Featured Interview With Mark Cheverton
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I grew up in Southern California, fifteen minutes from Disneyland. I graduated college and started teaching high school physics. While teaching, I earned a Master’s Degree in physics. After getting married, we moved to the East Coast where I continued teaching high school physics. Now, I live in upstate New York and finally left public education, working as a physicist for General Electric. I have two cats, Olive, who insists on playing with my toes while I write, and Dory, who must lie on my desk directly in front of my keyboard. This usually requires me to pet her to make her go away . . . that strategy hasn’t worked out very well.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I’ve always been a reader; Saturdays were the best when I was a kid as my mom would take me to the library to return and get more books.
I started writing about fifteen years ago while working at General Electric. I’d go to work at 5 AM and write until about 9 AM, then start doing my physics thing. I’ve been writing nonstop since then. To date, I’ve had 26 books published with my first series, the Gameknight999 series, landing on the New York Times bestseller’s list for Middle-grade Series. My 24 Minecraft-inspired series of books have been published in 31 countries around the world, with over two million copies in print.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
I’m a sci-fi geek. My favorite author is Frank Herbert, but it’s a close race with Arthur C. Clark and Isaac Asimov. Sometimes, I shift over to YA fantasy or MG fantasy, but I usually gravitate back to science fiction. These three authors are always an inspiration. Each of them uses words in different ways, and each offers examples of different strategies in storytelling that I try to incorporate into my own writing.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
My latest book, Facing the Beast Within: the Anxiety of Cameron Poole, is a middle-grade fantasy novel. Cameron must come to terms with his anxiety as he tries to stop an invasion of mythical creatures from a parallel universe. I chose to focus on anxiety when my son told me, in detail, what it felt like when he struggled with his own anxiety, a battle we dealt with for many years. I decided to write a book and put the reader into the head of an anxious kid. While writing the book, I worked with a team of child psychologists, learning the anxiety coping strategies they teach their patients. I wove these strategies and my son’s anxiety symptoms throughout the story.
It’s my hope that Facing the Beast Within will make those struggling with anxiety feel not so alone. Maybe parents gain a better perspective into their kid’s internal battle, and hopefully, those without anxiety will gain a better understanding of what this terrible affliction is like, and maybe pick up some empathy for those who suffer.
So far, reviews are very positive. It’s won the MOM’S CHOICE GOLD AWARD and the 2023 INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARD for CHILDREN’S FICTION. I’m excited to see it help kids confront their own beasts.
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