Ferrari, Mark J. 1956- (Mark Joseph Ferrari)
Ferrari, Mark J. 1956- (Mark Joseph Ferrari)
Born November 29, 1956.
Home—Seattle, WA. E-mail—[email protected]
Writer, novelist, artist, and illustrator. Works as a background and concept artist for a large computer gaming company in Seattle, WA. Freelance artist and illustrator for a variety of clients in the motion picture, gaming, and publishing industries, including Lucasfilm, Lucas Arts Games, Industrial Light and Magic, Electronic Arts, Chaosium Games, Amaze Entertainment, Tor, Ace, New American Library, Science Fiction Book Club, and others, 1987—.
The Book of Joby, Tor (New York, NY), 2007.
Mark J. Ferrari is an artist and illustrator who has worked for some of the leading companies in movies, gaming, and publishing. Though he works full-time doing concept and background art for a large gaming company in Seattle, Washington, he maintains a busy freelance schedule. He has illustrated book covers for publishers such as Tor, New American Library, and Ace Books. His work has been used by Lucasfilm and Lucas Arts Games, home to the well-known and hugely popular Star Wars franchise. He has also illustrated video games and role-playing games for publishers such as Electronic Arts and Chaosium.
Ferrari notes in an interview on his home page: "Both reading and writing have been at the very center of my personal life since early childhood, but as I matured, a writing career seemed so unrealistic and risky that I felt compelled to become an artist instead." Though he is well aware of the irony of choosing a professional career equally as uncertain as writing, he prospered as a commercial artist. However, a serious accident in 2000, in which Ferrari rode head-first on his bicycle into an oncoming log truck, impaired his ability to draw, and served as the final motivator to convince him to take up writing, he reported in an interview on Dribble of Ink Web site. "There was simply no further way to deny that writing was truly my last, best heart's desire," he remarked on his home page.
The result of his foray into writing is his debut novel, The Book of Joby. In his modern-day reworking, Ferrari offers a new perspective on the biblical tale of Job and its themes of patience and faith, intertwined with a reconsideration of the legend of King Arthur. At the heart of the novel is another of the age-old challenges between God and Lucifer, during which the faith or abilities of one of God's subjects is sorely challenged. This time, the stakes are all of creation: if God loses, Lucifer will be permitted to erase the world and remake reality in a way more closely aligned with the Devil's attitudes. As his representative, God chooses Joby Peterson, a radiantly happy nine-year-old boy with a deep interest in King Arthur and the legends of Camelot. An appropriate choice, Joby is the reincarnation of the Once and Future King himself. As Joby grows into manhood, he is battered physically and mentally, loses the potential he had as a child and becomes an embittered loser who can't hold a job or a girlfriend, and whose best efforts only seem to bring about tragedy and pain. Even through his worst trials, however, Joby remains obstinately optimistic and refuses to renounce God. When he visits a small coastal town called Taubolt, the unusual inhabitants and the town's magical aura help nudge him toward his final destination. A Kirkus Reviews critic called the storyline "just quirky, clever, sincere and sporadically uplifting enough to balance the depressing nature of Joby's many trials." Booklist critic Sally Estes named it "a decidedly unorthodox twist on the personalities of God and the devil that offers much to ponder as well as enjoy."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August, 2007, Sally Estes, review of The Book of Joby, p. 53.
Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2007, review of The Book of Joby.
Library Journal, August 1, 2007, Nancy H. Fontaine, review of The Book of Joby, p. 77.
Publishers Weekly, July 16, 2007, review of The Book of Joby, p. 151.
Voice of Youth Advocates, August, 2007, Dawn Talbot, review of The Book of Joby, p. 254.
Dribble of Ink,http://aidanmoher.com/blog/ (February 19, 2008), interview with Mark J. Ferrari.
Fantasy Book Critic,http://fantasybookcritic.blogspot.com/ (September 5, 2007), interview with Mark J. Ferrari.
Mark J. Ferrari Home Page,http://www.markferrari.com (February 19, 2008).