FIVE FOR FRIDAY: Five Questions for Marc Watson!

Welcome to the end of another week, and another FIVE FOR FRIDAY interview! This week I welcome Marc Watson to the table to talk about remastering his CATCHING HELL duology, writing during a pandemic, and how not to be an author. Click CONTINUE READING below to check it out!

Why don’t we start by going around the table and introducing ourselves? Tell us who you are, why you’re here today, and one interesting thing about yourself.

For sure, and thanks for having me, Chris! My name is Marc Watson, and I’m a genre fiction author from Calgary, Alberta Canada. I have four books available, three of which are traditionally published (Death Dresses Poorly, Catching Hell: Journey, and the recently re-released Catching Hell: Destination) and the fourth is a self-published short story collection Between Conversations: Tales From the World of Ryuujin.

I’m here to talk about my latest release, but also to maybe shed a bit of light on parts of the writing world that a lot of people may not talk about, or realize even exist.

As for something interesting about myself: I’m the only person I’ve ever met that can whistle with a hotdog tongue.

You recently remastered and re-launched your CATCHING HELL duology with Fluky Fiction. How did that come about, and why did you want to revisit these books?

Oh there’s a story there for sure. I released a couple of videos about it on my YouTube channel if your readers want a more in-depth answer, but the gist is that years ago, I was with a publisher who picked up Part 1, and later Part 2, and it was released and everything was peaches and gravy. A short time later, as we got into the Covid world, they let me know that they were selling their imprint, but my books would move as well so I should have been fine. I wasn’t too keen on the new publisher I’d be moving to (they published some things that I personally don’t agree with, morally, though of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion), so I figured I’d just self-publish them to keep them out in the world.

I sent out a Tweet jokingly asking if I should do this or find a new publisher, and Fluky Fiction, the publisher of my debut novel Death Dresses Poorly, replied and asked to have a look. I sent it to them, and they agreed to re-release it with a fresh Fluky Fiction coat of paint. The Part 1 remaster came out in 2021, and Part 2 just released on May 9th of this year and I could not be happier with them.

As to why I revisited them, I believe there’s still a great epic science-fantasy story in there, and I know I’m not done with that world yet so I didn’t want them to fade. Fluky was a logical choice because they may not be a huge publisher, but they genuinely care about what they release, and give it due attention. The book means a lot to me, and I knew they would treat it right, and they absolutely did.

You’ve described yourself as an “anti-author” in the past. What do you mean by that?

Un-clever personal marketing is the real answer, and I deny nothing, but there is a hint of truth to it. Being an author for a little while now, I know now that there isn’t really a “typical” author. Every journey is different. Mine just seemed more-so. I became a professional author very late in life, long after marriage and kids and mortgages and whatnot, so I didn’t come in wide-eyed and ready to conquer the world. So when I attended my first writer’s conference (When Words Collide in 2016), I met people who were actually upset that: I don’t ever, ever want to become a full-time writer, I had zero education (when I started, but I’ve since taken classes and treated that part a bit more seriously, though I’m no English Lit major, that’s for sure. I never went to college or university), I barely read anything (I made a point to read five books last year and I barely made it, and this year I’m at ½ a book, and it’s mid-May), I outright refuse to make writing goals (and more to the point, consider them bad practice and to be avoided), I refuse to write at home… I could go on, but they were things that some people didn’t agree with. One author who was there became quite angry with me, saying (and I’m not paraphrasing) “You can’t ever be successful like that, and in fact I think your approach is a f^(king joke” and then told me why for the next ten minutes or so.

But I took it. I listened, and I wasn’t offended, because I’m a grown-ass man who can take criticism and glean valuable things from it and I also understand that some people love/need to vent on things they’re passionate about. And that told me that maybe my approach wasn’t typical, but it was working for me (and the manuscript requests I got in my pitch meetings that weekend told me the same thing. In your face 2016 rant-giving author). And as time went on I just realized that authors are my people, but not all of them walk the same path. There weren’t a lot of people like me out there, what I call a “serious, professional, hobby writer,” and I’ve tried to make a point to trumpet that “Anti-Author” moniker to reach more like-minded people, while also convincing up-and-comers that the popular rules to be “successful” aren’t the only ones you need to listen to.

