Just like out of a comic book, writer Jeffrey Mariotte not only writes novels and comic books but also works locally on Fort Huachuca at Electronic Proving Ground.
Mariotte works as a technical editor at EPG and also writes comic books, novels, graphic novels and occasionally dabbles in non-fiction writing. He has written 46 novels, five non-fiction books and 133 comics since becoming a professional writer in 1998, but he has written countless stories since childhood.
Mariotte said he started his career when he managed to sell a short science fiction story, â€œThe Last Rainmaking Song,â€ about prolonged drought, and the main character is in the Air Force.
â€œAfter that I wanted to write and submitted more short stories, didnâ€™t get much published, but had a little bit of journalism published, and I was working in the book business selling books in California,â€ he said of his beginning days.
He eventually opened his own bookstore, Mysterious Galaxy, with this wife and another partner in California.
â€œI guess I started writing comics because my head is full of lies,â€ Mariotte said with a chuckle. â€œI have always been drawn to telling stories and kind of looking at the world I live in and that we all live in, through a slightly altered perspective.â€
â€œOr maybe it is a perspective that in some ways is more real because it looks at things from different angles than I think most people do. So itâ€™s always been a goal, and it became a career, and I have been privileged to get to do a lot of it,â€ he added.
Mariotte is one of the featured authors at this yearâ€™s Phoenix Comicon. The Phoenix Comicon is Memorial Day Weekend, May 24 â€“ 27.
â€œI love it [Phoenix Comicon]; I have been going there pretty much since I moved to Arizona in 2004. I have been with it since it grew from this one-day show in Mesa to this huge multi-day extravaganza in downtown Phoenix. And they have treated me really nicely, and the fans are great. It is just a really really good show,â€ Mariotte said.
He has also attended and been featured in the San Diego Comic Convention since 1980. This year at the Phoenix Comicon, Mariotte will be featured for horror, crime and western pieces. He will be discussing his new novel, â€œDark Vengeance,â€ and upcoming projects as well as signing his work for fans.
Mariotte, who is from San Diego, came to Fort Huachuca eight years ago because the economy declined and the publishing world was hit with a new wave of technology.
â€œI had been writing full-time for years and was looking at a near end. So I thought a day job would be a good idea, and here I am. I work as a technical editor, still using the same skills,â€ he said. â€œIn the comic publishing world I became an editor and worked there for years, so I had an editing background.â€
â€œThe best part of writing comics is because someone else is going to draw it, I never know what it is going to look like. I kind of have a story in my head that I put down on paper of what I want to see. But itâ€™s still the artistâ€™s vision that creates the final project, so you end up with something thatâ€™s better or cooler than you could have done yourself or that they could have done writing. Itâ€™s the combination that makes it the final project. Always exciting to see the comic come together, [a] funky collaborative process that is unlike anything else,â€ Mariotte said.
â€œThen writing a novel is entirely in your head, itâ€™s all your vision. If you make it work, its because you did something right and, if not, itâ€™s because you couldnâ€™t pull it off but itâ€™s entirely on you,â€ he added.
Mariotte said he gets his inspiration from life.
â€œI think the world is stranger and more magical than many of us perceive. So I look for that stuff or I am drawn to the kind of stuff. â€¦ I like to imagine what it is like to be in that personâ€™s shoes; a criminal, a cop, a victim â€” all these different people in your head.â€
Mariotte said he will never stop writing â€œbecause, writers donâ€™t really get a retirement program, and I will write until the day they plant me.â€ His most recent novel is â€œThe Devils Bate.â€
Mariotteâ€™s books and comics can be found at Hastings and other shops in Arizona as well as online at Mysterious Galaxy.