April 21, 2022

Marc Cameron, New York Times Bestselling Author

On the 61st Episode of The Thriller Zone, I'm honored to sit down with New York Times Bestselling Author, Marc Cameron.

Marc has an epic number of novels under his belt which include: 10 Jericho Quinn novels, 5 Tom Clancy Novels, and 4 Arliss Cutter Novels. Yeah, with 3 series and oodles of stories to still tell, Marc shows no signs of slowing down.

In this show, Marc and I discuss a host of topics, from huntin' 'n fishin' to boatin' 'n flyin'. We chat the magic of getting an agent, the art of outlining, and what it takes to make a living as a writer.

We also discuss the life of a US Marshal, what nearly 30 years in that business is/was like, and what he has on the horizon.

Plus, Marc keeps it real in our #RapidFireQuestions round with some answers you may expect, and others you don't see coming.

All in all, this was an outstanding time with a writer who has the magic touch, and left me with the feeling of having a new friend.

I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I did, and would consider sharing with a friend. Also SUBSCRIBE to the VIDEO version of the show over at: YouTube.com/TheThrillerZone. That way, you can keep in touch with us.

To learn more, visit: MarcCameronBooks.com and follow him on Twitter @markcameron1, and as always you can follow us on Twitter & Instagram @thethrillerzone and on the web at: TheThrillerZone.com

Mentioned in this episode:

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New York Times Bestselling Author Marc Cameron on The Thriller Zone with David Temple



[00:00:00] David: Hello, and welcome to the thriller zone. I'm your host, David temple. Welcome back to the show. Thank you so much for supporting this podcast. It is listeners like you that make this job so enjoyable. I know that I love doing my job and I love even more knowing that you're enjoying it. Great, big old. Thank you for that.


[00:00:19] David: Now in today's show, I have been wanting to talk to this guy for some time. I don't know why, I guess, and I hadn't even read his books prior to this conversation, but I knew of him. I knew of his reputation. I also knew about his mutual admiration for a particular company who built his website that you're going to hear about inside the show today, we share the same web host authorized.com and so I knew of him, but then I picked up the book cold snap, mark.


[00:00:51] David: Cameron is my guest today. And boy, like, you'll hear in this. He describes cold, like nobody's business and he knows all about it. Cause he lives in Alaska where they know more than a little bit about cold. So let me start flapping my gums and let's just get on to it because mark is waiting in the green room right here on the thriller zone.


[00:01:17] David: Dad gum. You're a handsome


[00:01:18] Marc: man. Yeah. Well, not encumbered by all that nice hair. That's what it is.


[00:01:27] David: Mark Cameron, how are you buddy?


[00:01:29] Marc: Better than I deserve. How are you doing?


[00:01:31] David: I'm so good. I'm I'm S I've been so looking forward to this, I don't know what it is. I think because I spend too much time stalking you on Twitter and watching efficient, all that.


[00:01:39] Marc: That's hilarious. Hilarious. Much of my wife fish. I just, I just hang out with a notepad and write in the background.


[00:01:47] David: That's it? It's a good job. If you can get it though.


[00:01:50] Marc: Yeah, yeah, no kidding. We're in a good spot for that.


[00:01:53] David: Tell me where. Dreadful dreary San Diego. Oh, there you


[00:01:58] Marc: go. You bad people for you.


[00:02:03] David: I was going to, I actually, I got and bring this up later. I'm going to save it for later. Cause I got a whole track of things to say.


[00:02:09] David: Yeah, San Diego, certainly a part of the conversation. What's the weather like in your neighborhood right


[00:02:16] Marc: now? You know, it's warming up, we've got it's spring breakup. So it's dusty and muddy and a mixture of the two. We still have a little piles of snow outside, but they're going away quick.


[00:02:27] David: My stepson is a stationed in Fairbanks and he, he, he just got up there not long ago and he said, man, these days are short.


[00:02:37] Marc: Yeah. We're getting a longer, longer and longer. In fact, we stepped outside last night. 11 o'clock. Check and see if there was Northern lights and it was still the sunset. So we just went to bed. So yeah, we're getting longer and longer days right now. Fairbanks is a little you know, they're towards the Arctic circles.


[00:02:55] Marc: They actually have longer days than us as the summer wears on, oh,


[00:03:01] David: shorter,


[00:03:02] Marc: shorter in the winter, much shorter in the lunch


[00:03:05] David: and Northern lights. I've, you know, I've seen it in photographs. I've seen it in videos, never seen it in person. Tell me what that looks like.


[00:03:14] Marc: You know, it depends on the night we can, we've gone out in our driveway and they've just been, you know, they're there one minute gone the next and you turn around and go inside.


[00:03:23] Marc: And the whole sky lights up green it's, it's kinda like, you know, that, that green fog in the 10 commandments that came around and killed all the first part. It's kinda, it's kinda like that I'll float around over overhead except much bigger and brighter. Certainly happier


[00:03:40] David: and excuse the ignoramus here, sitting across from you, but what does that come from?


[00:03:45] Marc: Well, we're, it's where all the sun, you know, the ionized particles from the sun are hitting the poles. And so you have it down the Australia Borealis and then, or Borealis Australia. So I can't remember how they say it and then appear the Aurora Borealis. I guess it's Aurora, Australia is what it's called.


[00:04:04] Marc: So just the light hitting the, where the, the poles magnetic poles come together and it's kind of energized. So most of the time here we get green, but when you have a really good night we have to be down in Texas when they had the really good night, a couple of weeks or about a week ago, but they had greens and reds and yellows and purples, and it's pretty all inspiring when you, when you're standing there.


[00:04:28] David: I bet I can only imagine, well, we are going to get to cold snap here shortly. This was a heck of a ride, a heck of a ride drops in one week less than a week, actually book number four in the earliest cutter series. We're going to get to that, but I want to drill down and get to know you a little bit better than I do.


[00:04:53] David: You know, everyone, everyone knows the legendary Mark Cameron. So I want that for those who don't, we're going to drill on you. [00:05:00] So from, so let's just do this real quick. So let's see, from cop to mounted cop to a detective, to us Marshall. So I'm guessing with a background such as yours, I'd say you're pretty what's the word I was going to say?


[00:05:12] David: Substantial dude, meaning. I doubt that there's little that spooks you, it w would that be safe to say,


[00:05:21] Marc: I thought you were saying with a background like that I'm fat and old, but that's substantial. That can be the same thing. No, yeah. I don't know. I'm pretty you know, I think I've seen a lot and I it's, it's interesting because my, both my sons have spent time in law enforcement, my oldest for about five years in federal law enforcement.


[00:05:39] Marc: He's a physician now. And then youngest has been with Anchorage PD for about eight years. And they're both pretty hard to ruffle guys. So yeah, it does that. So you said that you'd run out of run out of surprises, but stuff still surprises me that we're still.


[00:05:57] David: You know, and being a writer and with the imagination that you have, I would say that while not a lot surprises, you, it's got to be constant, great fodder, both pulling back on memories of the past, as well as what you see around you for, for these books.


[00:06:14] David: I mean, you're prolific writer.


[00:06:16] Marc: Yeah. That's the fun part. I think kind of hearkening back. My, what I retired from the marshals in 2012 in December of 2012 and the deputies that worked with me made me a really cool little picture book over the years, we spent a lot of time out in Bush, Alaska, rural Alaska.


[00:06:36] Marc: And that was kinda my, kind of my theme, if you will. Didn't while I was the chief deputy here. And so a lot of that kind of hearkens back to villages in Western, Alaska, and far Northern Alaska, and then down on the islands in Southeast Alaska. So sometimes when I'm riding a cutter, which all take place here, I'll just go back and say, Flip through my memory book, like a, like a retired old dude and just remember back.


[00:07:01] Marc: And then, and then I go to my son and say, Hey, can I hang out with you and the SWAT team and listen to the way people talk 10 years down the road, you know? So I get it both ways. It's kind of fun. That would


[00:07:13] David: be cool. I can see how the different, the different span of time would create a slightly different dialogue.


[00:07:21] David: Wouldn't it?


[00:07:22] Marc: Oh yeah. I mean, you go back and watch what's hill street blues. Yeah. Cops don't talk that way anymore. If they do, they get laughed at, by their cohort. You know, I mean the, the young people that I was hiring towards the end of my career were so much more well-versed in, in hunting bad guys, electronically where we used a lot of boot leather and really were on the ground and they still do that.


[00:07:49] Marc: But just the, you know, the, you know, it's like your, my grandkids know much more about. I pads and the internet and computer technology than I do. So it's, it's a new to get the vernacular, right? You still have to hang out with the crowd that you're


[00:08:06] David: writing about. That is so spot on. And you can, and you can always spot the folks.


