Interview with Mark McCullough, author of 'Vienna's Will'

Mark McCullough is the author of the true story, VIENNA’S WILL. He began writing his story over twenty years ago and was encouraged by family and friends to complete the book. “Since its release, I have bonded with others who have had similar experiences and have found that the concept of perhaps helping someone else is not only an amazing feeling, it has helped with my own growth and understanding of what is truly important as well.”

Mark worked in the pool and spa industry for eighteen years then turned to his true passion of helping others. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys spending time with his dog and going to the movies or the local pizza joint with his daughter, Vienna.

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About the Book:

Title: Vienna’s Will
Author: Mark McCullough
Publisher: Createspace
Pages: 254
Genre: Memoir

New author, Mark McCullough, shares his inspirational journey through chronic depression and addiction in VIENNA’S WILL ( After struggling for years to control the negative thoughts that he attempted to quiet with drugs and alcohol, Mark’s life changes when he finds the unconditional love of a little girl and her mother.

In April of 1992, Mark McCullough’s distraught parents delivered their twenty-five-year-old son to Butner Federal Prison after he committed a bank robbery. The court had arranged for the prison to complete a psychiatric evaluation of the troubled young man. Mark had intended for the crime to result in his death.

The author explores a lifetime battle with depression that was a result of sexual abuse by men he trusted and cared for as a child. At ten years old, Mark was obsessed with playing baseball and greatly admired his coach, who treated him like a son. The young boy’s first experience with betrayal came one afternoon when the coach molested him. Mark held the secret of the abuse inside, and it fed his depression for years to come. Later, when Mark was attending a Catholic high school, a priest befriended him and soon revealed his true intentions for forming the relationship.

The anguish of abuse and depression that Mark suffered drove him deeper into a life of drug and alcohol dependency. When Mark moved to Boston to attend college, he dropped out of school after attending one class. Thereafter, Mark spent his time seeking his next high and a place to sleep at night. He sold drugs to support his habit, until one day a friend persuaded him to return home before his addiction killed him.

After returning home, the drug use continued and Mark became suicidal. The plan he conceived that was supposed to lead to his death landed him in prison instead. During the time that Mark spent in prison, he faced anxiety and violence, but he also found companionship, as well as support from the psychiatrist responsible for his evaluation.

Mark continued to struggle with his addiction and depression for several years after his release from prison. Then he met the woman who would become his wife and her then four-year-old daughter, Vienna. Mark credits them with changing his life. The love of his daughter, Vienna, pulled Mark from the darkness and renewed his gratitude for his life and his family.

Mark’s decision to share his story of addiction, abuse, and mental illness came after many years of keeping secrets from his family and loved ones. “Some of the experiences I speak of in the book, some of the things I thought would stay hidden within me forever, needed to be spoken about and explained to people in my life who care about me and love me.”

The author hopes that VIENNA’S WILL will shed light on sexual abuse, addiction, and depression and help other people to face these issues in their lives and in the lives of others. Mark says, “So much of what happens in the book has, in some way, affected a great deal of people in our society, but they feel resistant to express it or discuss it. Whether it’s them personally, a friend, a family member, or even a coworker, if the book inspires them to help themselves or others, it will have served its true purpose.”

In VIENNA’S WILL, Mark reveals that the love and support of his family, especially from his daughter, Vienna, has been a powerful catalyst in his recovery and his decision to embrace life after so many years of enduring emotional hardship. The author states that he often “smiles at the thought of a child and her unconditional love being strong enough to overcome all the events of the past.”

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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?

 I actually started writing VIENNA’S WILL in 1993 and I have written several drafts since then, but this version is the whole, unfiltered truth.  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book? It wasn’t so much an idea, but more a quest to share some of the incidents and events in my life I had spent a lifetime hiding from.

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 was extremely difficult at first to put into words what had transpired in my past, but after getting it all out, I felt so liberated and ‘free’ of all that had happened and I would strongly encourage others to do the same regardless of their journey in life. 

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

I self-published with Createspace.

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

The thing that surprised me the most is how easy the actual publishing process is. Another thing I didn’t expect is the strong sense of accomplishment you feel when you actually hold your book in your hands for the first time.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published? 

I am working on a fictional book based on a screenplay I wrote called the Bollen Prophecy. It’s a horror/drama that is part of a trilogy.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online? 

I use Facebook a lot. It is a great way to keep up with friends and family who are too far away to visit. 

Q: What’s your nightly ritual before retiring for the night? 

I’m a reader. I need to spend some time with a good book before I crash.

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

That there is hope no matter what has occurred in your life. And also, that it’s never too late to start over. I’m almost 50 now and I’m living it every day. 

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

If you have something from your past that you feel overwhelmed by, face up to it every day. Little by little it loses its power over you. You just have to believe in that.

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