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All reviews and opinions shared on The Faerie Review are mine alone. I review books of my own accord. All books reviewed on this blog are e...

Mark Bierman Interview

Lily:  Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview Mark. Vanished is an unforgettable book! I’d like to pick your brain regarding the book before we get to know you better. I just can’t wait to find out more about the story behind the story! What inspired you to take this story from your mind to paper?
Mark:  Thank you, Lily, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to interview me, and for your interest in Vanished, it is really appreciated! This story was inspired, in part, by both personal experience and also those of my family. Years ago, I went on a short mission trip to the Dominican Republic, we worked with the poorest of the population, helping them construct a pastor’s house. We were originally supposed to go to Haiti, but at that time Haiti was deemed too dangerous. Over the years, a number of family members have performed similar trips to Haiti, but this novel came about after my father and brother-in-law went there in October 2010. They each kept a journal of their experiences. At first, this story was only going to be a magazine article, but then I realized there was potential for a book. This is a fictional story, so of course most of the events did not really happen. I just used snippets from the journals. There was some valuable information about post-earthquake Haiti in them.   
Lily: That's a great place for inspiration to spring from! I think that must be why it felt like I could be reading a recounting of real events. Tell me, are any of the characters inspired by you?
Mark:  Not intentionally. I think there is always some of the writer in the characters, but the truth is, most of the traits were borrowed from people I have known, while others were fabricated. 
Lily: Sometimes the people around us are some of the greatest models. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, who would it be?
Mark: I think I would like to meet Janjak. He is a true enigma. He’ll steal your wallet, but risk his life to save yours. A protector of the underdog, yet he does what he has learned to do, in order to survive. Had he grown up under different circumstances, who knows what he would have become?
Lily: I would love to meet him too! At first, I wasn't sure what to make of him, but by the end he was definitely a favorite. I was sad to leave him behind when I finished the book. We always read about writers springing plot twists on their readers, but did the plot ever twist in an unexpected way while you were writing?
Mark:  Yes it did. I killed off a character that was supposed to have a “happily ever after”. I think it made the story more interesting and some readers were quite surprised. I have to keep them on their toes. LOL. 
Lily: I was definitely shocked and saddened by their death. They we're a great character! Out of the whole cast of characters, who is your least favorite?
Mark:  Diego, by far. By far the most vile and despicable character of the book. I think most readers would agree.
Lily: I have to agree. He made my skin crawl. I got goosebumps! If you hit the author lotto and your book was to be turned into a movie, who would you want playing the main characters?
Mark: Ummm… let me see. I’m thinking Mark Wahlberg could play Tyler. Harrison Ford could be John. Eva Longoria for Eliana. Denzel Whitaker for Janjak. Hey, why not aim high? Too bad not one of them will return my calls.
Lily: Sounds like a pretty solid cast, and who says you can't dream? Did you pull from any real life experiences when writing this?
Mark: Sort of. While the experiences in this book are not identical to mine, the trip to the Dominican gave me first hand insight into the geography, culture and living conditions. During my years as a Correctional Officer, there have been more than a few adrenaline spiking events that have enabled me to give a first person account of the psychological and physical effects of dangerous experiences.  
Lily: There was certainly a ring of truth to a lot of the story. Was there a lot of research time put into this novel?
Mark: Tons. Information came from personal experience, family and good old Google Search.   
Lily: I'd be lost without Google. Ok, let’s get to know the mind behind the novel. What’s your perfect vacation look like?
Mark: I am a bit of an outdoor adventurist, but I also enjoy just being out in nature. My perfect vacation would be a week long backcountry whitewater excursion. Adrenaline-fueled days combined with relaxing by the fire at night.  
Lily: Sounds like it would be quite the adventure. Have you always liked to write?
Mark: From the time I was a child I enjoyed making up stories, or imagining real events in my life as being more exciting than they really were. Though I didn’t always write them down. “Stop daydreaming and pay attention!” was something I heard often from my parents and teachers.   
Lily: Daydreaming is a great way to flex your imagination muscle. I'm glad you kept at it. Do you remember the first book you ever read?
Mark: While I don’t remember THE book. I’m sure it was probably something by Dr. Seuss.  Dr. Seuss Rocks!
Lily: Dr. Seuss has always been one of my favorites. What was the last book you read?

Mark: I just finished Time Storm, by Steve Harrison. He is a fellow Goodreads author. I really enjoyed the book. It was fast-paced with interesting characters. I’d recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the action/adventure genre.  
Lily: It sounds like it would be a good read. Do you have a favorite author or book?
Mark: I don’t really have a favorite author or book. I have read a lot of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Clive Cussler and Michael Crichton.  
Lily: You just named what took up most of my bookcase as a teenager, when I was just branching out from young adult into adult literature, and they're still some of my favorites. What’s your favorite thing to do to relax?
Mark: Socializing around a campfire with family and good friends. It brings back childhood memories of camp outs.   
Lily: Sometimes I think there's something magical about campfires with those you love. Do you have a special place to write?
Mark: My kitchen table, it’s just the right height and large enough for me to spread my laptop and research out on. I have to get there early in the morning, however, or my kids will be crunching their Cheerios in my ears and offering storyline suggestions. 
Lily: Sorry, I couldn't help but giggle a little. That paints a great image. Do you sing in the shower?
Mark: No, sorry, I don’t belt out any tunes in the shower. I save my voice for when we are out in public and my wife can shoot me annoyed looks. It’s extra special when the kids join in!  
Lily: No reason to hide your singing voice! Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Mark: First, I would like to thank those who took the time to read this interview. I would like to thank all readers in general, you are the reason writers don’t have to stand in front of the mirror and pretend we have an audience. In all seriousness, I really appreciate the opportunity you give us to entertain and inform. It’s something I personally love to do. I’m working on my next book. It’s another action/adventure/historical fiction. It takes place in the Yukon and Alaska during the Gold Rush. I will be posting updates about the book from time to time as things progress. I also invite everyone to visit and follow me on my websiteGoodreads page or Facebook page. Please feel free to post a comment, ask a question, review my book, or just say “Hello!”
Lily: Thank you again, it's been great talking to you. How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Mark: On my websiteGoodreads page, or Facebook pageYou can purchase a copy of Vanished in both ebook and print book format on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com as well as LuluApple ibookstoreKobo, and Barnes & Noble.