Monday, January 21, 2019

Authors to Watch: Mark H. Jackson, Author of The Atlantis Deception

Mark is a qualified solicitor who splits his time between protecting the rights of academics, writing thriller fiction and raising five mostly lovely children. He studied Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Birmingham with a nod towards alternative theory, focusing on the relationship of the Giza complex to the stars; portolan maps; and the origins of civilisation and religion. It was within this flame the plots for his future novels were born.

Mark’s writing career extends back over a decade and his diverse portfolio includes three novels, a number of short stories and even a six-part sitcom. Long listed for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, he is currently a featured author on the popular writing website, Wattpad, with over 6,000 followers from all around the world and well over one million reads of his first novel. Aside from Wattpad, Mark is an active member on a number of other writing websites, spending his spare time offering editorial and structural advice to fellow authors. Up to now Mark has considered writing as a creative outlet for the myriad of characters and ideas roaming about his head. The time has come to tease them out of hiding and breathe a little life into their lungs.

His latest book is the adventure/thriller The Atlantis Deception.

Author: Mark H. Jackson
Publisher: Unbound Digital
Pages: 288
Genre: Adventure/Thriller

A German property developer, Hans Hoffmann, revels in the belief he has discovered the key to unleashing the weapon responsible for sinking Atlantis. Hoffmann requests the help of Cambridge archaeologist, Dr John Hunter to validate his mysterious find. Hunter's acceptance leads the maverick academic on a journey from the headquarters of a clandestine organisation in England, to a lost city in the heart of the Brazilian Rainforest, and climaxes inside a chamber hidden deep beneath Egyptian Heliopolis. Pioneering theory is spliced by epic battles, daring escapes, and elaborate schemes aimed at unravelling a secret history hidden from humanity for the past twelve thousand years.

Atlantis is a very visual word. A word evoking mystery, forgotten realms, underwater palaces… the list goes on. I find this Plato inspired concept of Atlantis fascinating and read anything and everything I can lay my hands on. The theories are diverse and range from the feasible to the outlandish, but certain concepts keep reoccurring. The Atlantis Deception takes the ideas of accepted and alternative theory, weaving them together to create a believable universe where our past still dictates our future.

The novel follows the trials and tribulations of a fictional Cambridge academic, Dr John Hunter. The focus is not on Atlantis itself, but rather on what happened to its people it the wake of the loss of their homeland. The Atlantis Deception is a classic action adventure tale with heroes, villains, shadowy organisations and self-serving plots, each underpinned by progressive archaeological theory. The novel is written with the aim of both exciting and making readers think in equal measure. Although imagined, many of the conclusions the characters reach are cutting edge and described in such a way so as to blur the line between fact and fiction.


We welcome you to My Bookish Pleasures! Can you tell us how you got started writing fiction?
I suppose my mother is possibly to blame for fueling my interest in reading and writing, but I always wanted to read. I was that child under the sheets late at night with a torch and my latest book. I loved reading and writing just seemed a natural bedfellow. I remember attempting to write an Enid Blyton style mystery at primary school, so I guess it was in me from an early age. I was quite a solitary child and just enjoyed the escapism it offered.
Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?
Planning the plot, at least at a basic level is unfortunately a must in my genre – unfortunate since I am probably a pantser at heart. Some novels can meander, dictated only by the tip of one’s pen and the whimsy of the particular day one chooses to write. Adventure novels cannot be created in this manner. They must be gripping from the start and sustain that level or risk losing the reader.
Can you tell us about your most recent release?
The Atlantis Deception is indeed my first foray into the tumultuous world of novel writing, and a book I started writing way back in 2009. The journey to publication has certainly been lengthy and one scattered with numerous moments of elation, despair and lashings of writer’s block.
A German property developer stumbles upon a mysterious and ancient artefact. Enigmatic Cambridge academic, Dr John Hunter, is commissioned to investigate. Hunter's acceptance leads him on a trailblazing adventure from the headquarters of a clandestine organisation in England, to a lost city in the heart of the Brazilian Rainforest, before climaxing deep under the sands of Egypt.
Pioneering theory is spliced by epic battles, daring escapes, and elaborate schemes aimed at unravelling a secret history hidden from humanity for the past twelve thousand years. Although imagined, many of the conclusions are cutting edge and written in such a way so as to blur the line between fact and fiction.
What message are you trying to get across with your book?

I’m not going to pretend the main goal of my work is anything more than to create a credible piece of escapist entertainment, but if I can achieve that whilst educating and creating a situation whereby my readers can question the rhetoric of the establishment, all the better. I’m not saying we should all be looking for conspiracies under every rock, only that it is sometimes worth enquiring as to why certain rocks are harder to lift…
Can you tell us a little about the main characters?
If I’m honest with myself, my main protagonist, Dr John Hunter, is a parody of what I wanted to be and do in my adult life. He’s not perfect by any means – perhaps best described as a flawed individual, struggling through life while trying to rid himself of the scars and demons of his past. His back-story certainly dictates how he elects to deal with the situations thrown at him throughout the novel. As much fun as Hunter was to write, the villains of the piece are still my favourite characters. I found it quite cathartic transposing traits of the less likable figures I’ve encountered through my life onto my villains. None are based on any one person so hopefully no lawsuits are going to follow! Bizarrely, the easiest to write was the infamous Nazi, Heinrich Himmler. Bringing him to life was an interesting experience and the research phase, although harrowing in parts, certainly held my interest.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?
I’ve often been told, writing the book only accounts for 10% of the work. I never believed it until I threw myself head first into the marketing of my work. Building email lists, websites, twitter, facebook and Instagram followings. Maintaining interesting content, responding to posts, the whole thing is like a day job on its own. I am slowly getting to grips with the minimum I need to do to keep my head above water, but it isn’t easy. I have been dedicating so much time to marketing, it left me with very little time to write – something I need to address and one of my new year resolutions.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am working on two novels at present in the same series as, The Atlantis Deception. The first, Roswell, The First Shot Fired, is complete and awaiting the editing phase. As the title suggests, the book offers an alternative to the Roswell narrative and throws my protagonist, Dr John Hunter, into the deep end of a world he doesn’t understand. It is a fast paced action adventure and takes in locations ranging from the Soviet era Russia, the Americas and Europe. The truth is out there! 
What advice would you offer to new or aspiring fiction authors?
Never give up and take any criticism on the chin. Not everyone will appreciate what you do and you will need the hide of a Rhino to survive in this industry!

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