10/14/12 — Local author finds his own voice with thought-provoking novel

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Local author finds his own voice with thought-provoking novel

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on October 14, 2012 1:50 AM

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Goldsboro resident and author Mark Honeycutt reads a passage from his new book, "The Healer."

A 6-year-old extends a completed "script" to his mother -- an episode of "The Partridge Family" composed on the notepad she had, days earlier, provided to him.

The memory of that moment is still a source of joy for Mark Honeycutt.

"I remember exactly where I was standing when I gave it to her," he said. "And I remember, when she read it, how happy she was."

But that little boy always aspired to be something more than a typical writer.

Mark wanted to be a storyteller.

"I always knew," he said, before recalling how, as a child, he created characters in the imaginary world his mind often went to. "I just knew."

So it came as no surprise to those who knew him that, after graduate school, his passion for crafting tales would materialize into a book about a tavern owner in Gettysburg -- that he would become a staff writer for a newspaper and later, take on editorial and teaching positions.

But only now, after leaving those jobs and spending a decade completing lucrative ghost writing assignments, will he finally say he has found his own voice.

"What it takes to be good as a ghost writer is the ability to write in anyone's voice at any given time on any subject. I can change who I am to imitate you at any time ... so my strength as a writer was not that I had any great grasp of any particular voice. My strength was that I could be any voice at any time," Mark said. "But after 10 years, when I turned 40, I started thinking, 'Although I'm really good at this, I'm not leaving a legacy.'"

So with eight works to choose from, he decided to publish the one he felt would have the most mass appeal -- a book that, on the surface, takes readers inside a magical world.

And ever since he began selling "The Healer," many of those who have finished reading it have been demanding a sequel.

Their response, Mark said, has been encouraging, given the fact that he sees the book as something far more than another story about magic.

It's a chance for his friends and neighbors to take a hard look at his belief that perception defines reality -- that people with different beliefs can coexist without drawing "a hard line in the sand" on the social and spiritual issues that so often dominate the headlines.

"If people just read it for the story, I think they'll enjoy it, but then, I layered in, throughout the entire book, issues ... that we deal with every day on moral judgments we have to make," he said. "I want people who agree with me and disagree with me to read it. I want it to create a conversation."

And Mark is confident, given the success of other popular titles that delve into sensitive subjects, that today's readers want something more out of a book than entertainment.

"I really believe that most readers want something deeper," he said.

Those who wish to purchase "The Healer" can do so at www.Amazon.com or by meeting Mark this afternoon from 1 to 3 p.m. during a book-signing at Coldstone Creamery's Berkeley Boulevard location.