Interview With Author Mark H. Parsons (THE 9:09 PROJECT)

Today we are very excited to share an interview with Author Mark H. Parsons  (The 9:09 Project)!




Meet the Author: Mark H. Parsons

Mark H. Parsons is a writer and musician living on the Central Coast of California with his wife (also a writer and musician). They have two sons with whom they occasionally make loud music under the name Risky Whippet. Mark enjoys the three “R’s”—reading, running, and rock ‘n’ roll.

Website Twitter * Facebook 




About the Book: The 9:09 Project

A thoughtful exploration about finding oneself, learning to hope after loss, and recognizing the role that family, friends, and even strangers can play in the healing process if you are open and willing to share your experience with others.

Amazon * B&N * IndieBound




~Author Chat~


YABC:  What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

I’d been through a bit of a time and I had a vague idea—really, more of a vibe than anything concrete—about the healing power of art. Creativity helps many of us navigate life, so I decided to just jump in, listen to my characters, and see where they might take me.


YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?

Jamison. He’s just a bright, lonely guy trying to find his place in the world.

No… I think it’s Ollie. The snarky-yet-loving sister everyone needs.

No wait, Assi. Definitely Assi. She’s awesome!

On the other hand… Ms. Montinello. I would have loved having her as a teacher.

Don’t make me choose. I love them all.


YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?

It’s a funny story. I had a working title first—before I started the story—and it sort of guided me through the writing of the novel. Then at the end I realized ‘The 9:09 Project’ was a better title, so we went with that. So: title à novel à title.


YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?

The scene at the drive-through. And that’s all I’m going to say about that!  😊


YABC:  Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

The value of paying attention to pacing, and how revision can be a tool to bring that into line. My editor—Beverly Horowitz—was really helpful with this.


YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?

That it’s simple, graphic, and striking. And that the nearly monochromatic character surrounded by swirls of color hints at the story’s exploration of synesthesia.


YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2022?

The new Karen McManus—NOTHING MORE TO TELL. She’s a master of the multi-POV thriller.


YABC: What’s a book you’ve recently read and loved?

THE PEACH REBELLION, by Wendelin Van Draanen. Wow. I dare you to read that opening scene and not be fully invested in the story of these girls. (And not to cry.)


YABC:   What’s up next for you?

I’m working on a YA thriller. It’s been challenging (in the best way) because along with the characters and setting and overall vibe, the mystery events have to fit together like a multi-faceted puzzle. So in a way, it feels like starting over… which is both scary and super fun!


YABC:   Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?

The scene where Jamison’s mother dies, absolutely. That was hard to write, but I knew we had to see it to fully understand Jamison. I ended up placing it in the middle of an otherwise-uplifting chapter, not just for contrast but to give the reader—and myself, to be honest—a buoy after that scene.


YABC:    Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?

Kennedy. She started out as just sort of a ‘mean girl,’ but as Jamison (and I) got to know her better, she became much more complex and nuanced. Her story probably required more revision than anyone else’s, but in the end she became a fully-fleshed, three-dimensional character.


YABC:    What is the main message or lesson you would like your reader to remember from this book?

I would hope the reader who approaches this book with an open heart will take something away from it, but I would be the last person to say what that is. Reading is a collaboration… the reading experience is a combination of the words on the page and what the reader brings to the table.


YABC:      What would you say is your superpower?

That’s funny… in the book, Jamison says he thinks everyone has a minor superpower. Not sure if that applies in my case. But I will say, however, that I love putting stories on the page, to the point where I would pay to write. Does that count?


YABC:     Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?

I think the people of Ukraine are in everyone’s heart these days, including mine.


YABC:   What advice do you have for new writers?

Don’t place too much importance on what people on social media are saying about writing. Instead, trust yourself, focus on YOUR story, and write!



Title: THE 9:09 PROJECT

Author: Mark H. Parsons

Release Date: Nov. 15, 2022

Publisher: Delacorte Press/Random House

Genre: Realistic/Contemporary YA

Age Range: 12 and up