Meet The Author — Mario Acevedo and His Journey of Perseverance in Crafting Narratives

Chasing your dreams or following your passions is always a challenging pursuit. It requires unwavering perseverance, strong determination, and a good deal of patience to sustain yourself along your journey. These are the lessons we can draw from Mario Acevedo’s life as an author.

It wasn’t until he received a less-than-stellar D grade in his college English course and decided to enroll in another English class to improve his grade that he stumbled upon his writing talent. This unconventional start may not be the typical beginning for a writer, but it served as a pivotal moment of inspiration that ignited his lifelong writing career. From that point onward, Mario delved into the creation of various mystical and enchanting narratives, establishing himself as a sci-fi fantasy author.

In this interview, let’s learn more about the inspiring journey of Mario and how he persevered through the ups and downs of his career.

MEET THE AUTHOR

1. Can you share an overview of your personal background?

 

First, thank for you for this opportunity to share a bit about myself and my writing. I grew up in southern New Mexico so I know a lot about the desert, dirt, and heat. After graduating college, I was commissioned as an officer in the US Army, where I served in the infantry (meaning I know a lot about marching great distances with heavy things on my back and sleeping in the mud) and aviation (meaning I flew great distances to fire lots of rockets at an enemy). After the army, I taught art in a state prison, worked in environmental engineering and computer tech, was a family man, and did a fair of amount of scribbling.

2. When did you start writing?

From childhood, although I loved to read, I didn’t like English classes and especially writing. In college, I got a D in English and wasn’t allowed to graduate until I took another English class. Since I was an engineering student, I opted for technical report writing. The first day of class, the instructor brought a handful of pamphlets for us to critique and to demonstrate that just because something is in print, that doesn’t mean it’s written well. He said the point of writing wasn’t about sounding cultured and scholarly, but to communicate ideas as succinctly and clearly as possible. Hearing that, it was a like a light bulb went off in my head! And I’ve been writing ever since.

3. What inspired you to write and why did you choose your genre?

I’d written five trunk novels and I was sure number six would get me published. But no, that work didn’t even rate rejection letters. Dismayed by that response, I decided to write the most ridiculous story I could think of—a detective vampire investigates an outbreak of nymphomania at a nuclear weapons plant. I pitched that exact idea to an agent and a publishing deal with HarperCollins soon followed. 

WRITING JOURNEY

1. Writing Sci-Fi/Mystery/Horror takes a lot of creativity. Can you share your experience and feelings when you write these genres?

The challenge in any genre is writing a compelling story that resonates with an audience. I once attended a reading by Robin Black, known for women’s literary fiction, and her story about a mother getting bad news from a doctor was a masterpiece of horror writing. Every genre has its expectations and as the writer you have to sink emotional hooks into the reader. All of my stories are structured as mysteries even if writing sci-fi, fantasy, or horror.

2. Writing such genres can be rewarding but also tiring. What are your struggles in writing these genres and how did you overcome them?

I guess I’m lucky in that I don’t consider writing genre as tiring. The struggle is keeping the ideas and prose fresh. My challenge as a writer is what plagues every writer, getting your ass in the chair, hands on the keyboard, and not waste time. Then trusting yourself that you’ll follow through and create something worth reading.

Mario’s debut novel, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats, and the award-winning anthology, Denver Noir, which he took part in.

3. Aside from novels, you also ventured into short stories. How much adjustment do you make to cater to different formats? 

The big adjustment to writing short stories is figuring out how much to trim the narrative of descriptions and subplots. My tendency is to elaborate too much before deciding what is actually needed to tell the story and still deliver a strong ending.

4. What made you try a different type of writing style?

My writing has evolved because I try to keep my narrative spare (compared to before) and include more internalizations and emotional responses.

INFLUENCE AND HABITS

1. Where do you get inspiration when writing your nerve-wracking and thrilling characters and settings?

The inspiration is in the original story idea. Fleshing out characters with nuanced personalities and agendas makes them more interesting. Also, understanding that what makes a scene thrilling is knowing how to project the stakes and anxieties of the character on stage. 

2. Do you also get inspiration or influence from other works or authors? If so, can you share with us about it?

As I read a lot, I’m constantly inspired by other writers whose books grab me. Many writers avoid reading in their genre when working on a story but not me. Sometimes, when I get bogged down, I’ll read a book with a premise similar to mine and discover that the author used a phrase or a plot point to address a particular problem. That will make me think differently about my dilemma and what was stuck becomes unstuck. The caution is to never plagiarize. And never copy, except from poets because they’re grateful someone is paying attention.

CHALLENGES AND TRIUMPHS

1. Can you recall the proudest moment that you had in your writing career?

I guess that would be my first signing for my debut novel, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats. About 300 people showed up! Sadly, that was my best-attended reading since then.

2. Did you have any obstacles in your writing career? Could you share at least one, and how did you overcome them?

After I got dropped by HarperCollins, I got really bitter. I felt I had tried my best and yet wasn’t getting ahead like I thought I deserved. Not that I blame HarperCollins, they treated me well and I learned a lot from my editor and the staff. There’s a saying about New York publishing—they throw work against the wall and see what sticks. Mine didn’t. So  I didn’t write for a couple of years until I started getting fan mail asking me for more Felix Gomez. Who then did I hurt by not writing? Only me. The lesson is that it rains on everyone and you owe it to yourself to keep going no matter how wet you get.

FUTURE PROJECTS/EVENTS

1. I heard you are participating in a new sci-fi & fantasy anthology entitled UNIOVERSE STORIES OF THE RECONVERGENCE. Can you share more about it?

Josh Viola, the owner of Hex Publishing and a big gamer nerd, had partnered with Random Games for a video game project called the Unioverse. Josh and others at Random wanted an anthology that would deepen the characters and provide backstory to the world in ways to complement the video game. Since Josh and I had worked together on other anthologies and novels, he asked me to contribute a story.

CLOSING

1. What is your biggest lesson from your thrilling and adventurous writing journey?

I’m not sure my writing journey has been thrilling or adventurous. But it hasn’t been boring and remains ever challenging. I think most of my writing lessons are big lessons in their own way. I suppose my first big lesson as it addressed why I took so long to write my first book was to answer the question: Who am I to write a book? The answer, you don’t need anyone’s permission. That you are here and alive means that your take on the world is as valid as anyone else’s. 

2. Do you have any advice that you can share with fellow and aspiring writers?

Have faith in yourself. The path forward is always shifting. And keep learning and challenging yourself as a writer. Be gracious to all.

3. Lastly, what is your message to your supporters or followers?

If you’re interested in UNIOVERSE STORIES OF THE RECONVERGENCE, check out this link.

And I’ve got other works in the pipeline so check out my website. Have a wonderful life and keep writing!

CONCLUSION

In summary, Mario Acevedo’s journey as an author exemplifies the power of perseverance and self-belief. Despite unconventional beginnings and challenges, he found his writing talent and became a successful writer across various genres. Mario’s advice to writers is to have faith in themselves, keep learning, and stay gracious, reminding us that with determination, we can overcome obstacles and create meaningful stories.

We thank you, Mario, for imparting your time and sharing your wisdom and experience that will definitely stay with other aspiring writers and readers. We are looking forward to your future projects, and more power to your writing.

Discover more about Mario’s journey and his new project, Unioverse Stories of the Reconvergence, on his website.

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