Guest Post: Mark Mustian’s Writing Space

The Gendarme by Mark Mustian comes out in paperback this month. 

This cover is so captivating with its vibrant blue head covering and eye, but it is also mysterious.  These elements are what attracted me to the book when it was initially talked about during the hardcover release. 

Check out these reviews from Booking Mama, She Is Too Fond of Books, S. Krishna’s Books, and Devourer of Books.

Synopsis from GoodReads:

Emmett Conn is an old man, near the end of his life. A World War I veteran, he’s been affected by memory loss since being injured during the war. To those around him, he’s simply a confused man, fading in and out of senility. But what they don’t know is that Emmett has been beset by memories, of events he and others have denied or purposely forgotten.

In Emmett’s dreams he’s a gendarme, escorting Armenians from Turkey. A young woman among them, Araxie, captivates and enthralls him. But then the trek ends, the war separates them. He is injured. Seven decades later, as his grasp on the boundaries between past and present begins to break down, Emmett sets out on a final journey, to find Araxie and beg her forgiveness.

Today, I have an inside peek into Mark Mustian’s writing space and a giveaway for 1 lucky U.S. reader.  Without further ado, here’s Mark:

This is me. That’s my desk. I’m in my study at home, where I do most of my writing. The only thing that’s missing is my coffee cup. I write when I first wake up in the morning, which can be daunting and sometimes quite difficult—next to impossible without jolts of caffeine.

I have a full-time law practice, and so I write only for an hour or so each day. I’ve done this for a long time now, to where I’m used to it; I write every day, even holidays, even my birthday, even while on vacation. I find that doing it this way keeps my head in whatever I’m writing, so that I think about things subconsciously throughout the course of the rest of the day. My novel, The Gendarme, was written this way: slowly, painstakingly. It took some time, but I’m always amazed at how much can be done, a little at a time, day after day after day.

I often think that if I had to sit down and put in six hours every day writing, it wouldn’t be lots of fun. Some days I’ll be on a roll, where I’ll hate to have to leave my home desk and get on with the rest of the day. On other days it feels about right. I’ve tried writing at night, or writing after a drink or two, but both produce results that seem less than satisfactory. If I’m tired or sloppy things don’t really work right. I have to be focused to do it justice, to be on my best game, to do it well.

I never wanted to be a writer. It’s something I’ve more or less fallen into, but I’ve discovered that I like it, and have (I hope) some modicum of talent for it. Writing every morning or even every day for some people would be drudgery. But for me it’s an hour where I can follow my mind where it leads, which is my definition of creativity, and the essence of fun and being free.

Thanks, Mark, for sharing your writing space with us.  To enter the giveaway, you must be a U.S. resident or have a U.S. resident to accept the book on your behalf.

1.  Leave a comment on this post about why you want to read The Gendarme.

2.  Blog, Tweet, Facebook, or otherwise spread the word about the giveaway and leave a link for a second entry.

3.  For a third entry, follow the blog and Mark on Facebook.

Deadline is Sept. 16, 2011, at 11:59 PM EST


  1. i’ve wanted to read this book since the first review i read! the hope-filled determination of Emmett speaks to me that it will be an inspiriting read… thx for the opportunity!

  2. I love that he writes an hour a day no matter what. I would love to read this!
    [email protected]

  3. I should start writing at least 1 hour a day. That’s a great idea. No need to enter me, as I already have the book and can’t wait to read it!

  4. The idea of getting up before a full day of work to write for an hour is daunting, at least initially, but I guess it probably becomes part of your routine. I’d have to have some good caffeine available! I wonder, though, once you know you have something good in front of you, such as half the book, The Gendarme!, it must be exceedingly difficult to stop writing after an hour. The same if you are on a roll with your writing and it’s going well…even if you can think about your writing much of the day Since The Gendarme, a book I’ve wanted to read for too long, is the result of Mark’s writing habit, it obviously works well for him!

    That desk looks beautiful and big!

    I want to read The Gendarme because I think the story is enticing and captivating…what is it that Emmett feel he must apologize to Araxie about after all this time…this worries me a little bit, too and, does this mean that his dream is based on his memories? I also wonder if Emmett finds Araxie. In some way I think his journey, his goal is noble especially after all this time.

    Thank you Serena and Mark for a wonderful guest post and terrific giveaway!


  5. This sounds really interesting! It reminds me a bit of The Last Days of Ptolemy Gray. But mostly I am interested in reading this because I believe there should be more out there on what Armenians have had to endure! Please enter me!

    nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

  6. I enjoy novels set during WWII, but I’ve never read one with this unususal setting: the Armenians in Turkey. Sounds very interesting. Thanks for the giveaway.

  7. Great post! I always find it interesting to see how different authors go about their work. The creative process is so different for so many, but confining yourself to a certain period of time seems to allow the mind more time to build on what you’ve already done so that the next session’s results are already there just waiting to be written. I’ve had The Gendarme on my to-buy list ever since it came out in hardback; the reviews have been fabulous, and it’s the kind of book I prefer to read. Thanks for the guest post and for the chance to win!


  8. I would think it would take a lot of dedication to get up and write before heading to work every day! No need to enter me.

    • I need to get back into a routine of writing, but it has to be in the evening since the job has me up writing for work at 5:30AM

  9. The Gendarme is set in a little known era with huge implications even today. Best wishes for continued success with the book.

    Read review on http://historicalboys.blogspot.com/