Interview with Mark Rosendorf, Author of The Witches of Vegas

11 Aug 2020

What can you tell us about your new release, The Witches of Vegas?

The Witches of Vegas offers a new take on the witches and vampire genre. Isis Rivera is a teenage witch and adopted daughter of The Witches of Vegas. They, along with their vampire mentor, Luther, openly and actively practice their power as they train to fend off a potential threat to the entire world. They do this by hiding in plain sight…as magicians on the Vegas strip. They quickly become the number one show in Las Vegas and one the other local magicians can’t possibly compete.

Zack Galloway is the teenage nephew and magician’s assistant to the last remaining magic show in Las Vegas: The Herb Galloway show. As the Witches’ success continues, Herb and Zack are one bad audience away from losing their theater and ending up homeless. When Herb and Zack are offered a chance to destroy the witches’ show forever. Although what it will take for that to happen goes against all their morals and principles as magicians, they are also desperate. They are left with little choice.

Regarding Luther, he has been training generations of witches for hundreds of years, preparing them for that threat he knows could come at any time. When it arrives, it will be up to Isis and Zack, even though they should be rivals, to bring their families together and combat this threat…if it isn’t already too late.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

Writing was something I always knew I wanted to do. As a child, I had a wild imagination, especially when playing with my toys. I used to create worlds which were detailed and followed a story that would continue each time I laid on the floor and played.

I was in the seventh grade when I knew writing was in my future. My social studies teacher gave us an assignment to interview a grandparent and then write up their story. Unfortunately, my grandparents had a 1960s sitcom ability to turn every single topic into an argument…and they both hit below the belt. The fact that they were married for 70 years is perhaps the eighth wonder of the world. I did take a shot at the assignment; I asked my grandfather to tell me about his life growing up during the depression. He told me about the girl from Ohio he wished he’d married instead of the woman he did marry. My grandmother jumped on the line and, of course, they ended up arguing. Even as I hung up the phone, they were still yelling at each other on the line.

I sat down and made up a story about my grandfather. In the story, I explained how, during the depression of the 1920’s, he left home at fourteen years old and survived by carrying bundles of hay for a nickel an hour. I talked about how he managed to save one nickel every other hour, which he used to open a business and become successful. Then he met my grandmother, and it was love at first sight. They settled down and lived happily ever after.

None of that was necessarily true, but my teacher loved the story. He gave it an “A” and asked me if I would bring my grandparents to school so they could talk about their lives and take questions from the class. Picturing what a disaster that would have been, I did some quick damage control and explained that my grandparents wouldn’t be able to make it.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

Wow, narrowing a book list to five may be the hardest question for me in this interview. But, let me take a shot…my top five books:

Number one on my list would have to be “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams. I found the story clever, funny, and well told. Not to mention, so many of the lines are quotable. The sequel, “Restaurant at the end of the galaxy” was just as good, if not even better. After that, the sequels started to drop in quality, but I’ve reread the first two books many times. (Truth be told, I’ve gone through both books twice before realizing that one of the main character’s name was NOT Ford Perfect).

My next book is “The Time Machine” by HG Wells. The concept of traveling through time and witnessing the future is every fiction writer’s dream.

Stephen Baxter wrote a direct sequel to “The Time Machine” titled “The Time Ships.” It was one of the first non-classics I remember reading. It had short chapters and each one ended with a cliffhanger. It was a book that inspired me to become a writer.

This is a short story, not a book, but it still belongs on my list: “A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradberry. It is the original classic that displays The Butterfly Effect, which is one of my favorite fictional concepts. It’s based on the idea that if one event in time gets changed, over the course of a long period of time, everything changes. It’s a subject discussed in many philosophy classes and among fiction writers all over the world.

For the fifth and final book on this list, there are so many to choose from…but I’m betting the one that I would find the most inspiring hasn’t been written yet. Perhaps one of the aspiring authors reading this interview will be the one the next book I can’t put down and will want to read over and over again.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask

If I could have any guest I want, I’d want to interview William Shakespeare. The reason is not just the fact that his writing intrigues me, but he had an interesting life and a unique mind. For starters, he was an informant for Queen Elizabeth I. He also got away with having two wives by convincing the public that one of them was his daughter. Now, I’m not condoning or impressed by such behavior, but I’d love to get to know the mind that could come up with such a plot and pull it off to the point that no one figured out the truth until long after he was dead.

Add to this, that same mind actually invented words in his writing that are used in everyday English today. “Excitement,” “eyeball,” “bedroom,” “critic,” and “compromise,” are just a few of the words Shakespeare created and used in such a way that they became accepted as part of the English language. Yeah, I’d definitely a brain I’d like to engage.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

The best part of writing is being able to use it as an outlet for all my creativity. Fantasy worlds and events travel through my head, especially in the middle of the night, and they practically take me over. Writing them and turning them into stories such as The Witches of Vegas allows me to not only release these stories from my brain, but I get to bring them to the world. It’s a lot of work but if they bring entertainment to some readers out there, then it’s all worth it.

What is a typical day like for you?

My typical day has changed since COVID-19. It used to start off by taking a shower, getting dressed and driving to work. Then, coming home, going to the gym, eating dinner with my wife and then we’d watch TV. In the time I had free, I’d work on my writing or play on the internet. My typical Saturday evening with my wife involved having dinner out and bringing home Red Mango yogurt which we would eat while watching a movie.

Now that I work from home until further notice, my schedule has changed. I still wake up and take my shower but now I take a walk to get breakfast since I won’t be able to go to the gym later in the evening. I also sit in front of the computer a lot more since that’s also my workstation. Dinner and Red Mango yogurt still happens on Saturdays, except dinner must be ordered in. Now, we are at the point we can eat out, and by out, I mean outside the restaurants.

The one good thing that has come from this is I’ve had a lot more time for my writing. The Witches of Vegas was completed ahead of schedule and I’ve also finished and submitted the sequel. It also helped that my editor and members of the publishing company were all also quarantined at home.

What scene from The Witches of Vegas was your favorite to write?

Let me share a little tidbit about me. I am a former magician. I performed during my college years and a bit afterwards. Today, as a high school guidance counselor in NYC’s special education district, I share my knowledge of magic with my students as part of the school’s Performing Arts program.

I mention this because it speaks to the scenes I had the most run writing: One was teen magician, Zack Galloway, watching The Witches of Vegas’ show and trying to figure out how the tricks were done. Even with all of his experience, he is unable to figure out their tricks…mainly because he has no idea they’re using actual witchcraft to accomplish the feats on stage.

The second scene was Zack discussing magic with Isis. Figuring she’s not only a magician like him but a performer in the top magic show in all of Vegas, he uses certain terminology related to magic such as “misdirection” and “Rabbit box,” yet Isis has no idea what those words mean. It leaves Zack confused how she wouldn’t know standard industry lingo.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

“Life is like the weather. No matter how good or bad it may seem, don’t get too comfortable because it could change at any point.” — Mark Rosendorf

Mark Rosendorf is the author of the new book The Witches of Vegas.

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