Terry, Mark 1964-

views updated

Terry, Mark 1964-

PERSONAL:

Born 1964; married; children: sons. Education: Michigan State University, B.Sc., 1986. Hobbies and other interests: Walking his dog, Sanchin Ryu karate, working out, mountain biking, music (jazz, rock, classical), reading, vacationing, going to the beach.

ADDRESSES:

Home—MI. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer and editor. Editor of Journal of the Association of Genetic Technologists; writer for pharmaceutical companies, business analysis firms, and health systems. Has worked in infectious disease research and clinical cytogenetics.

WRITINGS:

Dirty Deeds: A Meg Malloy Mystery, High Country Publishers (Boone, NC), 2004.

The Devil's Pitchfork: A Derek Stillwater Novel, Midnight Ink (Woodbury, MN), 2006.

The Serpent's Kiss: A Derek Stillwater Novel, Midnight Ink (Woodbury, MN), 2007.

Also author of reports for Washington G-2 Reports/IOMA, Inc. Contributor to periodicals and Web sites, including Laboratory Industry Report, Oakland Press, Genomics & Proteomics, Drug Discovery & Development, Podiatry Management, and Bankrate.com.

SIDELIGHTS:

Mark Terry is a freelance writer whose first novel, Dirty Deeds: A Meg Malloy Mystery, introduces the title character, an independently wealthy divorcee who sometimes finds herself acting as an amateur detective. In Dirty Deeds, Malloy tries to track down the daughter of a televangelist after she is apparently raped and kidnapped. The story is fast-paced and suspenseful, making for "a promising series debut," according to Rex Klett in Library Journal.

Terry's background in infectious disease research helped him to craft his next book, The Devil's Pitchfork: A Derek Stillwater Novel. It features the character of Dr. Derek Stillwater, an agent of the Department of Homeland Security whose specialties are biological and chemical terrorism and warfare. The story revolves around a bio-engineered virus, Chimera M13, which causes bleeding from bodily orifices, destruction of internal organs, and a fatality rate of 100 percent within twelve hours of contact. Chimera M13 was manufactured by the United States, but it falls into the possession of a band of terrorists known as the Fallen Angels. Derek Stillwater must figure out what the Fallen Angels plan to do with Chimera M13 and what their motivations are, then foil whatever plot is in play. The Devil's Pitchfork is the first in a planned series of novels about Derek Stillwater.

Terry told CA: "I was in college when I read an essay by Stephen King called something like ‘The Making of a Brand Name,’ and what I took away from it was that a person doesn't go to a school or degree program to become a writer, necessarily, but they sit down and write and send it out and eventually it gets published. So I sat down and wrote a very bad science fiction short story called ‘When Red Eyes Blue’ about intergalactic war, and although the story never took off, the writing did."

When asked who or what influence his work, Terry said: "Stephen King for getting me started, although my style and type of stories are quite different. As for writing influences, I would say David Morrell, Sue Grafton, John Sandford, Dick Francis, and Robert B. Parker have been strong influences on how I write and the types of materials that I write."

Terry described his writing process as being "one word at a time. I start with a title, a character, and a situation. I generally have good ideas of incidents and an ending. The ‘Derek Stillwater Novels’ typically involve a serious terrorism attack of one type or another with the threat of worse to come, and Derek must stop the ‘worse to come’ from happening. So in that respect he's trying to solve a mystery while on the run. I research as I go along, visiting locations, using the Internet, reading books, and conducting interviews as needed. I don't outline, although often I will need to write a rough outline somewhere in the middle or last third in order to pull things together. I try to write a good solid five pages daily. I typically write on a computer, print out each completed chapter, then go over it with colored felt pens, often reading aloud, then entering those changes in the computer and moving on. When the entire work is finished, I try to read it like I would if I were a reader ‘sprawled on a couch with a cold beverage nearby’ in order to get a better sense of story and pace. Then I go over it chapter by chapter again with the felt pens, possibly reading it aloud again until I'm satisfied with the product."

When asked the most surprising thing he has learned as a writer, Terry said: "That it's possible to make a living as a writer (although not necessarily as a novelist). That and just how difficult it is to enter the world of fiction publishing, and once you do, how difficult it is to stay there."

When asked which of his books is his favorite, Terry said: "The standard answer is ‘the one I'm writing now,’ but I'm very fond of The Serpent's Kiss: A Derek Stillwater Novel because the structure was so beautiful it nearly wrote itself. A writer typically has an idea of what they hope their book will do and how it will end up, but it rarely does. In the case of The Serpent's Kiss, I feel like I nailed everything."

Terry said that the effect he hopes his books will have is "to entertain the reader and give them their money's worth is enough. Anything else would be gluttony."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2006, review of The Devil's Pitchfork: A Derek Stillwater Novel, p. 808.

Library Journal, April 1, 2004, Rex Klett, review of Dirty Deeds: A Meg Malloy Mystery, p. 128.