Interview with Mark Reps, Author of Native Trouble
15 Jul 2019
What or who inspired you to become an author?
I have always loved storytelling. Beginning around a campfire as a kid to long winded tales told in bar rooms and at parties I always found a good tale fascinating. Hearing stories, then becoming a reader of many different kinds of styles of literature made me wonder if I could write. I had several teachers along the way who encouraged me to expand upon the stories I would write in classes. So, I decided to start with a story I knew well. My first book, Heartland Heroes is loosely based on events from my childhood. After taking some writing classes I decided to tell that story. It holds up well and is an homage, in a way, to Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Quite by accident I had a great encounter with Tony Hillerman a few years after that. He spoke about writing, what it meant to him and how he viewed the craft of writing. I eventually became pen pals with him and he did a bit of tutoring along the way. His encouragement helped me see both the good and the bad in my writing and taught me to be disciplined if I wanted to be good.
What can you tell us about your new release, Native Trouble?
In books 1-8 of the ZEB HANKS series we have watched Zeb grow as a sheriff, a man and a human being. In book 9 all that he has worked for and grown into is about to blow up in his face as he is knocked off his game. The people of Graham County begin to lose faith in their sheriff as a crime wave sweeps the county. As the tension of small town politics and crime intersect Zeb encounters even more trouble. Is it just criminals at work or is someone out to get Zeb personally? While suspects are many, leads are few. With the election at hand, Zeb must quickly find his nearly invisible enemies.
Simultaneously Zeb is deepening his relationship with Echo Skysong. She brings a healthy dose of native mysticism as her relationship with Zeb grows ever closer and her power grows as the Knowledge Keeper of all the People. Ultimately, she too becomes a target. Native mysticism as well as military and political intrigue all play a role in the unfolding of this intricately woven tale.
With tensions rising and situations altering rapidly, change must come to Graham County. The circumstances, sometimes hidden, sometimes in plain sight, lead to a showdown that could change Zeb and his life forever. The impending election will possibly determine the fate of Sheriff Zeb Hanks.
NATIVE TROUBLE is the 9th book in the ZEB HANKS: Small Town Sheriff Big Time Trouble series. Read it as a standalone or as part of the series. Other books in the series include NATIVE BLOOD, HOLES IN THE SKY, ADIOS ANGEL, NATIVE JUSTICE, NATIVE BONES, NATIVE WARRIOR, NATIVE EARTH and NATIVE DESTINY.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Neither Wolf Nor Dog by Kent Nerburn, The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, The Discovery of Heaven by Harry Mulisch and The Brothers K by David Duncan.
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
I would bring Mark Twain back from the dead as my first guest. I would dig and dig and find out what made his imagination flourish. On the show would also be Edgar Allan Poe, inventor of the mystery novel.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
I love the process and the research. The process is a beautiful discipline and the research is always highly educational. I always learn that I don’t know a lot and by digging deep I can at least learn some things. The imagination is always sparked by new knowledge.
What is a typical day like for you?
I try to write, rewrite, edit, research, etc four hours a day. When I find a book that moves me I devour it. I do crossword puzzles for fun. I am currently learning a new branch of acupuncture known as esoteric acupuncture. I greatly enjoy keeping in touch with friends old and new.
What scene in Native Trouble was your favorite to write?
I always enjoy writing the opening sequence. It opens my heart and head to the story and it draws the reader in and tells them, and me as the writer, where the story may possibly be going. I love to get my protagonist, Sheriff Zeb Hanks, set into action and get him thinking/working/creating and of course, into some trouble.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
I have a boat load of philosophy that moves me forward but it all boils down to keep on keepin’ on.
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