Hello my little munchkins. How are you all doing? I am doing okay. I have gotten sick recently but I am getting better. I hope you are all doing okay. This is a long post so why don’t we just get into it.
What is your writing kryptonite?
Good stuff on TV, my cat demanding attention, or a headache.
What made you want to write this book?
I’ll answer what made me want to revise & MARKET this book after 20+ years. I still felt strongly that it is a good story with interesting characters and one that teens would enjoy.
If you could tell your younger writing self something, what would it be?
You’ll never be able to give up your day job, Bub!
Have you ever had difficulty coming up with an idea for your story?
At times. Some come almost without thought and some are like pulling teeth.
What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your character?
Not a penny! Lol No, the original version of the Higgins Point kids, written in eighth grade, was certainly patterned on real people (including me)…but the mature version of the characters bears little resemblance. They’ve all become their own (very real) people.
Do you google yourself?
Lol Yes and there are about 5 authors named Mark L. Evans!
What word would sum up your book?
Do you believe in writer’s block?
No. I refuse to believe it happens. It’s just like broken toes. I’ve never had one. One time a toe turned purple & was stiff as a board for a month, but I refused to admit it was broken. Eventually it was OK again. It’s the same with this alleged “writer’s block.” Sure, there have been times I’d been looking forward to spending an evening writing, then sat down & immediately thought, “I’ll do this another night.” But I refuse to admit I had writer’s block.
What is your writing process like?
I’m much different in writing YA than writing adult novels. For YA, I’m a strict outliner (note cards first!) For most of my adult books, I’ll just have a general idea of where the story’s going when I start, then have some semblance of an outline by the time it’s half done.
What advice do you have for other writers?
Read, learn the language well, (I’m still learning it at 56!), and write every chance you get.
How much research do you do for your books?
Too much, sometimes! Lol I went back as an adult & got a Master’s degree in history, so I love research. I always do detailed character sketches. If it’s a book set in the past, I dig into that time period, to get the feel and to find out what was and wasn’t there.
When did you decide you wanted to become a writer?
I’ve enjoyed writing fiction since grade school, but really decided I wanted to be an author in junior high.
When did you first start writing?
I wrote a short story about Dr. Frankenstein and his monster in third or fourth grade.
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
I write on a Dell desktop computer. My early writing was done on a manual typewriter.
What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?
Sometimes it’s just making yourself sit down and get going on it.
What is the easiest part of writing that you consider?
Writing a scene that really flows, one where the characters take over.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
It can be anywhere from a few months to years. If I had all the money I needed without holding down a job, I could probably crank things out pretty fast.
Any tips on how to go through a dreaded writer’s block?
Charles Schultz used to say if he couldn’t think of anything for his Peanuts cartoons, he would just draw Snoopy lying on top of his dog house and figure out what he was thinking. I’d say just put your characters in some unusual situation and see what they do. Even if it’s not something you can use in a book, it may help you get to know your characters a little better…and it should get your creative juices flowing.
How did you decide to pick out your book cover?
Since I was going indie and there are SO many self-published books out there, I knew I couldn’t fiddle around with it. I hired a real pro, Monika MacFarlane with Ampersand Book Covers. I found one piece of cover art, but she found a better (similar) one.
Do you think the cover plays an important part of the buying processes?
Absolutely. It was a great investment.
How do you market your books?
By doing stuff like this, going to conferences, doing bulk e-mailings, etc. I need to do more.
Why did you choose said route?
I almost sold this series to a top Christian publishing house years ago. I decided to focus my “traditional” publishing hopes on the adult Christian Historical Romance genre and take a shot at getting the Higgins Point kids out there as an indie publication.
What is your favorite quote of your book?
Angie has a little bit of a Jenny B. Jones protagonist in her. She comes up with a lot of pithy remarks and thoughts. I can’t pick one out.
How can your readers discover more about you and your work?
Go to m-l-evans.com .
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
I was a little history nerd growing up. I could name all the U.S. presidents and what years they were in office when I was in second grade. (And, yes, you young wise guys, I realize there weren’t nearly as many of them to remember back then!)
From Unwelcome Detective: “I stood in the silent hallway, listening to my heart pounding. Here I was. Did I have the guts to carry things through? I took a deep breath and looked down the corridor both ways. I tip-toed to a door marked “X-ray” and softly tapped on it. I tapped harder. Nothing. I gently turned the handle and eased the door open. I stepped inside and closed the door behind me, feeling for a light switch.
I found it and squinted at the sudden brightness of the fluorescent lights. I had been in the X-ray room several times when we’d first moved to Higgins Point, when Hank O’Neal, a friend of dad’s was the chief X-ray technician.
I looked around the tidy room for a moment, trying to steady my nerves. There. An old, black filing cabinet stood against the wall. Actually it was made of four cabinets pushed together. I read the paper cards on each door.
“Aaron to Baker,” I murmured to myself. “Baker to Cash.”
I pulled the drawer open and thumbed through it. I saw the name “Jason Barrenton.” I gently pulled the file out, turning it toward the lights. I opened the file and began flipping through it.
I glanced at the medical forms, pulling out an X-ray. There was a light table, a glass-topped table with fluorescent bulbs under the glass, nearby. They had one in the journalism room at school for looking at photo negatives. I set X-ray on the light table and switched it on. Everything looked normal to me. I gave it a close check and then dug back into the file.
At the back of the file was a manila envelope. I opened it and pulled out another X-ray. I set them side-by-side on the light table. I checked the dates and saw that they were both from Friday night, and both were of Jason.
I took a close look at the second X-ray and nearly gasped out loud.
Unlike the first X-ray, this one showed a large piece of rib pointing wildly toward the center of the body. I hadn’t taken high school biology yet, but I knew enough to know that the broken rib was pointing directly toward Jason’s heart.
“No one will ever know how bad he’s hurt until it’s too late.”
I shuddered all over, and my heart raced wildly. I’d found it. Not everything fit, but I had the basics. Steve Stokes had learned of the treasure supposedly buried under the Old Sleetz House, and somehow thought he could get it by sabotaging the football program. That part didn’t make sense. But he was obviously paying someone big money to hide Jason’s injury. That part was easy enough to understand. All the Inner County football program needed right now to wipe it out completely was to have a player killed during a game, and from the looks of that X-ray, one good blow to the ribs from a Central player would do the trick.
My mind raced. Should I grab the X-rays and run to the authorities? Or should I put them back and try to convince someone to come look at them?
Before I could register another thought, a strong hand clamped down over my mouth. I tried to scream, but it was too late. Another strong arm grabbed me around the waist, pinning my arms to my sides. I tried kicking at the person’s legs, but I was running out of air. The hand moved from my mouth for a second, then returned with a funny smelling handkerchief.
I fought to stay awake, but everything went black.”