Welcome to Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Mark!
How long have you been a writer?
I started writing in 2002.
Do you have a day job, or is being an author your career?
I do have a day job. I am currently a financial planner. Prior to that, I spent a little over a decade as a product manager for internet applications, for a couple of well-known organizations. It is likely the average reader has used at least one of the applications I have worked on.
What inspired you to become a writer? Describe your journey as a writer.
My inspiration to become a writer struck from out-of-the-blue. I succumbed to this sudden urge to write a novel and a couple of months later I was on the beach reading the first draft of my first manuscript.
Please five a brief description/storyline about Sweat.
Sweat is about a US Senator, a businessman, a seamstress, a hit man, a spy, an arms dealer and a young man who is trying to tiptoe through a minefield to do the right thing. Sweat, examines the topic of sweatshops, and the shenanigans - and danger - that surround these operations.
What was the inspiration for this story?
The inspiration from the book came from a conversation I overheard in Asia regarding a corporate executive who spent some time establishing manufacturing facilities for American corporations. At the time, I didn't think too much about the conversation, but it obviously struck in my subconscious mind. A few years later it was the seed for Sweat.
How did it feel to have your first book published?
It was cool.
Do you write books for a specific genre?
What genres are your favorites? What are some of your favorite books that you have read and why?
I like to think that I write commercial fiction. Although there are certainly "thriller" elements in my novels, they are not what I would consider "action packed." I have about ten books in my head and half of them are not pure "thrillers." When I think of good fiction, there are different things different writers do well. For example, Nelson DeMille, in my opinion, is the best at telling a story in the first person. A lot of his recent novels were written through the eyes of a single character, meaning that character was in every scene and he had to tell the story from a single point of view. It is something I would like to consider doing in the future, but I am not sure I could pull it off.
As for favorites, there are too many to list them all. I really liked a lot of Grisham's early stuff. I love Baldacci, as do a lot of people. DeMille. Stephen King. Clancy. Cornwell. Eisler. One of my favorite classics is Cannery Row. For non-fiction, my favorite book is probably All Over But The Shoutin, by Rick Bragg.
Do you have a special spot/area where you like to do your writing?
Not currently, but a few years ago when I was just starting to write, there was a comfortable leather chair at a local coffee shop called Jammin' Java. I spent a lot of time in that chair. So much time, in fact, that I wrote down the maker of the the chair and took a couple of pictures in the hope of buying the same chair for my apartment. I later lost the pictures and the information, and the coffee shop removed their comfortable chairs in favor of less-inviting wooden chairs.
That said, I can write anywhere, if it is quiet, or if I have headphones and some good writing music.
How do you come up with the ideas that become the storyline for your books?
I couldn't tell you where the ideas come from. And when I am writing, most of the time I am not sure what word is coming next.
When you write, do you adhere to a strict work schedule, or do you work whenever the inspiration strikes?
I write when I can. I have another job, a family, obligations, bills to pay, etc. All things being equal, I would prefer to write early in the morning.
What aspects of storytelling do you like the best, and what aspects do you struggle with the most?
The most intriguing part about storytelling is fitting the pieces of the puzzle together while keeping the story moving and coherent. It is also the hardest part of writing. But it is really the only part of writing that makes it worthwhile.
What are your favorite things to do when you are not writing?
Hiking, biking and traveling. I have a large family - a lot of aunts, uncles and cousins, most of who live in the DC area - so there is usually something going on.
What is/was the best piece of writing advice that you have received?
The best piece of advice I ever heard was at a writer's conference in DC a couple of years ago. I can't remember the writer's name, but he stood at the podium and said,"I am sure there are better writers in this room. But no one in this room is better at getting to "The End" than I am." Essentially what he was saying was, "finish what you start writing."
What is the most gratifying thing you feel or get as a writer?
The most gratifying thing about being a writer is seeing where the story takes you. I am sure that some writers have an outline and follow that outline as they write the story. I don't use an outline when I write. I let the story take me wherever it goes. So, for me, I am along for the ride. I think if I had to write from an outline, it would seem like real work. I do write outlines, or pieces of outlines after I have written that portion of the story and when I am done, but not as an outline to follow as I write.
What is you definition of success as a writer?
Not having to have another job. Making a living as a novelist would be success.
Are you currently writing a new book? If yes, would you care to share a bit of it with us?
You will have to stay tuned.
Thank you Mark for visiting Jersey Girl Book Reviews and sharing a bit about yourself and your writing career with us!
About The Author
Mark Gilleo's Sweat Virtual Book Tour Page On Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours
THE STORY PLANT - PUBLISHER WEBSITE
Publisher: The Story Plant
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Format: Paperback - 364 pages / Kindle - 731 KB / Nook - 1 MB
BUY THE BOOK: Sweat
BARNES & NOBLE
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.
When Jake Patrick took a summer internship at his estranged father’s corporation, he anticipated some much-needed extra cash and a couple of free meals from his guilty dad. He would never have guessed that he'd find himself in the center of an international scandal involving a U.S. senator, conspiracy, backroom politics, and murder. Or that his own life would hang in the balance. Or that he’d find help – and much more than that – from a collection of memorable characters operating on all sides of the law. Jake’s summer has turned into the most eventful one of his life. Now he just needs to survive it.
From the sweatshops of Saipan to the most powerful offices in Washington, Sweat rockets through a story of crime and consequences with lightning pacing, a twisting plot, an unforgettable cast of characters, and wry humor. It is another nonstop thriller from one of the most exciting new voices in suspense fiction.
My Book Review:
From the sweatshops of Saipan to the powerful offices of Washington DC, author Mark Gilleo weaves an intriguing international political thriller of corruption, greed, and the injustice and dismal working conditions in overseas sweatshops.
After Jake Patrick lost his mother to cancer, he reluctantly takes an internship at his estranged father's import/export company, Winthrop Enterprises, in order to try to get his life back on track. But his new position in the company is anything but cushy ... it will send him on a dangerous adventure that will put him right in the middle of an international scandal that could threaten his life!
Sweat is a riveting story full of scandal, conspiracy, corruption, greed and murder that takes the reader on a thrilling roller coaster ride of an adventure! Masterfully written in the third person person narrative, and rich in description and vivid details, this action-packed compelling story transports the reader around the globe with stops in Seattle, Washington, Saipan and Washington DC for behind the scene glimpses into international political and business corruption and injustice within the world of illegal import/export sweatshops. With enough corruption, greed, bribery, blackmail, kidnappings, assassination attempts, murder and even a bit of romance thrown into the mix, this fast-paced action thriller is a compelling page turner that will keep you guessing and wanting more.
From greedy and corrupt politicians and businessmen, to organized crime, to the downtrodden sweatshop workers, Sweat has a variety of cast of characters who are realistic and complex people, who will captivate you with their interweaving involvement and actions throughout the story. The character dialogues are realistic and intriguing, they grab your attention and make you feel like you are watching the interactions occur.
The author's description of the horrible working conditions and treatment of the workers in the sweatshops was a fascinating yet disturbing portrayal. The author engages the reader with some very thought provoking descriptions that will invoke a range of emotions from anger and disgust towards the corrupt politicians and businessmen, to horror and compassion for the oppressed sweatshop worker. Likewise, the author also provides some really great insightful descriptions into the behind the scenes political wheeling-dealing that goes on in the US Senate and in the offices of the big corporations.
Sweat is an international political thriller that will captivate you with its riveting behind the scenes glimpse into the greed, corruption and scandals that encompasses the illegal dealings within the political and business world.
RATING: 5 STARS *****