Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Meet YA Author Mark A. Cooper

Carpinello's Writing Pages is pleased to welcome Mark A. Cooper, author of the tremendously popular YA series Jason Steed.

First, a bit about Mark:

Mark A. Cooper was born in Dulwich, London. The arts always played a major part of Mark’s early life. He performed as Oliver in a Stage production and sang on two records in the mid 1970’s. In 2003, Mark moved his family to Sarasota. He spends his spare time with his family and writing.

Why did you pick to write books for YA?

The first novel was written for my son he was 13 at the time, and it fit the YA genre.

What types of books do you like to read?

Young Adult novels. As a child, I grew up reading Enid Blyton novels. I think she is the biggest influence on my work. (For those of you unfamiliar with Enid Blyton, some of her books include the Adventurous Four, Adventure Series, Alligator Books, and the Barney Mysteries.)

When you are not writing, what do you like to do?

Florida is absolutely beautiful. My wife and I walk for hours along the beaches. Sunrise or sunset are my favorite times.

Tell us about Jason Steed Absolutely Nothing and the Jason Steed series.

This is the third book of the Jason Steed series. I am still stunned by how successful the series has been. This novel took me the longest to write. I re-wrote 70% of it as I was not happy with the story. In Jason Steed Absolutely Nothing, 12-year-old Jason Steed once again finds himself embroiled in danger and a thrilling international adventure when his father is taken captive along with a UN peacekeeping force.

The first book Fledgling Jason Steed introduced readers to 11-year-old Jason Steed as he faces a threat of nuclear attack and the horrible deaths of his friends. He struggles not only survive, but also with how to save his country.

The second book Revenge Jason Steed finds Jason trying to survive attacks from Boudica and his Triads and protect the daughter of the Chinese Commissioner.

Here's a peek at Jason Steed Absolutely Nothing:

After going under cover and uncovering a child trafficking organization in Britain, 12 year-old Jason Steed settles into an elite American Military School for boys and finally feels normal.

When a peacekeeping force working for the United Nations are taken hostage, it was just another boring news story that Jason ignored until he is informed his father is among the captives. Repeatedly he is told not too worry, someone will do something. Jason decides he is that someone and discovers more than he bargained for when he unearths a group of American-fathered children deep in the Vietnamese Jungle. Unwanted by the Americans and shunned by the Vietnamese, they are left to die and hunted by a ruthless Vietnamese General. Can anyone rescue the prisoners and help the children?

Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.

The Jason Steed series are the successful novels. I've also written Edelweiss Pirates Operation Einstein. The story follows a group of German teenagers during WW2. A group of fun loving rebellious German teens, calling themselves the Edelweiss Pirates, witness something so deplorably sickening they decide to take action when a six-year old Jewish girl is left orphaned. Torn between patriotism for the country they love and their own rights and freedoms, they have to try and do the unthinkable. With the Gestapo and Hitler Youth hot on their trail, will it be too late?

The novel received great reviews and is a hit among the Jewish community who actually welcomed a novel with the German family POV. I have not yet decided whether or not to write a second adventure novel with the Edelweiss Pirates.

What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?

I have two projects: Book 4 in the Jason Steed series and another novel that is partially science fiction. Both are YA stories

What advice do you have for other authors?

Never give up and stick to your ideas. When I first wrote Fledgling Jason Steed (Book 1), I self published it, and I had a huge success with it. An agent and publisher picked me up. They edited the novel, cut out 23,000 words and changed how an aircraft with damaged undercarriage landed. I had email after email of complaints regarding the aircraft landing and why it was changed. Many reviewers had actually mentioned the landing in the first edition. This is the largest regret I have. Never again will anyone tell me what to write. The editor ruined a good ending to a story, but when you are new and you get picked up by a big publisher, you think they know best. My advice would be stick to your guns.

Where to find Mark and his books:

Mark's website


Barnes & Noble


  1. What an entertaining review. So nice to learn about your books, Mark, they sound extremely intriguing. Thank you for sharing the great advice with other authors. Walks on the beach for hours - what a life! :)
    Thanks for the interview Cheryl and for hosting the Kid Lit Blog Hop.

  2. A really well done interview Cheryl. Mark's books sound very much from heart. I think his advice of sticking to guns doesn't just apply to writing, I have had similar regrets on other decisions that I made based on "expert" opinions :) Thanks for sharing on Kidlit Bloghop this week :)

  3. Thanks for sharing another great interview with us on the Kid Lit Blog Hop Cheryl. It's interesting that the books are categorized as "young adult" when the main character is 12. I've read middle grade books with characters older than that. However, given the themes covered in the books, it definitely does sound YA to me! I still have issues with that label though - books for 12 to 18 year olds should not have "adult" in the label - it's doesn't make sense to me. Anyways, I digress..

  4. Sounds like a very powerful page turner! Thanks for including it in the Kid Lit Blog Hop!