Interview with Mark Anthony, Author of Displaced
07 Jan 2020
What can you tell us about your new release, Displaced?
Displaced is the first installment of the Alternate Reality series. This series is premised on total immersion virtual reality, and the main character is Eric Ryan. Eric is a former neuropsychologist who now works as a community therapist. He helps people who have suffered under the era’s sweeping technological advancements, with these people collectively known as the “displaced”. Eric falls into this category, so he harbors deep resentment towards technology. Because of this, he is quite displeased when a robot enters the counseling center for mental health services. During the course of treatment, the robot reveals a secret, and Eric decides to investigate. This decision sends him into virtual reality.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
I’m not exactly sure. I’ve tried numerous times to pinpoint what influenced my decision to write, but I can’t highlight one specific factor. I’ve always had an interest in reading and writing, so maybe that started me down this path. However, I don’t believe my lifelong interest was the tipping point. I think the change came when I was wrapping up my schooling and realized I didn’t want to pursue a career in my field (psychology), despite my intense interest. When reflecting on what else to do, I asked the question ‘what would you do if you didn’t have to work?’, hoping that would provide some guidance. My answer was that I would finally give writing a shot, because I’ve always had an interest in doing so. Then I just decided to do it. After penning the first lines to what would eventually become Displaced, I was hooked.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
I don’t really have favorite books or favorite authors. However, I read about one book per week, and every few months, I come across a book that really sticks out in my mind. Here are some examples of those books:
1. The Martian by Andy Weir
2. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
3. Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovksy
4. Fear the Sky by Steven Moss
5. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
My first guest would be a random debut author, because as a debut author myself, I understand the struggles of exposure! My questions would simply pertain to the author as a person and their new book.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
The unparalleled freedom. I can literally create any scenario, include any characters, and have the characters do whatever I come up with. That’s a tremendous amount of power, but this also comes with tremendous amount of responsibility. In the end, I have to account for whatever occurs in the book. But I have always been the type who enjoys succeeding or failing on their own merits. That’s one of the reasons why I’m an independent author.
What is a typical day like for you?
Get up at 5:00am for work (I’m a U.S. government employee who assists victims of crime), come home about 6:00pm, eat, get some writing done. That doesn’t afford much writing time, but on the weekends, I usually cover considerable ground.
What scene in Displaced was your favorite to write?
(light spoiler ahead) My favorite scene was where Eric and Arvin drive to the Hollywood hills at night. While not much happens in this scene, it’s a moment of quiet reflection, and I enjoy those pauses in the action where the characters discuss what has happened thus far, and how that has changed them.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
You only live once. Make it count!
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