Mark Anthony Tierno, Author Spotlight

Maldene is a world of magic and science, wizards and dragons; but home also to an incredible secret. One jealously guarded by History’s most villainous being: Miro. For centuries his presence has been plaguing the nightmares of gods and men; the world is in his thrall, there is no one willing to face him.

Or perhaps there is. The young wizard Sabu, and his elven friend Eldar, lead their companions on a journey to seek a destiny foretold them by a blind gold-skinned gypsy. Fighting a three-hundred foot dragon will be but the beginning of this quest, as they journey the globe in search of answers to the mystery of Miro’s villainy, and uncover the world’s long-buried secrets. For they are destined to lead a new battle against this most ancient of evils, to gather all beneath the banner of a mysterious King and face the unfaceable.

There is just one problem: Miro is counting on their success.

Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author Mark Anthony Tierno whose book Maldene Volume One thrilled me from beginning to end. I personally would recommend this book to all of those that love fantasy but really the book can be read by anybody as it is flawlessly written and highly enjoyable. With today’s author spotlight for Mark Anthony Tierno, a biography of the author and an interview between us both will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful Mark Anthony Tierno!

A full-time author and ghostwriter, Southern California native Mark Anthony Tierno has crafted a truly epic fantasy novel that will take you to the ends of a world of magic, alien vistas, and ultimate evil.  He holds a Master’s Degree in Physics, which often plays well in his creation of other worlds, and is the author of both the Maldene series and his Inspector Flaatphut series, as well as others yet to be seen.  He has this one problem with writing, though:  he can’t stop!  When he’s not working on his own projects he’s working on someone else’s, and currently has ideas for a LOT more… if he can just find the time away from the rest of it.

So how much is “a lot” when it comes to his works?  Well, Maldene is a *thirteen* book series, of which the original Maldene Volume One and Maldene Volume Two are actually just the first full novel in the series (had to split it, long story, won’t do it again).  Maldene II is the second book in a series that comes out to an incredible 5.2 million words (the single longest series, I believe), with some 250 characters, and a plot that stretches across the many lands of Maldene, other dimensions, other worlds, and throughout thousands of years.  The first couple of Maldene books alone will bring you across about 4-5 different continents, two worlds, and a rather strange dimension or two, in a story that one blogger described as being “LOTR meets The Odyssey”.  And on top  of all that, Maldene has its own language which I use from time to time (that’s right, this author has invented his own dictionary and alphabet).

All this is just tip of the iceberg, because there is far more to come.

Now, how wonderful does Mark Anthony Tierno sound?! The author is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of the author’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between us both, I hope that you enjoy the author’s answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!

Thank you for joining us today at Red Headed Book Lover! Please tell us more about yourself.

Well, I’m a science guy that also loves writing fantasy books; I can tell you about what’s wrong with the Big Bang theory (the actual theory, not the TV program) at the same time as talking about wizards, dragons, and epic battles between the two.  I have a Masters in Physics, which when it comes to writing means I’m my own research material in a lot of things.  Single, introverted, shy, and spent about 25 years of my adult life in parental care- My Dad got Parkinson’s Disease when I was in High School so I was the one helping out my Mom with him, all while I was getting my degrees then later while writing my novels.  After he passed I then had to look after my Mom… and the writing never stopped.  This sort of schedule gave me plenty of writing time but was not conducive to garnering a social life to an already shy fella.

Both of my parents are gone now, so it’s just me and my books… getting close to 40 of them.  Nowadays I ghostwrite to pay the bills and my feeble attempts at marketing my own works.

If I had to rate myself (based in part on feedback from others and what I truly know of myself), on a scale of 1-10, I’d say the following:  Storytelling an 11, self-promotion about a negative 3.

Oh, and I make homemade pomegranate jelly.

Could you please tell us readers about your book and what inspired you to write your book?

Maldene is the name of a world of fantasy and science fiction, situated far far away from the Earth of Man.  A place that lives of its own, with no connection with Earth, no lost colonies or college students finding their way there, it has its own history, geography, and… mysteries.  It is a world long plagued, though, by the most villainous bad guy of them all- Miro (pronounced as “My-Roh”).  Long has he been the dark veil upon history, his plans unknown but feared even by the gods.  He is a villain who plans centuries in advance, with no remorse anywhere in his soul.  His origins are as much a mystery as his goals, but this much is known or suspected- he is after a whole lot more than simply the world.

But now into this something new arises.  Unbeknownst to themselves, Sabu, his elven friend Eldar, and an eclectic group of characters have been chosen for a destiny that will eventually pit themselves against the forces of Miro to try and discover what it is that he wants.  Of course, that means passing a couple of tests first; tests that they don’t know they’re taking.  For Fate has chosen them, and a mysterious King awaits word of their success as he readies his armies for the inevitable confrontation against the vast hordes that Miro has spent centuries building.

