Mark David Campbell on Writing, Characters and his latest novel ‘Eating the Moon’ (author interview)

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Eating the Moon by Mark David Campbell
DSP Publications

Cover Artist: Anna Sikorska

Buy Link:  DSP Publications

Release Date:  August 29, 2017

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Mark David Campbell today. Welcome, Mark!

♦︎

~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Mark David Campbell ~

 

How much of yourself goes into a character?

I am inspired by people I know and with each character I discover qualities that are admirable and sometimes shameful but in the end, I suspect that all my characters come from somewhere deep inside me.

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

I never set out to create a character, as such. I imagine a situation or reflect on an experience or fantasy and sooner or later a character appears and begins a conversations. Before I know it other characters have joined in the conversation and that’s when I feel a story is emerging.

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

After so many years studying anthropology, I have to say that everything I write is shaped and informed by that rare and wonderful way of looking at humanity and the human experience.

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Yes, but in a very convoluted way. I have a learning disability and reading was very difficult for me as a child, so I became a day-dreamer and invented my own stories and adventures in my head. I developed an effective strategy for reading academic texts but this was far from pleasurable. It wasn’t until I was living in a small village in the jungle of Central America doing research that I learned to read for pleasure and discovered the joy of fiction.

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

Not unlike many LGBTIQ people, I lost my family a number of years ago and I still have, and probably always will have, many issues that are just too painful for me to explore in my writing.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I don’t know what they are, but if they’re an acronym for a brand of beer or type of pizza I probably like both of them.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I confess, my first love affair with romance fiction was with Danielle Steel, when I was an adult.

Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

Easy. Margaret Atwood, E. M. Forester, Somerset Maugham and of course the old adventure classics like R. L. Stevenson, Joseph Conrad and Jules Verne. I also love short stories. I especially like collections of gay short stories.

What do you read, mostly.

I’ll read anything that’s good. I particularly look for adventure and character development with a strong storyline. I prefer books which have an original perspective or take on a situation. I’m not attracted to books which are sensational, over technical or celebrity worship and I don’t read books with graphic violence and explicit torture scenes, even if the book is generally well written.

Of course, I’ve always been drawn to books and stories with a queer perspective because I’m gay and I can relate to them. The heteronormative perspective can be like a tsunami, pretty much drowning out everything else; TV, radio, advertising, the internet… Reading a queer novel, is like holding my head up out of the water and taking a breath of fresh air.

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

The future will be ebooks. They are convenient, portable and cheap. But ebooks are less intimate and can’t completely replace the feel and experience of reading through the pages of a classic paper book.

How do you choose your covers? longing (curious on my part)

I wanted the cover to reflect the mystery and melancholy of the story and it needed three elements; the moon, the sea and a lone figure.

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

I have many favorites. As far as characters go, I think most writers teeter on the edge of insanity where we often have trouble distinguishing between our characters and real life people. So for me, my favorite parts are when Guy is on the island, hanging out with Nando and Pico or fishing with Kizo, Luca and Pico, amongst his friends who love and accept him.

What’s next for you as an author?

I’ve just finished the first draft of my next book which is a tale of a little biobot (part biological, part mechanical), aged thirteen years old, named Sonny Boy, who learns to understand what it means to be loved and to love.

What are your hopes for this book?

I want this book to be the kind of story that stays with the reader on a very intimate level. I want to reader to feel like the island is their personal escape that they can return to, time and time again.

Eating the Moon

What if there was a place that nobody else knew about – a secret place – where everyone was queer?’ That’s the question Guy, a 70 year old, lonely gay anthropology professor asks Richard, his 32 year old psychiatrist. During their twice weekly sessions, Guy tells Richard a fantastic tale of his experience as a young man bound for Cuba on a cargo ship which sinks in the Bermuda triangle. Guy and the first mate Luca are washed up on the shore of an uncharted tropical island and discover a complex society where almost everyone is homosexual.

Eating the Moon takes you on an erotic tropical vacation to a place where all your fantasies of homosexual love and sex can come true, but as both Guy and Luca soon discover, even paradise comes with a cost.

About the author

Mark David Campbell is a Canadian who has lived in Italy for the past seventeen years where he teaches, writes and paints, moving between Lago Maggiore and Milan with his husband. Prior to moving to Italy, he spent twenty years studying and working in archaeology and anthropology in Canada, Central America, Jordan, Egypt and Greece and earned his Ph.D. in social cultural anthropology from the University of Toronto where he taught as a part-time professor.

In addition to writing, he has shown his paintings at numerous individual and group shows in Toronto, Canada and throughout Italy. In his spare time, Mark David Campbell likes scouring second-hand stores, boating on Lago Maggiore and eating pizza and drinking beer with friends.

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