experience in video, images and interactive appendices.
Why did you decide to write in the action-adventure/sci fi genre?
About three years ago, I had finished a book - unpublished - which was semi-autobiographical. It was a good catharsis, but not very fun to write. I decided then if I was going to write a novel, I wanted to have fun writing it. I had a great time writing ‘Alexandria Rising’ and the readers I’ve talked to enjoyed it as well, so I think having a positive, creative outlook really came through in the words.
What did you enjoy most about writing your book?
I wrote ‘Alexandria Rising’ as an outlet and a way to channel my imagination. Along the way, I was introduced to the ideas of world creation which - while I was aware of i.e. J.R.R. Tolkien, George Lucas, etc. I had not done before to this extent. Discovering that path and challenge has been loads of fun.
What did you find most challenging about writing your book?
Choosing what to leave out can be tough. Also, sometimes boiling things down and trying to make the complicated accessible. That is a chief goal of mine. You don’t want to talk down to your readers so I usually try to disseminate complex ideas through dialogue.
What did you hope to accomplish by publishing your book?
I hope to become a full time writer. I currently work in media and, while I enjoy my work, I would like to be able to write for a living.
What is your greatest challenge as a writer?
Time. Finding time is always a challenge. I have a full time job and a family so I write in the margins of life so to speak.
Do you have a favourite author, or writing inspiration?
There are so many tremendous writers out there, but, I would really have to name J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert Ludlum, Susanna Clarke, C.S. Lewis, T.S. Eliot and Pat Conroy as my top influences. Lewis, Tolkien, Ludlum and Clarke have outstanding imaginations and Conroy and Eliot are simply masters of description.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Any hobbies? My number one passion outside of writing is playing and composing music. I am actually working with a number of musicians now on a musical companion to my novel entitled, ‘Alexandria Rising Rhythms.’ I hope to release it by July.
Are you working on another book?
I am currently working on the sequel to ‘Alexandria Rising’ tentatively called, ‘Alexandria Reborn.’ I am about 48,000 words into the third draft and hope to have it on the market by fall 2017. As I write it, however, I also find myself writing bits and pieces to the prequels as I work to create a world and history around the characters and such.
About the Author
Mark Wallace Maguire is a writer, musician and creator who lives south Atlanta in Red Clay Country. He hails from all over the South, having lived in 15 cities across that beautiful and bizarre region. His works include the novel Alexandria Rising and a book of columns and essays on Southern Culture, “Letters from Red Clay Country”. His writing has appeared in dozens of other publications and he is currently working in media in metro Atlanta.
You can read more about his work on his website.
And Alexandria Rising can be found at Amazon