I discovered Mark's work at iUniverse, when I was looking for a publisher who does reprints. My own novel, Common Sons, had been in and out of print twice, and iUniverse looked like a pretty good bet, so while I was visiting the site, I used their search engine to see if there were any other gay books. Sure enough there were about a dozen. Among them was Mark's Ancient Prejudice. I used iUniverse's "browse before you buy" feature and began reading Ancient Prejudice online. It only took a few pages for me to decide I wanted to get a copy. As a writer, myself, I study a book for several things, some of which have absolutely nothing to do with the content. When Mark's book arrived, I studied it from cover to cover, looking at the artwork on the cover, looking at the quality of the binding, the choice of font the publisher used--lots of things that give a book a certain look and feel. Then I started reading...

I was amazed at how well Mark seemed to capture the teenage mind, the teenage attitude, but most important, to capture the gay teenager. Although I saw in Mark's work a raw skill needing to be developed further, from the moment I began reading until I read the last line of the last page, I also saw that he writes with real heart and love for his characters. He captured so well the emotions and context of the gay teen in present-day America. And writing about a small town in a mostly rural setting, Mark by-passed the ready-made gay subculture of the mean urban streets, so that his characters could discover for themselves what it meant to be gay. It also amazed me that Mark and I have the same vision for our writing, and as I said to him one day, "I could have written this!" And as he responded about Common Sons, "I could have written this." And so our exchange of letters (emails) began.

With each book Mark has written, that raw writing skill has become more and more sharpened, honed to even more skill with characterization, plot, and just plain good story telling. As of now, he has written a string of books set in a small town, dealing with gay athletes and those with whom they fall in love. He has given me the great pleasure of reading his pre-publication manuscript for A Better Place and already I can tell, it's his best yet. He writes a good mystery, entwining it flawlessly into his gay-themed stories, making his work not only gay fiction but murder mystery, ghost story, and romance all in one.

-- Ronald Donaghe
Author of  Common Sons and The Salvation Mongers

ęCopyright 2000 Mark A. Roeder
All Rights Reserved