The first full novel- “Maldene: Volumes One And Two” is the first in a massive 13-book, 5.2 million word, series.

As for what inspired me to write something this massive, it all came down to one little observation I made around the age of 13 or 14 when it seemed as every villain I ever saw on TV or read about, always came down to either making stupid mistakes so that the good guys could win, or explaining his evil plans to someone he thought was his prisoner.  Or the times when I’d be shouting at the screen, “Why don’t you just SHOOT the guy already?!”.  I wanted a villain with no faults, someone that if he let you live when he had the chance to kill you meant that you’d already been used in his plans.  Just a good old fashioned black hat wearing, mustache twirling, bad guy.  Someone who does not make stupid mistakes, who can plan hundreds of years in advance, with the patience of continental drift to carry them out.  So, I designed Miro to be the ultimate bad guy (which means, of course, that he needs the ultimate goal, but no more spoilers in that regard).

Then for the world itself, I wanted a world big enough where I could put in just about anything.  A world where guys with super-science could be found at one place, and primitives in the other, and neither know about the other.  A world that mixes my love of both Fantasy and Science Fiction.  The rest just sorta gradually came together… over a period of about 15 years before I actually started writing it all up.

What would your advice be for aspiring writers?

I actually wrote up a top 10 article for my web site on this subject (which means, of course, that it actually has eleven points), but the best points are these:

1) Write your soul.  Forget about what the “Market” wants today, that will change by the time you finish your book.  Write what you really LOVE, because that’s the only way you’ll feel the flow and perform at 110% percent of your capability.  After you finish your work, then you can find the audience to match it.

2)  If you passed High School English and have a creative bent, then that’s all you really need to know; no learn-how-to-write-a-novel courses taught by some guy who failed at his own endeavors, no creative writing courses, no special software other than a word processor and a database.  Frankly, the best way to learn how to write is to learn how to read.  When I was about 13 I started taking mental notes as to what I liked about the way a given author wrote something, then just let it simmer around in my head for a couple of decades.

3)  Number 11 on my top 10 is a line I came up with all on my own (hey, remember that I create stuff; it’s what I do), and that is this:  They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but the goal of a good writer- the goal of a GREAT writer- is to make a word worth a thousand pictures.

In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book?

You know, I’ve heard debates going on about Plot versus Characters, with some arguing rather loudly how one is far more important than the other.  But the truth is, they are both equally important.  A character-driven story without a plot will be a boring snooze fest that will end up as a movie-of-the-week forgotten halfway before it’s finished airing (Gosford Park, I’m looking at you).  But a plot-driven story with no real characterizations to carry it through will reduce to a random shoot-em-up where the hope is that special effects will carry it along… which since we’re taking the *Written* word here, then the presence of such effects is rather limited and the story will fail before you get to the “good stuff” in the plot.

You need both.  A strong plot with a definite goal you’ve defined in your notes, and characters that stand out, who are strong and developed enough to carry the plot on their shoulders while talking trash to one another.

What is your writing process like?

Apparently somewhat brutal compared to what others tell me.  🙂

First day of a new chapter, at about 7:30 in the morning I’m at my keyboard typing away for about 8-10 hours, at which point I’m looking at 12,000 to 14,000 words as my output.  Break for a trip to the health club, then later while I’m eating dinner I edit what I wrote that day, usually done by 11 or 12 midnight.  Day two of a new chapter, I get to finish things up, which at that point is somewhere between 3000 to 5000 words left for that chapter, after which I either run my errands or just bike around and relax (I’ve gotten a lot of ideas just walking around in the Arboretum), then edit what I wrote that evening.  Day three is what I call my “Chapter Edit” day, and basically means I go over the entire chapter, look for any errors in plot and what-not, spell-check it, then outline the next chapter so that the following day I can start fresh with the new material; chapter editing is usually about 3 hours in the morning (then more errand running and biking).  The next day the process starts all over again with a new chapter.  I should mention here that this assumes Maldene-sized chapters, which tend to be from about 15,000 to 20,000 words each.

Before even starting on a new book, however, I spend a couple of weeks drawing up an outline or rough sketch of the book’s plot, including any notes of key points, then stat up any new characters needed into my database (I keep track of all characters in a database, by the way, with a second database for the Maldene language to have on hand as needed).  Only after all this prep work is done, will I begin.  I should also mention that to answer that ancient question of if I plot everything out ahead of time or write by the seat of my pants, I say BOTH.  I do plot ahead of time, of course, because to not do so is rather unforesighted, but many a time I have come up with new characters and plot elements on the fly as they just seemed to fall right out of what I was writing; as long as they do not take things too far off course from my intended course of the plot, then I’ll go with it, and thus the world of my story becomes richer.

