Re: Mark Jones Interview
on: June 8, 2011, 02:56
Interview with Mark Jones

Welcome to Jack J. Lee’s Forum “Real Person Behind the Character Interview”

There was no question we had to start our interviews with our favorite “Benevolent Dictator” Mark Jones, Federal Director of Emergency services in Utah and Director of the Salt Lake City Troopers of the Sustainable Earth book series fame.

1. JJLForum: Why do you think Jack J. Lee chose you as the person to build his lead character around in the first book he wrote?

Um, I realize this is going to sound egotistical but I have an unusual personality. I think Jack wanted to have a ‘different’ sort of hero.

2. JJLForum: YoTD starts out with the action scene of Mark Jones fighting a vampire. MJ ripped out the thyroid cartilage, snapped the spine, then finally, cut off the head and out the heart of the vampire. He then goes on to play around with the dead body and do neat tests and stuff. Do you believe vampires, or any monsters of folklore, exist at any level in our everyday world?

I’m agnostic. I don’t have enough proof either way to be sure of anything when it comes to monsters and myths. I’m not much into proclaiming things by faith or by the semi-magical belief in the accuracy of what fallible scientists believe as opposed to what they can prove. I’d prefer monsters and things that go boo in the night existed but until I have proof I’ll just have to remain uncertain.

3. JJL Forum: You’ve had no weird or supernatural events in your life, maybe seeing a ghost or experiencing an alien abduction?

Unfortunately, I haven’t had anything weird enough happen to me that I can say is proof of the supernatural. Like most, I’ve had really strong feelings of Déjà vu and have felt creeped out for no apparent reason but no monsters. When I was younger, my friends and I would watch scary movies (mostly zombie or demonic possession) late at night and then go to the local cemetery and lay on top of the graves. Even though I’m not superstitious, my heart rate always went up when we did this. I’m sorry to say we never saw a zombie, a werewolf, or vampire.

4. JJLForum: Are you involved or would you like to be involved in politics? Or do you like the idea of directing events from behind- the -scenes like Director Mark Jones, as long as everyone does what he wants?

I was heavily involved in politics for awhile and at one point was positioning myself to run for a major political office. Luckily, I got smart and lost interest. Jack J. Lee got my personality right. I generally end up being the alpha male of the group and usually make all the decisions.

5. JJLForum: Who would win if Mark and Ari seriously went to war?

In any one-on-one contest just like in the books, Ari would win. A naturally gifted amateur without real training has no real chance against a pro with similar natural gifts and extreme training to boot.

6. JJLForum: What if Hiram and the Salt Lake Troopers have his back?

Having more people involved would make the contest more even. Ari would be better prepared as a military leader but Mark (the character, not the real me) would have better subordinates. At that point, it would most likely come down to luck, who has the most soldiers, supplies, and weapons, with luck being the most important.

7. JJLForum: Are you as self absorbed, narcissistic ,and manipulative in real life as depicted in the books?

I’m the same age in real life as Mark is in Year of the Dead. 20 years ago my personality was identical to the one displayed in the book. I’m currently happily married and have two kids. Much to the surprise of everyone who knew me when I was single, besides my wife, I don’t flirt or pay much attention to other women.

I married my wife because of all the women I’ve known she’s the only one I ever wanted to treat well; I knew I could be faithful to her. After 15 years of marriage, I still feel the same way. Having two children, it’s amazing how hard it is to be as selfish (I’m still pretty selfish but not as much) when you have kids you love. Every man, even Mark Jones, is different married with children versus single. I’m currently the man he would be after 15 years of a good marriage and two kids

8. JJLForum: Was “Mark Jones’ Theory of Human Sexual Attraction” monograph in DbR your working theory?

Yes…In terms of the absolute emotional basics of sexual attraction. People also have brains and can sometimes, but not often, choose to make decisions about love and relationships based on other factors.

9. JJLForum: Were you happy with Jack J Lee’s choice of Helen Hansen as your MJ character hook up or did you have your eye on another character?

Since I’m very aware the books are fiction, I didn’t much care what he did with my fictional love life. My real love, my wife, is nothing like Helen. I’ve dated women like her in the past but it never worked out. I think because my style (as I really am) and Helen’s style (as she is written) are too confrontational without the ability to compromise. The woman I married (I wish I could use her name but it is currently forbidden) is not confrontational at all and never demands anything of me but somehow I always end up doing what she wants. I never have to compromise; I just end up on my own deciding to do what she wants. I used to believe I was a good manipulator; until I met my wife.

10. JJLForum: If you could change anything Jack J. Lee wrote about your character that you believe is “off” in comparison with your real self, what would it be?

I’m going to have to give you a boring answer on this question. I wouldn’t change anything. If this was a biography rather than fiction, Mark Jones wouldn’t be as strong, fast, or tough. Jack J Lee embellished my abilities. Why would I have a problem with that?

