Author Interview: Mark E Scott – Drunk Log, Or Write Until The End

July 18, 2022


Drunk Log by Mark E Scott, is a darkly humorous, deeply introspective exploration into one man’s attempt to find peace in the face of unrelenting pain. The entire book covers a period of about eight hours and avoids becoming an ominous dirge through relatable – and flawed – characters, unexpectedly funny situations, a budding romance and the wobbly balancing act of a man who must remain sober enough to write in his journal and finish what he started, but drunk enough to jump off a bridge. Drunk Log is the first installment in Scott’s three-part, Day In The Life series, in which the unexpected, twisted saga of Jack and Aria unfolds over a combined period of 24 hours. Connect with Scott via, Instagram (markescottauthor), Facebook (@markescottauthor) or Twitter (@MarkEScott3).


When, and under what circumstances, did the idea for your latest book come to you?

I was hiking Pike’s Peak with a small group. One of the group happened to be an astrophysicist who is also a bit of a drinker. Though I spent much of the climb peppering her with all my childhood questions about the viability of time travel, if phaser weapons really work, and so on, she found the time to sneak in a story about getting drunk one night and keeping a record of it in a spiral notebook. I loved the idea and asked her if I could use it for a book. She said I could have it for a beer. Side note: the astrophysicist ended up getting altitude sickness because I made her talk the whole climb.


Did it initially feel like something to commit to, or was that something that took time to develop?

I started working on developing the story line as soon as I got back to Cincinnati from Colorado. I talked to a writer friend, Jim DeBrosse about it and he loved it, but also suggested the main character needed a reason to write the log other than just “because.” That got me thinking about the main character’s motivation, his back story and all of that, and I really began fleshing out the story.


How did you conduct your research or other preparation before writing – was it more experiential or more academic or desk-based?

I would say both. Though I’m not suicidal, I have spent some time “on the couch” myself. As well, I am lucky to have a psychiatrist friend or two who were willing to help me understand what Jack, the main character, would have been feeling right before killing himself, the significance of the date he planned to do it, and why, in the end, suicide was an attractive choice.


If resources (money, time, whatever) were no object, what additional groundwork would you like to have completed?

Ooh! Never thought about that. What would I do with unlimited resources? You mean after I purchase a villa in Spain, correct? Really, though, the story is emotionally interior and locationally finite. I didn’t feel the story called for much more groundwork than that which I undertook. I mean, I live in in the neighborhood and have intimate experience of all the bars Jack and Aria haunt in the story. Still, it would have been cool if one of them had done some drinking in Barcelona…


When considering influence, do you find yourself wanting to write like someone (in terms of their style, tone or use of language), or aiming for a kind of perspective or storytelling approach you admire or enjoy?

My favorite author of all time is Kurt Vonnegut. His writing was always clean and fast moving, and I always wanted to know what came next. He’s from the Midwest as well – Indianapolis – and I’m sorry I missed my chance to meet him in person. I’ve also become a fan of Charles Bukowski. He’s poetic and his prose is spare, and can be intense, though not as flowing as Vonnegut’s.


What’s in your to-read pile – and what upcoming book (other than yours!) are you most looking forward to?

Ha! Ok – right now I’m reading Wool by Hugh Howey. I’m drawn to his writing style. I think because he keeps the story moving even if the characters aren’t, at least not physically. He gets into his character’s heads and makes it interesting to be there. I hope I’ve done the same. Right before Wool was the Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides, which I enjoyed despite the difficulty in spelling his last name. Next in the read pile is The Idiot by Dostoyevski, which I hope will be as good as Crime And Punishment.


Do you have a favourite character that you have created? Or if you’re writing non-fiction, do you have a specific topic that you find endlessly fascinating?

I love them all. In the case of Drunk Log, I was surprised how much I came to care for Aria. She was an unexpected character, originally meant only to be in the first couple of chapters. But she was so easy to build around, and her presence in the book made Jack more full, more well-rounded. Her existence is his reason to live, whether he knows it or not. At the same time, her pursuit of Jack gives her a chance to right a wrong, or at least help her deal with regrets in her own history. She’s lovely, really, and easy to love and admire.