The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Mark Lingane, Again

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The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Mark Lingane, Again

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Summary: Author Mark Lingane describes his latest book, I Love Lucid cyber-techno-thriller-alternate reality-procedural-pseudophilospophical dark comedy. Ani wasn't about to disagree but she had a few questions for Mark when he popped into Bookbag Towers.
Date: #
Interviewer: Ani Johnson
Reviewed by Ani Johnson

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Author Mark Lingane describes his latest book, I Love Lucid cyber-techno-thriller-alternate reality-procedural-pseudophilospophical dark comedy. Ani wasn't about to disagree but she had a few questions for Mark when he popped into Bookbag Towers.

  • Bookbag: When you close your eyes and imagine your readers, who do you see?

Mark Lingane: Still the same as last time. You’re all fabulous, every single one of you. But I am finding there is neither rhyme nor riesling to the readers, you can’t pick them. In the end there is only one reader. And that is me. First and foremost, I have to write stories that I like.

  • BB: I Love Lucid is a lot darker than your previous work, incorporating

some rather gritty adult themes such as brutal sex and drugs. Is there a specific reason for the change in style?

ML: I wanted to write a story where no one was likeable, where there was no obvious hero. And for those people to exist, they have to have that kind of world, a more realistic criminal world. I also felt I had written enough ‘nice’ books and wanted to explore how you could have the philosophical debate threaded through all the debauchery, because amongst all the primal urges we still ask ‘why’. People are the ultimate conflicting dichotomy: mind and body. Nature vs Nurture. And as it developed into a story of opposites it pushed the boundaries further. What was it like if you had a bad guy on the side of good, and a good guy on the side of bad? How does morality change in those conditions?

But I liked this style. It made my writing better. I could be leaner with the prose. But, ultimately it was something new to try. Just as Tesla, Dec 2013, is my first early YA novel. I’m trying lots of things to see what I like and what I’m good at. It will define my writing direction in the future.

  • BB: The gang members in your new novel all speak in a mixture of alpha and

non-alpha characters. It's a clever idea; why did you do it?

ML: I was aiming the story mainly at the New Adult market and I thought the l33t speak would be something they understand and enjoy. I hear it now within teenage conversation. They’ll use acronyms like LOL in their general vocabulary. L33t is an extension of that which works well in a book.

  • BB: Is there ever any of you in your characters and, if so, which parts of

you are present in I Love Lucid and in whom?

ML: I think every author would say that every character must have some part of themselves in there. After all we drive their actions and put the words in their mouth. When I was writing Seth’s backstory, which was cut in the end, a friend stated that it was interesting to see me in the book.

  • BB: This book was initially released in instalments. What did you find were

the advantages and disadvantages of this and did any of either surprise you?

ML: Well, I would classify it as a failure. The first episode was free, so hundreds of copies of it are out there. But the take-up rate on the remaining episodes, which weren’t free, has been pretty bad. It was a marketing experiment, but it hasn’t worked out. I got better results at a recent science fiction convention where I had a stall. I think the idea is great. You could string out a series for months without worrying about length, letting the plot unravel in all sorts of amazing and unexpected directions. Maybe it’s not the right time.

  • BB: I Love Lucid is a bleak view of the future, made even bleaker by the

fact that we can see the seeds being sown now. Give us some hope; as an IT specialist, what are some of the brighter technological innovations to which we can look forward?

ML: There is none. I really ramp this up in Tesla. Like anything new, technology should be controlled. It is a tool. At the moment we are becoming the tool of technology. That’s the problem when things develop beyond the average person’s understanding. In the old days, if your car broke down you would lift the hood and fix it. Or hit it with a hammer until it went. Now, you lift up the hood, after searching for fifteen minutes for the release, only to find a great sheet of plastic covering everything. Then we have to wait for the roadside assistance ‘expert’ to come out and fix the car. We are trapped by vehicles. Computer technology is the same. It is a tool. It shouldn’t get in the way of what you wanted to achieve with it. But this is what’s happening. If you understand what you are dealing with then you have control, but if you don’t then all you have is dependence.

  • 'BB: You once said I want to explore creativity in plot and styles and

remain accessible. How would you define accessible and, to you, what makes a book inaccessible?

ML: If something is accessible it has two things: quality and enjoyment. It can be as confronting and challenging or confusing, but if it is written to a high quality, and is elegant then it is accessible. Removing either or both of those makes it inaccessible.

  • BB: You're certainly prolific - this is the fourth book you've published in a year. Why are you working at such a rate?

ML: The first two books were simply finishing off existing stories. In reality there are only two books I have written totally from scratch this year. Desert Heart and Tesla. All the others I had completed some if not most. With Lucid I had written about 8k words but completed most of the plot. So it was a matter of connecting the dots. And it seems natural and easy these days. I honestly believe I could write a book in six weeks if I was full time, then another month or so for rewriting and editing. I have an efficient, high quality and fast team that contributes to this. The other reason is that with indie publishing, content is king. You need to have a lot of stuff out there so your chances of being discovered are greater. I had an original target of ten books in three years, so I am on track for that. Maybe just the three next year. I’ll take it easy. ;)

  • BB: Although your writing styles are diverse, you add nods to, hints of or

sometimes blatant examples of popular culture, e.g. your song-title chapter titles in your 'Heart' books and your SF homage moment to Blade Runner in Lucid. It's now part of your literary scenery denoting a Mark Lingane book but why did you start doing it?

ML: I can’t pretend that all these great works haven’t been before and been an influence. I believe if you share the ideas then you should pay respect to the source. But pop culture is a fascinating topic which binds us together. It is a shared understanding that can let the writer and reader share a moment and make a connection.

  • BB: What's next for Mark Lingane?

ML: Tesla is planned for a December release. Then we’re into 2014. I have sequels to Lucid and Tesla planned, and one other old story to finish. But then I have already made some good headway in the third Ellen and Alex book. I’ll keep churning them out and hopefully something will strike a chord with the wider reading community.

  • BB: Thanks for chatting to us, Mark and we wish you success from all that hard work.

You can read more about Mark Lingane here.

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