[00:08:13] David: Certainly guilty of that. In some of my earlier books, you can always spot the guys who was like, oh, you haven't actually been around that.


[00:08:21] Marc: They don't really talk like that. Yeah, exactly. Or on our one place or another, I, I was working the protection detail that the United nations general assembly, that Marshall service will loan us to the state department once in a while.


[00:08:35] Marc: Cause we get trained in, you know, protecting federal judges and protected witness and whatnot. So diplomatic security we'll borrow deputy marshals and then assign them to, I can't remember who I was on that. I think I was on maybe India. China these are all foreign ministers, so it would be equivalent to our secretary of state Egypt, Japan several trips.


[00:08:56] Marc: I went out there, but I was, you know, standing at a urinal and the Waldorf Astoria and this in YPD detective is doing his business next to me. And you kind of looked over and goes, what kind of Roscoe you got? And I thought, do we even say that word? What's a rah, you know, Roscoe, but, but to him in 1985, that meant sidearm.


[00:09:19] Marc: I hope. And so, so we talked firearms and chatted and actually became friends know YPD detective. So I was able to glean some things from him over the years, as far as writing.


[00:09:31] David: Yeah. I had never heard that phrase for instance.


[00:09:34] Marc: Yeah. I mean, I think I read it in a Mickey Splain novel or something.


[00:09:38] David: Hey, how's that gone?


[00:09:40] David: Yeah, exactly. You fucking eat. You're packing heat, belly hot come over hand wise. Cracker.


[00:09:49] David: Hey, speaking of that, of all the gigs, did you have a favorite of all those? I mean, what do you got? 30. How many years did


[00:09:56] Marc: I do the math? About a 28 total 20, [00:10:00] well, 29, almost 30. I was close.


[00:10:02] David: Okay. Well, did you have a favorite I'm gigging, all of that?


[00:10:09] Marc: Well, you know, as far as being, I mean, being a deputy Marshall was, was a dream from the time I was a kid.


[00:10:16] Marc: And I mean, I was the type of guy that in the, in the cutter books, I'm sort of imbue my imbue Lola with my giddiness when I was a new deputy, I taped my business card to my government car. So I could see my name by the badge, you know, or I drive and I mean, I was just eaten up with it. And because in Texas, it's, it's kinda like Texas Rangers, you know, There's a lot of mystique and the marshals have not as much as a ranger, but a certain amount of swagger and gravitas.


[00:10:44] Marc: And so when I was a young police officer, when the U S marshals came into town, a hundred fugitive, it was like, you know, the gods coming down from Mount Olympus to hang out with us a while. They, it wasn't that way. By the time I got a board, but when I was young, it was certainly a lot of that. So I really looked forward to that.


[00:11:02] Marc: But when it comes to people and dealing with the public and really fodder for being a writer, there's nothing that beats uniform patrol. I mean, you're just in the thick of it all the time. And everybody you meet is unhappy, whether they're unhappy to see you or grateful that you're there, but unhappy about something else.


[00:11:26] Marc: And so you're constantly. We, we used to, we, this is in 19 84, 85. We would come in from shift and all huddle together around the, in the squad room, as we were getting off shift and watch black and white reruns of, of Adam 12 and laugh, you know, just it was just a lot of that that goes on. People think that that it's all gunplay, but it's social work so much of it.


[00:11:55] Marc: You get to learn people and, and that certainly translates into writing. And then, and then I give a super long answer to a very simple question. My favorite part was mounted patrol. I loved being on patrol on the horse. Talking to people, gotten a foot pursuit one time on the horse after a shoplifter.


[00:12:16] Marc: Nothing more relaxing than chasing somebody when you're sitting on the back of a horse,


[00:12:22] David: nothing more relaxing than chasing something.


[00:12:26] Marc: Not the, not the, not the bad guy,


[00:12:29] David: the bad guy was probably not digging that at


[00:12:31] Marc: all. You can go


[00:12:32] David: for now on that same note. Can you recall, and this is just a reporter in me, I suppose, the most dangerous moments, something that you w you were in the middle of and you thought, oh shit, I'm not sure I'm going to get out of this in one piece.


[00:12:49] Marc: Yeah. Several times I've had some pretty helacious fights. You know, I, I always, when I would teach defensive tactics and, or go talk to schools, I would always, I would always ask the kids or the people there. How, how many of you ever been in a fight and, and even most, I wouldn't say most, but even many police officers, they think they've been in a fight.


[00:13:11] Marc: I've actually only been. Violent struggle where the other person was trying to get away. And that's not a fight. The fight is when somebody turns back at you and says, I'm gonna kill you and then get away. So a couple of those have been pretty intense. You know, not, not to get into telling a bunch of war stories, but, but just a couple of fights.


[00:13:32] Marc: And then I remember being in a we had a trooper that was kidnapped in Texas and probably the most frightened, you know, it takes a while to be scared. So most of the time when you're in it, if somebody's got a gun and you're going to guns yourself and all that, there's no time to really, you really try to just take care of your buddies beside you and, and say, you know, help people, you know, citizens, civilians.


[00:13:56] Marc: And but the Mo I think the most frightened I've ever been was this trooper was kidnapped during a stop. There was a little shootout. In a car that car wrecked out, he flagged another car down. This was before cell phones were ubiquitous. And so when he finally was able to call us on a car phone, he was back in his car with a or back in a civilian car, chasing his car on his cell phone.


[00:14:21] Marc: You know, bag phone has been an 86, maybe another gunfight I'm quarter mile away. So I ended up in the pursuit, this guy chasing his car, other troopers, or I'm a city city, kitty, if you will. I'm the baby of the group I had about two years on and we were, I was in a Dodge diplomat or a Plymouth grand fury.


[00:14:45] Marc: I can't remember St. Car and I drove them both. I can't remember, but I remember I was on interstate 20 heading towards Fort worth, just floating. Like I was on a hovercraft all over the road and my. I was going [00:15:00] fast enough that the rate, the dash mounted radar just started flashing cause the cars would go fast.


[00:15:05] Marc: They just had no control. And you know, we had a trooper that was kidnapped. We didn't know what was going on. There was gunplay involved. And so we were just, everybody was just, you know, pedal to the middle wide open. I think I was going probably about a hundred and thirty, a hundred thirty one. I think the car probably topped out then all over the road.


[00:15:25] Marc: And I remember thinking, and, and back then we didn't wear seat belts. That was not a, that was not a thing that you did. We, in fact, we argued with the, with the chief, when he told us we, the law said we had to wear seatbelts, like, well, kill ourselves, getting out of the car. And I remember thinking if I reach for my seatbelt, I might flip this car, but I got to get up there and save so-and-so I can really die here today.


[00:15:47] Marc: So definitely a seatbelt fan after that, just pretty visceral. No


[00:15:54] David: doubt. I mean, a buck 30 in and of itself is one thing, but then with the car that you have little control and you're in pursuit and you don't know what's at the other end of the pursuit. Woo.


[00:16:05] Marc: Yeah, luckily, luckily it was Sunday mid-morning in Texas where everybody was at church.


[00:16:10] Marc: So I 20 was pretty vacant and back then the, the troopers were driving these Mustang pursuit vehicles that had, you know, do one 40 plus and they were like slipping past me. And of course I might've been so scared. I was so scared. I may have started to ease off and go down to a more respectable, 110 for a while, you know?


[00:16:32] David: You're serving up your own kind of church. Weren't you got?


[00:16:36] Marc: I got my own gospel and it's called a 45.


[00:16:42] David: Well, I I wonder if now on that same kind of a line of thinking have you ever been an ex hairy situations? Like Arlis in cold snap that, you know, because I mean, this here's a guy who's just always seems to, he's going after trouble kind of always in and around trouble.


[00:17:02] David: And I'm just wondering, ah, now mark had to pull this from somewhere.


[00:17:07] Marc: Yeah. Alaska is one of those places that can, you know, Alaska is a character in these books and rightly so you, when you're here for just a few and I come from Texas, so it's, I mean, we have a t-shirt I've been here 25 years and we've got a t-shirt with a little tiny picture of Texas and it says.


[00:17:30] Marc: Prison off Texas since 1959 with a giant Alaska. It but I, you know, I'm from Texas, but Alaska has a way with, you know, the giant apex predators and, and even, even the apex prey, like moose that'll stomp the pudding Audi I'm, I'm way more fearful of, of moose. I've had moose get after me while I was serving warrants, you know, with a calf in the city, just in the yard come after us.


[00:17:58] Marc: And you, you know, you're looking, you forget about the guy possibly with a gun inside and, you know, climb on a dumpster. So, you know, Alaska ha I've had that happen. I've we've been in the extreme cold I've showed up out in Bush, Alaska, and the, the native folks out there would just look at what I was wearing and shake their heads and go get me some good stuff.


