Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Author Interview: Mark Rosendorf

Photobucket Earlier this week I posted my
review for The Rasner Effect by Mark Rosendorf. I'm excited that he's taken time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions.

GJR: I’ve always heard, “write what you know” and it seems like psychosis is something that you know from your field of study and experience. Was this book easy for you to write?

MR: I don’t think any book is easy to write. The entire process from writing to publication, for me, was as challenging as it was rewarding. My experience as a counselor working extensively with emotionally impaired students (and at times, the workers) with psychotic tendencies, however, has certainly helped me to develop the personalities of the characters and show their internal rationalizations. Many of the anti-social tendencies that I’ve worked with are present in both the Duke Organization members and in the Brookhill facility.

GJR: Have you ever met someone who is similar to Rick Rasner in your work? If so, how scared were you? With those types of personalities it seems like they are a walking time bomb, did you find this to be true?

MR: I’ve certainly worked with my share of Rick Rasner-types, but never anyone to his extreme. He, and other characters in The Rasner Effect, have aggressively enhanced personality types, not to mention some are trained assassins. Luckily, I haven’t dealt with any of THOSE yet.

I find it interesting that no matter how my students act on the streets, they tend to show a calmer side in the school. At home, life is inconsistent and there are very few adults who care about them. In our specialized small school setting, our kids get consistency and adults who want to see them succeed. They know this and many of them react positively to a constructive environment. Unfortunately, if the environment is overwhelmingly negative, and I’ve worked in a few of those schools as well, the kids will react negatively.

The one character who is a good example of children I’ve worked with is Clara Blue. Many of our students come from poor and difficult urban backgrounds. By their teenage years, they’ve assimilated into their environment, but you get a few that do know there are better lifestyles out there and want something more for themselves. Unfortunately, they’re not in a position to achieve success, not without a great deal of help. That help is very hard to come by. Clara Blue, trapped in the Brookhill Children’s Psychiatric residence, fits that mold.

GJR: The book for me touches on a bit of conspiracy theory regarding the government, was that your intent? Do you think something like what Dr. Obenchain did to Rick exists in some form?

MR: I do believe the government tells us what they want us to know and keeps us in the dark about the rest. I’ve seen it firsthand. Prior to my career as a guidance counselor, I worked in the hotel industry. In that time, I worked in many hotels while attending college. One hotel I worked in housed the crew of an international airline company from overseas as they flew to and from the United States on a regular basis.

We had major issues with one of the co-pilots who got into a great deal of trouble each time he stayed with us. We had to kick him out of the hotel many times, but the airline company kept sending him back. One evening, before getting on the bus that took them to the airport, he handed all of his money to the bellman that loaded his luggage and said, “I won’t need this anymore.”

That night, the plane went down, taking hundreds of passengers with it.

The FBI stayed in our hotel for a month conducting their investigation. We all told them our dealings with this co-pilot. Meanwhile, the staff of the hotel, were told that if reporters called or showed up asking us for information, we were to tell them nothing, otherwise, we would lose our jobs and we could get arrested for interfering with a federal investigation.

It took 2 and a half years before the FBI’s findings about the plane crash were made public. They basically said it was engine trouble.

I understood the reasoning behind the story given to the public. Just imagine the panic the truth would have caused, not to mention, the financial harm to the airline industry. But, since this incident, I’ve held some skepticism towards the news. Are they always telling us everything? Would it be that hard to lie to us? I’m not saying this is the case, I’m just saying that the idea was a big influence on the conspiracy aspect of The Rasner Effect.

GJR: Your book has some pretty disturbing scenes, do you think that art imitates life or life imitates art?

MR: It’s interesting how both can apply. When the movie Independence Day came out, and we saw the buildings fall, I remember thinking “Wow, this looks so real.” Then, during the horrors of 9/11 hitting us here in New York, I remember seeing the Twin Towers fall and saying “Wow, this looks like a movie scene.”

GJR: If The Rasner Effect was made into a movie, who would be your ideal Rick? Obenchain? Jake? Jennifer? Clara?

MR: Wow, that’s a tough question. Frankly, I’d be so ecstatic if The Rasner Effect was turned into a movie, I’d be thrilled even if they told me the Geico lizard was playing the lead role.

If I had a choice, I think international actor, David Tennant could do Rick Rasner justice. For Jennifer Duke: Lara Gilchrist. When I saw her on Battlestar Galactica, I thought, “Wow, her smirk is exactly how I envision and describe Jen’s.” If she goes blonde, and I have a say, she can have the part.

GJR: Are you currently working on another novel? What is the basic premise? Will we see any of the characters from The Rasner Effect return?

MR: “Without Hesitation: The Rasner Effect II” has been set for release by my publisher, L&L Dreamspell, in late January, 2010 (wow, that date is creeping up fast). Also, in 2010, L&L Dreamspell has an anthology coming out called “Cat in the Dreamspell” featuring a short story by me titled “Cat in the cockpit.” Unlike The Rasner Effect series, this is a very campy story that has a twilight zone-feel to it.

I’ll be adding information on those, plus other writing projects, to my website, markrosendorf.

GJR: Who are your favorite authors to read? Why?

MR: I don’t base my readings on authors, rather on the premise of the story. If it’s one that intrigues me, I’ll read it. If the concept doesn’t grab me, then I won’t read it even if it is written by an author whose work I enjoy.

The authors who I have read consistently include H.G. Wells, Stephen King, Stephen Baxter, Douglas Adams and a little bit of Mark Rosendorf.

GJR: What are you currently reading?

MR: At this time, I am reading “Flood” by Stephen Baxter and Eoin Colfer’s new sequel to one of my all-time favorite series, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” titled “And Another Thing…” It’s just a shame Douglas Adams is no longer alive to have written the sixth book himself.

GJR: Where do you write and what is your typical writing process?

MR: My ideas work like lightning, one brilliant flash, and then it’s gone. That’s why I always keep a notepad on me, ready for when that idea pops into my head. I never know when that will happen, but I have to be ready. One of the weirder places my creativity takes over is in the shower. Because of this, I keep a notepad and a pen hanging in the bathroom on the wall outside the shower door. Luckily, I’m left handed and the shower door is on my left so it’s easy to reach out with that arm and write the thought down.

GJR: What author’s have influenced/inspired you?

MR: Stephen King was a big influence on my becoming a writer. I always loved the way his writing was so descriptive I could picture the scene in my head. “Misery” was the first of his books I read as part of my senior high school English thesis. The topic was about extreme personalities causing extreme situations (the other book I read for this thesis was Robert Bloch’s “Psycho”).

At the time, I had no idea I would find a career as a school counselor for students with emotional disabilities, nor did I know I’d end up writing novels about characters who have extreme personalities and cause extreme situations. Either the experience of putting that thesis together influenced all my future decisions more than I realized…or it’s all one huge coincidence.

Thanks to Mark for taking the time to answer the questions and Paula Krapf at Author Marketing Experts for sending the book and hooking us up with Mark.


stacybuckeye November 10, 2009 at 5:03 PM  

That story about the the co-pilot is scary for a fearful flier like me!

Amy November 11, 2009 at 3:06 PM  

WHat a fantastic interview! Loved your questions and Mark's answers were so comprehensive and interesting. His story about the plane carsh and the FBI investigation is scary and disturbing.
I have added his website to my favorites and look forward to reading it.

Thank you!

Loretta November 11, 2009 at 3:26 PM  

I loved this interview:) I'm currently in the process of reading Mark's book and find it very interesting. Reading this interview has widened my scope of appreciation for his work, and where his writing comes from.
Excellent Mark!

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