Meet the Author: Turning Japanese by Mark Arnold

Today we welcome Mark Arnold as we travel to the London area and learn how making music, Don Quixote, a bunny, and David Bowie come together to nourish the neurons of Mark’s writing life. Grab your humor, secure your sanity, and let’s go ….

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a full-time writer who lives just outside London, having paid my dues as a software engineer for more years than I care to recall. I try to keep a healthy vein of humour running through my writing – without, hopefully, it ever being too overt. Flat-out jokes are a no-no. I have two new novels in the pipeline, as well as two books already published (of which more below).

In which genre do you write?

I’ve never felt that working in a single genre would be enough to nourish my neurons so to speak, so have tried to avoid the typical touchstones that genre writing demands. Of course publishers are desperate to crowbar writers into one or other for marketing purposes – and it concerns me that they lack the imagination to market in another way.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I make music that nobody listens to (which is worryingly similar to writing books that nobody reads) under the name Lovedust.

How many published books do you have?

Two: Turning Japanese, a literary comedy/adventure. And Tales Of The Forgotten, a collection of dark and humorous short stories, including some prize-winning ones.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

Reading Don Quixote helped a lot – realizing that a 500-year-old book could make me laugh out loud was a revelation. I still marvel at the wonderful, crazy sentences Cervantes cooked up. He was clearly pleasantly nutty, not unlike his main character.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

It would be a rabbit – well, more honestly a bunny. Still I try not to let my fluffy side stand out in my writing, as the result would be twee and sickly sweet! Good writing walks a thin line between brutal honestly and pathos/humanity.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

It’s compact, simple and not overly adorned. The phone does not ring – and the skateboarder who passes down my road daily sounding like a jumbo jet (I genuinely often think a plane is landing!) is eradicated by earplugs.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

It would be David Bowie and I’d ask him if he’d like to work on an album with me. (Aim high, I say.) I was very upset when he died and it still saddens me to think of.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?

‘Eye of the Tiger’, whilst beating my chest – that’s a joke, lest there be any doubt! More likely ‘Julie With …’ by Brian Eno. It’s very ‘floaty’, like a boat bobbing on a deep sea (which is what it’s about).

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

It would be trippy, with whirling pastel colours, like a dream I once had where I was flying over a weird and wonderful multicoloured cartoon world with spinning Tony Blairs (stylized like Andy Warhol portraits). Seriously, I’d like to go back there. It was truly psychedelic.

Tell us about your most recent book.

My latest novel is a modern-day Don Quixote, entitled Turning Japanese:

A nervous breakdown and the madness that ensues leads our hero on a crazed escapade in the Land of the Rising Sun. Convinced he’s possessed by the spirit of an ancient samurai warrior, he makes it his mission to rescue a remote Japanese village in peril – only to find himself embroiled in a conflict between Yakuza gangsters and a former POW bent on revenge for wartime atrocities.

Thanks Mark for joining us on Meeting the Authors! It was incredibly interesting to learn about the pieces that come together for your writer’s life. –Camilla

Where to find the books and connect with Mark:

Along with my short story collection, Tales Of The Forgotten, it’s available on Amazon –

US Amazon:

UK Amazon:

or visit Mark’s website:

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

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