Hello, and welcome to our latest series of author interviews. The long anticipated anthology "Altered Europa" will be coming out on April 2, 2017 (ORDER HERE), and in preparation for this grand release we'll be running interviews of various contributors.
Today I'm interviewing Mark Mellon, who contributed A Rare Chance at the Enemy.
MTI: Starting off, could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
MARK MELLON: My life has been checkered with previous experience as a mover, skip tracer, soldier, door to door salesman, translator, and teacher. I describe myself currently as a novelist who supports his family by working as an attorney. I live in Falls Church with my wife, son, and two disgraceful dachshunds.
MTI: Now, the next question I generally ask new contributors is this; what first compelled you to weave fiction, and what's your favorite type of story to write?
MM: I started writing at the age of seven although none of my juvenilia survives. As to why I write, like Faulkner said, “some people want to write; others need to write.” I fall in the latter camp. All writing is pretty much miserable to me, but I seem to have more luck with crime fiction than anything else.
MTI: If you had to pick just one author who has influenced or inspired you, who would it be?
MM: Anthony Burgess. His autobiography, Little Wilson and Big God, made me decide to try to be a novelist.
MTI: Your story, A Rare Chance at the Enemy, appears in Altered Europa, an anthology devoted to alternate history and altered reality. Tell us a little bit more about this contribution, particularly, how does it deviate from known history?
MM: The story is an excerpt from a novel, Napoleon Concerto, in which a money-mad Robert Fulton decides to stay on in Paris and builds a steam powered fleet that enables Napoleon to invade and defeat Great Britain.
MTI: If you could go back to any point in time and change any historical event to create an "altered" world, what would you choose to change?
MM: I’d have Napoleon win at Waterloo, of course.
MTI: For further pondering, if a wormhole leading to an alternate reality suddenly appeared in front of you, would you dare to take the plunge and discover what awaits on the other side?
MM: Since my body would probably be ripped into subatomic particles if I did so, no, I wouldn’t.
MTI: Shifting back to your writing, can you tell us a little about what you're working on right now?
MM: I’m currently trying to write a “cozy” mystery, something I’ve never done before. I like to break the mold.
MTI: Other than your work appearing in Altered Europa, do you have any other stories being published in the near future?
MM: The Great Man’s Iron Horse, a steampunk short story, will appear in Third Flatiron’s Principia Ponderosa in March. Annals Of The Allred Clan, a dystopian short story, will also appear this spring as a reprint in an anthology entitled Mother’s Revenge from Scary Dairy Press.
MTI: On a lighter note, have you watched any good tv lately?
MM: You bet. Every Thursdays on the El Rey Channel, it’s Flying Five Finger One Armed Eight Pole Shaolin Exploding Death Touch. Five kung fu flicks in a row, some of them masterpieces.
MTI: How about music?
MM: Pissed Jeans is playing at the Black Cat on the 23rd.
MTI: Can you name three movies that you could watch over and over again and not be bored?
1. The Wild Bunch
2. The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen
3. The Searchers
MTI: Readers love samples. Do you happen to have a story excerpt you'd like to share with us today?
MM: This is an excerpt from a horror story, Last Of The Aztec Riders, which appeared in Deadman’s Tome in October 2016:
"Buy me a beer and I'll tell you a good story."
Jack Pilgrim regarded the one-eyed, one-armed, huge man on the barstool beside his. The half of his face minus an eye was scarred almost beyond recognition as human, deformed lip pulled down in a perpetual half scowl. After twelve hours on his hog high on meth, Pilgrim only wanted to focus on the booze before him, drunk to delay and lessen the inevitable bummer.
"Look at the patch on my cut."
He turned his back to Pilgrim. On the faded black leather vest, a skull with a feathered headdress screamed. The top rocker read "Aztec Riders;" the bottom said "Tiny."
"I'm the only one can wear this patch. Nobody left but me. And I can tell you all about it, the whole freaked out story. But you gotta buy me that beer first, man. What do you say?"
Intrigued and sympathetic to a biker so fucked up he'd never ride again, Pilgrim nodded to the bartender who poured a draught Bud and set it before Tiny. He knocked it back, set the glass down, and wiped the foam from his scraggly beard with his hand.
"Like I said, I'm the only Aztec Rider left. You should've seen us back in the day, bombing a hundred strong in a tight vee formation at eighty per, total road Nazis, blowing through every traffic light. And no one, not no citizen, not no pig, dared fuck with us. We had Bullhead City under our thumb and most of Nevada and Arizona too, at least as far as pussy and meth went. And it was all because of our Prez, Pothunter. See, we called him Pothunter coz he was always poking around in caves on Federal parks and reserves, looking for old Indian shit, know what I mean? Even if it is a Federal beef. Like we cared about stuff like that. And then he showed up at the clubhouse with this idol, a real idol, you know-"
MTI: A fascinating excerpt. Thank you for a great interview. Those who wish to read more of Mark’s writing can pick up Altered Europa!