Author Spotlight- Interview with Fantasy Author Mark Piggott

Tell us about yourself and how we can connect with you.

Name/Bio

Mark Piggott, a native of Phillipsburg, N.J., enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1982, beginning a 23-year career.

He served on four aircraft carriers and various duty stations as a Navy Journalist before he attained the rank of Chief Petty Officer. He retired from active duty in 2006.

His first novel, Forever Avalon, was published in 2009, followed by his second novel, The Dark Tides, in 2014. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series from Austin Macauley Publishing, was released in 2020. He is currently working on the fourth book in the Forever Avalon series, The Prometheus Engine, and a new fantasy/adventure series, The Last Magus.

His short story, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, won the Crystal Peake Publishing “Steampunk Writing Contest” and will be published in 2021.

He and his wife, Georgiene, live in Alexandria, Virginia. They have three children.

Book(s)

Forever Avalon (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JDDBCVP)

The Dark Tides (https://www.iuniverse.com/BookStore/BookDetails/635348-the-dark-tides)

The Outlander War (https://www.austinmacauley.com/book/outlander-war-book-3-forever-avalon-series)

Of Distant Worlds (a fantasy anthology that includes one of my short stories, “Demonfall”) (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0915N2B8V)

Where available (Links, Trailers, Website, etc.)

My author website (https://authormarkpiggott.wordpress.com/)

What genre do you write in?

Fantasy is my regular genre, mostly because it’s been a part of my mindset since I was a teenager. I fell in love with fantasy, magic, dragons, and more through reading J.R.R. Tolkien, playing D&D, and probably every fantasy movie that came out in the 80s (Conan, Krull, etc.) Recently, I’ve been engrossed with steampunk. I love the blending of modern technology with Victorian sensibilities. I’m working on a steampunk historical fiction. It’s a new genre and I’m excited to try it.

How did you get started?

As a young teen, I loved comic books. I started creating my own comic book characters and stories. I even drew a little. I wanted to be the next Stan Lee or Jack Kirby but my artistic skills didn’t pan out. I went the writing route instead. I joined the US Navy as a Navy Journalist, but I wrote mostly news releases, feature articles, and press releases. It was during that time that I started developing my creative writing skills and developed my story into the Forever Avalon series. I can also say my time playing Dungeons and Dragons helped me with world-building, character creation, and developing a story. All of that was part of the game so it helped me in the writing process.

I am a simple person, even when it comes to writing. I am a straightforward good vs evil storyteller. Evil is out there in the world and we need to show it can be beaten through courage, grit, and determination. As a Veteran, my purpose has always been to support and defend my country and all the people, within and abroad. That is reflected in my writing.

Do you connect with any of the characters in your book?

My story is about family. The story developed from my deployments in the US Navy, being separated from my family. I played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons as a young adult so I would dream about being with my family on a fantasy island. That dream changed as my family grew until my last deployment in 2001 when I decided to start writing it down and developed it into the story of Forever Avalon. The characters within the MoonDrake family are basically my wife and children, from their personalities and hobbies to their names. I used my family’s middle names for the first names of the characters. It helped me really connect to the story as I wrote it. The funny thing is that after I finished writing it down, I stopped having the dream. It was fate, meant to be.

What three authors inspired you the most?

My biggest influence as a writer has been Michael Moorcock and Arthur C. Clarke. Michael Moorcock’s expressive fantasy writing in the Elric saga showed me that you can explore any aspect of fantasy and magic. Arthur C. Clarke’s Rama saga inspired me to put the details needed into my novel to tell the story. He created such an expansive universe, like Moorcock, and those tiny details help tell the story. I admire their imagination and the ability to create such believable worlds. I want my universe to be just a believable as theirs. Another favorite author of mine is Harry Turtledove. His historical fiction novels helped me broaden my horizon as a writer to delve into the possibilities of alternate universes and how history can change the world into something unique, different, and sometimes scary.

What advice do you have for new writers just starting out?

Don’t give up on your dream. I work on my craft every day, and I hope to make my mark as a writer, but the fact is, I’m doing what I love. It’s not easy, costs a lot of money (I spend more than I make on royalties) but I don’t want to stop. I love being a storyteller. When people read my books and love my story, it means I’m doing it right. That makes it all worth it to me. I would love the fame and fortune, but just being a storyteller is enough right now. Writers are the keepers of the myths and legends and our stories will carry one for generations.

What projects are you working on right now?

Since all the book fairs and festivals were canceled in 2020, I couldn’t do any marketing when my third book, The Outlander War, was released in February 2020. I spent the last year under COVID polishing two novels and working on a third. I have the fourth book in the Forever Avalon series, The Prometheus Engine, and a new series, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart, coming out this year. I entered two short stories in writing contests, and they are being published this year in anthologies. “Demonfall” was published in April in “Of Distant Worlds” fantasy anthology from The Publishing Room. “Corsair and the Sky Pirates” will be published later this year in a steampunk anthology from Crystal Peake Publishers. In addition, I am taking “Corsair” and turning it into a full novel.

What do you like to do for fun?

I love flea markets. I could spend every weekend driving to flea markets, looking for old and unique items as part of my collection or inspiration. I found an original Monopoly game from the 1950s, a Popeye tin toy from the 1930s, a steampunk lamp made with a gauge from a submarine boiler, an old polaroid camera from the 1970s, and a copy of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” from the early 1900s. It’s so inspiring to walk through these flea markets and see all the wonderful assortment from years gone by. It’s like walking through a time capsule.

Thank you Mark for this wonderful interview

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