11. JJLForum: Are you sure you’re not as strong, fast, or tough? Even close?

I’m a reasonably strong and coordinated guy. Like Jack J. Lee, I competed in martial arts tournaments. As a kid through my early twenties, I liked getting into street fights. I was lucky enough never to get seriously hurt or seriously hurt anyone else. The fact I survived my stupidity means I was reasonably tough and very lucky. I’m not as strong, fast, or tough as the Mark Jones in the book. I like to think I’m as smart.

I’ve had my ass beat by guys as good and, on rare occasions when I got extremely lucky, have beaten guys as good as the fictional Mark Jones.

12. JJLForum: How about as funny? MJ is a seriously humorous hombre.

I’m the funniest guy I know.

13. JJLForum: In the books MJ is an expert at many things, including expertise with all sorts of interesting weaponry. What weapons are you proficient in using?

If I were to rank my weapon and martial arts skills from best to worst, it would be: animal style kung fu (unarmed), pistols (Glocks, Smith and Wesson Revolvers), rifles, traditional bow and arrow, sling shot (good enough to kill small game) and foil fencing. I would have loved to learn how to use a samurai sword but was never able to find a good instructor.

14. JJLForum: Besides yourself naturally, tell us your favorite character portrayed in the 2 books and why?

Hiram Rockwell is my favorite character because he’s such a badass. I like the fact that he’s Mormon and that he doesn’t fit either of the two stereotypes of Mormons, wife beating polygamist or nondrinking, non smoking, prim and proper, goody two-shoes.

15. JJLForum: Fans seem to either love or hate Director Jones, but they all agree he’s a super-hero that gets things done. Would you really be that “take charge” in an apocalyptic scenario?

I have a pathological need to be in charge. I’d make a horrible employee, which is why I run my own business. Even when I’m around friends and family, I usually end up being in charge. I’ve learned that the only way people will let you stay in charge over a long time is if you don’t abuse your position and you consistently make good decisions. Being able to make important decisions is a privilege and it needs to be paid for by extra work and often by doing work that you don’t get paid for.

If an apocalypse happened, there’s no way I would let anyone else be in charge.

16. JJLForum: We know we’re heading to Utah at the first sign of any funny business. You DO live in Sugar House area, right? The house with no curtains and an underground lair?

Nope, the house in the book is totally fictional. I think it’s the man cave that Jack J. Lee always wanted but couldn’t have.

17. JJLForum: How would you describe how you handle yourself in highly stressful situations?

I’m an adrenalin junkie. I like stress. I tend to get calm and very focused. Time often slows down and I feel I have all the time in the world to make decisions.

18. JJLForum: At the end of Book 2, Death By Revelation, Mark Jones and his SaLT’s drive thousands of zombies into the FDLS stronghold for an ingenious massacre. After feeding a couple of days, these same zombies, plus a couple of thousand new FDLS Mormon converts, are driven deep into the desert and just left to rot. Are you as worried as we are they won’t stay put? En Masse they could move, inch by zombie inch, and be getting closer to Ari’s New Zion?

Again that’s a fictional situation; I actually don’t identify all that much with the Mark Jones in the book. I don’t stress much about what the fictional version of me does or doesn’t do. It’s amusing to think it’s me but that’s about it.

If I were to answer the question as the character in the book, Mark Jones is extremely tribal. He’ll do everything and anything for his tribe but he doesn’t care what happens to people outside his tribe. Mark Jones couldn’t care less about what those zombies will do as long as it doesn’t hurt the people he cares about. Mark probably doesn’t think the FLDS, even the good ones, will ever become good American citizens. So he probably doesn’t care one way or the other about Ari or New Zion.

19. JJLForum: You’ve starred, as your character, in this major role for 2 books with the third in the trilogy scheduled. If the books were made into a movie has it crossed your mind what actor would be your choice to portray you?

I’m a reasonably fit, not ugly guy. If/when women are attracted to me, it’s usually because of my personality not my looks. It’s been my experience that women are attracted to confident men, whether or not the confidence is deserved. Most movie actors are too attractive to play me. If I had a choice it would be someone about my age, mid to late 40’s, who kind of looked like Kurt Russell playing Snake Plisskin in Escape from New York.

20. JJLForum: What’s your personal “zombie plan”?

I don’t have a zombie plan but I have multiple guns and quite a bit of ammo in a gun safe in my home. I have multiple traditional bows, one crossbow, and enough tools at home to be able to make weapons like axes, spears, more bows and arrows. I know how to fix and repair all my weapons from my guns to my bows.

I try to always keep at least a couple weeks worth of water and food at my house. I pay close attention to the news. No plan ever survives contact with the enemy so it’s best to always be prepared to accommodate and to adapt to changing conditions. The most important tool in an emergency is to have a working brain—stay calm don’t panic—if you can enjoy the rush. The next is to be able to defend yourself, and finally, to have food, shelter, and water.

To tell you the truth, I don’t think there will ever be a zombie apocalypse and I don’t think the world will end in 2012 but major disasters like Katrina or the Earthquake/tsunami in Japan happen. It’s possible anywhere for a disaster severe enough to cause weeks to even months of chaos and breakdown of law and order. I don’t think it hurts to be prepared.

