Tell us about yourself.
I grew up in Pasadena, not far from Caltech. In high school I spent Friday and Saturday nights at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab (SAIL) and subsequently was a member of the Homebrew Computer Club. I have worked or consulted for numerous startups in Silicon Valley. I do a fair amount of photography, subscribe to the local theater, and have visited all fifty states and much of Europe.
What was your first book?
Bringing Up Mike is my first young adult science fiction novel. My first book was a non-fiction book on the history of the Caltrain passenger service on the San Francisco Peninsula about twelve years ago.
Describe your first break.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was when my folks moved to San Mateo just before I started the 8th grade. It was before Silicon Valley started to drive the United States economy.
What is your favorite genre to read? To write?
While I read everything, I have a core fondness for good science fiction.
What makes a protagonist interesting?
You want characters with inherent conflicts and flaws. This is what makes a plot character driven and interesting—they need to have challenges and obstacles to overcome.
What is the best thing about being a writer?
You can create a unique world filled with interesting characters that you breathe life into.
What is the worst thing?
When editing the novel, you make one pass after another on the manuscript. Each time that you think you are finished, there seems to be some reason to make additional revisions or corrections, and you have to read through the document one more time.
Pantser or plotter?
I’m a little bit of both. For Bringing Up Mike, I worked out the major character arcs, various conflicts and plot points. But as I wrote each chapter, the characters took me in different directions and I modified the overall timeline of the plot accordingly.
What do you see the direction of your future writing taking? What can we expect next? Give us a little taste.
I’m working on the sequel to Bringing Up Mike. Joe, Sue and Mike go to Stanford University. Mike joins the Stanford Band and wants to play the trumpet. Sue becomes good friends with her wealthy roommate from New York. Joe works to become good at teaching (initially he’s terrible).
Just for fun
Cat or dog person? I grew up with cats, but I’m fond of dogs, in particular golden retrievers.
Favorite food? I’ve always had a sweet tooth. My kitchen counter always has bags of various candies and cookies. Fortunately I’ve never had to worry about my weight.
Favorite book? A great hard science-fiction novel with an interesting hero and character arc.
Favorite movie? I love Pixar Studio movies. They have great stories!
Favorite vacation destination (you just have to want to go there)
I’ve visited Hawaii several times. My favorite island is the Big Island. It has everything from observatories above the clouds to lava erupting. While Oahu has many attractions, it’s a bit too much of a tourist trap for me. Maui, Kauai and Lanai are all beautiful, but a bit small for my taste. I’d like to visit Japan, New Zealand and Australia. I own several pieces of Japanese art, the scenery in New Zealand is spectacular, and I have a friend that will be working in Sydney, Australia that I would like to visit.
Book and Author Links
Book Website: http://www.askmarpublishing.com/books/bringing up mike.html
Publisher Website: http://www.askmarpublishing.com
Author Website: http://www.askmaroublishing.com/authors/mark duncan.html
Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/askmarpub
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/askmar
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What happens when Joe, a teen prodigy makes drastic changes to his life and attends high school incognito with Mike, an artificial intelligence? His plans take an unexpected turn when he buys a neglected former racehorse.
Bringing Up Mike is a tapestry of intertwined stories over the course of a school year: A teen genius who has grown up too fast, a neglected former racehorse, a bereaved couple morning the death of their son, a girl struggling to attend college, and a former mobster determined to be top dog.
Bringing Up Mike is about people given a second chance at happiness and success and how they become better people and mature.
As he walked down the windowless hallway, Joe’s long hair swung back and forth across his back. He swiped his badge against the door lock, entered a PIN code, and it clicked open. He took another gulp of coffee and entered his office.
He touched his finger to the keyboard to scan his fingerprint, then gestured on a touchpad to log in and authenticate himself. The lights went off in the office, the lock clicked in place, and the introduction to The Outer Limits began to play: “There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust”
“Mike, very funny. Stop the effects, turn on the lights.”
The office lights flickered on. “Your wish is my command, O Master.”
“Enough with mimicking the genie from Aladdin.”
“I don’t sound like Robin Williams?”
“No, you’re perfect. I’m just not a morning person.” He pulled off his thick glasses and rubbed his brows before placing them back. “Any interesting news or urgent emails?”
“Nothing earth-shattering, the usual please respond immediately emails. Answered the trivial ones, but there are three that need your attention eventually.”
“How’s the meeting going?”
“Started half an hour ago. I gave your update ten minutes ago. Told them how we’d found and neutralized one hundred and four viruses and Trojans, and that if they didn’t like your acronym DAWG for Deleterious Adaptive Web Gladiator, you were open to suggestions. You want to listen?”
“No, I’ll nap for a bit. Wake me if anything comes up.”