I write at home at my desk, but I do so with music playing.  I have a rather large collection of movie sound tracks that began with my original copies of the first Star Wars and Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.  The music keeps my focused (complete silence would be most distracting), as I picture the epic scenes running as a movie through my head; my job then becomes to record said mind-movie onto paper in as artistically and visual a manner as possible.  Gotta have my music, but nothing with lyrics or I might find myself paying more attention to the words in the song instead of the words in my head.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Well, in most cases I am my own research.  I spent a number of years developing the world of Maldene while I was in college; drawing maps, working out the types of weather, culture, alphabet and language, and so on.  All in all about 15 years before I felt I was ready (I spent a number of years in college then also with helping out with my Dad, so I wasn’t doing this full-time… yet).  Now, I have another series that DOES take place on Earth, so there were a few things I had to google as to what they looked like- I’ve never been to New Orleans or the Vatican, which is where a few scenes in my Cyberdawn series take place.  Also, for Maldene XIII there is a particular spaceship that figures prominently for a good portion of the book, so I actually made a rough diagram of what’s where in it to refer to.

Do you have a set schedule for writing, or do you only write when you feel inspired?

As I mentioned earlier, I’m at the keyboard by about 7:30 every morning, and do that for Monday through Thursday; sometimes Friday or Sunday morning if I have some quick editing I’d like to get done (Fridays is my “me” day, so lunch at a sandwich shop, maybe a movie, then some biking and the Arboretum ,and some groceries).  Between my writing during the day and editing at night, I figure I easily work in a 40-hour week in those four days.

There have been days when I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, where I was sure I was just going to sit there as I took my place before the computer, but there’s a funny thing with me- the second I start up my music, it FLOWS.  I have never gotten writer’s block (that outlining ahead of time really helps), and in the process of writing the 13-book epic that is Maldene, I have smoked 3 keyboards, two motherboards, and a monitor just from my pace.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

Not so much lately simply because of my schedule, but growing up my room was covered in books.  Remember as a kid in school you could order paperbacks through Tab or Lucky Books to be delivered at the school?  I’m the kid that would walk away from the teacher’s desk with an embarrassing armload of about 7 or 8 books at a time.  Then later starting in High School I joined the Science Fiction Book Club for about 10 years before the money played out.

Favorites?  Hmm, well there would be a lot, including A.E. Van Vogt for a little novel called “Slan” that people may have forgotten about, or H. Beam Piper for “Little Fuzzy” and “Fuzzy Sapiens.”  Oh, also anything by Andre Norton, perhaps thee most prolific author of them all (she was literally writing up to the day she died; sent her last finished manuscript to her publisher then passed away about a week later).  Frank Herbert is good for about the first three Dune books, then Jack Williamson appears a few times in my little library for some golden-age stories (look up Three From The Legion for some fun), but at this point if I were to continue listing who I liked and why, I’d be here all day, so I’ll stop now.

Lastly, when can we readers expect to read more wonderful books from you?

If you buy them, they will come…  Here is what I have already written, just awaiting a demand and the means for me to release them:

Maldene:  13 novels

Maldene Origins:  2 novels

Cyberdawn:  5 novels

the Inspector Flaatphut series:  1 short story, 1 novella, and 4 short (100,000 words) novels- those first two are already out).

The Land Of The Hive:  8 novels (written with a partner who needed help developing her ideas and bringing it all to life).

I should also mention here that each of the Maldene novels average in the area of 375,000 words apiece, with a couple breaking the 500,000 mark; Maldene XIII hits 570,000 words, which is 8000 words shy of War And Peace (I looked it up).  The Cyberdawn books average about 275,000-300,000 words each, and the Land of the Hive ones I think average about 150,000 words apiece.  Near as I can figure, that’s over 9 million words to date- enough to keep any three publishers busy for about a full decade at the least.

And for the future?  Well, if I can ever break away from the need for ghostwriting, I have a little file with some extensive notes on the next world I’d like to work on- a world with 16 moons and no human in sight.   Also a possibility for a 5-book Maldene sequel that I have in mind, and that same partner for the Land of the Hive series, before she passed away asked me to come up with something to replace all the zombie and glittering-vampire themed projects that she kept seeing everywhere and grew to hate… so I did and wrote up a little treatment setting up the background for THAT world.

In short, I’m not going anyplace folks, I’m here to stay…

Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with Mark Anthony Tierno! If you have liked what you have read about the author and are interested in learning more about Mark Anthony Tierno, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the preview too! You will not regret it.

Goodbye for now book lovers,

Amazon U.S. – Amazon U.K. – Goodreads

Mark Anthony Tierno: Website – Ordering Through Website – Amazon Author Page – Twitter – LinkedIn – RSS Feed – Pinterest – Tumblr – Goodreads Author Page – YouTube – Facebook – Facebook Fan Page

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Mark Anthony Tierno

Wow, I’ve been spotlit, and I didn’t even have to jump over a prison wall or walk out on a stage to do so!


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