Author Mark L Barie | Between The Covers…
In this week’s edition of “Between the Covers,” we feature award-winning author, Mark Barie.
Mark is a native New Yorker but lives in Florida now with his wife and sometimes-co-author, Christine Racine. His three first books are set in the northeast. His latest is a civil-war era novel.
“My first novel, War Calls, Love Cries was published in October of 2018. This year my first novel was designated as a Finalist in the Eric Hoffer competition. And in the same week, I received notice that my book is a Medalist in the annual FAPA competition for Historical Fiction. That was a great week and definitely a ‘defining’ moment.”
Other books he has written include: A Miracle Comes to Vermont, The President of Plattsburgh, and then two books co-authored by his wife, Christine Racine; Crossing the Line, The Boat People of Champlain
As far as current projects, Mark is already hard at work on his next novel.
“I am approximately 42,000 words into my second novel, same theme – love and war. It is about a French nun who leaves the convent and becomes a spy in the American Revolutionary war.”
Most authors find writing therapeutic. When I asked Mark if it was more than a hobby, this is what he had to say.
“I love to write it would probably do so even if nobody read what I wrote. It is truly a passion for me. I write for the sheer pleasure I get, when writing. Happy readers make it an even more pleasant experience. And finally, I get to indulge my other passion – which is history.”
I asked Mark to talk about how he defines success.
“I think that success for an author comes in three stages. The first stage is actually writing and publishing a book. The second stage is professional recognition that you’re writing is good. And the final stage, is massive sales on a nationwide basis. I’m still working on that third stage!”
Described as kind, intelligent, empathetic, honest and a natural leader, Mark has held several positions in non-profits, giving back to the community he writes about.
I asked Mark if writing is easier now that he doesn’t have not go to a day-job.
“I am retired and that gives me more time and resources than most authors, to write, research, and market, all of which is required of all authors.”
My writing style is: a-lots of action, b-only those descriptions which are necessary to move the story forward or of extreme interest to the reader, and c-a strict loyalty to historical facts.
I asked how Mark’s background impacted him and his writing.
“I am one of nine children and grew up in upstate New York along the Canadian border. Mine was a family of extremely modest means, but my parents insisted on a good education, well developed work habits, and above all, honesty. As a result of being a “real author” I have become a much happier man. My creativity, my love of history, and my business background in marketing, have never been more relevant and brought more joy, than at this time of my life.”
Mark has always been a reader and his favorite books are historical reads. He especially enjoys military history. His family and friends have enjoyed seeing him do well in his writing.
“My family and friends have been extremely supportive from day one. They encouraged my writing, read my books, and were so supportive that I did not believe them when they said my first novel was well written and interesting to read. Since that time, I have had published authors, professionals in the publishing industry, and of course my own publisher, all tell me that the book was indeed well written and very interesting. Winning a few awards was also very helpful and proved to me that my friends and family were not just loyal supporters, but honest as well.”
I asked Mark what he would tell someone who wants to write a book.
“My advice to an aspiring author would be, first, to study the basics of writing, publishing, and marketing. Second, the aspiring writer should ignore a healthy portion of the so-called ‘rules’ that other authors and the ‘industry’ so often promulgate. The only hard and fast rule that I’ve seen thus far, is that there are no rules. And finally, if you read what everybody else reads, you will write like everybody else writes. (Someone a lot smarter than me said that, not sure who, but I agree!)”
I asked Mark about events for authors that he would recommend.
“I’ve enjoyed the last FAPA conference and portions of the last FWA conference. But I have the most fun when I am conducting speaking engagements regarding what I have learned as a result of writing my first novel. )It’s called), ‘Seven Facts About the Civil War That Will Astonish You’.”
Mark described his most interesting book event.
“At a speaking engagement in an extremely remote area of FL, I brought with me a couple of dozen books, figuring that I would only sell two or three. I sold every book and took a few orders besides. In addition, more than fifty people came to hear me speak. It remains my most successful event, ever!”