[00:18:19] Marc: You know? And, and consequently though, because I had gone out there as a young deputy when I was able to. Start going back to headquarters and kind of carrying some water for the district about Bush, Alaska. They got us some incredible, incredibly good gear, but just being out in the woods, we've had some times when we were, I got frostbite on my big toe out looking for a guy one time and you know, things like that.


[00:18:46] Marc: Yeah.


[00:18:47] David: You know, and this is a question I had written down to ask Mike, and it's kind of been going through my mind since I've been following you. I'm like, and I'm not trying to be a smartest, but I mean, why Alaska? What, what took you from Texas, which is a it's own world to Alaska?


[00:19:05] Marc: Yeah, that's a good question.


[00:19:06] Marc: Books. Books took me to Alaska. So my aunt was a librarian the whole time I was growing up and she would she lived in salt lake city. And so we would get in my grandmother, lived in salt lake and we would go back and forth to the mountains and I just loved the mountains. And then. But when I was, I read Farley Mowat books when I was quite young too, there's a book called two against the north about two teenage boys, like 14, 15 that getting a canoe wreck and ended up in remote barren lands of Canada and have to spend the winter.


[00:19:40] Marc: And, you know, I have one gun, a little hatchet. It's kind of like a little older Virgin version of Gary Paulson's hatchet. Then of course, as I got older, I had, you didn't come along too a little bit later when I was older, but I, so I read Farley mode who who's a very Perlis prolific Canadian writer and other, you know, books about families that lived in the [00:20:00] north.


[00:20:00] Marc: And I, when I was about 12. I no, maybe I guess younger than that, probably 10. I went in our backyard and I had my own gun when I was nine. We had a family farm and they, you know, I couldn't take any friends on with me, but me and me and the gun and my dog would go out and, you know, wander around our farm and hunt rabbits for the table and dove and coil and whatnot.


[00:20:22] Marc: So I was pretty, and then my sister would come out with me and we got a little bit older, but so I was kind of, I was already outdoors in it, but I went to our backyard when I read this Farley Mowat book. And I found so I was pretty young 10 and I found a Cottonwood root and I carved some Eskimo snow goggles to make sure I didn't go snow blind.


[00:20:41] Marc: And I'm sure my parents and all my friends thought I was a nutcase because I'm in Texas and I'm wearing these wooden slit, snow goggles, like I saw on national geographic, you know, but I remember we had it. We went to the Texas. Either the state fair, the Fort worth fat stock show or one of those and the Yukon Canadian Yukon had a booth there and they had maps.


[00:21:05] Marc: And usually when you see a map of the Yukon, it's Yukon, Northwest territories and Alaska I'll chunked into one. And I remember sitting on the floor when I was in probably the sixth or seventh grade with my mom and just planning. I'm going to go up there someday. This is cause it's wild. It's wild. I knew I wanted to be a policeman at that time.


[00:21:25] Marc: I thought maybe it'd be an RCMP. I really didn't Royal Canadian mounted police. I didn't understand borders that well You ended up marrying a girl from Canada. So it was really easy to, to come this way. Yeah.


[00:21:36] David: You know, and your life seems to be such a great reflection of your work and the more I'm around heavy hitter authors like yourself, the more I'm aware of what the phrase, right.


[00:21:48] David: What you know is about when I first heard that phrase a couple of years back, I was like, well, what does that mean? And w w why wouldn't you write about stuff you didn't know, because isn't that what having a great imagination is all about. And then as I have followed careers such as yourself, I go, oh yeah, of course, because you, back to an earlier comment, we made you are referencing in your stacking upon what you have already spent your life working on.


[00:22:15] David: So it it certainly helps to feed your fictional work with this background. And I asked this of Don Bentley, also a Tom Clancy, Jack Reacher writer. And, and I go, and I. Having never done this, I ask. And perhaps, hopefully you can help me understand this. How does one go about getting into the mindset and the mindset and the voice, which is very specific and writing and writing as another person reference senior Tom Clancy


[00:22:47] Marc: work.


[00:22:48] Marc: Yeah, so, so I was a Tom Clancy fan for years. Anyway, I, I can pretty much track my early law enforcement career by what clients he was coming out at the time, for instance, you know, flying to that the United nations thing. I mentioned the general assembly. I, I was reading some of all fears and I, and I actually, I left the book on the plane and had to buy it again.


[00:23:10] Marc: So I remember I bought it twice. When I was in the police academy, hunt for red October came out, so I've been a fan. And as I, you know, I sort of. Got those characters inside me and knew him from a long time ago as a fan. So I, I consider what I write kind of fan fiction. I, I try to now I told Tom Colgan, he's a, he's an incredible editor with the penguin random house that handles the Clancy franchise for the estate.


[00:23:42] Marc: And he, we had this chat early on and I, and I was just terrified. I was just scared to death. In fact it really kind of put me to my knees a little bit on the beach where I was when I called about it. Cause I had no idea it was coming. Oh yeah, you don't, you don't really politic for that sort of thing.


[00:23:59] Marc: That mark grainy recommended me to Tom and you know, showed him one of the book I was working on. And so my agent called and offered the, the gig. But I called Tom. And again, I was very scared because I was such a Clancy fan and I we came to a conclusion that really calmed me and he said, you don't need to write Tom Clancy.


[00:24:20] Marc: You need to write a Mark Cameron book in the spirit of Tom Clancy. So just as, just as the director of a movie, might cast Alec Baldwin or Harrison Ford or Ben Affleck as Jack, Ryan, or John Krasinski. I cast my own character. That's, that's true to what I see what Clancy had. And I've been asked this before, but I, I actually cast in my brain when I write Jack Ryan.


[00:24:48] Marc: I see Tim Daly, the, the husband on Madam secretary that very smart Kind of professorial good guy, smartest guy in the room everywhere [00:25:00] with his moral code. That's just unbendable so, but I would, I wouldn't go back really quick and, and speak to something you said about writing. What, you know, I think what makes that more important is that you don't write what you don't know.


[00:25:15] Marc: In other words, when I do, and Dawn, I've talked to Don Bentley about this and mark grainy and, and a bunch of other writers when we write and we do a ton of research travel and whatnot. I might have five legal pads full of research. When I come back from Argentina or Japan or, or San Antonio in the last book or, or for one of the cutters, you know, out, going out to the Bush, very little of it makes it into the.


[00:25:42] Marc: But if I'm going to write about the Alaska railroad, for instance, I can't put the wrong number of cars and it's better. I don't put anything. So when you're writing about police work, it's better to not make crap up. It's better to find out because it's, you can get away with leaving something out, but boy, you put something in that's wrong.


[00:26:01] Marc: And especially in the Clancy's I, I think Clancy readers read where the ti 80 graphing calculator and all my work on. Right.


[00:26:09] David: It's true, man. Hardcore, it's kind of like if you're reading a Jack car, there's another one. If you're ready, you know, if he references a gun, you can take it to the bank that he knows exactly what he's doing again.


[00:26:21] Marc: No, exactly, exactly. And I try to make that with, with fights and firearms and then of course law enforcement when I write, but. You know, you get to write. And then I got an email from a nuclear physicist a while back that correct, like the books, but he corrected me on the half-life of some plutonium isotope.


[00:26:42] Marc: And I said, dude, I'm just happy. A nuclear physicist is reading my books.


[00:26:47] David: That's good. That's real good. I was reading about your friendship with, I think his name is Steve Symansky and was wondering if I were to ease, drop on a conversation between you two. I always love stuff like this and what would I learn as it pertains to bringing an aircraft down?


[00:27:07] David: Because when I saw that phrase, I'm like, well, you just point down. I mean, and then unlike none of that, he means bringing it down.


[00:27:16] Marc: But what would that, so with that, and a lot of times I will leave. Tiny bits and pieces of the recipe out. Cause I don't want to, you know, give a terrorist to throw a terrorist, a bone, but I went to S to Steve, he's a good friend of mine.


[00:27:32] Marc: His wife's a very good writer. But he worked on our marshal service airplane for, for years. He's promoted now in the, within the, the government, but worked on the Marshall service plane. And so I would see him when we were going out to the Bush or flying out, you know, somewhere in our aircraft. And so I would pick his brain and I had this particular issue.


[00:27:52] Marc: I was working on with one of the Jericho Quinn books where I wanted them to be flying, you know, already in the air. And I wanted the bad guys to have already sabotaged the plane. So that they would be over a remote area and then it would go down after the fact. So not a hostile takeover or whatever. And so I was amazed at how quickly he goes, oh, we just crimped the oil line and that'll show power.


