Author Spotlight: Mark Cain
I'm really pleased to be able to introduce to you a true gentleman today. my good friend Mark Cain. I first met him over two years ago when we were both on Authonomy. We read and critiqued each others stories and kind of fell in love with each others styles.
He loved my first novel Limerence, quoting it as one of the best vampire turnings he's ever read. As for me, I adored his novel Hell's Super. It was quirky and humorous with great prose and a storyline so imaginative it could rival Terry Pratchet.
So please, give a warm round of applause to Mark Cain...
Mark Cain is a writer and musician living in the Austin, Texas area. His third novel, HELL’S SUPER, a comic fantasy, was published last fall by Taylor Street Books. It is available as a Kindle eBook or paperback. HELL’S SUPER is volume one of a new series, CIRCLES IN HELL. Volume two, A COLD DAY IN HELL, will be published in the Spring of 2014.
HELL’S SUPER has been variously described as satire, comedy and comic fantasy in the spirit of Christopher Moore, Terry Pratchett, Tom Holt and Douglas Adams. The entire CIRCLES IN HELL series, including A COLD DAY IN HELL, takes the everyday frustrations of modern life and expands them to Hellish proportions. You never know who you will run into in Cain’s cracked Inferno. You might encounter a great inventor, a movie star and, of course, more than the occasional devil and demon.
HELL'S SUPER (USA)
HELL'S SUPER (UK)
Mark Cain Interview
So, who the hell are you? Ha, ha, see what I did there?
Yeah, I caught that. I'm Mark Cain, and I'm working on a series of books called CIRCLES IN HELL. (Now your readers also see!)
Stalker links: (website/FB/Twitter/Amazon author page/)
Genre of writing:
Satire. You could also call it comic fantasy.
Can you name the last three books you read?
ODDS AND GODS, Tom Holt
THE GIRL ON THE RED PILLOW, Angelika Rust
EUREKA! 81 KEY IDEAS EXPLAINED, Michael Macrone
Can you name the next three books you will be reading?
GREAT GATSBY, Fitzgerald
CAT'S CRADLE, Vonnegut
LIFE AFTER LIFE, Kate Atkinson
The first two are rereads. I consider GATSBY the greatest American novel. Vonnegut is one of my favourite authors, and I haven't read CAT'S CRADLE in decades.
New author finds of 2013-2014 and those that you look forward to hearing more from?
Well, Claire C Riley of course. I'm still looking forward to the sequel to LIMERENCE. Then there's Angelika Rust. She's Austrian, but she writes in English, and she can tell the most macabre tale in a deadpan manner. Finally, Adam Oster. He and I are both comic book fans, and I had a great deal of fun with his THE LEGEND OF BUDDY HERO.
Other than writing, what do you do?
I play music. Living in Austin, you have to also be a musician. I think its a law here. Still, the rebel at heart, I do NOT play the guitar. I play tuba, in a British brass band, a traditional jazz group (Dixieland band), and a classical brass quintet.
Occasionally, I still do a bit of IT management consulting.
I'm a runner, a reader, and a lover. Beyond those roles, I'm a foodie; I enjoy food, beer, and wine. The Hill Country of Texas is replete with wineries. Touring them is a bunch of fun.
What’s do you think is the hardest thing about writing?
Selling what you've written. But not to dodge the question, I'd have to say sub plotting. I'm a very character-driven writer, and I tend to lock onto my protagonist's story line. To keep things interesting, I have to make a conscious effort to weave complexity into a plot. Otherwise, it becomes too linear a tale.
Tell us about your latest book?
Title: HELL'S SUPER
Brief run down in your own words:
The book is a satire or comic fantasy about Steve Minion, Hell's Super(intendent) of Plant Maintenance. He and his assistant, Orson Welles (yep, that one), have to fix Hell's Escalator. He gets some help from friends like Andrew Carnegie, Allan Pinkerton, and Steve's would-be girlfriend, Florence Nightingale.
Taylor Street Books out of San Francisco
Anything in particular that you want to say about it? Where did you get the inspiration from? Favourite characters? Tell us something unusual.
Earlier, I gave you a run down on the story. Now here's the setting: Imagine a Hell that is the worst day you ever spent at work -- you know, screaming bosses, unpleasant customers, bad coffee, too much work and too little time in which to do it. Take that day and put it on a never-ending loop. Mix in some devils and demons, famous historical figures, and the odd assortment of saints, magical creatures, and mythological beings. Take two egg whites...no, I'm confusing this with last night's dinner...instead add slapstick, sight gags, jokes, pop culture, and biting satire, and you have the landscape on which HELL'S SUPER unfolds.
The inspiration for the story came from my own loathing for Mr. Fixit jobs. Have you ever replaced a light rheostat and found that you could now change the volume on a radio you had plugged into a nearby socket? Well, I have. It was Hell. My own version. Now think of your own version of Hell. If you were a character in my book, that's what you'd be doing for eternity.
Favorite characters? BOOH, the infamous Bat out of Hell; Orson; Satan; and Uphir, who is a creepy little demon who runs Hell's hospital, which I like to call The Toaster. (No, I won't explain. Your readers have to read the book to find out.)
What are you working on next and when can we expect to get our greedy little mitts on it?
Ah, that would be the sequel, A COLD DAY IN HELL, which is about fixing a breakdown in Hell's HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system. This is a bit of a crisis, since there are metaphysical ramifications involved. Have you ever used the expression, "It will be a cold day in Hell before I...?" If you have, you see what's at stake.
When will it be available? That's in the hands of my publisher. I hope this spring, but it might be summer instead.
Hell's Super Excerpt & Cover
As always happy reading!
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