Vendor Spotlight: Seven Questions with Author Mark Carp

Posted on November 19, 2018 by

A blog post by JMM Office Manager and Shop Assistant Jessica Konigsberg. For more posts from Jessica, click HERE.

“Reality is what we make it,” Mark Carp in Naomi’s “AMERICAN” FAMILY.

November is National Novel Writing Month and in celebration, we are delighted to feature Esther’s Place vendor and long-time JMM Member: Baltimore author Mark Carp. Carp has authored numerous novels that explore the complexities of individuals, relationships, and societies, and frequently take place in historical settings. Carp has written seven books (including six novels) and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and an MS degree from Johns Hopkins University.

I recently met Mark Carp when he delivered his newest novel to the Gift Shop, a book titled Mr. Show Business.

The book tells the story of former TV star Jackie Goldheart and his last chance at stardom via an unexpected family connection; this latest book follows another recent publication, Naomi’s “AMERICAN” FAMILY, which tells of two Jewish teenagers and their vast ambitions when they immigrate to the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Other Carp titles found at Esther’s Place include The End of Hell, The Extraordinary Times of Ordinary People, Abraham: The Last Jew, and Segalvitz.

Local novelist Mark Carp.

I was intrigued to learn more about this Baltimore writer who enjoys turning his creative insight and lens onto Jewish culture and experience, and so I posed to him seven questions. Below is what I learned.

My first question to Carp was about his creative process. Carp shared that he gets up at 5am to write. He explained further: “The process starts with a germ of an idea and then I let my instincts, formed from experience and/or research, take over. In my writing, I try to hold nothing back. I believe the writer must be unafraid and have the integrity of his beliefs.” In response to my question about his current projects, Carp explained he is working on two novellas to be published together and which, “reflect the social, political and philosophical climate of today.”

The Baltimore and Maryland Jewish communities inspire Carp’s work primarily through his personal experience. He said, “I’m a product of this environment and my nurturing and experience seems to be prevalent in my work.”

I also asked for a little-known fact about Carp’s creative process. His fact: he doesn’t believe in fate, yet believes he was fated to write The End of Hell, a World War II novel about two Jewish soldiers who are among the liberators of Dachau. The End of Hell is available for sale at Esther’s Place.

Carp’s favorite stories, in his own words, are those where “there are inherent conflicts which must be overcome, though there are seldom perfect solutions.” He added, “I have often been inspired by stories where the real-life characters, because of their wisdom, have prevailed in spite of incalculable odds.” In response to my question about how his books are best enjoyed, Carp told me, “Read with care and think about the meaning of the stories.”

 For my final question, I asked Carp to share a favorite JMM experience. He shared three—including two exhibits and a public program: “the Voices of Lombard Street exhibition, the World War II exhibition [Ours to Fight For: American Jews in the Second World War] and a talk on Louis Brandeis.”

In addition to diving into a Mark Carp book, celebrate Novel Writing Month at Esther’s Place with two more novels recently featured at our public programs. On November 13, we held a book took with author Georgia Hunter, exploring her bestselling novel, We Were the Lucky Ones, and earlier this year, in July, we held an author program with Victoria Kelly, author of Mrs. Houdini: A Novel. Copies of both books are available at Esther’s Place.

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