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Interview with Mark Gilleo


When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I was standing in the doorway to the kitchen in 2002 and I had an out-of-the-blue urge to write a novel. I initially ignored the urge, but a few months later I found myself sitting down trying to get a half-formed story out of my head and on to the computer screen.   The only writing course I had previously taken was whatever was required in college.

What genre do you write and why?
Though my books have been labelled as thrillers, which they are, I would also like to think of them as commercial fiction, without a particular genre. 

I am not sure why I write thrillers other than that is the genre I prefer to read. Another possible influence could be that I watched a lot of movies when I was younger. Growing up, one of my best friend’s father was the president of a local movie theatre chain. There was a span of a couple of years where I think we saw virtually every movie that was released. I remember several rainy days where we went from theatre to theatre, watching movies back to back, making pit stops at the concession stand so often they eventually just let us go behind the counter and get whatever we wanted.

Tell us about your latest book.
Sweat is a thriller about a congressman, a businessman, a hitman, a seamstress and a young man who is trying to do the right thing.   I am currently in the midst of another novel, or two, but readers will have to stay tuned.

What marketing methods are you using to promote your book? 
Social media, online advertising.

What formats is the book available in?
Paperback, Kindle, all eBook formats

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I have a lot of interests.   I enjoy biking, hiking and travelling.   As a Dad to a toddler a lot of my time is spent running around saying “Don’t touch that,” “Don’t do that,” or often simply “No.”

Who are your favourite authors?
My favourite authors lean towards contemporary novelists.   My favourites, in no particular order, are:  John Grisham, Nelson DeMille, David Baldacci, Stephen King.   I am also a fan of Barry Eisler.  Dan Brown had a couple of good ones.   I read most of Tom Clancy’s stuff during the 90s.  Patricia Cornwell.  I am sure there are a few I am missing. 

What advice do you have for other writers?
I guess it depends on what one is looking to get out of it.  If a writer is looking for commercial success, my advice is to first finish the book.  It is easy to fall into the conversation trap -- to talk about what you are going to do once you finish, to talk about character development and plot and dialogue, and before you know it a year has passed and you have spent a lot more time talking than writing. If someone is looking for commercial success, or even just being paid, then you have to finish your story.  You can’t sell a product that doesn’t exist. Not in the fiction world.

What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
The quote from Stephen King’s On Writing about the muse and the bag of magic.   The quote is too long to put here, as it runs about a page, but when I read that passage it makes me want to find the nearest computer and start writing.

There is also the quote from the movie “Finding Forrester” where Sean Connery says, “The first rule of writing is to write.”   There is no way around that!

What's the best thing about being a writer?
I am the only one involved.  I have worked in the corporate world, with the unending meetings and a blackberry that never stops buzzing, and writing is the exact opposite with regard to interaction.    With writing, it is me and the keyboard. 

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

Anything else you'd like to add?
Thanks for reading!

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