[00:28:18] Marc: You know, that'll show, still show pressure. And then it'll overheat. And pretty soon your engine burns up and you all die. And I'm like, awesome. That's exactly what I need. So, you know, he, he knows it's one of those things. He knows what he knows and he can help me out. And then I can put in enough that somebody that knows that goes, oh, he knows what he's talking about, but not enough that or that a layman could look at it and go, oh, wow.


[00:28:43] Marc: That could really work, I guess. So that's kind of what we're looking for. Yeah. Oh, that's awesome. Yeah, he's a good dude.


[00:28:49] David: We'll be right back after this message from our new sponsor, man. Do I like coffee? And as much as I don't want to sound like a beam snob, I am there. I said it. I mean, once you've tried fresh roasted.


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[00:30:30] Marc: listening to the thriller zone. And now back to


[00:30:33] David: the show guys with expertise really do help things come alive, especially when you, because it's one thing to go pick up a book and research, okay.


[00:30:43] David: How to crimp a in LA, but it's different when a guy goes, oh no, I got my hands in the belly of that beast all the time. So I know exactly what to do.


[00:30:52] Marc: No, exactly. I do the same thing with a dear friend, Ty Cunningham. Who's a martial artist and my martial arts sensei and a tracker. And. When I'm and I, and a second degree in jujitsu and been in plenty of fights, but there's many times when I'll say, you know, I've never been in a fight in an elevator, I'm going to call Ty and then we'll hammer out.


[00:31:14] Marc: And, you know, fortunately, I don't think he's been in a fight in the elevator either, but he's been in more than I have. And so we'll hammer out the dynamics, the strategy and dynamics, and more important than that in a book, how to write it because just like dialogue you're, you're a writer, you know, that dialogue is.


[00:31:31] Marc: A script, a real speech. It's a suggestion of it. And a fight scene in a book is the same way. If you wrote blow by blow and strike block by block, the reader would just skip over it.


[00:31:45] David: Which makes me think of that. Yeah, I guess it would be the closing scene, the fight that takes place in that cabin the way you crafted that scene.


[00:31:55] David: God, I was like, man, that's, that's the way I like to read a scene. You know, you got a gun, this guy's chained up. This guy's reaching for the gun, this Gallo, here's got the hatchet and you know I didn't need a, step-by-step play by play because my mind is, you know, you can imagine it as being a good writer.


[00:32:14] David: I'm in that room, I'm watching the melee happen. And God, those, those are the best scenes


[00:32:21] Marc: ever. I appreciate it. It is a really important thing. It takes a long time to write, as you probably know, it takes a long time to write a page and a half of a violence because you have to stick to the point of view.


[00:32:36] Marc: You can't pop into somebody's head here and pop it in somebody. And you know, if you, I always think of violence in a book like a car wreck. So you're only able to see what's rolling past your window. Every rotation are spinning around. And so you just have to trust the reader to fill in the blanks. Okay.


[00:32:56] Marc: That's the big thing I had.


[00:32:57] David: I was going to say, trust the reader to fill in the blanks. Yeah. I think early on and we probably all mark, we probably all make this mistake. Hey, D D he said, she said, he said he looked, she picked up. She, and there's so much of that, that I just go, oh, give, give me some credit.


[00:33:17] Marc: You know? Exactly. My wife has a, has a Dr. Seuss saying when she's looking at my stuff, that's kinda my warning. She'll say, do you like my hat? No, I do not like your hat. Goodbye, goodbye. And I'm like, oh, okay. I see what's going on here. Exit, exit, exit. Yeah,


[00:33:33] David: that is so good. And you know our minds would probably go back to Elmore.


[00:33:40] David: Leonard, what does he say? Leave out the stuff that bores people. Yeah. The people. Yeah. Yeah. That's such


[00:33:46] Marc: good advice. Yeah. Amazing. Well, you don't have to, we just want to, like I say, it's a suggestion of real dialogue. It always turns me off in a movie or on a, in a book when it's, how are you? I'm fine. How are you?


[00:34:00] Marc: I'm fine. That's three lines. You just never had to put in there. They said, Hey, you know what? Hello?


[00:34:08] David: Yeah. Or, you know, mark said, hello. David looked at him like he just sat on something. You know, I love those things. It's w w what does that show me? Don't tell me.


[00:34:19] Marc: Yeah, exactly. It's it's it's, it's way more fun to see stuff, you know, you don't and I try to, well, Elmore Leonard was a good one for just, I mean, he didn't say he didn't use adverbs very much at all.


[00:34:32] Marc: He would say he never did, but I can find one or two, but he hardly ever used an adverb. And, and really a readers. Okay. Would just, he said, she said, but I like, you know, little tricks. Like if somebody touches their face or head, it means they're thinking, so you don't have to say. I don't need to go in or, you know, what am I gonna do here?


[00:34:51] Marc: He thought you can just say, you know, he put his hand on his head. What am I gonna do here? That's it, you know, little tricks like that, [00:35:00] that you really learn from reading. Very few classes will line that out. You just read it and say, oh, look at what Ken Follett did here. Make a note.


[00:35:07] David: All the katsu is going to be on the show on Monday and she and I were chatting this week.


[00:35:14] David: And she made a great point and it has to do with reading and talking about reading a wide spectrum of material. In other words, don't read just thrillers and it's, we've all heard that, but for some reason, the way she said it, it took me out of the scene and I went, you know, that's a really good point because if you're always in the same genre constantly, there's a little bit of, well, you know, we're all doing the same thing, but if you go to a different genre and I'm not saying go to cozy romance that's, but I'm saying read other writers, you do pick up organically, automatically subconsciously a lot of things that you wouldn't ordinarily.


[00:35:55] David: Does that make sense?


[00:35:56] Marc: I think that's crucial. I, I read my friend. But I don't read them while I'm right. Like, I'm fortunate that I have a couple of different kinds of series is when I'm writing a, a mystery or a, you know, an adventure story like cutter. I don't read a CJ box when I'm writing a Clancy or a Jericho Quinn.


[00:36:17] Marc: I don't read a mark grainy, I or a Don Bentley or a Simon Jervey I read CJ box because I don't want to get derivative. And it's so easy to get derivative, but even then I read thrillers growing up. I don't read them so much now because it's, it's not up to us to write a political thriller. It's a it's up to us to write.


[00:36:43] Marc: Characters that do these things in this particular setting and the publishers and the bookstores put it in the political thriller. So really we're writing a story about people and I, I read, or I watched years, years ago, there was a book called the bridges of Madison county by something Robert James Waller.


[00:37:02] Marc: I may get his name wrong right here, Walter really thin book, very much of a girl, quote, unquote, you know, chick read. I say that, you know, knowing that make people mad, but but then that's what I thought of it. I was probably, I was a brand new deputy and my wife who's this really. Sweet church going mom.


[00:37:24] Marc: I walked in the door from work. I was a brand new deputy and she's chewing on the collar of her. T-shirt bawling her head off and I thought, well, what's wrong. She goes, she's not going to leave her husband and go with a guy. And I thought, well, that seems like a good thing. To me, kind of blew it off. Went about my business was going down to the clerk's office in the federal building, taking some paperwork down and it was lunchtime.


[00:37:49] Marc: So I unlocked the door, went in and one of the clerks was there too. And honor blouse cry and reading this book. I said, I've never read that if this book has that much effect on these people, then I need to go see what it's all about. And super well-written book, not my cup of tea, but super well written book.


[00:38:07] Marc: I think it's that way about all kinds. I read science fiction and fantasy, and I read mostly, honestly I read mostly nonfiction. I read. Everything Eric Larson writes because I love that he sends me to the dictionary. No, I can splendid in the vial and, and historical books nonfiction. I just, I think it's important to be learning all the time.


[00:38:32] Marc: And if I sat and just read through. Yeah, it would just be a giant echo chamber. And that's


[00:38:38] David: that, that's a really good point, mark. And here's something else that I was talking to my wife the other day. And because of the show I'm reading no less than two books a week. Oh well, yeah, I don't know that I can keep that up and write my own work and do the podcast and, and, and, but my point is this, sometimes when I get on a real streak of some darkness, I do find myself going, I need a little break from the darkness.


[00:39:09] David: You know, I need to go back to use your reference earlier. I need to pick up a little cat in the hat and just yeah. Go play with the grandkids and go, that's a nice hat. Do you like my hat? Yeah,


[00:39:22] Marc: but that's a little, yeah, no, exactly. We'll wa I'll do that with TV. Cause I don't watch much television, but I'll go take a break and watch you know, my wife and I, this is embarrassing, but we have one grandson that lives up here and we like encourage him to watch bluey this little show about Australian blue heeler, which we've had many over the years.


