By Laurel-Rain Snow
Tell us about your latest book:
Status Quo, which is published through Penumbra Publishing revolves around Alex Copeland, a twenty-five-year-old rookie school teacher who is offered the opportunity of a lifetime—to join a small civilian crew and travel to outer space to investigate a mysterious wormhole presumed to have been created by an alien species. Alex is convinced that they are being sent as ambassadors of Earth in establishing first contact. Alex is immediately suspicious.
Meeting the crew only adds to his suspicions. Sara Maxwell, the daughter of the astronomer who made the discovery, has spent the last seven years in a mental institution. The ship’s pilot is a teenage boy whose only flight experience is on a simulator. The ship’s doctor is a novice who wants nothing to do with the mission. There’s also a convicted murderer, a troubled teenage girl on the brink of suicide and a kitten on board.
Absolutely no one chosen for this mission has any sort of astronaut training or experience. And worst of all, the project director’s agenda appears to be making sure that the ship and all aboard never return to Earth. This ragtag crew has to find a way to work together and figure out the true mission before it’s too late. Trapped in a foreign galaxy on a damaged ship and with both human and alien threats around, the odds are not in their favor.
Also, to let you know, partial proceeds from Status Quo will be donated to The American Cancer Society for breast cancer research through the Bosom Buddies organization. It’s a good read and it helps a great cause.
The first two chapters of Status Quo are available both on amazon.com and on my website, www.markrosendorf.com
How long have you been writing?
Whether it was online fanfic or novels that never got finished, I have basically been writing all my life. It was in 2009 when The Rasner Effect, a psychological suspense/thriller was published through L&L Dreamspell. This was followed by two sequels, Without Hesitation: The Rasner Effect part 2 and Rasner’s Revenge which wrapped up the Rasner series. This series revolves around Rick Rasner, a psychotic killer and part of the mercenary group, The Duke Organization. He is captured by the government and used for an experiment where a chip is put inside his head to suppress his emotions. Hypnosis is used to remove his memories. Can he change his nature, especially when placed in a residential facility as a therapist for angry and troubled teens? Also, what happens when The Duke Organization finds him? That’s just the beginning of the story…then the twists and turns come out. Along with The Rasner series, I also had a story featured in the anthology, Cat in a Dreamspell.
While I love The Rasner Effect series just as much as my readers, my dream growing up was always to write science fiction. I promised myself that if I could come up with a unique and interesting science fiction story which inspired me, I would write it. Status Quo is that story.
Besides “writer,” what else are you; what is your day job?
At night, I am a writer of suspense and science fiction. However, by day, mild-mannered Mark Rosendorf is a high school guidance counselor in the New York City school system working with special needs students. I hold mandated therapy sessions for a diverse set of students with disabilities that include learning, mental and emotional. My job is to help them build their confidence, achieve their potential and prepare them on a life past the schooling stage.
Who were your favorite authors as a child? Have they influenced your writing career in any way?
Believe it or not, the author who influenced my writing career at a young age was my mother. Although she was not a professional writer at the time (years later, she wrote computer textbooks which had been published), she used to write and illustrate stories for three year old me so I would learn how to read. Each morning, a new book about a girl named “Fat Pat” would wait for me by my bed. Looking back, the artwork was simple since my mother was not an artist, but the dialogue was all based on simple phonics. (“Fat Pat sat on a mat, Fat Pat had a cat. Fat Pat wore a hat”). Those books accomplished my mother’s goal, which was to teach me to read. With each book, she changed the phonics in the dialogue and they would all end the same way, “The End: Mark’s Book.” By the time I entered Kindergarten, my reading was a year ahead of the class. More importantly, I am sure this is the spark that led to my becoming an author in adulthood.
Have any teachers influenced, encouraged or discouraged you?
Encouragement came from a number of teachers who appreciated my writing ability, I specifically remember my seventh grade creative writing teacher predicting in front of the entire class that I would someday become a published author.
As far as discouragement, that award goes to my college sophomore English teacher. She loved persuasive and feminist analysis essays (even though 90 percent of the class was male). After earning nothing but “A’s” on any essay I had ever written, my first paper with her received a “C-. “ She called it too opinionated and that I tried too hard to persuade.
