Today, I m excited to introduce you all to “Mark Ravine“, author of the book “The Tech“. Have you read his debut crime thriller? It is intense, engaging & lengthy book. its time to know more about his thoughts on technology usage, books and some of his likes and dislikes.
Welcome to my “Meet the Author” series Mark. Thanks for being here on my blog.
Hey Mark, we are little clueless here. I couldn’t find author bio anywhere. So, can you please tell us more about yourself to our readers. Where are from? Some likes and dislikes
Hi, I’m Mark Ravine. When someone asks me where I’m from or who I am, I almost always flummoxed for answer. It’s not because I don’t know who I am, but the fact that the answer is so complicated, it’s next to impossible to give a simple answer without being unwittingly disingenuous or a complex one that does not somehow obfuscate the truth.
So, how do I go about it, now that I’m asked the question again?
Let me start by telling you about my experiences – my environment and my reactions to my environment that made me who I am. I have lived in so many countries across Europe, North America and APAC. I’ve travelled to more than 25 states in the US and more than 25 countries worldwide – the only continent that I have not visited is Africa (odd omission, I know). I have had many jobs. I’ve performed in and directed theatre – Sophocles and Moliere. While studying my engineering (aeronautics). I’ve taught high school students a variety of subjects including Math, French, Physics and Chemistry. I’ve run my own company – IT training and multi-media development – educational video games. I’ve worked in IT in a variety of roles, from analyst-programmer, sales, consultancy, delivery management, capability development and solution architecture. I’ve even taught IT skills and languages in a University. I have vision only in one eye and have had more eye surgeries than anyone I’ve met in all my travels. I studied in a Salesian convent as a school student, conversant in several languages besides English.
I’m a family man – met, fell in love and married my soul mate and life partner a quarter of a century ago. Two strapping lads, both holding bachelor’s degrees – one in engineering and the other in business – are my pride and joy. And now, to how I perceive myself. I consider myself to be a bit of a maverick, blunt but tolerant, seeing the world in a balanced manner, have a passion for reading, admittedly a bit lazy, quite often an armchair philosopher, love giving advice, have trouble taking it but usually open minded when it comes to criticism. My worst detractors accuse me of being bitingly sarcastic though occasionally witty while doing so. I love technology (as in gadgets and latest software), films, procedurals, crime-thrillers, revenge action, and the occasional romcoms, classics including cult, current affairs, and politics. I dislike soap operas – but like series with a bit of bite to them – like Suits or The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, horror flicks – like The Shining, psychological thrillers and noirs – some I can take, but not all – I prefer happy endings.
I’m a conspiracy theorist, but only as a hobby – don’t really believe in all or any of them – just like talking about them and skeptical of all news coverage – tend to have the same point of view, which is a bit suspicious.
I’d like to summaries it thus: I’m a color-blind International Citizen who’s intolerant of intolerance and associated atrocities …
When did you start your writing “The Tech” and how long it took you to finish that book? What and who inspired you to write book?
I first developed the characters, then the plot, weaving together crimes that plague the nation but are tied together by criminal forces. The crimes themselves are not unique – the motives are. Each crime is explored alongside the best way to thwart them, using technology, naturally. The criminal forces are not unaware of the danger, creating dangerous situations, twists and unexpected confrontations.
Are planning for the next book, if so, do we get to see Alexandra and her team again?
Yes, I am planning for the next book – it seems ever since I completed the first one. I’ve began the semblance of a plot outline, but I’m still at least a year away before it’s written and ready for publication. Hopefully sooner.
Generally, in most crime thrillers authors will create an iconic hero & his team will be in the field and heroine is more of a brain behind it. In this book its totally opposite, female protagonist leads in field work and male protagonist doing the background work, what triggered you on this?
I’ve always been fascinated by a strong female lead and to some extent inspired by characters both fictional and real through a long history of crime thrillers from Nancy Drew, Mrs. Marple, and the plethora of television protagonists from Remington Steele to the more recent Chloe Decker from Lucifer. However, in most of those stories, where a strong male lead is also present, the character takes center stage, which I’ve always felt left wide an opportunity to be different. However, truth be told, the silent tech behind the scenes is a fantasy of mine and has been since the first glimmerings of a plot appeared in my mind.
Which part of researching for this story was more personally interesting to you? Was there anything you wanted to include and it didn’t make it to the story?
Oh, several elements that I wanted to include – more in-depth analysis and character development that I had to sacrifice for two reasons – a) it would have detracted from the plot and storytelling, and b) it would remove some of the mystery and opportunities for a sequel. The research I loved the most was exploring places covered. I’ve visited some of the locales, but not all of them. I won’t mention which ones that I haven’t from the locations mentioned in the book – I’ll leave that to the reader’s imagination!
Novel raises the question – sometimes technology usage and living digital footprint is scarier—What are your thoughts? Will it save or destroy us? (Is that why we couldn’t see much of your digital footprint😊 – not for a normal person though)
Any kind of technology in the wrong hands – or even the right ones for the wrong reasons – can be misused and abused. We see that every day, from nuclear threats, drones killing innocent civilians, rigged elections, cyber-stalking, revenge videos, financial crimes, and the like. I’m as scared as the other person where it comes to living a digital footprint, although not paranoid. Having said that, it’s more a case of waiting for the right moment to come out in the open rather than fear itself. Everyone who has a digital footprint is exposed to grave danger, but then again, so is anyone who drives a car or takes a flight but it doesn’t stop us, does it? It’s the human condition. We are our own worst enemies or to quote ‘The enemy is us.’
