Meet This Author!

Q&A with Author Mack Little 

Q: When did you first begin writing stories?

I remember the first story I attempted to write was a book on the Atlanta child murders. I was twelve and those events were unfolding in real-time. But that as with all of my stories for the next thirty years I never found an ending. It wasn’t until I was forty that I found a method to get me to an ending. In high school, I circulated a comic strip with stick figures called the “Mad scientist”. It was pretty hilarious

Q: What was the name of your first book?

My first book of fiction is Progenie. It is about a young woman named Zenobia Grant. She is a doctor who is trying to discover the source of her dark preternatural powers. It is a saga about the origins and trajectory of demons, demon-human hybrids, and off-spring of demons and humans.

Q: How did you get into the historical fiction genre?

I have always been a fan of historical fiction beginning with the bodice ripping historical romance to a book deeply rooted in historical detail such as The Covenant by James Michener and the series on Rome by Colleen McCullough. Even today I prefer historical thrillers such as the Dream of Scipio and sagas such as Bernard Cromwell’s Last Kingdom series. So, I could not get away from my love of history even when I intended to write a horror novel. I could not help delving into the ancient history of the Middle East and Africa. As a matter of fact, I enjoyed exploring history so much and learning details that have been lost and edited out that I wanted to set an entire novel in a historical period.

Q: Who was your favorite author when you were younger?

It’s hard to choose just one. At eleven I devoured all Maya Angelou’s books. She inspired me with her life experiences and enthralled me with her lyrical narrative. In my twenties I absolutely loved John Irving. His character development humor and human observations were enthralling to me. In my thirties it was Colleen McCollough the details she used to bring ancient Rome to life transported me. In my forties, Cormac McCarthy was my favorite.

Q: How would you describe your writing style in three words?

Gritty, lyrical prose.

Q: How many books have you published so far?

I have published two books. Progenie, Scion of Darkness series and Daughter of Hades, Love and Peace series.

Q: What inspired you to write your latest release, Daughter of Hades

Daughter of Hades was the book I wanted to read and since I could find many authors with POC lead characters in a historical romance with pirates and such. I really wanted something like that when I was into historical novels. However, as my reading tastes evolved, I found I could not get into the shallow fare of the typical bodice ripping historical romance. I was even reluctant to read Diana Gabaldon’s series, but when I finally did…boy oh boy. It was a revelation. A sexy smart romance with an eye to historical accuracy I was all in. 

However, the POC characters—except for Claire, who I am convinced is bi-racial at least with nebulous parentage, untamable curly black hair, and large butt—were under-developed though I could see she did try to handle them sensitively. Still, slaves were slaves and not enslaved men and women who were individuals that had their own regency despite their captivity. She left out the free black citizens in Europe and the Americas some of whom had historical impact. The one Asian character was given some dimension, but I wanted to know more. I don’t mean any of this as a critique but as reader and person of color I want to shine a light on the aspects of history that is often overlooked.

Another source of inspiration was the television show was Black Sails.  I had a vague idea of who maroons were but this series really put a spotlight on their community and I was so inspire and excited to write about maroons and their relationships with buccaneers and pirates. And there was that bad-ass Asian pirate who never said anything. Who was he? Writing Daughter of Hades allowed me to explore that and in the process learned about the Asian presence in the Caribbean that had been left out of the history I learned in school and in college. I had taken many Latin American studies courses as an undergrad, studying politics, culture, and literature and I never learned about it.

Q: What future projects are you currently working on that you can share with us, readers?

I have a novella coming out in the fall. It is tentatively titled “By Chance, My Beloved”. It follows the journey of Badu Obosi from pre-colonial Africa to his enslavement in Barbados and his escape to freedom. It is a follow up to Daughter of Hades. I am currently writing the second novel in the Daughter of Hades series, where a mysterious pirate bent on revenge finds love instead.

Q: Do you outline your stories or do you just dive into writing them?

I do not outline my stories. I have an idea of where I want my story to go—the main plot points and which characters I want to follow but it is the characters who determine where the story goes. I usually end up somewhere completely different than I thought I would. However, since I do have several storylines going at once and subplots, my novel writing software creates the outline for me as I write so that I can get an overview of the story and fill in the holes.

Q: What is your go to beverage when working on a new book?

Wild Turkey Rare Breed bourbon pair with a robust cigar

Q: What is the writing and publishing process like for you?

I write religiously everyday once my day job is over at 430pm. I write longhand from 430pm to 730pm. I type up my notes (written pages) at lunch. On the weekend I pretty much spend all day both writing longhand and typing.  The publishing process is slow and filled with difficult decisions. Since I like to really delve into the character and write a rich story, I often end up with a book too long to publish. I am so jealous of Diana Gabaldon, Colleen McCullough, and James Michener who gets their 1000+ pages published. Also, I have 4 novels written that are queued to be published. But I have to wait a year to two years before I am able to put each one out.

Q: For aspiring writers in your genre, what advice would you give to them?

Just write. Accountability helps. I have a critique group for whom I have to produce 10 pages per week. Even if you don’t know what the story is or if you think you’re blocked, write. Sometimes you have to write around it or come at it at a different direction. A lot of times when I feel blocked or don’t know what happens next, I tell the story from a different POV.

Q: Tell us about your main characters in Daughter of Hades.

On the verge of her escape from slavery, Dinny suffers an attack. This sets in motion a series of catastrophes that follow her after she and her brother flee Barbados on the pirate ship, The Hades. As they are spirited away to freedom, Dinny finds more than just a new life on the high seas. She finds her destiny.

Lei is a hunted man after the fall of the Ming Dynasty in China. Without resource or community, he turns to a life of piracy, a life that leads him inexorably to Dinny. Now, the irresistible power of fate reveals her as the woman he’s been waiting for all his life. He will do anything it takes to keep her safe and win her heart.

Q: Where can readers find you and your books online?


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