Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Interview with M.R. Bunderson, author of The Mark

Today I welcome the Marilyn Bunderson to Bookreadress. Marilyn's book The Mark is about a group of four teenagers who discover that besides being adopted, they each they have microscopic tattoos on the backs of their hands. But a mysterious stranger is willing to do anything -- including murder -- to stop them from finding out what the marks mean and from learning how to use their emerging powers. I think that readers who enjoyed The Dark Divine would love The Mark.

Me: I saw on your website that you have a large family. (Aren't they lovely?) When do you write and have you had any struggles balancing writing with your 'real' life?

Marilyn: I don't write well when my children are home from school so I try to get it done when they're gone. I also try to do some writing when the younger ones go to bed. It's not easy to find time but if writing is a priority then you make the time instead of trying to find it. It is definitely a hard balance, but worth it (as long as my family doesn't suffer too much).

Me: Not making them suffer too much is the key! Would you tell us a bit about your road to publication and how you chose your publisher?

Marilyn: Once I finished my book I did a bit of research on how to publish. I looked at other author sites to get started and then looked for publishing companies and agents that I thought might be interested in my book. I sent off query letters to a few agents and a few publishing companies (about ten to fifteen) but was rejected by all of them. I decided next to try a local publishing company and sent a query to Cedar Fort since they are the second largest publishing company in Utah.

In hindsight, I probably should have worked on polishing the book more before I submitted it, gone to at least one writers conference, and had a better plan from the start. I did not go to any writing conferences or take any kind of creative writing class before I wrote and published The Mark. I wish that I had and would highly recommend that route to others. There are classes at these conferences on how to do things right and opportunities to meet agents.

Me: Well, that's great advice to new writers. Which character did you enjoy writing the most? A nice one like Tori or one with a lot of room for growth like Sebastian?

Marilyn: I had a clear picture of who Tori was from the beginning and I felt I knew her well. However, my favorite character was Amanda. There was a lot going on for her, motivations and experiences, that I didn't get to because this book was written from Tori's frame of reference. So I knew some background stuff that I didn't share that influenced her behavior.

Me: Maybe that will go in the next book? You're writing a sequel, right?

Marilyn: I am, but honestly I'm having trouble with the balance thing right now and it's going slow. I'm hoping to push it over the next few weeks.

Me: Yep. I'm lucky that everybody in my house likes frozen pizza! You did a great job balancing romance with responsibility, and your characters come across as realistic for mature, level-headed teenagers. I've known many teens like that, but they're seldom portrayed in books. Do you think that writers have a responsibilty for the examples they put forth?

Marilyn: Absolutely. I think any author's hope is to connect with the reader. If I have young girls connecting with my protagonist then she had better be someone worthy to be connected to. There are plenty of books on the shelves with examples of kids with low moral standards. It is my goal to get more out there that pattern good behavior and high moral standards. That is not to say that everyone has to be sweet and have no issues. But my characters should be able to meet their challenges in responsible and realistic ways.

Me: The Mark was chosen by the 'Around the World Tours' blog to be reviewed. How cool is that? How are people responding to your book?

Marilyn: I'm thrilled to have it on tour. I've only read one review on that tour so far and it was fairly positive. I'm excited to see how it is received. I've had mostly positive reviews so far but there have been a couple (two that I know of) that thought the romance element was too much. That's okay, romance is not for everyone.

Me: True, to each his own!Thanks for spending some time with us, Marilyn. Check out the first chapter and Marilyn's website.


  1. Still need to check out this book. I hope our library has it...

    Thanks for the interview, Kelly and Marilyn!

  2. Thanks Krista- I hope you enjoy it;)

  3. Thanks for stopping by, Marilyn!