To know Mark, all you really need to do is read his books. He's in there. He grew up in the country in southern Indiana, near small towns that were much like the fictional Verona that appears in his books. The high school he attended was very much like Verona High School. There were no openly gay boys in his school, but there was much prejudice and hate against homosexuals. Being called "gay" or "fag" was about the worst insult that could be hurled at anyone. He has no doubt lived many of the fictional scenes in his books. Many of them could well have happened in his old high school. All of Indiana tends to be fairly conservative and anyone who does not fit in the narrow mold of normalcy is largely considered an outcast. Being "outed" in his high school would have meant both being exposed, and being excluded, even exiled if you will.
He lived for a while in a small town in northern Indiana that is little different from the towns near where he grew up. Verona is a composite of all these towns. It is a town that could be located just about anywhere in the U.S., not just in Indiana. A few years ago he returned to his hometown in southern Indiana.
He gets a lot of questions about whether or not his characters are based upon himself. In many ways they are, especially those found in "Ancient Prejudice". Both Mark and Taylor were very much based upon himself, so much so that in early drafts they were far too much alike. He ended up splitting his personality between them, giving Mark his more confident and determined side and Taylor his more thoughtful and sensitive side. When you read the thoughts and feelings of these two boys, you are reading about Mark. He thinks every author puts much of himself in his characters. Most of what He is and believes can be found in his novels. Just about every single character has a touch of Mark in him.
Mark is a full-time writer and plans to keep on writing novels until he is no longer able to do so. There are always new characters and situations to explore. He has received a lot of letters from young and not so young gays telling him how much his books have touched them. It is for these individuals, and his self, that he writes. Many of his characters are named after family, friends, fans, favorite characters, musicians, and celebrities. For example, one character who was subsequently murdered was named after his website's webmaster, Ken Clark.