Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Kay's Words blog interview: Mark Young

Editor’s Note: I am taking a break. My friend, Kay Marshall Strom, posted an interview today on Kay’s Words about … me and Revenge: A Travis Mays Novel. You got it, a little promo. I promise we’ll get back to mystery crime writing, publishing, and law enforcement in the very near future. Click on the link at the end of this post if you’d like to read the interview in its entirety. Otherwise … go ahead and take a break. You deserve it.
Glowing Author: Mark Young

Glowing Author #29

Looking for an entertaining mystery, dripping with suspense and spiced with a dash of romance?  I thought you might be. Which is why I’m glad Mark Young stopped by to tell us about his debut novel.  So, without further delay…
Heeeeeere’s Mark!
Congratulations, Mark! 
Thank you.  And thank you, Kay, for the opportunity to tell others aboutRevenge: A Travis Mays Novel.
So, tell us a bit about your new book. 
Here’s what the backcover says: When a trained killer threatens ex-cop Travis Mays—and those Travis loves—he finds a skilled adversary and an unexpected fight. 
Haunted by his past, Travis begins a new life and a new career, teaching criminology at a  university and building a cabin in the Idaho Mountains. He hires a beautiful river guide, Jessie White Eagle from the Nez Perce tribe, to steer him safely through raging whitewater, only to find that this trip changes everything—for Travis, for Jessie, and for those they hold dear. In the shadows lurks a man—calling himself Creasy—determined to make sure Travis pays for past sins.
It’s a fast-paced thriller that takes readers on a wild ride down Idaho’s whitewater rivers, along the historic Lolo Trail once tread by the Nez Perce nation, and onto the city streets of California. Tighten your helmet. This ride never stops until the last shot is fired and the final body falls. 
Wow!  Not the kind of plot line just anyone could pull off!  Could this be influenced by your “day job”?
Six years ago, I ended a twenty-six year career in law enforcement. It was a challenging and fulfilling mission, but my body finally told me it was time to change direction.
During those years in law enforcement, I was afforded many opportunities as a detective and sergeant not normally available to cops in mid-sized agencies like my own— the Santa Rosa Police Department (SRPD) in California. I worked on several law enforcement task force operations, including the presidential Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force targeting major drug traffickers, and the federal Organized Crime Task Force charged with identifying and prosecuting prison gang leaders.
So when I sat down to write my first crime mystery novel, I was able to draw upon years of experience—people from all walks of life, crime cases, personal impressions, and a little police humor gathered from real characters.
How did you come up with this specific plot line?
Actually, my attempt to learn to fly fish led to it. After leaving law enforcement, I needed to move my family from California to a more rural setting. So we packed up and moved to a small town in eastern Washington, a few miles from the Idaho border.
One of the things I promised myself was that I’d learn to fly fish. One of the fishing areas lay in central Idaho, along the beautiful Clearwater, Selway, and Lochsa rivers. Truly God’s country. The Nez Perce (NP) Indian reservation straddles a good chunk of these mountains, and I developed an interest in their culture and history. I began to envision a story where a character from my law enforcement world connects with a character from the NP law enforcement world, and they work together to solve a crime while learning about each other’s way of life.
I began to research the cultural, historical and present-day challenges of the NP. I interviewed the chief of the NP Tribal Police, members of the NP tribe, spiritual leaders in the community, and one individual who headed up archeology projects of this Indian culture for more than thirty years. Unfortunately, I could not use most of what I learned for this novel. I hope to dish out additional morsels of information in upcoming sequels to Revenge.
My interest in cultural history arises from my own personal history and experiences. I can trace my heritage, through my mother’s side, back to the Cherokee nation, with roots in Oklahoma. And, in 1973, I had an opportunity as a reporter to travel to South Dakota where I interviewed American Indian Movement (AIM) leaders Dennis Banks and Russell Means during the takeover of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. During the standoff between AIM members and federal authorities, I was able to move into the town during the siege and interview members of the Oglala Sioux Nation about conditions they faced on the reservation.
The plot for Revenge was spawned from this background.


  1. Hello, Mark! I'm happy to meet you. I've got a sample of Revenge on my Kindle that I can't wait to read.

    I'm mentioning you in a LINK LOVE post on SlingWords Monday. Will repeat the post on my other blog also.

    Best wishes,
    Joan Reeves

  2. Joan: I appreciate your kind words and efforts to tell others about Revenge. Hope you enjoy the novel.