Welcome back for another round of author Q&A. This time, it's Mark Scioneaux gracing us with his presence. Let's get to the questions.
1. HRR – Hey, Mark. Can you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself.
I am a Bram Stoker Finalist Editor and Author of horror and thriller fiction. I’ve written my entire life, but really started professional writing around 2008 when my love of zombies inspired me to write my first short story; which I submitted to an anthology for publication. From there, I wrote more zombie fiction and started to branch out into other subgenres. I am a huge horror fan and consume it anyway I can get it; books, movies, other media, etc. My other hobbies include exploring and cooking interesting foods, obsessing too much over my favorite sports teams, and spending time with my wife and our very strong-natured hound.
2. HRR – What is the most difficult part of your writing process?
For me, it’s staying on task and chopping away to the finish line. As writers, we are always thinking of the next idea and when we get that jolt of creativity, it’s hard to not drop everything and start working on something new. I’ve had to train myself to finish what’s in front of me before going on to the next project. A situation where I had four unfinished projects led me to that decision.
3. HRR – How do you develop your plot and characters?
I think about what I would want to read (if a book) or watch (if a movie) and go from there. I start with thinking about the topic of the story and what happens in the beginning and end, then I have to flesh out the middle – which takes the longest. I try to stay organized and create boards with various characters that contain their information and other notes about their personality. Then it comes down to plopping them into your story and seeing how they react to the world you create. It’s strange to say, but sometimes a character has surprised me by having their direction changed from where I thought it would go. Being flexible as a writer is key, and so is doing what you feel is right with your story.
4. HRR – How many books have you written, and which is your favorite?
I believe I’m around 8 novels and 3 anthologies. For books, I’ll always love Insurgent Z (re-released as Dead on the Bayou). It’s a fun, Romero-style zombie tale of a soldier coming back from the war in Iraq and adjusting to being the sheriff of a small town when a zombie invasion begins. It has tons of action and great characters. I’ll also always love Cannibal Fat Camp (co-created with David C. Hayes) and the attention it still gets to this day.
For anthologies, Horror for Good is the book that launched me. It was released in 2012, but even as recent as last year people at a convention remembered the book. I was able to work with Lansdale, Ketchum, and Ramsey Campbell to name a few. Pretty cool for an editor new to the scene.
5. HRR – Do you enjoy doing research for your books?
Absolutely. Sometimes too much research and before you know it I’m going down the rabbit hole of Wikipedia articles and YouTube videos. I’ve even taken research to the gun range to hear how a suppressed rifle or handgun would sound so I could accurately write about it in a book. The thing is, what we are writing is fiction, and though the world we create isn’t real, the details better be or your readers will take notice.
6. HRR – What does your daily writing schedule look like?
It’s project dependent but at the moment it’s spent editing stories for a new anthology. Once that is complete, I will try to write for a few hours each day. Word count isn’t important to me more so than word quality. And if I’m not feeling it, I stop and do something else. There’s been a few times where I forced myself to write and then had to delete and start over the next day because what I wrote wasn’t good enough.
7. HRR – Can you tell us about any books you are working on at the moment?
I have a few projects in the pipeline that should last me until 2024.
Tales from the Clergy: Stories Inspired by the band Ghost – an anthology I am currently editing for release Summer 2023
Slipway Grey – Re-release of a beautiful serial killer who bonds with a vicious bull shark for release October 2023
After these are completed, I have my next three books mapped out, with one being Cannibal Fat Camp 2.
8. HRR – Which authors serve as your inspiration?
I think any child of the late 80s and early 90s would be inspired by RL Stine and Stephen King. I also love the works of Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Brian K. Vaughn, and Clive Barker. I can’t say I write like them, but I love them way they make it look so effortless. David C. Hayes and Dane T. Hatchell are two authors I have been lucky enough to not only work with but also consider as friends.
9. HRR – How do you celebrate when you finish a book?
I usually step away from it for a few days and take a break from writing in that time. Then I’ll return to it and the process of reading and revising begins. Sometimes it’s a joy to finish and other times, a relief. Each story is a different journey for the author.
10. HRR – Finally, please tell us where we can find and follow you online.
I have started my own publishing house for my work and for any anthology projects that interest me. The name is October Nights Press and it’s an ode to my love for Halloween and all things spooky. You can find me at www.splattertheatre.com, and on Facebook (October Nights Press), Twitter (@1031NightsPress), and Instagram (@octobernightspress).
I will also be appearing at several conventions this year:
Not Just Another Horror Con – Little Rock, AR (3/4/23)
St. Tammany Collector Con – Mandeville, LA (4/1/23 – 4/2/23)
PeliCon 2023 – New Roads, LA (4/29/23)
KillerCon 2023 – Austin, TX (August 11 – 13, 2023)
Cult Classic Con – Baton Rouge, LA (9/2/23 – 9/3/23)