Me: Talk a little about your writing process. How has it changed from book #1 to #4?The Page 69 Test: The Blade Itself.
Marcus: More than I thought it would. That old axiom about every book being different? It's spot-on true. I've become a more organized writer with each book, which helps when the fear sets in. I outline the overall shape, and where it makes sense, I apply a three-act structure. There's less wing-it-and-pray and more take-this-hang-glider-off-the-cliff-and-still-pray. This is a strange and scary way to make a living. You need to strike a balance between planning and inspiration. Lean too far either direction and you're likely to end up with something that's either stale or scattered. I guess the biggest change is that having done this a couple of times, I know to expect certain traps. I know that around page 200 I'm going to hate the whole damn project. I know that nearing the end, I'm going to hit problems that seem unresolvable. But I also know that (fingers crossed) if I just keep banging my head against them, eventually I'll break through.
Me: What research do you do for your novels?
Marcus: I tend to research all the fun stuff. I've ridden with gang cops, gone shooting with Special Forces, toured the morgue, learned how to make chemical weapons, practiced picking a deadbolt. Generally, if research involves a fair chance of hurting myself, I'm in.
Me: THE AMATEURS is about 4 friends; are these characters based on people you know?
Marcus: The characters...[read on]
The Page 69 Test: At the City's Edge.
The Page 69 Test: Good People.
The Page 99 Test: The Amateurs.