Writing, // April 3, 2015
Mark W. Sasse – Writer
Interview with writer Mark W. Sasse —
1. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Mark W. Sasse. I do a lot, actually. I’m a teacher. I’m a writer. I’m a novelist. I’m a playwright. I’m a blogger. I’m a drama director. I’m a softball coach. That describes a lot of what I do.
2. Why writing?
I realize now that I’ve always been compelled to create. I’m not the scientific type – so I knew my creativity would never find its way out as an inventor or something like that. But as a writer, I can be an inventor of ideas – an inventor of situations – an inventor of stories. This creativity into writing took a dramatic turn about seven years ago when I wrote (with some students) my first play. Since that time, I’ve had the writing bug, and the ideas come at me from all angles at all moments, so I categorize my ideas into different genres of writing. I love writing novels for the intricate plots of a full-developed story. I love writing full-length plays in order to chisel away at some well-defined characters in unique stories. I love writing short plays (10-minute plays) because of the variety and creativity they afford. I even love writing musicals (though I am no musician) because of the melodies which are constantly rattling around in my head. Writing has become a compulsion for me, and I love everything about it. (Though it can be as frustrating as heck sometimes!)
3. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be a writer?
Song-writing has to be my first memory is wanting to write. I remember growing up listening to the radio in the late 70s and early 80s, and I would create these melodies and paste some (rather silly) lyrics to them. This is something that I did all the time. Eventually, this lyrics phase turned into a poetry phase when I went to college in 1985.
4. What are your favorite subject(s) and style(s)?
For me, writing has to say something meaningful. Entertainment is never enough. It has to have a purpose, so I have (thus far) feel compelled to tell realistic stories, set in exotic places. The exotic comes from the fact that I’ve lived overseas for much of the last twenty years in both Vietnam and Malaysia. My novels always have an international flair to them. I like fast-paced prose, strong characters, necessary description that readers won’t get bored with, and plot-twisting stories which keep people guessing. There’s usually a love story thrown in as well, but not always. For my short play writing, this tends to be my experimental outlet. I love it because I can go crazy for 10 minutes at a time, whether my characters are human, animal, or inanimate, there’s always some great stories that can be told in a short period of time.
5. How do you work and approach your subject?
I just write. I try not to think too much when I write. I just let it flow. I always say that, for me, writing is discovery. I don’t even know where it’s going most of the time. I just wrote a short play called “The Cardboard Man and the Scissors” and it’s an absurd piece of true delight. Or at least it is for me. I have two young actors who will be performing it soon and they asked me where in the world this idea came from. I couldn’t answer. It just came. It’s the same with my novel writing. I never outline, and if I did it would be a waste of time because I wouldn’t follow it anyways. I just write. It’s as simple as that.
6. What are your favorite written works, writers?
I was an English major in college and always was partial to Hemingway. Perhaps it was the exotic locations or even his simple vocabulary and prose. I always liked how his writing flowed, and that’s what I hope to achieve in my writing. Besides Hemingway, I don’t have any other favorite authors per se, but there are some books which really stuck with me for a variety of reasons: “The Ugly American”, “Black Like Me”, “The Sacred Willow.”
7. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
I’ve been fortunate and humbled to have heard a lot of great responses from both readers of my novels and audience members of my dramatic works. I really am honored anytime someone who never heard of me picks up my book and reads it, but when they take the next step and comment how they have “become my fan” and will read my other works, that means a lot.
A recent review of my latest novel, “The Reach of the Banyan Tree” said the following: “Historical fiction is my favorite genre, and Mark Sasse has joined my list of must-read authors in the genre. I would compare his work to that of both James Clavell and John Shors.” That was pretty cool to say the least!
8. What do you like about your work?
It’s not genre specific. I think most anyone could pick up one of my novels and find something intriguing or interesting that they would like. I like it that my work is accessible, yet meaningful and substantive. Or at least I hope it is.
9. What advice would you give to other writers?
Don’t listen to the other voices around you which constantly will doubt you – whether reviewers or friends. If you feel compelled to write, don’t let anyone or anything stop you.
10. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
I honestly have no idea. Would I love to be able to make a living through my writing? Absolutely. But that’s not ultimately why I’m doing this. I have to create, so I write. In another 5-10 years, I hope I have an extensive portfolio of novels and plays which many people will enjoy.
Writing Blog: http://mwsasse.com/
Facebook Author page: http://facebook.com/markwsasse
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Mark-W-Sasse/e/B0058BFJHU/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1