Featured Interview With Arlene F. Marks
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, and am now enjoying the empty-nester life with my husband on the shore of Nottawasaga Bay, just outside of Collingwood, Ontario. There’s a wonderful variety of wildlife in the neighborhood, including swans, chipmunks, hares and deer. And I have an ever-growing collection of owls, my favorite winged creature in the world.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I was an avid reader by the age of 4, and began writing stories of my own when I was 6. My mother still has the first one, a fantasy about a very small boy who rode around on a dragonfly and did everything backwards. We lived walking distance from the Toronto Public Library, and I still remember my mother taking me there every Saturday to get a fresh supply of books for the week. I thought it was unfair that I could only borrow five at a time.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
When I was eleven years old, I discovered science fiction, and speculative fiction has been my favorite reading ever since. I grew up reading authors now considered “the masters” of science fiction: James Blish, Arthur C. Clarke, Harry Harrison, Anne McCaffrey, Robert Silverberg, and Clifford D. Simak, to name just a few. But the four whose work I really admired and have always tried to emulate are these: Ray Bradbury, for the lyrical flow of his prose; Robert A. Heinlein, for the sheer scope of his vision; Isaac Asimov, for combining writing and teaching and doing them both so well; and Sir Terry Pratchett, for his shrewd use of humor to convey The Truth About Things.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
The Genius Asylum is the first in a series of science fiction novels for adults set in a universe I’ve named Sic Transit Terra (loosely translated, this is Latin for “There goes the planet…”) It was inspired by a question that popped into my head while I was watching the news on TV one day: Why does it take us humans so long to grow up and understand what’s really important? Just as we’re getting a handle on how things are supposed to work, we die. It doesn’t seem right.
Because I’m a writer, my imagination supplied an answer: What if it’s because…? And because I love working cryptic crosswords, it seemed only natural to develop this story as a mystery that unfolds over several books, with each one containing a puzzle, the solution to which provides a clue to solving the greater mystery about our ancient past. The Genius Asylum is 1 Across:
It’s the turn of the 25th century. Everyone on Earth has been classified as either Eligible (to go off-world) or Ineligible. Only the best and brightest get to go into space, so the Eligibles are an elite class. But it’s a trade-off. They’re at the beck and call of the Relocation Authority, and when an off-world posting comes available, they’re expected to drop everything and go, even if that means leaving dependent children and spouses behind. Eligibles who rebel are packed off to Daisy Hub, an orbiting gulag for dissidents and boatrockers at the edge of Earth space.
When Drew Townsend is sent there undercover by the Earth Intelligence Service, that’s when the fun begins. Townsend soon finds himself managing a crew of wild cards, making friends with the most feared warriors in the galaxy, and feeling more at home in the controlled insanity of Daisy Hub than he ever did back on Earth. Then he discovers the truth about his mission and it’s time to decide where his loyalties lie. In the coming interstellar conflict, which side will Daisy Hub be on?
Connect with the Author on their Websites and Social media profiles