In Conversation with Marcus Alexander Hart

In Conversation With: Marcus Alexander Hart

Your old pal Marcus Alexander Hart is an award-adjacent novelist, self-proclaimed karaoke star, and default awesome dude. He has been a roller-derby skater and a real-life quidditch player. He once won an overnight road rally in a fake ice-cream truck. Marcus lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and two imaginary children.

Today I have the pleasure of sitting down with author, Marcus Alexander Hart. Thanks for entertaining us with a visit. Is it really necessary to use your full name? Are there that many authors named Marcus Hart that would create confusion?

Not any authors that I know of, but a few public figures. My favorite one that pops up in my egocentric Google alerts is for a conservative British politician who is always going after the “antisocial yobs.”

Can I offer you anything to drink?

Zima, if you’ve got it.

Umm, I didn’t know they still made that, but seeing that I’m in charge here, I’m sure there’s one at the back of the fridge.
 [sounds of bottles clinking]
You describe yourself as an “award-adjacent author”, so in other words, close but no cigar?

Haha, yeah. In 2018, my book One Must Kill Another was named an Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. For a second, I was excited to call myself, “Award Winning Author Your Old Pal Marcus Alexander Hart,” but then I realized Honorable Mention isn’t actually an award. So I went with “award adjacent.” It has the same effect on readers as “award winning.” That is, absolutely none.

Kinda like those participation ribbons everyone got in elementary school.
Comedy is a subsection of most genres of books. Are there any authors who influenced your writing?

As a comedy sci-fi writer, of course Douglas Adams and Grant Naylor were big influences. But as a kid I also devoured Roald Dahl and Shel Silverstein. I loved how weird and grotesque they could be. And that their first names were clearly missing letters. More recently I’ve become a big fan of Barry Hutchison and his Space Team books. They’re a riot.

Never heard of Barry Hutchison, but I’ll have to look him up. But Grant Naylor, isn’t he the guy behind Red Dwarf?

Yep! Kinda. Grant Naylor is the pen name of Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, or as they call it, their “gestalt entity.” Two brains in one package!

 Interesting. I think it is one of the best examples of sci-fi comedy. What do you think is the key to good comedic writing?

Oh man, if only I knew! What’s funny and what’s not funny is so subjective. If you look at the one-star reviews on any given comedy book, most of them say something like, “I don’t understand why people say this book is so funny. I hated everything about it and you’re all wrong and dumb. I’ve lost faith in humanity.”

Because of this, every piece of advice I can think of comes with a solid contradiction. Like, I would say, “Keep the pacing tight and snappy. Long, drawn-out passages aren’t funny.” Then you read a book like Good Omens, and there are page-long digressions that murder the pacing but are hilarious.

I just write what I think is funny and then my wife cuts out 99% of the poop jokes.

That’s all you can do—write what you think is funny, and hope that others will join in. If they don’t, well that’s the time to put back the poop jokes.

Tell that to my wife!

Let’s pivot to TV and Movies, shall we? Name your favorite (or any) sci-fi comedy movies or series.

I’m currently watching People of Earth, which is a comedy about a support group for people who have been abducted by aliens. It’s a great series with an amazing ensemble cast. I’m enjoying it, but at the same time dreading getting to the end. Because I’m watching from the future, knowing it got canceled, and that the last episode is going to leave me hanging off a cliff forever. Still, I’m sticking with it for the characters.

Oh! Maybe that’s the key to good comedic writing. Characters you care about doing funny things. I’m gonna go with that. Can we delete that stupid thing about poop jokes?

Nope.
On your website, you call yourself “Your old pal Marcus . . . ” Isn’t that a bit presumptuous?

Are you saying I’m not everybody’s pal?  At least I’m still old. You can’t take that away from me.

Fair enough.
I always ask about musical tastes. What are yours?

I like anything someone else would call a “guilty pleasure.” I have no guilt. I proudly like the Spice Girls, Meat Loaf, Smash Mouth, Little Big, the Crazy Frog… basically you’re not going to like going on a road trip with me.

Good music is what you like, just like wine, no one can tell you otherwise, and thanks for the road trip heads up. Are you ready for the lightning round?

I’m sorry, did you have the Zima or not?

Too late. Star Wars or Star Trek?
Wait! I wasn’t ready…
Favorite city?
Star Trek: Voyager!
Weirdest food ever eaten?
Wisconsin Dells!
First vehicle owned?
NyQuil martini!
How many decimal places can you recite Pi?
88!
You know pi to 88 digits?!
No, my first car was an Olds 88. What’s pi?
Pi (π) is a mathematical constant, approximately equal to 3.14159. It is defined in Euclidean geometry as the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its—never mind. It looks like we are out of our allotted time. This has been a pleasure.

It actually got a little stressful at the end…

Thanks for being here. Any links you want to share? (freebies are always popular)

If you’ve made it this far and you still enjoy my nonsense, you should hit up OldPalMarcus.com and get three free eBooks full of more of it. And if you want to dive right into a feel-good space comedy adventure, check out Galaxy Cruise at GalaxyCruise.net.

Also, please enjoy this video of a deer channeling Phil Collins:

I hope you enjoyed the conversation. Check out my books as well!


Leon Stevens is a multi-genre author, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education. He published his first book of poetry, Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020, followed by a book of original classical guitar compositions, Journeys, and a short story collection of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales called The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. His newest publications are the novella, The View from Here, which is a continuation of one of his short stories, and a new collection of poetry titled, A Wonder of Words.

Oh, pick me! (only available here and on KOBO)

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C’mon, space stuff!

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