21. JJLForum: Where would you ideally pick to live in the event of a zombie outbreak?

I think the best place to live would be in a small rural farm or ranch, out of easy walking distance from a highway and multiple hours drive away from a major city. The reality of the world is such that even if humans had some warning that an apocalypse was coming that most of us have jobs or other obligations that will prevent us from holing up in a cabin in the hills. Most of us would wait too long to run for safety.

I think if a zombie breakout occurred most people would have some warning. Hopefully, long enough to fortify their homes and store enough food and water to live through the immediate chaos. Even in the biggest city, I think most people would be better off staying home if their home was fortified and had supplies to last a few weeks than they would be on the road in a flimsy vehicle with windows that anything could break through. After the first few weeks, if you’re smart and had access to the right tools and weapons, I think you would have a chance to survive anything.

22. JJLForum: Revenge of the Meat Puppet time! What is your opinion of Jack J. Lee as an author and as someone you personally know and maybe call friend?

He’s a pretty good author but he’ll have to improve quite a bit to become great. Jack’s a good friend. We have a lot in common.

JJLForum: Real Person behind the Character of Mark Jones, thanks for interviewing for Jack’s Forum!

Comments or Questions for Director Mark Jones?

Post now, he’s currently logged onto the Forum to reply directly.

Tracy
Member
Posts: 44
Re: Mark Jones Interview
on: June 8, 2011, 03:15
Hi Real Guy Mark Jones-

This is fun!

I ‘d like your opinions on foil fencing. I am interested to learn

and would like to pick your brain since you listed it as one of your

weapons of expertise.

So tell me what I can expect if I take this up- how much time should I expect to invest to get good, private vs. club lessons.,,,,

Anything at all you think would be helpful –

Thanks!

Tracy

Oh, and you are invited over to dinner this Saturday at 7pm CT. Bring the wife….

jynna
Member
Posts: 61
Re: Mark Jones Interview
on: June 8, 2011, 03:15
I am curious how you feel about your character, Mark Jones, evolving from a some what antisocial person into a person that realizes he not only needs other people, he also cares about others as well.

Stay at home mom
jynna
Member
Posts: 61
Re: Mark Jones Interview
on: June 8, 2011, 03:18
I was also wondering if your wife was born in the south? The way you described being talked into anything is a southern tradition passed from mother to daughter.

Stay at home mom
MJ
Member
Posts: 6
Re: Mark Jones Interview
on: June 8, 2011, 03:24
First for foil fencing, if you’re going to get started, don’t spend a lot of money. Join a community club or organization and see if you like it. It really matters if you like the people in the club. Since most people want to play around with a foil because they like sword fighting movies, make sure when you start that it’s fun before you start to get too serious about the training.

It’s a wonderful way to exercise.

As far as how I feel about being antisocial, that’s kind of how I am/was. I don’t quite tick the way most other people do. For example, I’ve had guns pointed at me a couple times and never felt fear. I can’t remember a time in my life where I’ve felt shame. Despite these advantages or disadvantages, I’ve been able to have great friendships and I love my family. Like I said I have a weird personality. Jack did a great job protraying me.

MJ
Member
Posts: 6
Re: Mark Jones Interview
on: June 8, 2011, 03:28
My wife was raised in Columbus Ohio. I think that qualifies for the Midwest not the south.

She actually never talks me into doing anything. I love to debate and win arguments. Talking me into things usually doesn’t work. Somehow she is able to tell me wants in such a way that I want to climb mountains and kill monsters to please her.

jynna
Member
Posts: 61
Re: Mark Jones Interview
on: June 8, 2011, 03:39
yes, I understand what you meant. My grandmother is the supreme queen of using that technique 

next question – what do you think of eating so called “breakfast foods” for dinner? do you think people would change their views on how they typically eat in the event of an apocalypse?

Stay at home mom
Tracy
Member
Posts: 44
Re: Mark Jones Interview
on: June 8, 2011, 03:46
Hey, thanks for the info.

I’m always looking for ways to exercise that are interesting vs boring so that was good to know.

Also, thanks for participating in the interview. You’re a good sport!

Tracy

MJ
Member
Posts: 6
Re: Mark Jones Interview
on: June 8, 2011, 03:47
We live in a world where too many calories are the problem not too little so we can be picky about what and when we eat. Like the character in the book, I do a lot of endurance sports. Spend 9 hours continuously exercising and you’ll eat anything that gives you calories.

Just to see how it would feel, I once fasted for 24 hours, drinking just water. I can promise you I would have eaten anything afterwards. If there is an apocalypse and if people are truly hungry, I think they’d eat anything they could.

As for breakfast cereal, I think I remember Mike Kim eating it for dinner. I know the real Mike because all of us know Jack. I can tell you that in college and when he was single, he’d often eat cereal for dinner and lunch because he was too lazy to go shopping and stock his refridgerator.

MJ
Member
Posts: 6
Re: Mark Jones Interview
on: June 8, 2011, 03:48
Tracy, was your last post a subtle way of telling me the interview is over and to go away? LOL