The next essay, I followed all of her instructions and worked hard to show her my writing ability. That paper also received a “C-.” She said it wasn’t opinionated enough and didn’t work hard enough to persuade.
The third essay assigned was a persuasive essay on ethics. Feeling I couldn’t do anything right with this teacher, I copied FDR’s speech on the importance of ethics. I figured if it was good enough to persuade the nation, perhaps it would be good enough for this crazy teacher. She gave it a “C+.” No explanation, but at least FDR helped raise my average a bit.
For the fourth essay, I became relentless. I was determined to get an “A” from this crazy teacher. I wrote, rewrote, revised and followed everything she taught. I even included most of the outrageous personal opinions she spouted during lectures. I handed in the paper thinking she couldn’t possibly have issues with this one. When I received it back, there was no grade, just “see me after class” written across the top.
She told me that the essay was so well written it couldn’t possibly have been my work. I must have plagiarized it. After a long “difference of opinion,” I told her that the paper was, indeed, my work, and unless she could prove it was plagiarized (which she couldn’t since it wasn’t), she had to accept and grade it.
The next week, she informed me that she could not find proof of plagiarism. She apologized, then agreed to accept and grade the paper, which she did. She gave it a “C-. “ I, in turn, dropped the class.
Wow, what an experience! It sounds like you won that round, but she had to have the last word with that grade. That said, where do you get your ideas?
I’m not sure how they pop into my head, but when they do, I have to be ready. My ideas hit my lightning: one great bright blast, then suddenly, it’s gone. This is why I need to get them in writing just as soon as they hit. I keep notepads everywhere for this reason. There’s a notepad and pen by my bed, in my car and even hanging outside my shower.
If you could talk for thirty minutes to one author, living or dead, who would it be?
I would like the Mark Rosendorf, the guidance counselor, to have a session with Mark Rosendorf the author. Maybe he could find out how all these crazy ideas pop into my head.
Wouldn’t we all like to know more about the source of our creativity? What is your weakest area in the creative process?
Without a doubt, my weakest area is the editing. It’s a long, tedious process that grinds against my nerves even more than the actual writing. At least with the writing, I can express my creativity and turn the pictures in my head into words on paper. The editing is less creative and more technical. It’s practically the calculus of the writing process.
What’s your attitude toward the standard advice: write what you know?
I would add to it: write what you know, but exaggerate and sensationalize it. I’m sure almost every fiction story out there is an event the author went through in their life, but turned, twisted and exaggerated with a different backdrop.
What do you consider the single most satisfying aspect of being a writer?
FAN MAIL! There’s nothing I enjoy more than getting responses from readers wanting to discuss my work. Whether the letter is positive (“Wow, this should be a movie”) or negative (“I wouldn’t line my birdcage with the pages of your book”), it still gives me a sense of accomplishment to know that people have taken the time to read what I’ve spent time writing. This is why I answer every single piece of e-mail I receive…provided it’s not an advertisement.
Have you bought an e-reader? What is your overall impression of electronic publishing?
As a reader, I’m not a big fan of electronic readers. I prefer a real book in my hands with paper and a cover. As a writer, I can’t deny the direction that the publishing world is taking. E-readers are here to stay and I know this because two thirds of my sales come from e-books. (I expect that number will climb)
Despite this, I still prefer real books, even as an author, because I can’t personally autograph a kindle. I tried once and almost got punched for it.
Can you share a little bit about what you’re working on now of what’s coming next?
For now, my writing is about to be temporarily placed on hold. I’ve recently proposed to my wonderful girlfriend, now fiancée, and we are in the process of both getting a new place and planning a wedding. For the immediate future, my time will be spent putting together the next happy and romantic chapter of the story that is my life. But, be assured, the fiction world has not heard the last of Mark Rosendorf. I have two great stories on the burner that are waiting to be told. For updates or to send mail, check out www.markrosendorf.com/
Thanks for joining us, Mark, and we’ll be watching to see what you do next. And congratulations on your happy and romantic chapter.