• Mark Meier

Q & A Tuesday

In what genre(s) do you write?

I write mostly historical fiction, with some fantasy and some mystery. What’s the favorite book you’ve read?

This is really hard to answer because I have so many favorite books. One of my current favorites is Outlander (and all the sequels) by Diana Gabaldon. It has great history and wonderful characters. I also love all the books in the Belgariad by David Eddings, and the Victorian historical mysteries by Elizabeth Peters. (One of these is called The Last Camel Died at Noon.) What’s the favorite book you’ve written?

My favorite book so far among those that I've written is A Mistake of Consequence. Would you pinpoint the biggest challenge you faced as an author?

My biggest challenge as an author is not letting other things distract me. I have a lot of other interests, including travel and hiking. I also have six grandchildren. All of these things take time away from writing, but I'm better at everything else in my life if I make sure I use some time to write. Who has been most instrumental in your publishing career?

This one is also very hard to answer. I've been writing stories for over fifty years. My second grade teacher could take the credit for getting me started. Then I'd have to say my sisters were very influential because they always wanted to listen to my stories. I've been in many writing groups over the years, and attended a ton of conferences. Christine DeSmet and Laurel Yourke from UW-Madison's Writer's Institute have been extremely helpful. Really, there are too many people to name. What keeps you away from writing?

Right now, I've been spending more time on editing and marketing than on writing. I need to shift back to more writing.

What do n you do with the bulk of your day?

For over twenty years I was a full-time high school English teacher. I've retired now, but I still teach part time (high school and adult education.)

What are common traps new writers should avoid?

New writers often think they are finished when they've finished the first draft. Believe me, no one is finished that easily. New writers also sometimes avoid sharing their work. Writing partners and other readers really help a writer develop. Finally, some new writers keep going back to the first few pages, trying so hard to get those perfect that they never finish. It's best to finish a draft and then go back and polish. Otherwise, it's too easy to get stuck. How can writers help each other?

One obvious way is to read (and leave reviews if possible). We all want readers, and readers make better writers too. Writers can also offer feedback with partners or groups, and share information with each other.

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