I was born in Liverpool, England in the Oxford Street Maternity Hospital, the same hospital as John Lennon--an important detail to a huge Beatle fan like me! My family moved to the U.S.A. when I was one. We lived in Massachusetts and California, but most of my childhood was spent in Barrington, Rhode Island.
I've been making up stories for about as long as I could hold a pencil. Even before then I loved to tell them. Today I spend hours sitting in coffee shops typing into a keyboard.
I was a very late bloomer so starting in fifth grade I was always the shortest kid in my class. I spent gym periods terrified that someone might pass me the ball and I'd end up getting trampled, which actually happened on more than one occasion! Fortunately, in the summer before my senior year of high school, I grew. I'm pleased to report that I now stand five foot eleven inches tall. Today, I occasionally run into people I knew in high school but haven't seen since then. Invariably they say something like, "Oh my God, Mark! Why aren't you short?!"
As a teenager I worked in many different jobs including gas station attendant, fast food zombie, beach sticker enforcer, dishwasher (I was fired after only two days), clam factory worker (this was the smelliest of jobs--my sisters avoided me all summer), and movie theater usher, among others.
I now live in Massachusetts with my lovely wife, Karen, and our three kids: Evan (12), Lucía (11), and Zoe (8).
And now Mark Peter Hughes must face the 7 Questions:
Question Seven: What are your top three favorite books?
Jeez, there are too many to list. I love The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, East of Eden by John Steinbeck, The Cover Artist by Paul Micou, Call of the Wild by Jack London -- and there are so many more!
Question Six: How much time do you spend each week writing? Reading?
On a good writing week I'll spend well over 50 hours just writing. It would be much harder for me to gauge my reading time because I fit it in here and there and not in organized blocks like my writing.
Question Five: What was the path that led you to publication?
I wrote all my life but got degrees in engineering and health administration. I had a regular cubical-type job for years, but still I wrote. Then I entered a manuscript into the Delacorte Press Young Adult Novel Competition, and that's how my first novel ended up getting published.
Question Four: Do you believe writers are born, taught or both? Which was true for you?
I believe a writer is anyone who writes. Some of us love it, some of us don't. Out of all those who do, a very few of us do it a lot. Out of all those who do it a lot, a very few of us revise, bring stuff to completion, and send it out for consideration. The more a writer revises, shares his or her work, revises some more, and completes his or her work, the better the writer will get and the more likely they will be published.
Question Three: What is your favorite thing about writing? What is your least favorite thing?
Revision is my favorite thing. However well or badly I've written, revision always makes it better. My least favorite thing is fighting the distractions from phones, the Internet, and other interruptions.
Question Two: What one bit of wisdom would you impart to an aspiring writer? (feel free to include as many other bits of wisdom as you like)
Wisdom? Hmmm. It's a cliche but the more writing you do, the better you'll get. Write what you love. Revise. Share your work with other writers and accept criticism thoughtfully. Give thoughtful criticism to others. Read a lot. Revise some more. Send your work out. Don't worry too much about the publication part because if you don't love writing for its own sake, it's not worth it.
Question One: If you could have lunch with any writer, living or dead, who would it be? Why?
Fun question! Hmmm. Probably a cookbook writer, as long as they're doing the cooking. How about having lunch with tomorrow's lottery ticket winner today--as I watch them write down their lottery guesses. I'd love to have lunch with George Martin, the producer of the Beatles--he's written stuff, so I s'pose he's a writer, right? How about the Queen of England--I bet she lays out quite a spread. She must have written out an invitation or two.