An Interview with Mark

Interview with Mark Becker, Author of the Max Masterson series.

Would you rather publish a series of mainstream novels or one book that is considered a classic?
There are no classics in the world today.  They become classics long after the author is dead, and since I’m a living, breathing author who has created a genre in an area that other authors fear to tread, I’ll go with the Max Masterson series.

Why do you say that the Max Masterson series, “At Risk of Winning” and “No Corner to Hide”, are a new genre?
I write fiction that emerged from the very large and real world outside of politics.  My reading audience is composed of anyone who is frustrated with politics as usual.  That includes nearly everyone these days.  America craves a hero who thinks like they do.  Have you read a political thriller that had a main character who is not a politician and never makes speeches, yet he’s running for President of the United States?

Well, no, but how would you describe this new genre?
People have suggested that I call it a non-political thriller, because I present the reader with the world outside of politics.  The world of politics is a very bizarre place for normal folks to be. They look at it with a sense of puzzlement and distrust, and they should.  I try to explain the alien world of politics by placing one of their own right in the middle of it.  But the more I write, the more I realize that my writing appeals to anyone who is outside of politics, who wants their hero to be one of them, thinks like they do, and who solves the problems that are important in their lives.  That makes my readers a part of a very large group, who think alike.  Max Masterson is not a politician, and he has very little patience for politics.  He’s a problem solver.

I’m thinking about it, and “Outside of Political” Thriller comes to mind.  I’m sure there are better words to describe it, but tell us about your next book, No Corner to Hide.
In my first book, “At Risk of Winning”, I tell the story of a toddler who is rescued from a flaming car wreck by a retired Senator, who raises him to be president of the United States.  He follows a set of rules, called the Maxims, that guide his campaign, and change politics as we know it.  In “No Corner to Hide”, Max Masterson is challenged in his presidency by those who don’t want America to change for the better, and who resist his ideas in cruel and heartless ways.  You can look at it as the classic battle between good and evil, but it’s deeper than that.

Tell us about Max Masterson.
Max is your normal, drop-dead handsome super-hero who is adored by women and men alike, who just happens to be running for president.  He is not a member of any political party, and he can’t be influenced by special interests.  The political establishment disdains him, and he is at war with those who represent the status quo.  His sole public interest is in doing what is undeniably right for America.

How did you come upon the concept of…how do you describe him, a super-hero president?  Does he have special powers?
No, Max Masterson is a normal guy who thinks like we do.  In fact, he was trained to be the ultimate American patriot, and he believes strongly that the president of the United States should be above politics.

Above politics?
The president is elected to be the voice of all of the people, not just those who vote for him, and not just Democrats or Republicans, conservatives or liberals, or any of the badges people choose to hide behind.  Any political position is a temp job at best, that requires an outlay of other peoples’ money much larger than the job pays. At the highest level of government, there are some who love you, and some who want you dead.  That’s why my writing is a part of the thriller genre.  At any given moment, the main character can be assassinated, discredited, impeached, or neutralized in a way that represents defeat.  In the end, if Max Masterson can transcend politics and do what is best for all Americans, he is a hero.

How do you know so much about politics, and Washington, and all of the details that the reader can see in your writing?
My typical day begins at 5:00 AM.  I sit down to write, and when I run out of ideas to write about that day, I research questions and issues that I anticipate the reader will appreciate.  As an attorney, I have developed the ability to research anything in depth, and that’s what I love to do.  It is a part of me that has led me to many adventures in my lifetime, and my curiosity about life and the never-ending quest for knowledge can be passed on to my readers vicariously.  It makes me smile when someone says, “Wow, I didn’t know that,” or, “Is that really true?”  Sometimes, I have to confess that I made it up.  After all, it is fiction.  Did you know that there is an old tunnel under the White House?  Neither did I, until I began writing No Corner to Hide.  It’s your job to separate fiction from reality, but in the end, it’s only your perception of reality that matters.  Imagination is a powerful thing.  It’s my job as a writer to stimulate that imagination.