Talks to Mark

The Online Transcript How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book?

MC: Prior to writing full-time, I was the Documentation Manager and Technical Writer for Datastorm Technologies, the developers of Procomm Plus. Although I enjoyed it, technical writing can be dry – I much prefer adding humor and opinion to my books. Each book I write is designed for the same purpose:  it fully explains a computer subject so that the reader can avoid mistakes, save money, and do the job right the FIRST time. What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?

MC: My personal favorite author is Samuel Clemens, and his works have influenced everything I've written. Someday, I'd like to say that my writing shares his natural style, without the excess verbage that so often fills computer books these days. His humor was unique, and I never grow tired of it. Could you describe the mundane details of writing: How many hours a day do you devote to writing? Do you have a favorite location or time of day (or night) for writing? What do you do to avoid – or seek! – distractions?

MC: I devote five to six hours a day writing. For me, writing is a very focused experience, but I always enjoy classical music and I have a large collection of over 1200 audio CDs. I tend to write continuously, but after I finish a chapter I usually play one of my classic arcade emulator games, like Ms. Pacman or Joust! It's part relaxation and part reward. Do you meet your readers at book signings, conventions, or similar events? Do you interact with your readers electronically through e-mail or other online forums?

MC: I have really enjoyed the book signing sessions I've done, and I have met readers at conventions. I always welcome comments from readers in email, and you can reach me at When and how did you get started on the Net? Do you read any newsgroups, mailing lists, or other on-line forums? Do you use the Net for research--or is it just another time sink? Are you able to communicate with other writers or people you work with over the Net?

MC: I've actually been online since 1983 or so, and I started running my own BBS in 1984. My first book, RUNNING A PERFECT BBS, was devoted to this great hobby... it's still fun to run a bulletin board.  My BBS is called The Batboard, and you can reach it on the Web at

I first started to use the Internet for Archie and Gopher work in 1993, and I do still use it extensively for research, online gaming and Web surfing. I subscribe to far too many mailing lists. For me, the Internet is my playground, and I've never been happier! Tell us about your hobbies, favorite places, where you've lived, where you went to school, what jobs you have had, your last (or planned) vacation, your favorite color/food/pet/song/movie, what books you'd take to a desert island, what you intend to do before you die, or what you think of just about anything.

MC: Interesting and fun facts:  I've seen THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW over 1000 times, and I emcee' the film about four times in my town every year. My favorite pinball machine is KISS – in fact, I bought one for myself! I’ve visited Britain, Mexico, Norway and Canada, and plan to travel to Ireland and Germany soon.


Last revised: 02/09/20


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