[00:39:45] Marc: There's a little cartoon called bluey. It's just so uplifting and it takes, you know, go watch blue if you want it to, I don't own any stock in it, but that solves the darkness. I keep a copy. It's probably in the other room, but I keep a copy of a river, runs through it [00:40:00] on my desk. And it it's what I use when I, I get a book from somebody that says, could you please blurb this or whatever, you know, give me a quote.


[00:40:09] Marc: And it's not the book might not be particularly skillfully. And I needed to sort of scrub my brain. I will read, or when I write something crappy and I read over it and think, man, I got to fix this. I'll read a river, runs through it. And it just it's like, it's like a salve soothing,


[00:40:29] David: you know, it's funny.


[00:40:30] David: I wrote a book a summer or two ago, summer. I think it was last summer called devour. And it's, it's, it's probably the it's easily, the darkest thing I've ever written. And I don't know what it was. My wife and I were taking a road trip and an idea popped into my head and I just ran with it for my 14 hour drive.


[00:40:47] David: So when I got home, I banged it out and it's super dark. And then here's the point? Then the following Christmas, for some reason my, my mother was still alive. So no, it was a couple of Christmases ago. I sat down, I just wanted to write a really sweet little Christmas story. Had never done it. Just wanted to see if I could do it.


[00:41:06] David: I got more rave reviews from that. And at the end of it, I thought, you know, it felt really good to write that I didn't even publish it as just, I, I printed it out just for family and I handed it out. And to the same point, I often think about going back and doing that. I think it's almost a cathartic cleansing to, to, to devour, to read books like that and, and just kind of cleanse your soul.


[00:41:31] Marc: Yeah, I agree. And I, and that anybody that reads my books know that for my dad's passed away, but anybody that reads my books knows that and has heard me talk, knows that for years my mom read my, my mother read my books to my dad out loud cause he was blind. And so I did a lot of backspacing when I'm writing these horribly violent books.


[00:41:55] Marc: Like I don't want my mom to read that mostly had to do with language because she was okay with. You know, with the brutal people, killing terrorism stuff. But even with that, I'm the kind of guy that when I write a horribly dark section of the book, good guys win and there might be some good guys that get terribly hurt or even die along the way, but in the end, good prevails.


[00:42:21] Marc: And that's the only way I can get by if I was writing a clockwork orange or something like that, I, I would not be able to sleep at night. Yeah.


[00:42:30] David: Yeah. Hey, this is a good place to ask this question. It's very obvious. You've been at this awhile. You've got a prolific entourage of books to your credit.


[00:42:41] David: If you could go back and give your younger self, a single piece of advice, this is just, this is life stuff. Knowing what you know now, what would you tell the young mark?


[00:42:53] Marc: Until I think I'd tell the young art the same thing I tell young, or not young, but beginning writers or even established writers. Don't read your reviews.


[00:43:05] Marc: They matter, not, it doesn't matter if they're all five star, it's like knowing your own IQ. If you, if you know, you're super smart, you don't need anybody to tell you. And it just, you know, it puffs you up. And if you, if this test says you're dumb, then you're inclined to believe it. And reviews are, you know, I read the, the like publishers weekly, you know, the industry reviews, but Amazon and I love it when people give me Amazon reviews.


[00:43:34] Marc: I check to see how many I got and that they're coming in. Cause that's. Litmus tests that people are still reading the book, but and sometimes Vicky, my wife will say, you got a really funny review. Like, you know, damn you Mark Cameron, you left to cliffhanger again. You know, things like that, but it just, I see people I don't want to speak, I don't mean bad about this to other writers, but I think it's, it's, it's not a good habit to always point out what great reviews we're getting or, or revel in.


[00:44:13] Marc: I'm like Scrooge McDuck with all his gold, you know, here, I've got these five star reviews because I could get five stars, a hundred, five star. I remember when I wrote the first Jericho, it got very nice reviews and I was reading him back then. Not really nice reviews for about 90 reviews and they came in fast.


[00:44:31] Marc: In 2011, there weren't as many books on Amazon. And so people were reading my little thriller, mark grainy only had one book out at the time, maybe two of his own and the client, you know, and then client, he was starting the Clancy's. And then and, and I thought, oh, these are great. People love me. And then somebody wrote a scathing one-star and it gutted me for like a week.


[00:44:52] Marc: And I was like, wow, they wanted this guy hate me so bad. I don't know him. Why would he be so mean? And over the years I finally [00:45:00] realized, oh, this is dumb. Here's wasting a lot of time reading reviews. Well, not


[00:45:06] David: only is it feeds the, it feeds something in your psyche that doesn't really need to be fed,


[00:45:12] Marc: right.


[00:45:13] Marc: One way or the other. I mean, you think about, I would like to think that Robert Ludlum and. You know, the, the greats are, can will, can follow it. Or, or some of, some of the, some of them are still alive. Some of them passed away, but the people that I read, I would like to think that they would just write their books.


[00:45:34] Marc: And I mean, I, I personally, I'm glad I love to chat with people like you about writing. When I think about this being on social media, I cringe, I'm more of a private person. I like talking, I have to psych myself up and saying, oh, I'm just talking here writing. Cause I'm not much of a social media. I do it because I need to.


[00:45:54] Marc: And, but, but then people will come up and it's really, I'm going to, I'm going to get hammered for saying this, but it's really kind of faults. People will come up to me at book signings and they'll go, Hey, mark, what are you doing? I go, I'm doing well. And they look at me like I should know them. And I go, okay.


[00:46:14] Marc: And he said, Jack, okay. Hey, Joe. We talked three weeks ago for a long time. I don't remember that Jack on, you know, on, on, on a Facebook I'm like, oh, okay. I guess I don't, I just don't remember that at all. I don't remember that. Okay. Yeah. I remember that, that interaction. That was cool. That was great. And then we actually develop a relationship right there, but there wasn't a relationship before there was a couple of you know, conversation bubbles on a screen.


[00:46:45] Marc: So yeah, here into, I can't, I just, I I'm just not that way. I think it's from 30 years of law enforcement and being very private to not talking about much. It's really hard for me to get out and, and Blab about myself and my books. So I'd much rather talk about writing than here. Look at my cool five star publisher's weekly review, but I send them.


[00:47:08] Marc: I get it every time I do it, but I


[00:47:10] David: do. All right. Well, I'll tell you what, I'll take some of the heat off of you and we'll just keep you know, it, it is funny though. Early on I heard agents talk about, you have to have, what do they call it? Oh, you got to have a platform. And if you don't have a platform agents, won't take you.


[00:47:27] David: And then I, I kind of bought into that for a while. And then I thought, you know, I'm just going to write the best damn book I can. And if it gets into the right hands, then that's the way it's supposed to be. I'm not trying to be Pollyanna, but I have a very sincere mantra in that. I dream it. I chase it and I release it, meaning you know, if it's supposed to be, it will.


[00:47:53] David: And if it's not there anymore, but not to be right.


[00:47:56] Marc: No, that's good. No, I think that's absolutely right. And you. There, there is a, I don't mean to come off as saying that there's no need for social media because in this day and age, it, there is a need. I mean, but I, I just got on Twitter a year ago. I went into it, kicking and screaming.


[00:48:12] Marc: I've been on Facebook a long time, but I use Facebook, mostly the people that I have to put out stuff now, cause the book's coming out. But mostly I talk about Alaska and my grandkids and then hopefully give a, a little national geographic kind of look or maybe a, you know, homestead kind of look to my readers to say, okay, this is what's going on in the background.


[00:48:35] Marc: Because I'm human like everybody else. And if I post something, I want to get interaction and likes and whatnot and I'll, I'll go and check my interactions when I shouldn't be writing. So it's a it's. The whole, you don't want to fall down if you


[00:48:51] David: that's a good way to put it. Yeah. I, I'm not a, I'm not a Facebook fan because I find it just gobbles too much of my time.


[00:48:59] David: We're also having a little bit of a spotty reception. So I'm going to keep moving on the off chance that I don't want to lose you. Cause man, I got so much yet to, I mean, I'm going to kind of start wrapping it up here, but I want to make sure I okay. Now I do I, I wanted to mention this and I meant to mention early on cold snap, by the way, the book we're talking to here is your sense of cold was kind of ridiculous and I'm going to overstate.


[00:49:25] David: I'm being a little bit silly here, but mean. I had to practically wear a sweater when I was reading this book. And I think it's probably because I hate cold weather so much, which is why I asked you early on why the hell Alaska, mark, but you're you and I'm me. And sometimes I get tired of the constant sunshine in San Diego, but, but your sense of cold was so viscerally real.


