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Lugh

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Today we have an author interview with Mark Arbour. Many of you know his stories, but do you know anything about him and how or why he started writing them? Hopefully Marzipan’s interview will shed some light on this subject for us all.

but first... an announcement... Today is the last day for the Reader's Choice Award Nominations. Get yours in.

Now on to the interview --


I’m going to start with an easy question. You are hugely popular author in GA. What do you think appeals in your writing to your readers?
I’m not sure that I’m ‘hugely popular’, but I think a big part of the reason people read my stories is due to their historical nature. I have two series that I’m writing, and they’re both very different. “Chronicles of an Academic Predator” (CAP) is set in more recent times. It started in 1962, and I’ve written up through the year 2000 as of right now. It’s about a wealthy family and their trials and tribulations, and tends to be more of a soap opera. The emphasis in that series is on the characters themselves. The other series, Bridgemont, is about the Royal Navy during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. The focus in that series tends to be more on the environment or world the characters lived in.

You joined GA February 2005, how do you feel the writing community has changed over the years you’ve been a member? What about the mass of your readers and the correspondence with them, how has that evolved?
I’m not sure that it really has changed that much over the years, other than it’s gotten bigger. My readers communicate with me via e-mail, the forums, or reviews. Of the three, I prefer the forums for general stuff, because then readers tend to talk to each other, and I love that! Most readers are polite enough to send me criticism via e-mail or PM, which is great, since it gives me a chance to digest it without a piling on effect, or worse, having a lynch mob of readers going after the guy who dissed me in public.

How did you end up in GA? Have you posted on other sites?
I originally came to GA as a Domaholic. I've posted stories on Nifty and a few chapters on Literotica, but not all of them. About the time I was promoted to "Promising," I was offered an opportunity to post at CRVBOY, which is another great site. But I had been putting stuff up on e-fiction for a while, and had the 'most read' e-fiction story here at that point, so it seemed like the right decision to just stay here. Hosted Authors are presumed to be exclusive to GA, and I've followed that rule, so you'll only find all of my stories posted here, or at my Yahoo group.

How and when did you start writing, how you would describe the change in your writing?
I started writing almost as a fluke. I wrote an article about that for the newsletter, so I won’t repeat myself. What’s changed? That’s an interesting question. Probably my focus on character development and consistency. When I first started writing, I thought in terms of places and events. That faded really fast as my characters took over the stories. They were right. I listen to them now.

You write and post a lot. How much of your free time does it take? Is it something that is supported by the work you do for living or is it something totally different?
It takes a lot of my free time, and it has nothing to do with my work, or anything else. It’s just a hobby. Usually, it comes pretty easy to me. When I write, I absorb myself in the character, trying to visualize the scenes and to feel what he feels, so the words more or less flow naturally. Then there are times when that bonding with the character fails, and I sort of flail around in limbo trying to get back into the story.

Do your family and friends know about your writing in GA? How do they feel about it?
I’m a married bisexual guy who’s not out about my “other side.” No one that is a close personal friend or family member is aware of my writing.

Have you published a fictional story? Do you aim to do that?
That’s not on my radar screen. Based on what I just mentioned above, if I was going to publish a story, it would increase the chances of having my real identity leaked. That’s something I can’t afford to do at this point, either personally or professionally.

Ok, I understand the reasons you want to keep the anonymity with your writing, but considering how much time you put in to your writing, wouldn't it be a natural leap to pursue publishing? Have you considered writing a historical novel that is not gay themed?
I haven't really thought of that. Right now, writing is a hobby. That makes it sound like actual work.

You write mainly historical stories, sometimes from the Napoleon era, but mainly following the history and political change of the US. Why do you write historical stories?
I’ve always enjoyed history. The CAP series has been fun for me because I was born about the same time the story started, so it’s a bit like going back and tracing what happened over the years when I was growing up and too young to realize what was going on. I still have memories that flash back when I do that, especially of the Vietnam War, and later, of Watergate. The Bridgemont series can trace it’s lineage to when I was 12, and read “Beat to Quarters” by CS Forester, the first published book of his Hornblower series. I’ve read those books so many times, they’re falling apart.

