10 questions: Mark Ciccone, author of Discarded

As you know, I'm currently crowdfunding my new novel East of England through Unbound Publishing. And I'm not alone! So, I've asked a few fellow writers on Unbound's current roster to give a quick overview of their writing work, and the book they're crowdfunding themselves (or have completed funding) in a ten questions set format. 

Today; it's the turn of Mark Ciccone. Here's Mark: 

Mark Ciccone.jpg

1. Who are you and what’s your book about?

I am Mark Ciccone, and Discarded is the story of Greg and Leah, two genetically engineered soldiers on a journey to discover their origins—and face the enemies that would keep those origins buried.

2. Why should folk read your book?

Super-soldiers and genetic engineering have been staples of science fiction since that genre was first coined, in countless different forms: books, movies, and especially video games. Yet while plenty of these works also include stories of self-discovery, it is my impression that few look past the action and drama the characters go through or create during those tales, and ask what it truly means to be such a figure—and whether they can have a life outside that of hero or destroyer. This book is my attempt to write such a story, letting readers see what scifi/action characters can become when the adventures and battles are done, and all they want is peace…and answers.

3. What’s the appeal of your book?  

It blends sci-fi with thriller and drama, and travels across much of a war-torn, recovering U.S. in the not-too-distant future.

4. Sounds great! Where/when can I get hold of a copy?  

It is currently still funding on Unbound.com, with many different pledge options and rewards!

5. Describe a typical writing day, or at least a typical day with some writing in it:

I get up around 9 each day, and usually start writing and/or researching right after lunch, in intervals of an hour or two. On the days when I have classwork or day job hours (I’m a 3rd year History PhD student, and I work as a Library Circ Assistant), I usually try to get in a few paragraphs to a page, minimum, on my current draft before heading off to either, then at least an hour in the evening.

6. Pick one book about writing. What it is and why have you chosen it?

Stephen King’s On Writing. It gave me a good introduction to the demands and joys of being a writer (if an aspiring one) and encouraged me to create my own set of writing rules, to keep me focused during research or draft work.

7. Pick three books that have influenced or inspired you as a writer:

How Few Remain by Harry Turtledove is a richly detailed, impressively written Civil War alternate history, and inspired me to write my own such stories (some of which have already been published!). Fatherland by Robert Harris did the same with regards to WWII and helped me greatly in refining my noir and thriller writing techniques. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is a sobering yet enthralling read, with eloquent 1st person prose that soon had me trying my hand at such a style.

8. Pick three desert island books - works you couldn’t live without:

Lion’s Blood by Steven Barnes, Guns of the South by Harry Turtledove, 1984 by George Orwell.

9. Any words of writing wisdom?

Always have a book and/or something to write with/on close to hand, for when ideas strike. ALWAYS find someone to beta-read, before sending any draft(s) in for self- or regular publishing.           

10. Let’s make a movie of your book. Give me the high-concept pitch:

After more than twenty years of fighting, running and hiding, the survivors of a top-secret U.S. military super-soldier program have finally begun to create a home for themselves, hidden from those that created them. Yet despite this new-found peace, many questions still remain: What lives did they all have, before the program—if any? Are they still being hunted, as perceived threats to the government and scientists who molded them into the perfect soldiers? And what future can they create, for themselves…and their possible descendants? Two soldiers, Greg and Leah, set out to find the answers to these questions by any means, trekking across a war-torn, slowly-recovering North America. But there are far more answers waiting in their old world of espionage and black ops than they ever expected. And others are seeking these out as well…and willing to do anything to keep them hidden…

Social media contacts:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WIwriter88

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Mark-A-Ciccone-118412591868473/

Blog/website: https://wordpress.com/posts/markaciccone.wordpress.com

Unbound URL: https://unbound.com/books/discarded/

Previous publications:

Red Delta: A Novel of Alternate History (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078NRSN9B)

Obsidian & Steel (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GOUPH66)

For State and Country (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CTN98SU)

Dillinger in Charleston (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0167UTNT0)

Divided Worlds: An Alternate Space Race (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BW8DPGK)

Huge thanks to Mark for playing along! Hopefully Discarded will be of interest to you as readers, and you'll help it on its journey to publication.