The MDJ recently spoke with career journalist and editor Mark Wallace Maguire about his new novel, “Alexandria Rising,” Book One of The Alexandria Rising Chronicles.
Tell our readers a little about your book.
The novel follows the adventure of Rand O’Neal, an ambition-less newspaper reporter who is given a single request upon the death of his grandfather: Destroy a mysterious map. What should be a simple errand thrusts Rand into a journey across three countries chased by unknown pursuers and leads him into a world he never could have believed existed. The novel has been classified as science fiction, action-adventure and suspense and has strong elements of those genres in it.
What inspired this book?
That’s an interesting question. There wasn’t one or two things in particular, rather, it was a combination of circumstances and ideas. I’d written two books prior — one non-fiction and one semi-autobiographical — but with “Alexandria Rising” I wanted to have fun writing it and the reader to have fun reading it. I was weary of writing in reality, you might say. That said, the inspiration, on one hand, was an outlet — a catharsis — for me to discover and create a world and characters outside of my existence. As far as other inspirations, I was intrigued by the idea of how little we really know of history, our world and our collective works as a species. I was also inspired by numerous authors’ works including Robert Ludlum, Dan Brown, Susanna L. Clarke, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof (who wrote “Lost”), Clive Cussler and J.R.R. Tolkien.
How long did it take you to write it? Describe that process.
I worked on the book off and on for over three years before it was published in October 2016. During that period, I also had a non-fiction book, “Letters from Red Clay Country” published, which features the best of my magazine and newspaper columns. That project was great, but getting that off the ground took out a significant chunk of time from writing “Alexandria Rising.” Then two weeks after that book was published, I was in a bicycle accident which left me unable to type for about three months. Those interruptions were frustrating at times, but also were a benefit as it gave me time to reflect on the book, see the ability for improvements, changes and such. As far as the process itself, the biggest challenge then and now is simply finding time to write. I like to say, ‘I write in the margins of life.’ With a full time job, a family and some side jobs, I write any time I can — lunch, late at night and dictating in the car.
What is your career background?
I’ve been working as a writer for over 20 years, with 19 years of that career with the Marietta Daily Journal, Cobb Life and Neighbor Newspapers. I’ve been the director of Cobb Life magazine since its inception 13 years ago and also serve as director of Cobb Business Journal. Outside of journalism, my writing has been published in numerous literary reviews, anthologies, magazines, websites and religious publications. I’ve been fortunate to have some great editors, teachers and encouragers along the way to help me refine my craft.
How can people purchase your book?
It is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and on other websites. Locally, it is available at Lithia Springs Pharmacy, and I am in the process of adding more locations in metro Atlanta so residents can check my website at www.alexandriarising.com or follow my author page on Facebook to get updated details.