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Mark Winkler on Being Published, His Career and An Exceptionally Simple Theory (of Absolutely Everything)

An Exceptionally Simple Theory (of Absolutely Everything)Mark Winkler recently spoke to Nadine Maritz during an interview intended for her blog about books, My Addiction. Maritz asked the award-winning-advertiser-turned-author about taking the step from one world to another, his novel An Exceptionally Simple Theory (of Absolutely Everything) and the plans he has for the future.

During the interview Winkler comments on self-publishing: “A side note to unpublished writers – be really wary of self-publishing. The benefits of formal publication to an author are enormous. You get qualified and experienced advice. You get an editor to put you right by slapping you around your precious chops a bit (and every bit of pain is worth it).” When asked to share a piece of wisdom with aspiring writers, he says: “You’re only a writer if you can’t help yourself from writing.”


I’m often amazed at the fact that authors seem to either bloom from a very young age or from an older period in their life. What made you decide to move into writing?

I would of course have started much earlier in my life if time hadn’t been an issue. I guess the reality is that you tend to be able to create more time for yourself when you are younger and your needs are less and the demands on you fewer – or older, when kids have grown to the point where they can be left alone, and work hours more easily managed. It’s the middle bit that’s very challenging, but that’s when you’re able to learn a bit of the craft.

Can you tell our readers a bit more about the novel An Exceptionally Simple Theory (of Absolutely Everything)

When the main character, Chris, started coming to life, I stopped writing because I felt obliged to include some big (and typical) South African backdrop – crime, apartheid, history, politics, the usual suspects. So I re-looked my planning, but Chris wasn’t interested. He is a self-centred man living a privileged life, and the broader themes that usually underlie SA literature had no direct (or believable) bearing on his life or psyche. It’s only when I realised that Chris should be allowed to tell his own story that I could give myself permission to let the broader themes go.

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