Friday, February 1, 2019

S. Andrew Swann Interview - Marked

Photo Content from S. Andrew Swann

S. Andrew Swann is the pen name of Steven Swiniarski. He’s married and lives in the Greater Cleveland area where he has lived all of his adult life. He has a background in mechanical engineering and— besides writing— works as a Database Manager for one of the largest private child services agencies in the Cleveland area. He has published over 26 novels since 1993. He has just recently completed Marked for DAW books, published January 2019.


Can you tell us when you started MARKED, how that came about?
I started MARKED several years ago. I was finally attacking an idea that’s been in the back of my head from high school. The original idea was probably inspired by Roger Zelazny’s AMBER series. The central image of a ragged looking old man with odd markings, stopping the protagonist in their car, was part of the story from the beginning, as was the multiverse aspects of it. The story didn’t completely click until I came up with the character of Dana Rohan.

Are there any new Authors that have grasped your interest and why?
My TBR pile is literally decades deep, so there are periods of time when I’m not reading “new” authors. Currently I’m reading the CULTURE novels by Iain M Banks a little over thirty years late. I’ve also just finished the REVELATION SPACE novels by Alastair Reynolds, which are at least from the current century. So I guess I’m on a Space Opera kick lately. If anyone wants to recommend a new Space Opera author to me at the moment, I’m open.

What is needed for a story to be good?
A protagonist we really care about (love, hate, or just interested in) with a problem that the protagonist really cares about. A problem that is difficult enough that there’s legitimate doubt about whether the problem is actually going to be solved. Or, at the very least, there’s a serious question HOW the problem is going to be solved. There needs to be some suspense or anticipation to give the reader a reason to continue on to the next page. It also needs pacing that matches the story.

What do you hope for people to be thinking after they read your novel?
My hope is that people have enjoyed their time with Dana and they’re left thinking where things might go from where it ends. My main concern is that I’ve left the reader with an entertaining story.

What chapter was the most memorable to write and why?
The most memorable scene (it spreads over a few chapters) is the zombie fight on the airship. Without going into spoilers, I loved it because of Dana figuring out how to use her Mark in the fight about the time the reader should be figuring out what she’s doing.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Dana?
When I first thought of her, I didn’t realize how deeply the Mark would affect her personality. I gave her this awesome power, but it’s arguably been a liability to her, psychologically speaking. Because of it, she’s been isolated from the people around her all her life, including her adoptive parents. As an adult, she’s let no one get close to her, and the nearest thing she has to a friend is her partner in the CPD. While she’s had her share of horrible trauma as a child, it’s been the Mark itself that has had the most profound effect on who she is.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
At the moment I am working on a choose-your-own-adventure style text adventure game for Choice of Games. It is a Sword-and-Sorcery adventure called SWORD OF THE SLAYER. This is the second game I’ve done for them. The first one was called WELCOME TO MOREYTOWN and was based on my first three novels (which are currently collected in the MOREAU QUARTET Volumes one and two.)

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I’d probably introduce Dana to Corwin from the AMBER series. They could compare notes about murderous family members, and it would be seriously weird to see the interaction between their two universes.

What is the last movie that you saw at the cinema?
As you’re reading this my wife has probably dragged me off to see AQUAMAN.

If you could live in any period in history, where would it be and why?
Excluding the present day (which by all sorts of measures is probably the best period to live globally speaking) it’s a tough call. Most time periods have horrible baggage to go with them. However if I’m forced to choose I’d probably pick the U.S. between the World Wars. It was the one period of time that my type of storytelling was more marketable than it is today. I could probably have been happy as a writer for the pulps.

Was there an incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
I think reading the ILLUMNIATUS! TRILOGY at an impressionable age permanently warped my view of politics and reality.

This dark portal fantasy introduces Detective Dana Rohan, an officer who solves crimes using the Mark that allows her to travel to alternate pasts and futures.

Detective Dana Rohan has an excellent arrest and conviction rate. But even her partner doesn't know the real reason why.

All her life Dana has borne a Mark of unknown origin that she's kept secret. A Mark that allows her to walk into alternate pasts and futures. A Mark that allows her to go back and see any crime as it's being committed. But the life she's carefully built around this secret ability begins to crumble when she's assaulted by a ragged old man. He babbles an incoherent warning that "the Shadows are coming," right before he is killed by an armored monstrosity out of another century. The armored attacker vanishes, leaving the old man to die in Dana's arms, and she realizes that he bears the same Mark she does.

Soon Dana finds herself hunted by Shadows coming from out of Chaos. She must flee through a host of alternate worlds as she finds out the true meaning of the Mark on her skin, and why someone wants to kill her for it.

Praise for MARKED

"Swann’s frenetic pacing is perfectly in sync with the bizarre, dark, and occasionally wild series of worlds that Dana and her companions are thrust into. The Shadows are not mindless shamblers, and Swann even manages to eventually evoke some sympathy for them. As deadly serious as the dangers are, the story is still an entertaining, occasionally raucous romp.... Recommended for all fantasy readers." —Publishers Weekly

"Marked explores a fascinating concept: the possibility that endless realities are merely a step away." —Reviews and Robots

"Marked, by author S. Andrew Swann, is a genre-bending action and adventure free-for-all." —Gizmo's Reviews

"Thoroughly impressed by this book, and highly recommend it to anyone familiar with the urban or high fantasy genres. The story will cleverly subvert the tropes you expect it to follow, and I bet that by the end, you'll be wishing that the sequel was here already, just like I was." —SFRevu

"A great book. I've never read any stories with the premise.... A mix between Doctor Who and the Invisible Library series, with a dash of that old tv show Sliders mixed in as well." —Slapdash + Sundry

You can purchase Marked at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you S. ANDREW SWANN for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Marked by S. Andrew Swann.. 


  1. "What inanimate object do you wish you could eliminate from existence?" Let's get rid of guns.

  2. I'm with John Smith, guns of all types.

  3. Gun haters instead put killers away.We may need our guns someday.

  4. Nuclear weapons, we can kill each other in enough ways without making the planet unlivable.

  5. I would get rid of ferry boats so I would never be seasick again. I would just fly across the lake.