[00:49:51] David: I was, I was all in,


[00:49:54] Marc: this is what I'm trying to say. I, I appreciate that. There's, there's nothing you remember [00:50:00] the, the Jack London's story to build a fire. You remember that story? No, I I don't know if he's a trapper or what, but he he's out with his dog and he he's lost all his gear and he's freezing cold and there's something about, you know, there's cold, there's uncomfortable, cold.


[00:50:18] Marc: And then there's when it gets below, say 20 below. Then you just can't when you're out there, you just, it's hard to keep enough clothes on and you you're just, it just seeps through everything and 40 below and stuff starts to break. And if you touch something metal, you get a blister on your hands and, you know, and the coldest I've ever been is we think about 56 below the Fairbanks bank sign said 56 below.


[00:50:44] Marc: And we were out in the woods away. So who knows, maybe it was colder, but, but super, still super cold. We had to, we had vehicles with us. We were at a cabin, we're doing some training for tracking and, and it was so cold. We were worried about our batteries freezing up and there we were in the woods.


[00:51:02] Marc: So there's no place to plug in the car. Like if your son's in Fairbanks, you know, it's, you gotta plug in your car at the grocery store or in the winter. And so we would just, you know, drink a glass of water or eliminate or tea or whatever, real big. And then go to sleep, knowing that we're going to wake up in 30 minutes to pee, and then we'd start our cars with a auto start and drink a bunch more water, and then go back to sleep.


[00:51:28] Marc: And then the auto star run for 15 minutes. Just did that all night long because we were afraid we get stranded out there. So you learn about the cold and it's much easier to write about it. The cool thing about the cool thing about writing these winter stories in Alaska. I see what you did with those are written in.


[00:51:47] Marc: Yeah, I see what I did there. Many of them probably about half of those are written in the south Pacific on an island where my wife and I go. So I'm sitting in the sun right in about the cold, but it's, it's I remember it vividly,


[00:52:01] David: you know, the, I think the coldest I've been, and this is when I knew it was time to hang up my microphone in Chicago at a radio show in Chicago.


[00:52:09] David: And it was a winter that had hit 33 below and I was stuck and I was going to work at four 30 in the morning. So, you know, you're scraping the car and you're trying to warm it up to get to the office. And I remember thinking when I lost that job, I'm like, you know what, there's, there's my sign out of this.


[00:52:27] David: And I went to LA and the rest is history,


[00:52:29] Marc: but no, you're right. There's a, there's something about, there's something about cold. And I think, and I hope it comes across in the. That's way more mental than it is physical. And I think the temperature that I was cold as was that time I just told you about, but the codes I've ever felt was about maybe 15 or 20 below snow caving with my oldest son when he was about nine.


[00:52:53] Marc: And what kind of a dad takes their son out at nine and digs a hole in the snow and sleeps in it. But we were adventurous. I was young, he was young. We were more like buddies than, than father and son sometimes. And I had, I had my head out of the snow cave trying to light a little camp stove to cook some oatmeal.


[00:53:13] Marc: So our legs were inside and he was huddled down and we weren't far from the house. We were like on the back of the property, but I was really worried about him. It was super cold. I couldn't even hold the matches because. Yeah, it was like to build a fire. I couldn't, you need to go back and read that if you want to read about the cold, I couldn't even get the matches.


[00:53:32] Marc: And I remember being so cold and so worried about my son that I took some of the fuel and I sloshed it on top of the stove. Well, that's not a really smart thing to do. And so then I was finally able to get a spark, one of the matches and the whole stove just went up like a rocket. And fortunately for me, it didn't blow up in my face.


[00:53:54] Marc: It, it you know, burned like the tail end of a jet for a while, and then just settled down and I was able to reach over and turn it on. Just that, that crazy mindset of not thinking clearly. I think, I think you have to put that in a book about cold to make it work rather than just, you know, shivering teeth chatter.


[00:54:15] Marc: And yeah.


[00:54:17] David: Well, when I got to that part where you're, when they were digging, digging the snow cave, I'm like, what in the hell is he doing? And that didn't sound a whole lot of fun. And here here's a random question and, and this was one of those things when I read it, I went, oh, I wonder if that's really true.


[00:54:34] David: So I'm going to ask mark, is it true that wolves will often eat the belly of its prey while they're still alive?


[00:54:40] Marc: No. Yeah. What was the run was it's it's another thing about the internet. There's all these so spiritual and I like wolves don't get me wrong, but they're wolves. And there's the pictures of the, the pack of wolves and they say the older string front, so they don't get left behind.


[00:54:59] Marc: And these are the [00:55:00] alphas and all that. Packing malarkey. If a, if a Wolf gets weak in a Wolf pack, they eat it. It's, it's certainly the law of tooth and Fang out there. They entered starving to death. Not too many years ago, maybe eight, seven or eight years ago. We had a super cold snap come through early, before there was a bunch of snow.


[00:55:24] Marc: And so the, the, the wolves chase their prey by falling through the snow and they'll pull it their flank. Sometimes they'll get up beside them and bite their tongues off. So they bleed to death. They're just, they're just, you know, they're not thinking critically, they're using instinct and bringing down something to eat.


[00:55:42] Marc: And if there's no snow, they can't catch up is easily to these moose and caribou and big animals. They're there prey that sustain them through the cold. And so they start to starve. And so without any snow to snow, slow down them. They, the wolves came into town and started eating dogs. And we lost on that.


[00:56:03] Marc: Not us personally, but Eagle river, the little town that I live in or near had seven dogs snatched, right. Some of them right out of there, like walking down the trail with their masters, you know, just eaten up. And when I say eaten, I mean, the, you read article in the paper and say, and there was a bunch of movement in the Bush and we went over and there was a collar left or right ear.


[00:56:26] Marc: So, you know, it's, it's Alaska is brutal and wolves. Trying to make a living out here and it's a hard place to make a living and they will absolutely do that.


[00:56:36] David: Oh man. Well, we're going to start to wrap it up and before I get to rapid fire questions, I have this one question I'd like to ask writers such as yourself in, and it has to do with the best piece of advice you'd offer my listeners who are either considering becoming a writer or maybe in the midst of launching a career.


[00:56:55] David: Do you have that single piece of wisdom from on


[00:56:58] Marc: high? Yeah. It's kind of touches on what I said before. It is a, in my wisdom, such as it is, is just what I do. And what I do is I read with a pencil. I find books that I really like, and I read critically and I don't mean like I'm critiquing the book. I read it like I'm studying it.


[00:57:21] Marc: So if I have. For instance, a copy of Ken Follett's man from St. Petersburg, it's highlighted and, and marked. And here's the first aisle. I might go into a bookstore and not buy any books, but I'll read the first sentence of 50 just to see, okay, here's a line, especially in this day and age, when everybody's playing video games and reading on their phones, if you don't hook them by the first paragraph and really the first sentence or two, you've lost them.


[00:57:47] Marc: And I wrote several stories for boys, life magazine, the boy scout magazine, and we would the editor and I would kind of joke back and forth if you don't hook them on the first, you know, these are 13, 14, 15 year old boys. And if you don't hook them on the first sentence and they're really the first sentence has to be about death or poop, or they won't even read, you know?


[00:58:06] Marc: So I would just say, read, create, read with a pencil and really study what you're reading and read. . And then don't be afraid to make mistakes just right. Yeah. Yeah.


[00:58:18] David: That's I, I agree with both pieces and th th th th the second part there is, you know, I think we're sometimes, so, especially with this huge competition, we're all facing because everybody thinks they've got a book in them.


[00:58:36] David: I say, you know what, just throw it out there, give it your best shot. And if that one doesn't work, do it again. And if you're willing to do it again and again, and again, and again, then that's really what you're going to do. And you're going to, you're going to get better automatically. You're going to put in your 10,000 hours, right.


[00:58:51] David: That's true. That's true. Yeah. All right. Well, thank you for that. And of course it is time for rapid fire questions. The first one is super easy plotter or pantser,


[00:59:01] Marc: and. Oh, plotter. I'm not smart enough to be a pantser. In fact, in fact, I have a theory that people that are there say they're pantsers or are lying and they're just super smart and plot it all in their head and then spew it out.


[00:59:17] David: Nice. All right. Music or silence when you write silence. Yeah. I am curious though. Sub-note what do you listen to when you're just, maybe you're driving along the back roads or you're just chilling out. What's kind of music does Mark Cameron listen


[00:59:34] Marc: to, I like country, like old, older country, like George Strait and then super old.


[00:59:41] Marc: Yeah. Charlie pride and Johnny Cash. And I like that. I like that.


