Let's get started!
Betsy: Wow! We just never know how God will work! So, what gave you the specific idea for Truth Chasers?
Mark: I wanted to write a series that gave a realistic view of the police officers’ world, their lives and their families, as well as their cases. All too often, cops are portrayed in one of two ways—either as supermen or complete imbeciles. The truth is that cops are normal people trying to do an abnormal job. I wanted to create not only compelling dramas, but also deep, personal stories about the officers themselves.
Betsy: I think you've done just that! Now Mark, your bio is very impressive! Tell us how your experience in law enforcement and various jobs enabled you to put so much detail into your stories.
Mark: I’ve been very blessed to have served in the Marines and nearly twenty years in law enforcement. In that time, I’ve worked as an undercover narcotics agent, a S.W.A.T. team member, and a homicide detective. Each job has given me a chance to view the human condition in ways that many people never get the chance. I pour those experiences into the stories I write.
Betsy: Will you share with us a little of our own personal faith journey?
Mark: As a young man, I didn’t have much use for spiritual things. I had maybe a handful of church experiences to pull from, and a relationship with the Lord was not high on my priority list. Unfortunately, in my teens and early twenties, my life reflected my spiritual condition. I partied way too much and got into a bit of trouble. I ended up dropping out of high school and enlisting in the Marines when I was seventeen.
After the service, I met a beautiful and fun young lady who would later become my wife. She was raised in a Christian home and encouraged me to attend church. (I either went to Church or we didn’t date. Not a hard choice for me.) I wasn’t anti-God or atheistic. I was something that in my mind is worse—an indifferent pew sitter, thinking that merely broaching the church door built up spiritual credit for me somehow. I felt I could go to church, do my one hour a week, and even entertain a couple of ethereal thoughts now and then, and I was fine until the next Sunday. I didn’t read the Bible or seek any deeper relationship with God. While I’d cleaned up my behavior a little bit from my reckless teenage years, I was no more saved than I was before. I’d just become more sophisticated in my sin.
Then God showed up. During an ultrasound while my wife was pregnant with our oldest son, the doctors discovered that my son had hydrocephalus, a build up of fluid on the brain and a leading cause of retardation and death in infants. The news shook my world. I really believed that God was punishing my son for my sins. Even though I lacked a strong theological understanding, I knew that God was God, and I was truly a sinner. I had no where else to go. I called out to the Lord.
Out of my ignorance, I made all the promises that a person in that situation makes—I would stop swearing, be a nicer person, be in church every week, blah, blah, blah. I kinda missed the spiritual mark there, but we do serve a gracious and patient God. He was going to let me try to live out my promise—and then be there to pickup the pieces.
On the day my son was born, the doctors were preparing to operate on him and insert a shunt in his head to drain the fluid. Just before the surgery, they performed one last MRI. The neurologist came into the room and asked who gave us the diagnosis of hydrocephalus? He said our son was fine and there was no buildup of fluid on his brain. My wife and I observed no less than a dozen ultrasounds, all showing the fluid pooling on his brain. I knew that God had miraculously healed our son.
So I set forth to live out my promises . . . and failed at every turn. God had saved my son, and I couldn’t even do the simplest things in return. I was disgusted with myself and slipped into a deep depression. The Lord then brought a godly man in my path who gave me the true gospel of grace. While witnessing to me, my friend gave me a tape series on creation verses evolution and the inerrancy of the Bible, which broke down many of the barriers to true faith that I wasn’t even aware I had. Half way through the series, I found myself on my knees, weeping and dedicating my life to Jesus Christ. I’ve never been the same since, praise God.
Betsy: Oh wow! What an amazing testimony. Thanks for sharing. Now Mark, do you write full-time? Describe for us a typical day in your writing career. If you work outside your home, how do you handle the balance of a job, family, and your writing goals?
Mark: I still work as a homicide/violent crimes detective as my day job. I mostly write at night and on weekends. Since I have a wife and three children who actually like me, I have to divide my time carefully. Sometimes I wonder how everything gets done.
Even when I’m working at the police thing, I’m still churning the stories in my head until I can get home and commit them to paper. I’m sick, I know. But what can I say, I’m a writer.
Betsy: We understand! ::grins:: How did you feel when you held your very first book copy in your hands?
Mark: Flabbergasted. God’s grace never ceases to amaze me. When I dropped out of school, I was functionally illiterate and could barely scribble my name on paper. So holding a copy of my book was an incredibly emotional moment for me.
Betsy: I can imagine. So, who are some of your personal favorite authors?
Mark: Angela Hunt, Davis Bunn, Creston Mapes, William Diehl, Harper Lee, and many more. I appreciate anyone who can tell a great story.
Betsy: Are you a SOTP writer (seat of the pants) or a plotter?
Mark: Sort of both. I do a light plot with the major turning points mapped out. I then shape the story around that. My initial plot will usually change some during the process, but it works for me.
Betsy: What can readers look forward to seeing from you next?
Mark: My next novel is The Void, which releases in July 07. Most of the book is told from the perspective of Roberta “Robbie” Sanchez, a Florida Department of Law Enforcement criminal profiler. A research laboratory in Florida, Biotex, has successfully cloned the first human being. While the clone’s body is genetically perfect, his spirit is something completely different—and not of this world. Agent Sanchez and her team are called in to investigate the murder of a local police officer and are soon thrust into a battle that threatens each of their lives and the lives of every Believer on the planet.
Betsy: Ohh, sounds great. Well, Mark, as we wrap up, is there any one piece of advice you'd like to share with aspiring authors out there today?
Mark: Stick with it! Many a great manuscript or talented writer will never be discovered because the author didn’t show the fortitude to stick it out through the tough times—and there will be tough times. If you’re called to be a writer, write. Learn your craft, read books about writing, go to conferences, and write, write, write. Don’t let negative voices around you derail the dream God has planted.
Betsy: Great advice, Mark. Thanks so much for visiting with us today!
Visit Mark Mynheir's website at http://www.copwriter.com/