About Mark Roman & Corben Duke:
Mark Roman has been a research scientist for longer than he can remember, not that he remembers much these days. Memories of his heyday are a little vague – if indeed he ever had one. Nowadays, he just keeps dropping things: files, staplers, cups of tea, test tubes of biohazards. His colleagues keep showing him the door, but he’s not sure why they do this as it looks the same as it’s always done. He expects it’ll be time to retire soon, possibly when they disable his entry card.
Co-author Corben Duke has already experienced the retirement process and now lives a life of almost total inactivity. He used to be an architect – one of the best, he’ll tell you – although, when asked, he can’t remember a single building he designed. It doesn’t matter; most will have collapsed by now.
Together, they’ve been writing humorous science fiction stories for longer than either can remember. It’s a form of therapy. They claim it has done wonders for them, although less so for their intrepid readers.
What inspires you to write?
The inspiration behind our first book, The Worst Man on Mars, was the failed Beagle 2 mission to Mars. If there’s one thing we Brits are good at, it’s failure. So, a British crewed mission to Mars would be doomed from the off. We set out to describe such a mission. And probably failed.
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
Brian Pimple, Sheila Coalscuttle, Imogen Spittle – they’re some of our favourites. Never heard of them? That’s because they’re failures and no publisher would dream of inflicting their work on the public. But that’s the point. You see, even though their books are utter tosh they never give up, they just keep on writing. And writing. We love that about them. Whenever we need motivation, we pick a Pimple off the shelf, or one of Coalscuttle’s romantic zombie thrillers, and it reminds us that even though things might seem bad, they could be a whole lot worse.
Tell us about your writing process.
We live 100 miles apart and have never met in person, which means fighting over the keyboard has never been an issue. We collaborate electronically. One of us will have an idea and e-mail it to the other, who will promptly reject it. If he then comes up with a counter-idea, he will fire it back, and it will, in turn, also get trashed. And so it goes on, until some fragments actually survive this brutal process and go on to make up a part of the final story.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
No, because we’d get strange looks on the bus.
What advice would you give other writers?
First, we’d advise them to buy Duke & Roman’s “How to write a book about writing a book and make a million bucks”, available from the authors for just $143. If they didn’t fall for that one, we’d try to enrol them in our course “So you want to be a successful Author?” – 6 online lessons for 120 bucks. And if that didn’t work, we’d advise them against falling for any of the myriad get-rich-quick scammers out there trying to part budding authors from their cash.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Having fended off the major publishers with their offers of millions, we settled for small independent publishers Grand Mal Press and Grinning Bandit Books. Both allowed us total control over our books and, more importantly, total control over the few pence in royalties we get every month. You can’t ask for more – well, other than the millions that successful authors get.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
It is totally doomed – unless publishers invest their millions in our books.
What genres do you write?: Humorous Science Fiction
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.