Today’s guest at Reviews and Interviews is Mark R. Rinker. This is the last day of a quick virtual book tour he’s doing with Goddess Fish Promotions for his debut YA novel Evil Ambulance.
There’s a chance for a commentor to win a $20 Amazon gift card. Details are below.
Born in California, Mark R. Rinker has spent most of his life in eastern Pennsylvania. His short story, “Dog Mask,” was published last year by Dark Gothic Resurrected magazine, and Evil Ambulance is his first novel.
Welcome, Mark. Please tell us about your current release.
Evil Ambulance is the story of an eighteen-year-old kid named Eric who moves into his uncle’s house at the top of a four-mile hill. The hill overlooks Riverwood, a small Pennsylvania town. Over the course of four nights, they are visited by a mysterious ambulance from the past, connected to a brutal murder spree from decades before.
What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to write a fun, spooky horror novel, the kind of book I’d have loved to read as a teenager, and the kind I still enjoy reading as an adult. I read all kinds of books and will watch movies from any genre, but I have a fondness for horror, and have as long as I can remember. I read YA books when I was ten, twelve years older, maybe a little older, but at the same time I was reading R.L. Stine’s stuff, I was reading Stephen King and Clive Barker, among other adult writers. Over the past few years, I’ve gone back to some of the YA books I enjoyed as a kid, and read some newer series, and that inspired me to consider a novel I’d written, Evil Ambulance, as a YA book. I had a draft finished, but wasn’t happy with it, and once I started thinking of making into a YA novel, I felt more inspired, and the story came together very quickly. That original draft has very little in common with how the book turned out, and that’s for the better.
What exciting story are you working on next?
Between drafts of Evil Ambulance, I started work on a novel (non-YA) called The King of Wolves, about a guy who lost his wife and is losing his religious faith meeting a mentally disturbed young man, who takes up a friendship with him, much (he later finds) to the damage of his own mental health and well-being. It’s not a horror novel, but it is dark and somewhat violent.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve enjoyed writing since I was very young, but probably didn’t seriously consider as something I’d like to pursue until high school or college. At school I studied film and video production, and thought I wanted to be a screenwriter. But it’s very difficult to get a screenplay turned into a film, and it became somewhat unsatisfying writing all these scripts that didn’t become anything—because a screenplay isn’t a complete work on its own, it’s just the beginning. Whereas a novel, even if no one publishes it, even if it sits on a shelf, is a finished work. As much as I love film, I love reading at least as much, probably more, and after I realized I probably wasn’t going to pursue screenwriting, I began working on honing my skills as a writer, working on short stories and novels.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I work full-time at a travel company in Pennsylvania. It’s a good company and I like the work. I mostly write in the evenings, while listening to music.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know that it’s a quirk, but I’m often distracted by my chinchilla, whose two-story cage sits to the left of my computer. I never run story ideas by him, however; he steered me wrong on a couple of occasions.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Like most kids, I wanted to take on a variety of careers at various points in my childhood. For a while I was stuck on becoming a police officer, and before that, an archaeologist—and after that, a marine biologist. It took me a little while to realize the only reasons I wanted to be those things was that I’d seen those types of jobs portrayed in an exciting and fascinating light in various films (Stephen Spielberg was a big influence on my childhood; thus the archaeologist and marine biologist fascinations). After some time I began considering doing something creative instead of potentially dangerous.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Nothing, except to say thank you for reading the interview, and I hope you’ll check out Evil Ambulance!
Thanks, Mark. Readers, you can see more interviews and other fun stuff with Mark at his earlier tour stops. Remember, he’s giving away a $20 Amazon gift card to a lucky commentor. So leave a comment here and at his other blog stops to increase your chances of winning.