Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?
I was born in California, but have lived in eastern Pennsylvania most of my life. I’ve had some short stories published in the past, and this is my first novel. Horror and the supernatural have always held a lot of interest for me. As far back as I can remember, I’ve been intrigued by movies and books about monsters and serial killers.
What is it about the paranormal, in particular possession, that fascinates you so much?
The thought of being controlled by someone, or something else, is pretty terrifying. We know it as a normal, real-life occurrence; when people get older, they lose control of their bodies, everyone is aware of that unfortunate reality. The fictional, horror story parallel of that is the possession tale, in which one suddenly loses complete control over their bodies, their actions.
What inspired you to write this book?
I suppose it was an interest in possessed vehicles, a subject that doesn’t get a lot of print or screen time. Stephen King nailed it with Christine, but there could certainly stand be more stories out there from this sub-sub-genre.
Please tell us about your latest release.
Evil Ambulance is about an eighteen-year-old kid named Eric who moves to a small town in Pennsylvania, to live with his uncle, Dan, while his parents finalize their divorce. Dan has recently purchased an old house which sits atop a three-mile hill overlooking the town of Riverwood; a house which is host to the decades-old presence of Victor Devlin, a homicidal ambulance driver responsible for a series of brutal murders years before. Eric soon finds himself alone, as the spirit of the ambulance driver begins to inhabit his uncle’s body, and each night Devlin’s ambulance appears in the driveway, eerily glowing, calling to Eric.
Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?
I don’t have any kind of unique method, I just use names that I like. I have a harder time coming up with last names than firsts. As a little kid, all my stories had a protagonist named Jack, because I thought Jack was the most bad-ass name there was. I got one character name in Evil Ambulance—Dodger, Eric’s girlfriend—from Lindy Booth’s character in the movie Cry Wolf. I didn’t particularly like that movie, but that name stuck out to me, and I wanted to use it for a story.
Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?
Victor Devlin, the evil ambulance driver. Some of his stuff got cut from the book, because, as usual with supernatural villains in horror stories, often the less you see of them, the more mysterious and spooky they become. But it’s always fun to write about the bad guys.
Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?
I typically come up with the main character and basic story first, and the secondary characters and story outline come later. In the case of Evil Ambulance, the idea hit me unexpectedly while driving on the highway one night. In that case, the ambulance itself came first, and then my main character, and from there, the full story.
Do you write in different genres?
The majority of the short stories and novels I’ve started or completed are in the horror genre. I have a big interest in the supernatural, and like writing about it, but the main reason for that is just that I feel I’m better at this genre than others. Maybe that’s because I haven’t tried them enough, I don’t know. Right now I’m working on a book that I started while between drafts of Evil Ambulance, that’s, at least for the moment, called The King of Wolves. I’ve got about ninety percent of the first draft completed, and am looking forward to revising that one. It’s a story 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 a little violent.
What was the last amazing book you read?
The Given Day, by Dennis Lehane. His writing is phenomenal. I never read much in the crime or detective genres until I was turned onto his books. Everything he’s written so far is fantastic, with wonderful dialogue and sudden, brutal scenes of violence, I can never set the books down. The Given Day may be his best yet.
Where can readers find you on the web?
Markrrinker.blogspot.com, facebook.com/markrrinkerpa, nobleyoungadult.com, twitter @MarkRRinker
Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?
Sure, here’s a bit from the end of Chapter One:
When he touched the pool, the light pulsed, and it sent a shock into his fingertip and down his hand, and he jumped back—but even as he did so, moving away from it, sure now that he’d stumbled across something bad, something he didn’t want to be near, the feeling overtook him, and he enjoyed it. He reached toward it again with his index finger shaking; the green mass jumped at him and wrapped around his fingertip. Far from scared now, Dan wanted it to affect him more strongly and as it did, wanted it even more. Before he knew it, the mass had taken over his entire body, enveloping him feet to head. He wanted to scream in pain and cry out in pleasure at the same time, but no sound came from his mouth. Instead, when his jaws opened, the green, glowing liquid receded from every other part of his body and gathered together at his neck, sliding up into his mouth and down his throat.
Dan Lowery lost consciousness, and when he awoke hours later, on the basement floor, he had no idea of how or why he was lying there.
Visit the other stops along Mark's tour
Jan 30 Guest Blog
Mama Knows Books
Feb 1 review and interview
Picked by Poison
Feb 3 Interview and review
Feb 3 Guest blog
Mad Moose Mama
Feb 4 Interview
Feb 4 Review
Feb 5 Guest blog
By Mark Rinker
Genre: Paranormal YA
Eighteen-year-old Eric Donnelly moved to a small town in Pennsylvania, to live with his uncle, Dan, while his parents finalize their divorce.
Dan has recently purchased an old house which sits atop a three-mile hill overlooking the town of Riverwood; a house which is host to the decades-old presence of Victor Devlin, a homicidal ambulance driver responsible for a series of brutal murders years before.
Eric soon finds himself alone, as the spirit of the ambulance driver begins to inhabit his uncle’s body, and each night Devlin’s ambulance appears in the driveway, eerily glowing, calling to Eric.
Mark R. Rinker was born in California, but has spent most of his life in eastern Pennsylvania. His short story, “Dog Mask” was published earlier this year by Dark Gothic Resurrected magazine, and Evil Ambulance is his first novel.