In your stories you follow certain families over decades. I see it as neat way to entwine general history and personal life of the characters. How do you see it?
The same way that you do. It also gives me a chance to address generational conflict and issues, which can be fun. I try to work a theme or two into each story. The latest one, Paternity, is all about father-son relationships. The real reason that I decided to write a series in the first place, though, is that I liked all my characters, and I couldn’t really stand to just let them ‘end.’

What made the fatherhood-theme special to you?
I've got a son who's 16, so I have a lot of firsthand experience with it. file:///C:UsersSparkyAppDataLocalTempOICE_F99B9EB8-6AFB-4654-B2AC-51FE93BA7A02.0msohtmlclip11clip_image001.gifOne of the more fun parts of the story is writing about Brad (the father) and Will (the son). Will gives Brad a lot of crap, much like Brad did to his father (JP) when he was young. It's me channeling my own frustration and amusement when my son pisses me off and I remember doing similar things to my dad.

You have a lot of erotica in your stories. Is it something you get more critique or thanks for?
Some people like it, some people don’t. Personally, I think it’s kind of fun. I’m not perfect, but for the most part I’m pretty faithful to my wife. I think that a big part of that is venting my attraction for men with my writing, and a lot of that is through the erotic segments. Then there’s the ability to push the envelope with different things. I’ve hit on some pretty kinky stuff, including fisting, BDSM, and e-stim. I sometimes wonder if my readers open a new chapter with one eye closed, wondering what I’ll throw at them. There’s three places I can’t go: Bestiality, Scat, and sex with pre-pubescent kids. They can relax about those topics.

I realize this isn’t exactly a question, but I have to comment that I enjoy your boldness. Personally I think it’s your unique brand and I wouldn’t have it any other way. You bold entry ‘Ode to the Taint’ for last year’s Poem Anthology was something that made my eyes roll but it also made me snicker. I think you have guts and I see you like to shock a bit too.
Thanks. I’m no poet. I wrote that primarily to show support for Lugh and the Poetry Anthology. That’s a lot of work, and I’d teased him a lot about it, so I figured I should show that I appreciated what he was doing by trying my hand at it. I knew it wouldn’t be good, so I went with shocking humor instead.

What sort of plans do you have for year 2012 in terms of writing?
I’ll continue on with my two series. There are a lot of exciting events ahead for both of them. One era that is of particular interest to me is pre-revolutionary France. It’s highly likely that I’ll ultimately work on a series that takes place around the time of Louis XIV, but it probably won’t be this year.


Thank you Mark for taking time for this interview! Have a prosperous year 2012!

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Glad to hear that the 2 series are going to continue. Many thanks for sharing them. If real life gets in the way please take a break and then come back to us, rather than let it get too much and stop altogether.

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Glad to hear that the 2 series are going to continue. Many thanks for sharing them. If real life gets in the way please take a break and then come back to us, rather than let it get too much and stop altogether.

 

That's what I've done, and it worked out well. I realized that if I got overwhelmed, trimming back my writing didn't mean giving it up, it just meant postponing it.

 

 

It's been a blast being part of your team and seeing what kind of crazy-ass scenarios you'll come up with.

 

And I have appreciated your feedback. Most of the time. ;-)

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Mark;

Thanks for letting us folks at your Yahoo! Groups groups know that we could find this interview at GA. It finally got me to sign up for GA...

Peter

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Well then welcome aboard Peter. Glad to have another one of Mark's rabid readers among us.

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It would be an interesting thing to find out your 16 year old was in the closet and one of your biggest fans not knowing you were his father. But alas, It seems we married gays only produce breeders.

Nobody is perfect.

BUt I can tell you from personal experience, that coming out to your 16 year old son can be most ammusing. Especially if you hand him a chapter of something you wrote and say, what do you think of this writer. And when he answers that it is vividly graphic you simply smile and say, "Thanks." That picture will live in my mind for ever. I don't think I ever saw someone blush so brightly.

Nice interview Mark. I hope that one day circumstances allow you to be yourself with all the people you love in your life. It is a great feeling. This, I know.