How has three years of Covid-19 affected your writing process? Has the pandemic shifted your focus at all, and what are you looking forward to as we shift back to some sort of “normal” once more?

Covid shut me down, man. Almost completely. In the weird Covid years I wrote maybe 5000 words, which is a solid week for me usually. And honestly, those 5000ish words weren’t even that great. The world around me was just pumping out better fiction under the guise of reality than anything I could ever come up with, and I was just so mentally into coping with that world instead of creating new ones with a keyboard. And I’m a father of two who were right in the thick of it and needed their parents to know what was going on and keep the world as normal as we could. It took so much energy, and I believe if you don’t want to write, or you’re just not feeling it that day, then don’t do it. Everyone is different, but for me, writing anything between February 2020 and, say, March of 2022 was just silly. My Catching Hell 1 remaster came out in there, so I sorta worked on that, and I learned how to record and master audiobooks so I did that for “Death…” and I loved it, so I was still creative, but I just didn’t write.

But then I caught fire as the world returned to normal. I figure between March of 2022 and 2023, I wrote about 250k words for all kinds of reasons, and I haven’t slowed down since. It’s all helped confirm that the choices I made creatively during those weird, dark times were the right ones.

And as for going back to normal? Mostly it’s the getting together. When Words Collide, Calgary Expo, just writing group meetings in person and at the pub afterwards… I’m not super-social, so when those small, personal things I deemed worthy enough to get out of my house for were taken away, it hurt. Now they’re all back and life seems normal, or at least new-normal. We were never getting out of that whole debacle unscathed.

Is there a genre or type of story you haven’t yet written, but want to tackle at some point? Or, perhaps, a genre you enjoy reading but would not want to try your hand at writing?

I think I’m pretty comfortable in my wheelhouse of fantasy/Sci-Fi/Dark Comedy. Between Conversations was an experiment I underwent to try writing different genres within the short stories without committing to a whole book. There’s body-horror, YA, military fiction, Tarantino-esque dialog-heavy single-room stuff. It’s a whole mix of genres, but taking place in the same world as Catching Hell 1 and 2 (what I call the Ryuujin world), so I was free to play around a bit, but not stray too far from what brought me to where I am.

But not want to, that’s the kicker for sure. Despite being a schlock writer and proud of it, my favourite book ever is The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx, which I would best describe as a dark comedic modern domestic fiction, I guess? Only it’s centered on a man instead of lady like classic domestic fiction is. The way Proulx writes is just so hypnotically descriptive that I can’t stop thinking about it when I write. I’ve attempted to give stories that kind of flourish, but I don’t think I could ever commit to anything substantial doing it.

But also, I have a thing for man’s-perspective rom-coms like High Fidelity and the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels/movie. My issue with writing those is I (thankfully!) haven’t been single since the 90s, so I think my perspective of writing that kind of protagonist (and I use that word loosely because rarely are they actually good people) may not be up to par anymore. It’s a strange new world out there.

Thanks for taking part in Five for Friday, Marc! Have a great weekend!

MARC WATSON is an author of genre fiction of all lengths and styles. His debut novel Death Dresses Poorly was released in 2017, and you can find his Ryuujin World in Catching Hell: Journey, and the newly re-released Catching Hell: Destination, as well as the short story collection Between Conversations: Tales From the World of Ryuujin. Marc lives in Calgary, Alberta. He is a husband and proud father of two. He is an avid outdoors-man, martial artist, baseball player, poutine aficionado, and lover of all Mexican foods. He can be found at online, as well as on Facebook at, and on YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram at @writewatson

CHRIS PATRICK CAROLAN is an author, editor, and hovercraft enthusiast, originally from Glasgow but now based in Calgary, Alberta. He writes science fiction, fantasy (urban and epic), steampunk, and horror, though he has also been known to turn to crime to make ends meet. Crime fiction, that is. His first novel, THE NIGHTSHADE CABAL, was published by Parliament House Press in 2020, and was a finalist for the Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence ‘Best First Novel’ award. He can be found on Twitter as @cpcwrites but–consider this fair warning–it’s mostly wisecracks about McNuggets.

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