Interview with Mark J. Grant, author of 'Lila" The Sign of the Elven Queen'

Mark J. Grant, a graduate of Occidental College, has been on Wall Street for thirty-seven years in various senior management positions. He has run capital markets for four investment banks and been on the boards of directors of four investment banks. Grant also writes “Out of the Box,” a commentary on the financial markets that is distributed daily to approximately 5,000 large money management institutions in forty-eight countries. He is the author of Out of the Box and onto Wall Street: Unorthodox Insights on Investments and the Economy (Wiley, 2011). LILA: THE SIGN OF THE ELVEN QUEEN is his first novel.
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About the Book:

Lila is a polite six-year-old girl who lives with her mama and papa in New York City. She has two cats, and would now like to have a dog–except dogs are not allowed in her apartment building. After thinking about it for awhile, Lila asks her parents if she can have an invisible dog. Her parents agree, and together they decide to name the dog Fluffy. On their way to the pet store to buy invisible supplies for the invisible dog, a black and white Aussie appears from around the corner and introduces himself to Lila, saying, “My name is Fluffy.”
In a series of fun adventures that follow, Fluffy introduces Lila and her family to the invisible people of Iceland, who live inside the boulders of Central Park and the cornerstones of New York City buildings. One day, the invisible people discover that the birthmark on Lila’s left forearm is the sign of their Elven Queen, and just as she turns seven, Lila is made a princess. Can anything be better than that?

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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

It all began at a dinner party at my house. I had some friends over and they were complaining that there were no nice books, no fairy tales, no Alice in Wonderland's available in the world any longer. They said every book had he who could not be named or giant spiders or monsters or vampires or skulls and crossbones. There was nothing out there to read their kids or have their older children read. This was quite a topic of conversation. I said that they had to be kidding but if that was the case then I would write such a book. It would be a lovely fantasy that would not scare any child. They all looked at me with some disbelief but I did exactly what I promised. Lila---the sign of the Elven Queen is my answer to their unhappiness.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

It is not easy to write a fantasy. First you have to choose your world. Then to write it through the eyes of a six year old girl required a very distinct turning of my head. I looked at it then and do now as an adventure and that is exactly what it turned out to be with every chapter written.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

My publisher is Mascot Books. I had the great fortune to fine them on the internet. It was a piece of dumb blind luck that I had the great fortune to run into and the good sense to utilize. Naren Aryal, their CEO, could not have been nicer or more straight forward with me. He even flew down to see me and make some very good suggestions about the book. They have about 700 titles under their wings and they are one of the very few companies that will review manuscripts directly without requiring a literary agent.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

Lila---The Sign of the Elven Queen is my second book published. The first one was Out of the Box and onto Wall Street published by Wiley & Sons. What has surprised me greatly is the treatment accorded to me from the different publishers. My children's book delights me as it allows me to leave my thumbprint on the world.

Q: Can you describe the feeling when you saw your published book for the first time?

I smiled. I just smiled. I always knew I could get both books published. I have some clout on Wall Street. I utilized the skill-set and the connections that I had. I always say there are four parts of success. Dream, think, plan and then execute. I executed!

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

The world needs a fairy tale where a young girl learns how to become a young lady and becomes a princess as part of making her dreams come true. The magic is set in New York and the boulders in Central Park may never look quite the same way again.

Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Life is an adventure for people of all ages and I hope that the world that I have created will bring some joy and delight into both the adventures of a child and their parents.

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