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Thanks Mark, it was a real pleasure to read your interview. I found in it many things we have in common ("to bi or to bi,that's the question!").

 

I understand well the reasons why you have to remain "hidden" (I had sometimes the same problem). But believe me, getting older no only solves the problem, but brings the problem itself to be eliminated.

 

BTW, I never came out openly. But the funniest moment was when I met the boyfriend of my youngest son in a bathhouse, we laugh out loud and we finished the evening at the bar whith a nice bottle of French wine. I have a lot of some memories, I just hope i will enough time to write them in my story !

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Thanks for the interview and the background. Dealing with a sixteen year old son is a challenge, while working full-time, maintaining a household and having the time consuming hobby of writing. Kudos to your time-management!

 

 

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Mark's stories are what brought me to GA. So, to those of you who i have occasionally annoyed.... BLAME ARBOUR!!!!

 

Seriously though, the bridgemont series is particularly well written - I do take up the challenge of trying to find historical inaccuracies in Mark's work. I will tell you this much - I dont find many.

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Hi Mark,

I appreciate the interview. It's nice to get your background. Makes the reading of your stories even better.

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I've read some of the stories and followed one in particular. I'm not one for historical stories so I doubt I'll read that one, not becuase I don't think it will be good but just from personal choice. As someone with no limits I like someone who writes dangerous things. Matthew Sheppard springs to mind. That was a dangerous things to write and could have gone so badly wrong. But it didn't because Mark has a way of making bad things readable.

 

Apart from the writing, Mark's a bitch but I love him nevertheless :P

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I think that it is more difficult to come out Bi now than Gay. It is so much more complex. Part of the reason is that it goes so much beyond oneself to one's family. Kids can really take a hit in such a situation. That is why I have a hard understanding Bi guys that are playing so much. It seems that the ramifications are so much greater when they have a family. I got caught so to speak and I also have a couple of friends who got tripped up despite efforts to be very discrete and careful.

 

I love the historical stuff that you write. I even like the stories without any erotica. Maybe that is because I was a history major as an undergrad. You cliff hangers ain't bad either.

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Thanks to all of you who posted here! A few comments below:

I've read some of the stories and followed one in particular. I'm not one for historical stories so I doubt I'll read that one, not becuase I don't think it will be good but just from personal choice. As someone with no limits I like someone who writes dangerous things. Matthew Sheppard springs to mind. That was a dangerous things to write and could have gone so badly wrong. But it didn't because Mark has a way of making bad things readable.Apart from the writing, Mark's a bitch but I love him nevertheless :P

 

Doesn't the metaphor about the pot calling the kettle black have UK roots? Just wondering. :-)

 

The Matthew Shepard tragedy didn't really hit me hard until I started doing the research on it for Bloodlines. I spent a few nights writing those chapters with tears flowing out of my eyes. I say that so you'll understand how much I appreciated your comment. I tried hard to do that one right.

 

 

Thanks Mark, it was a real pleasure to read your interview. I found in it many things we have in common ("to bi or to bi,that's the question!").I understand well the reasons why you have to remain "hidden" (I had sometimes the same problem). But believe me, getting older no only solves the problem, but brings the problem itself to be eliminated. BTW, I never came out openly. But the funniest moment was when I met the boyfriend of my youngest son in a bathhouse, we laugh out loud and we finished the evening at the bar whith a nice bottle of French wine. I have a lot of some memories, I just hope i will enough time to write them in my story !

 

I hope you have enough time to do that as well. I loved your story; you have so much more to tell!

 

 

Thanks for the interview and the background. Dealing with a sixteen year old son is a challenge, while working full-time, maintaining a household and having the time consuming hobby of writing. Kudos to your time-management!

 

Toss in a scorching case of ADD, and it makes things interesting.

 

 

Mark's stories are what brought me to GA. So, to those of you who i have occasionally annoyed.... BLAME ARBOUR!!!!Seriously though, the bridgemont series is particularly well written - I do take up the challenge of trying to find historical inaccuracies in Mark's work. I will tell you this much - I dont find many.

 

Paya owes me big time. I'm collecting next time I'm in Europe. I'm thinking a threesome might square things. :-)

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