[00:59:46] David: The classics. Yeah. All right. What are the two things you are never without? And you can't use cell phone


[00:59:53] Marc: on this, something to make fire light. All the time. In fact, I challenge all the [01:00:00] youth around here, the boy Scouts, my kid's friends, kids at church.


[01:00:03] Marc: They can come up to me anywhere except in the airport, used to, they could do an airport because I had a badge and carried everywhere, but they can challenge me and come and say, have you got your EDC, your everyday carry? And I have to produce the pocket knife, the small light and my little Zippo lighter, which is orange, by the way.


[01:00:24] Marc: It's not tactical. I used to have really cool tactical green one and then another tactical green one, and then another tactical green one in there, somewhere out in Bush, Alaska, where I sat them down and couldn't find them in the dark. So, yeah. Yeah. So always, always those three things. I it's, it's cool.


[01:00:39] Marc: You asked that because he's reaching for it. Now. I have him have my lighter with me right now.


[01:00:45] David: There it is an orange Zippo. And and what, and you said some kind of a light, right? So I have a little.


[01:00:52] Marc: I have a very small it's kind of embarrassing. So I have a, I have a little light, little, I can't remember who makes this one streamline.


[01:01:00] Marc: Maybe it's just a, it's very bright, but it's just a three a and then I'm actually also never without a pencil sharpener. Cause I write a lot with pencil and it's something to save. Work and then,


[01:01:16] David: and then the knife, there it is. Oh, bam.


[01:01:19] Marc: Yeah. Yeah. That's legal, not legal in all states, but


[01:01:24] David: it's legal where you are.


[01:01:25] David: Yeah. All right. All right, mark. You and a pal are flying over the frozen Tundra of let's say Alaska, when suddenly he passes out for some reason, he's still alive, but he's passed out. You don't know it and you have to land. You have to land the plane safely now, however, because you're over unknown territory and not a hundred percent sure which is land and which could be a frozen lake and a thunder storm looms on the horizon.


[01:01:52] David: What does Mark Cameron do


[01:01:54] Marc: after fervent prayer? Or I should say during prayer you know that the pilots have a saying you AB. Navigate then communicate. So you got to fly the plane first. So I, I'm a, I'm a big believer in saying a prayer, but I'm going to be trying to fly the plane before I do it now as a young kid that wanted to be James Bond someday, I took flying lessons.


[01:02:17] Marc: I never became a pilot, but I, I have about 19 hours of flying. So I could, I could get that plane on the ground in one singular, giant fireball. It would be altogether when I crashed it. Yeah, I would just assess the situation and, and fly the plane. I would, I would want to save my friend, but not gonna save him much if I'm doing CPR while we all into the mountains.


[01:02:43] Marc: No, but you know, try all the way to the ground. That's that's what I would say. I probably wouldn't be able to do it. I sure try my best. You know, that


[01:02:53] David: should almost be a, t-shirt try all the way until you're get put into the ground.


[01:02:59] Marc: Well, I, I was fortunate. I wasn't there to listen to it, but I was in Alaska when it happened.


[01:03:04] Marc: And there was a young pilot, one of the, the charter services down in Southeast Alaska. And he was, he was flying in can't remember a little Navajo or something, a little, a little single engine, six person Piper and his engine blew and his, his windscreen got completely covered up with oil. And so he's flying along and he's, you know, using the instruments, but he's a newer pilot.


[01:03:28] Marc: He's got a bunch of, of passengers in the back and this is a small plane. So when you fly with, with a plane that small, if you're a passenger in the back of the pilot panics, you can, you can smell his urine. You know, I mean, it's, it's a, you're close. And so he's on the radio. He's talking to. Control.


[01:03:50] Marc: They're trying to find a place to land, but he's in the mountains and over water. I mean, Southeast Alaska is just a series of, of trees and rocks and waves in the tape. He's you hear him talking? He's, he's getting more and more agitated, more and more nervous. And then he gets very calm and he says, tell my mom, I love her.


[01:04:10] Marc: And that's like, all right, he's he's given up. And this coast guard, helicopter pilot appeared off his wing and talked to him and talked to him, calmed him down, chatted with him. I mean, this guy is a hero. He is an credible dude. And he said, I've got you a patch of beach. And I'm paraphrasing here basically pointed him towards a patch of beach and said, all right, here's what you're going to do.


[01:04:36] Marc: You're going to slip that plane sideways. So you get to look at the wind. And then write one and then you'll fly it down, slipping sideways. And then right when you get to the ground straighten up and you'll be fine. And he talked him through it as if he was like a automatic pilot. And so and we flew over that spot later in our plane and looked at the, the place where that young pilot who, and I [01:05:00] don't want to take away from the pilot incredibly skillful, what he did, how long with the help of that.


[01:05:06] Marc: That a coast guard, helicopter, pilot. Pretty cool story. So I would, hopefully I wouldn't panic so much. Hopefully I would think of that and say, all right, maybe there'll be a helicopter pilot, come here and talk me down.


[01:05:18] David: And that's a fantastic story. And I had just enough training myself. I'm about 10, 12 hours in and I, it was years and years ago, but you know, if you can just let it do its natural gravity and make sure the tail touches first, gravity will just do everything else.


[01:05:37] David: People always think, oh my gosh, if I, if I go down like this I'm gonna, I'm going to kill myself. No, just let the. Touch and it will, it will automatically just draw up. And fifth and final Hollywood has just bought your entire Arlis cutter series. Congratulations, man, you're buying the first round and a, wants to turn it into a tree streaming series mark.


[01:06:01] David: Now this is a three-part question. I'm going to break it down real easy. Who would you like to see play Arlis if you could have any say in it, we've


[01:06:08] talked


[01:06:08] Marc: about this quite a bit. There's a, I mean, I th th this kind of stuff is in the works all the time with these sorts of books. So I've been chatting with producers for years.


[01:06:18] Marc: You know how Hollywood is talk about that all the time. So we've looked at you know, the big name writers, you know, Chris Pratt, who now is playing in a Jack cars. And I think I actually think a lot more about Lola and wanting to have a, a real Polynesian. Woman play Lola. So yeah. Yeah, not that you touched a nerve, but we've been talking about this really hard over the last few months,


[01:06:45] David: so, yeah.


[01:06:46] David: And it's funny, something just popped into my head when you were talking about, when you said that, you know, with the, with the viewers are interested in, I know that when Tom cruise was playing Jack Reacher, everyone's like, man, but he doesn't fit the thing. And then this new guy comes in and I'd love to impress you by knowing his name.


[01:07:01] David: And I don't recall it, but he comes in and plays Jack Reacher and you're like, you instantly buy


[01:07:05] Marc: it. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. That's the, that's what you want somebody that, I mean, I describe cutter as being 6, 3, 2 40. You know, I've known some cutters in my life and, and it's there there's a line in the book, you know, w we, we, we kind of joke all the time.


[01:07:24] Marc: Cause there's a line in the book where he's getting his armed boarding pass. It's not in this book. I think it's in two books, maybe stone cross. Open-carry he's in the Anchorage airport when you're in the Marshall service, the badges on the outside. And so you just show them your badge, they look at the inside and then they fill out some paperwork and you can get on the airplane with your firearm and the flight attendant.


[01:07:48] Marc: I mean, the gate agent is kind of flirting with cutter and she says marshals, and these are conversations. I've had my whole career on Marshall's you're you, you don't look like Tim Olyphant, you know, like on justified and, and cutter kind of smiles at her and says I'm not trying to be Tim old fat as trying to be me.


[01:08:09] Marc: And so we joked about what if cause Josh do, Mel is always getting confused with Tim, Tim Olyphant and the Marshall and justified. Kind of joked about getting him to, to play a cutter. Just that I think there's too much baggage going along with that. Yeah. An incredible show like justified.


[01:08:30] David: Hey here's a here's part bay.


[01:08:33] David: Would you like to play a cameo role in this aforementioned series? And if so, we'll be.


[01:08:40] Marc: Oh man on street, man at bus stop. It'd be fun. My wife wants to play a cameo role, but I people always say, are you cutter? Was that you, you know, during your career as it now if you watch me on social media, I'm grumpy.


[01:08:52] Marc: There's no doubt that I'm the grumpy character with my grandkids, but yeah,


[01:08:57] David: you'd be the you want to be a Alfred Hitchcock stepping on the bus and fill in the blank. Yeah.


[01:09:03] Marc: Or crazy crazy bearded dude. And the Alaska Bush


[01:09:08] David: and the last one, what's the one thing you see Hollywood continue to get wrong all the time, but never seems to change it.


[01:09:16] David: And I've had a similar conversation with some other, right?


[01:09:19] Marc: I think the thing that I, that always chuckles me is the way guns is make a noise. Like there, the slides being racked when somebody draws them or points them like. Well, I didn't do anything to that gun, but that's, that's the Foley editor and sound because the director said we need a, a gun sound right there.


