Mark Young is a name that comes up all the time in purpose-driven crime fiction. I’ve read his work and I’d put his heroes in the classical “warrior” archetype — self-controlled, possessing moral courage. Taking full responsibility for his actions in the mission. Demonstrating an ethical code of personal honor, noble restraint, and individual humility for his deeds. These qualities in Mark’s heroes intrigue me and make me want to keep reading.
So, I thought I’d get him over here and ask him a few questions about his writing and his new novel FATAL eMPULSE.
Nike: What about Gerrit O’Rourke intrigues you the most? Why did you create him?
Mark: Gerrit is a man of contrasts. His eidetic memory allows him to recall sensory as well as visual information, allowing him to master languages, laws of science, and the intricate rules of combat and survival, but he is a dismal failure in the area of personal relationships.
I created Gerrit with a set of unique abilities that he will need to face the future. Off the Grid, and its sequel, Fatal eMpulse, embark on a journey that will take us from now to the tribulation. We have all read biblical prophecies about end times, but how about the time between now and then. How do we get to a point where there are ten kings ruling the world, and the anti-christ desecrates the temple mount. What part does the U.S. have in this…if any. Gerrit and his crew of characters will have to struggle through all this as Gerrit is forced to consider his own faith, his own beliefs, in the contact of these perilous times. Gerrit—through each novel—must deal with the rise of new technology, the dynamics of world politics, and the clash of good and evil.
Nike: What impresses many readers is your talent for hiding who the villian is. In fact, you sometimes hide who several of the bad guys are until the end. Is this a talent you simply have, or do you have to plan and plot this out in your novels?
Mark: Thank you, Nike, but everything about writing comes hard for me, particularly when I struggle to orchestrate a dynamic, ahh-got-you moment. If a writer miscalculates, it’s like a comedian messing up the punch line—the story goes flat and dies. The reader becomes disappointed. So I kick it around in my head for a while, maybe even months at a time. An idea might pop up out of nowhere and I run with it. Other times, I’ll settle on an outcome and carefully go back through the novel—planting little hints like seeds—before the reader finally discover who the true villain might be. Now my next novel, Broken Allegiance (A Tom Kagan Novel), coming out this summer, has more villains than you can shake a stick at. Take your pick.
So, let’s find out a little bit about FATAL eMPULSE…
A presidential edict hurls Gerrit O’Rourke and his international team deep into the heart of the Mid East to prevent an aerial attack threatening to start another world war. To make matters worse, a traitor close to the president alerts others of Gerrit’s mission. Only days away from the attack, the team must stay alive long enough to complete their mission and thwart whoever is trying to orchestrate their deaths.
Racing from the blue waters of Florida’s Key West and California’s Lake Tahoe to the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea, everything comes down to this—who will survive? Gerrit’s past again rises to create conflict between himself, his Mossad-trained partner Alena Shapiro, and a flame from the past—CIA agent Shakeela Vaziri. Beyond romance, beyond survival, Gerrit and his team must race against the clock as attack planes launch. Every second counts.
Mark’s first novel in the series is OFF THE GRID. Readers can follow this main character from the moment he first appears on the page.
Mark Young is an American novelist. He worked as a police officer with the Santa Rosa Police Department in California for twenty-six years; an award-winning journalist; and a Vietnam combat veteran. He served with several law enforcement task force operations, including the presidential Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force targeting major drug traffickers, and the federal Organized Crime Task Force charged with identifying and prosecuting prison gang leaders. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his family.