How along did you spend doing research? what was the most surprising thing you learnt while creating this book?
About 50% of my writing day goes into research on an average. The most surprising thing I learned is that (I’m in IT so this is truly ironic) many of the so-called (I speak of reviewers now) science fiction mentioned in the book is not fiction at all. In fact, none of the technology mentioned in the book is fictional. They are all very real and exist today, although a few like the spiders are not consumer-grade nor mainstream. Okay, the implementation and speed may be innovative and exaggerated, but that’s all.
What does literary success look like to you?
Becoming a household name for sure. Literally. However, I’d settle for being on the Bestseller’s list, millions of copies sold, translated into languages, but most of all, into other media – either TV or Films.
Do you see books as a carrier of important message or medium of entertainment?
In general, absolutely the first, though also the other. Simply put, both, no matter what the genre. One of my favorite authors during my teenage was Ayn Rand. Her works truly moved, instructed and inspired me. Values are not just learned from parents, with whom children arguable spend the least amount of time. True values are absorbed from the environment but mostly what you see, hear and read. Literary media is powerful because words combine almost inexplicably with imagination weaving a perspective unique to the reader.
The dangers of technology, digital footprint and misuse of technology is a key message if you read between the lines as many reviewers have noted. The protagonist is in some ways anti-heroic and breaks laws. For the greater good, of course.
Is writing merely your hobby or professional pursuit?
It’s not my primary source of income at present. I do have a job in IT which I enjoy immensely, but will leave in a heartbeat to spend more time writing when I can afford to do so.
Random Rapid-Fire Questions
What are you reading right now? Are there any authors (living or dead) that you would name as influences?
At present, not really reading anything fictional – I read a plethora of non-fiction. Between work, writing and research, I don’t really have much time. However, the last book I read (in this genre) was The Fix by David Baldacci, one of my more recent favorites and possibly influences. Others include Tom Clancy, Jeffrey Archer, Dan Brown, Robert Ludlum and John Grisham. From earlier times, Erle Stanley Gardner, Agatha Christie, James Hadley Chase, Ayn Rand, Joseph Heller and Leslie Charteris.
Give us three “Good to Know” facts about you. Be creative. Tell us about your first job, the inspiration for certain scene in your book, any fun details that would enliven your page.
My first job. Hmm. I tutored high school students. Inspiration a double hmm. The protagonist is a version of me (he’s more handsome, younger, fitter and better looking but else is me. The main protagonist – Alexandra Cassidy is my ideal – and by many women that I have known (one loved!).
What books defined your childhood or got you into reading?
As a child, and I began really early, I was drawn to mystery crime – my very first piece of true fiction other than mandatory school essays was Erle Stanley Gardner’s Calendar Girl. I was seven years old. However, since then, till my late teens, I’ve read thousands of books across several genres of fiction – horror, crime-thriller – FBI, global conspiracies, murder mysteries, romance, classics – Sophocles, the Romantics, and natural history. My favorite amongst writers: Ayn Rand is up there, but on the list are also Sophocles, Alexandre Dumas, Erle Stanley Gardner, Agatha Christie, Edgar Wallace, Leslie Charteris, Robert Ludlum, John Grisham, Michael Crichton, Jeffrey Archer, Tom Clancy, and more recently Dan Brown and David Baldacci. My favorite genre is conspiracy thrillers – both international (like Clancy, Ludlum’s and Brown’s) as well as in non-fiction – mostly autobiographies and management. Once I started working, I stared to include non-fiction (technology, management and autobiographies), my favorite being Iacocca: An Autobiography.
I aspire to become
The first writer-producer of a runaway successful web series based on technology and crime – a procedural.
Writing book for me is
The journey is what’s most important. Success is but the icing on the cake.
Your schooling experiences
Fantastic. I went to a Salesian convent run by priests – a boys only school with strict masters. Classical education of sorts – studied Sophocles, for example, in addition to other playwriters. Took part in drama – also Sophocles, but also Moliere amongst many others such as Anton Tchekov. Grew up reading the classics – Bronte, RL Stevenson, Dumas, Austen, etc. Social service activities – Interact club, Sports – was the captain of the school cricket team and head boy of the school. Studied aeronautical engineering and computer science later.
Lastly, what else do you want your readers to know? Your interests and hobbies, your favorite ways to unwind — whatever comes to mind.
I love movies and television – most often way of unwinding with a blended malt. I pride myself of having the ability to watch a few seconds of a movie and naming it. Not as good at it as I used to be, but still thereabouts. Love TV procedurals, sitcoms, law dramas, science fiction – both comic and serious, action adventure. I draw the line at soap operas. Can’t stand them.
Link for “The Tech” – https://www.amazon.com/Tech-Mark-Ravine-ebook/dp/B084HMTBBF
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