[01:09:36] Marc: So I get why they're doing it. It's such a visual medium, but guns don't rattle like that. Or I wouldn't, I wouldn't carry them around.


[01:09:43] David: Yeah, they did. Reidel you'd go. I'm going to trade this in boss. Yeah, exactly. Hey, one more. Last thing before we wrap and I have to mention this because, and this is going to be interesting to you.


[01:09:54] David: I, I learned about you. It could be interesting. Could be a [01:10:00] little bit embarrassing. I learned about you when I was researching, and this is going to sound like a commercial, cause our probably turn it into one, but I was researching a company when I was setting out to be a writer. I'm like, you know, if I w if I'm going to play with the big boys and I'm going to look like one of the big boys.


[01:10:17] David: Then I can't keep doing websites myself because a, it takes forever and B it's getting hacked and blah, blah, blah. So you were the very first person. I don't even know how this happened, but I went to author bites.com. They're great.


[01:10:32] Marc: They're awesome. Yeah.


[01:10:34] David: And, and I saw you first and that was an example that popped up.


[01:10:40] David: And then as I inquired about it and said, oh, if you like Mark Cameron, check out these. And I checked out mark grainy, bread Taylor and Don Bentley


[01:10:49] Marc: and Simon Jervais.


[01:10:51] David: And by then I was hook line and sinker because it had the look and the style that I wanted. So I think it's interesting that I discovered you via your website way before I discovered your books.


[01:11:05] David: No,


[01:11:06] Marc: that's really cool to hear because I, I sing their praises all the time. They, they know you can put together a really good website, but knowing what readers need, you know, book, what you really need is novelists. So they'll, I'm happy to pay them. They earn their money to, with the way they put it together.


[01:11:26] Marc: And they're constantly, you know, looking at what kind of feedback and okay. We need to optimize this for phones because that's where people are looking at your website. And yeah, I can't say enough. Good about all. Yeah, it does sound like a commercial. We were receiving no payer discount on this, but, but I can't say enough.


[01:11:44] Marc: Good about them. Well,


[01:11:45] David: actually you neither, you or I are actually directly getting anything, but because, and you're going to love this. They're now a sponsor of the show. I'm glad.


[01:11:55] Marc: I mean, I'm not, I hope you do, but I'm not getting anything. I didn't know you were going to bring this up. That's my disclaimer.


[01:12:02] Marc: No,


[01:12:03] David: and I, although only reason I'm bringing it up is because as I'm researching your books, I'm going oh, that's right. I found this website like almost two years ago, because there's a very specific layout. But anyway, so author bites liked my talking about it so much. They said we want to sponsor you.


[01:12:21] David: So yeah. Yeah, that's good because it does two things. It helps. Well, three things. It helps you, your show. It helps them, but. Ryder more important to me, it sends other writers and it makes a world of difference. When you have a professional landing page, when people are looking for you, it certainly does


[01:12:46] David: a hundred percent.


[01:12:47] David: And these days with hacking the way it is, these guys stay on top of it. And I've been hacked before. And so here, here for the last plug, anybody who listens to this today and says, Hey, maybe, maybe I'll do like a mark. And Dave are doing they're going to give you a three months free when you sign a one year contract.


[01:13:04] David: So.


[01:13:05] Marc: Totally worth it. Yeah. I'd heard about them from mark grainy. So that's the way these things work. Just word of


[01:13:11] David: mouth. Well, and mark, both of you guys have a, an add-on. I mean, all of you guys, all of us, they're just, they know how to make it look right. And and folks cold snap. The book that we've been talking about today, and it'll leave you frigid.


[01:13:25] David: This is going to drop next Tuesday, the 26th. So be sure to get a copy today. And if you'd like to learn more about my pal, mark, just visit Mark Cameron books.com. Thanks. Author bites.com or follow Twitter. And, and w Mark's getting good at this folks to give them a little bit of time, but he's, he's going to be a Twitter maniac before you know it.


[01:13:48] David: And he's at Mark Cameron one. You're you're actually saying, I don't know, Dave. I've got one matter of fact. Hold on one second. I've got you pulled up over here. You've got 861


[01:13:57] Marc: followers. Yeah. See, there you go. 861, as opposed to a budget. Julian. I don't those poor 861.


[01:14:06] David: I'm excited because I'm at the very top of your feed there because you're, you're, you're saying you're looking forward to this.


[01:14:11] David: So I hope I hope the show was everything you hoped it would be mark.


[01:14:15] Marc: You know, it was great fun because you ask different questions. If we're going into a book like this, we'll have a dozen of these. And a lot of times it'll be the same thing, but people have, I think people are getting used to zoom and.


[01:14:32] Marc: Remote interviews and learning, and you've certainly done a great job. This has been fun.


[01:14:37] David: Well, thank you, mark. And you know what? I, I did radio for 25 years and I always, I had producers that worked with me and I said, I always said this. I said, give me just a note or two don't give me too much because the way I find an interview being fascinating is to have a little bit of knowledge, but let you tell the stories, the people who go.


[01:14:58] David: So tell me mark, when you were a [01:15:00] us Marshall, you know, who cares, man? Just tell let's tell stories.


[01:15:06] Yeah,


[01:15:06] Marc: exactly. I appreciate your time. Thanks for doing this,


[01:15:10] David: man. I hope we can stay in touch. I have a feeling, you know, you, you give off this feeling like we've known each other forever. Yeah,


[01:15:17] Marc: that's my tactical grandpa.


[01:15:18] Marc: That's just me


[01:15:21] David: and always carry an orange Zippo folks. That's right. Alright, mark. You take care of yourself and thank you again for joining us on the thriller


[01:15:29] Marc: zone. Hey, thanks for your time. It was great. Fun. How


[01:15:32] David: much fun was that? Mark? Cameron. Did he strike you the same way? He struck me kind of like you've known him forever.


[01:15:40] David: That's how I walked away feeling great guy, super talent. I mean, anybody who's writing Tom Clancy novels. You gotta be on top of your game. So once again, thank you mark. Now on our next show, coming up on Monday a bonus episode, this gal right here, Alma katsu, red widow is the. It is a stunning performance and she's like six books in, but I'm telling you that biom she's coming up on Monday and I'm looking ahead to the next week, which is Peter Ferris, the devil himself.


[01:16:15] David: Oh man. That is going to wrap up the month of April and we have a heck of a may coming up. Can I share with you just a couple Joshua Hood is going to be on the show. Tori Eldridge. One of my favorite guests is going to be on the show. May Cobb is coming up in may, may was my very first guest in June of last year.


[01:16:37] David: So we're very excited to be celebrating our one year anniversary, basically with may cob with her book my summer. Darlene's also, we're going to squeeze in a little bonus episode with Dave Chesson the Kendall preneur. As we go off a little bit, the beaten path to learn some insights secrets in the world of publishing Frank severe, always coming up in may.


[01:16:59] David: Who else? Well, there's a couple of biggies like biggies, but we have not 100% confirmed them yet. So bear with me and I would look into June and July, but I don't want to share all my candy in the lobby. If you know what I mean, I would do want to take this one brief moment to say thank you for the two sponsors that are supporting our show.


[01:17:28] David: Author bites.com the web host for authors and writers block coffee, which you'll see me sipping on coffee almost all during the show writers block. Oh man, these guys hit it out of the ballpark. And I don't want to turn this into a commercial, but I'm going to tell you this one thing, when you get fresh roasted beans, I mean, you put in your order on a Monday, the order's probably placed on a Tuesday, maybe a Wednesday it's roasted right then and turned around and shipped to you once you get it that way, you'll never do it any other way, 15% off your first order, by the way.


[01:18:08] David: Okay. There, I did it folks. Thank you so much for joining me once again for another episode of the thriller zone is I hope it's evidenced how much I love the show and how much I love bringing it to you. You can always drop us an email@thethrillerzoneatgmail.com. You can also go to our website, the thriller zone.com.


[01:18:30] David: We're now officially youtube.com/the thriller zone. So we finally got all of our branding act together, but we love hearing from you drop us an email, go by the podcast channels and leave a review. Five star reviews. Doesn't hurt. If you got the time, it'd be great, but we just love hearing from you.


[01:18:50] David: And if there's something on the show that you'd like to hear more of, or there's a guest that you'd like to man, David, here's a great idea. Send it to me. If you're an author who would like to be on the show, we book well in advance and I need to get your books well, well in advance in order to be able to read them and talk about them.


[01:19:08] David: But yeah, it's all doable. We're here to serve and I love my job. So anyway, Dave, tabel here. We'll see you next. On another episode of the thriller zone.