If you've enjoyed movies like Archive, Upgrade, or Ready Player One you are probably familiar with the sub-sci-fi genre Cyberpunk. The genre focuses on human relationships to tech, and the struggles between social classes in dystopian societies using a near-future setting. Enter author, blogger, and fellow podcaster, Mark Everglade.
Mark lives in Tallahassee, FL home of author Jeff Vandermeer best known for his book and movie Annihilation. Mark has even had the privilege of speaking with Mr. Vandermeer, "He often lectures and he's been really responsive when I've interviewed him on things ."
At forty years old Mark told the blog he could remember when cyberpunk was at its peak of popularity, "I was born a year before Bladerunner released."
"Before I had read Neal Stephenson or William Gibson I was mostly obsessed with 19th-century literature, from Victorian poetry to American Transcendentalist works. I’ve woven some of that poetic prose into my sci-fi, as a metaphor is my favorite part of writing," Mark explained when asked who or what got him interested in writing. Transformative his books certainly are, receiving rave reviews, and his fifth book titled Hempishere's recently debuted as an Amazon Top 5 Cyberpunk novel.
For this author, writing is also about music and the emotion derived from it when he's creating. Mark told the blog that for him the best place for him to write is contingent upon the music. "So if I need to write a rhythmic action scene I listen to Red Hot Chili Peppers if I need to write a depressing scene I listen to Radiohead or Porcupine Tree. The audio space determines the mood of the writing. As Nietzsche said, “without music, life would be a mistake.”
In his spare time, this Writing Corner author plays a number of musical instruments adding, "in various styles, though Middle-Eastern mandolin and bossa nova acoustic guitar are my fortes."
Mark draws inspiration from everyday life as much as books or music when it comes to his writing. We asked what inspired him to write Hemispheres & he replied, "With Hemispheres, I was inspired by the social conflict between the left and right-wing in the U.S., so I wanted to write a book where neither side was completely right or wrong. In the book, which takes place on the real planet Gliese 581g, light is used as currency. One group living in darkness wants to rotate the tidal-locked planet to bring daylight cycles to both hemispheres, at the expense of the natural environment, while the other side wants to stop them to protect the economy while justifying the status quo. People need to write in that grey area; it’s more realistic than having an all-evil protagonist, for instance."
Experience is important and can often lead writers to learn more about topics they are interested in or that adds value to their everyday lives. Mark Everglade is a state-employed sociologist and IT manager by day and he says he pulls from his sociology background constantly, "Mostly Nicholas Luhmann since he was into second-order cybernetic theory."
Ask him if his characters are based on anyone he knows, and Mark will tell you, "In some ways, all our characters are facets of ourselves. Aurthur in the book represents the more narcissistic worse side of my personality, which is why I spelled his name like an author."
What does this cyberpunk writer enjoy reading in his spare time? "Science fiction, though post-modern sub-genres like absurdism are a joy," Mark said. When we caught up with him Mark was reading "Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. I do occasionally foray into fantasy, and I consider cyberspace a space in sci-fi literature that gives sci-fi authors an equal opportunity to be imaginative and experiment."
One of this author's favorite quotes comes from Lao Tzu, “The cup is easier to hold when not filled to be overflowing," and he added, "there is great joy and relaxation that comes from a minimalistic life."
When asked if he had any advice for writers who were seeking to self-publish this year he offered this advice, "Don’t. Spend a couple of years obtaining beta feedback, revising, and then spend the next two years submitting to various publisher houses, both major ones all the way down to nano-presses. Be persistent, develop relationships, and build your author platform early. Self-publishing is a last resort, but you’ll need to ensure you have the marketing knowledge to pull it off. Even with a publisher behind your back, be prepared to put an hour of promotion in for every book sold. "
Amazon is the best way to purchase his books and they can also be found in select independent bookstores and in libraries on the East Coast of the U.S.
A new Writer of the Week is featured every Monday at 8 a.m. EST on the blog. Please follow The Writing Wall on Twitter @TheWritingWall or on Instagram @writingsonthewall85 for updates and announcements. Readers may also tune into the podcast every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month at 6 p.m. EST on Anchor, Spotify, Google Podcast, Apple Podcast, and more.
Our Season 2 finale will be April 24th at 6 pm EST on the podcast, and our final Writing Corner segment will be Wednesday, April 28th at 6 pm EST. Season 3 submissions open tomorrow, April 1st!