July 16, 2003 - Medfield Press: Central African Republic RPCV Mark Sullivan pens gripping mystery-thriller

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Central African Republic: Peace Corps Central African Republic : The Peace Corps in the Central African Republic: July 16, 2003 - Medfield Press: Central African Republic RPCV Mark Sullivan pens gripping mystery-thriller

By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, July 20, 2003 - 9:37 am: Edit Post

Central African Republic RPCV Mark Sullivan pens gripping mystery-thriller

Central African Republic RPCV Mark Sullivan pens gripping mystery-thriller

MHS grad pens gripping mystery-thriller

By Priscilla Yeon / Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Medfield, Massachusetts - Mark T. Sullivan had no television until the age of 10. So his mother, an avid fiction reader, taught him how to read at the age of four. Growing up in Framingham and Medfield, he attended Medfield High, where he took English classes with a special person who left him a mark to become who he is now; a writer.

"There are people in Medfield that really pushed me to writing," said Sullivan who mentioned former English teacher Estelle Stahl. "She was the first one to tell me that I was a good writer." After graduating from high school in1976, Sullivan majored in English at Hamilton College followed by some traveling in Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer. In 1982 he attended journalism school at Northwestern University.

After years working as a sports writer and investigative reporter for the San Diego Union Tribune, Sullivan decided to pursue his childhood dream: to write novels. In 1994 he wrote his first novel "The Fall Line." Now the former Medfield resident is on his fifth novel, is scheduled for a book signing in Boston and other cities in July and has already received offers to sell his books in France and Japan.

His latest novel, "The Serpent's Kiss," echoes his childhood when he worked at a souvenir store next to Fenway Park and his background in investigative reporting. The protagonist of "The Serpent's Kiss", a San Diego Detective, Sgt. Seamus Moynihan, was a former pitcher of the Red Sox and needs to decipher the author of the worst kind of human violence. The victim, a naked man, is tied to a bed then assaulted with one of North America's deadliest pit viper: an eastern diamond rattlesnake. Now, in order to solve this series of bizarre sex murders in Southern California, the San Diego detective needs to figure out one of the oldest mysteries in the world literature: who is the second wife? The mysterious wife of Cain is only mentioned in one sentence throughout the entire bible.

"This is overall the best book I've ever written," said Sullivan. "Once you start this book you can't stop until you finish it." The suspense factor is high, but the research involved behind this novel is even greater. Since Sullivan was already familiar with crime scenes in San Diego, he decided to go back to his old sources, the San Diego Police Department. He worked closely with homicide sergeants, who helped him extract ideas and facts for his novel.

"San Diego conducts homicide differently than any other city in America," said Sullivan. He explained that if the body temperature is less than 90 degrees, the death team of most of the cities consists of two detectives, whereas in San Diego there are five. "Because of this approach they have the highest percentage to favor," said Sullivan.

He also said to have met a narcotic sergeant who used to be an All Star San Francisco baseball player, who helped Sullivan understand the emotions one goes through from a major league sports player to a become a cop.

"It's a pretty big difference from a baseball player to a cop. In one you have all the popularity, the other you're a public server," said Sullivan.

Since the protagonist is also described as a "heart-worn womanizer but a loving father" he said he did extensive research on philandering middle age men to discover the reasons they cheat on their wives.

"It's a funny thing talking to a lot of these guys. There is a definite age of mid life crisis between the age of 38 to 45. There's just a lot of men who go through a mental freak out," explained Sullivan, who thought it would be interesting to have some of his characters experiencing such crisis.

The idea to write his latest novel originated three years ago from an intriguing sentence: "the second woman," said Sullivan. He then contacted a biblical expert who told Sullivan no one knows who Cain's wife is.

The connection of the mysterious woman of Cain and the murder cannot be revealed unless one reads the book, as the murder case is linked like a tapestry, to the biblical incognita figure.

But the book also has a connection, as the title suggests, to poisonous reptiles. In order to learn more about snakes, Sullivan said he went to zoos and researched the physiological effects on the human body after a poisonous snake bite.

"It frightens me," said Sullivan on snakes.

Sullivan said it took him13 months, which he considered to be a fast writing time, to finish "The Serpent's Kiss."

Since the novel brings a world of twisted eroticism, hot herpetology and spiritual cults, Sullivan said the book is suited for adults.

But one of his novels, "Labyrinth," soon to be a motion picture by Paramount, is suited for young readers, as the main character is a 14-year-old girl. Sullivan said he based his main character on a Medfield girl. Jim Sullivan, a friend of Sullivan since middle school and father of the 14-year-old girl who the author based his character on, said he remembers Sullivan's favorite subject always being English.

For Jim his friend's best novel was "The Purification Ceremony," released in 1998.

"It's one of those books that once you start it you just can't stop," said Jim.

According to Sullivan, "The Purification Ceremony" was translated into 12 languages.

Currently, Sullivan lives in Montana with his wife and two children and doesn't have plans to live again in Massachusetts.

"I felt in love with Montana. I like rural areas for writing, I think it helps you focus," said Sullivan who is also an avid hunter and skier.

Sullivan said he feels his life is complete working solely as a writer nowadays.

"As a kid this is what I dreamed of doing it. I mean what could be better?"

Mark will discuss and sign copies of "The Serpent's Kiss" at Kate's Mystery Books, 2211 Mass Avenue, Cambridge at 7 p.m. on July 22. For more information, call 617-491-2660.

Reporter Priscilla Yeon can be reached at 781-433-8354 or pyeon@cnc.com

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Story Source: Medfield Press

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Central African Republic; Writing - Central African Republic; Mysteries



By Shocked (12-209-192-3.client.attbi.com - on Sunday, October 26, 2003 - 9:18 pm: Edit Post

This isn't our 1983 CAR Mark Sullivan! This is an imposter from a completely different african country!

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