This week, Midnight Ink presents Fifteen Fun Facts about Mark Stevens, author of the Allison Coil mysteries. His latest, Lake of Fire, was released earlier this month.
1. I think any meal that involves jalapenos is a good one.
2. I write my first drafts by hand. In old-school notebooks. With a pen.
3. I’m the son of two librarians. (There are very few of us, based on my sampling of the generation population. We are a lucky bunch. Anyone who grows up learning to love to read is lucky.)
4. I covered the devastating 1985 earthquake in Mexico City. I got there in time to ride out a magnitude 7.5 aftershock. I will never forget the sensation.
5. I used to play bass in a band that opened for Styx at the corn festival in western Colorado.
6. I know one really good card trick. I’ve known it since I was about eight years old. I don’t know any others. It’s really easy to learn and it works.
7. I am a big fan of Patricia Highsmith and have read both biographies plus all of Highsmith’s fiction. I’m glad she’s getting her due. Read Suspension of Mercy if you get a chance.
8. I’m a big fan of John Updike and read the terrific biography last year by Adam Begley. True, Patricia Highsmith and John Updike don’t have much in common. Except that they both make you want to keep reading. Read the “Rabbit” books if you get a chance.
9. I was married in a double wedding.
10. I’ve visited every state. It’s a fluke. It wasn’t a “thing.”
11. I still root for The Colorado Rockies. It doesn’t get much sadder or pathetic than that. I mean, I watch games in September when it hasn’t mattered for a long, long time.
12. I like Project Runway and Top Chef. I’m a sucker. Face Off is really good, too.
13. Give me any reality TV show about survival and I’m there. A friend just turned me on to Alone. The old show Survivorman inspired one of my characters, Devo. Devo plays a big role in my new book, Lake of Fire.
14. Cracker is my all-time favorite band. I will travel a long, long way to see that band. But in late August, they played in Nederland, Colorado. (Here’s a pic I took at that show.) I think David Lowery, the guy on the right, knows the secret to the universe. He's just not telling us.
15. I once was the babysitter for two brothers in the town where I grew up (Lincoln, Mass.) One of the brothers was a 7-year-old. His name was John Flansburgh. John went on to form a terrific band, They Might be Giants. I was a fan of the band’s first album long before I figured out, “hey, I know that guy.” John and his pal John Linnell opened up rock and roll in a whole new lyrical and tuneful way, to my way of thinking. Check out “Birdhouse in My Soul” or, an early one, “Don’t Let’s Start.” They are still making great, great music and they post free songs here every week.
Lake of Fire is available online and in bookstores now!