Please welcome Mark H. Kruger to the blog! Mark’s new novel, OVERPOWERED, just came out and he stopped by to answer a few of my questions!
Will you tell us a bit about your new book, Overpowered, and what inspired you to write it?
OVERPOWERED is about four teenagers who discover that a strange atmospheric pulse is giving them extraordinary powers. They don’t know whether it’s caused by alien or man-made forces, but they’re determined to find out. The idea came from the first TV pilot I ever wrote. It didn’t get made but I always thought it would make a great novel. Finding the time to write it however, in between my TV series assignments, was difficult. But I really wanted to be able to walk into a library or bookstore and see a book I’d written on a shelf. TV can be so ephemeral, but books exist. So, I would wake up very early, go to my office before everyone else arrived and write for a couple hours. Before I knew it, I had a rough draft of the manuscript, which I refined into the final novel of OVERPOWERED.
You have a background in production and screenwriting, but have you always wanted to write a novel? What made you take the plunge into fiction?
While I love writing for TV and movies, I’ve always wanted to write a novel. There are so many people involved in the creative process for television and movies (director, designers, etc), that sometimes stories get changed or watered down.There are also many restrictions (on length, language) especially in television. Whereas a novelist has the freedom to let the characters come to life and drive the story. A novel can be long or short; it doesn’t have to be a particular length. And neither do the chapters. It’s all about telling the best story. I’ve always wanted that freedom to just write without restrictions of having to break for commercials.
What do you like most about your heroine, Nica Ashley, and why should readers root for her?
I love the fact that Nica is smart and isn’t a follower, that she marches to the beat of her own drum. And, the fact that she’s an outsider gives her a unique perspective on the town of Barrington and what’s happening. In addition, Nica is always questioning authority and digging for the truth. She never just blindly follows orders. The girl has attitude and is feisty. I respect that and I hope readers will, too.
Nica and her friends discover they have “super” abilities. What “super” ability would you like to have?
I’d love to have the ability to teleport from one location to another, without having to take a plane.
Who, or what, have been some of the biggest influences on your writing?
The biggest influences on my writing have been the authors Edgar Allan Poe, Shirley Jackson, Charles Dickens and Ira Levin.
What are you reading now?
I love reading several books at once — usually two or three. My mood determines which book I’ll pick up at any time. Right now I’m reading DOCTOR SLEEP by Stephen King; MARY COIN by Marisa Silver; and SKETCHY (The Bea Chronicles) by Olivia Samms.
Is there a particular book or author that had a big influence on you as a young person?
Yes, Shirley Jackson had an enormous influence on me. I’ve read her novel THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE many times. I think it’s the creepiest ghost story ever written. Also, Ira Levin’s ROSEMARY’S BABY is a masterpiece of suspense and horror.
Since you have a background in film, I thought I’d ask… Seen any good movies lately?
I love big Hollywood movies and small independent films. PRISONERS, RUSH, ENOUGH SAID, BLUE JASMINE, THE SPECTACULAR NOW, THE WORLD’S END are some of the recent movies I’ve enjoyed.
When you’re not busy at work on your next project, how do you like to spend your free time?
I love going to the movies. I see at least a couple every week. Since I also work in the TV business, I watch a lot of television. BREAKING BAD, DEXTER, HOMELAND are among the shows I’m addicted to. I also love to read and travel.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently writing the sequel to OVERPOWERED. And I’m also writing a movie based on Shirley Jackson’s terrifying short story THE LOTTERY.
The world’s safest town might actually be a deadly kind of dangerous. And Nica Ashley is about to learn the hard way.
Nica Ashley is accustomed to traveling the globe with her journalist mother, so when she gets sent to live in a small town with the father she barely knows, she’s in for a bit of a culture shock. Barrington prides itself on being a sleepy, family community with the lowest crime rates in the state of Colorado. There’s even a private security force run by Barrington Technology (BarTech) and a nightly curfew for all residents.
On Nica’s first day at school, she meets Jackson Winters and finds out he went from school superstar to living ghost after his girlfriend disappeared a few months ago. When Nica follows him out after curfew one night, they both witness a mysterious green flash—and the next morning the power has gone out and all the birds are dead.
But secrets are well and alive, and as Nica and some of her friends discover they now have abilities best described as “super,” they also realize that Barrington might not be so safe. And that BarTech is looking for them.
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