From the Booking Desk:

I first “met” Mark Baker via the Jungle Red Writers Blog. We both regularly comment on posts generated by the wonderful authors associated with that website. Then, of course, Mark and I met in person at various crime fiction conventions. Mark’s dedication to our genre shines through in the reviews he posts to his book blog, as well as with his regular engagement in locations such as Facebook and Twitter. I don’t often get a query about altering answers after this questionnaire has been submitted by the person being profiled, but Mark did ask, and I agreed. I would have agreed in any case, but when you see the reasons he made this request, you will understand just how special a person Mark is. If you are not already following him, I am sure that you will be after his answers to our sketch questions.

Name: Mark Baker
Location: Santa Clarita, CA

This person from my personal life is such an inspiration:

I’m going to go with an obvious one – my parents. When I was going into 4th grade, my parents decided to start home schooling me. Obviously, that meant a lot of work for Mom, but Dad took on grocery shopping and other errands on his lunch hour so Mom would have the time to do this. Mom was a math major and Dad was a civil engineer, but when I started to express an interest in English and writing, Mom willingly stepped outside of her comfort zone by studying those extra hard so she could teach them to me. She decided to teach me Latin as I entered high school, so she studied it right along with me. She taught me through 10th grade and my brother until he graduated from high school. She always made sure I had time for pleasure reading, but she also made sure I studied hard. I was well prepared for high school when I entered 11th grade.

I have to amend my answer after the last couple of weeks. I grew up in Santa Rosa and my family still lives up there. My brother and his family lost their home very early on in the fires. I know they don’t have it all together but to see the way they are dealing with this day by day is a true inspiration to me, struggles and triumphs both. And that’s not to mention how my brother is leading his church (he’s a pastor and multiple families in his church also lost everything) through this.

One of the people I admire most in the crime fiction community is:

Is it cheating to say everybody? Seriously, I love being part of the mystery community because of how everyone supports everyone else. This has been driven home to me in the last few weeks. When word got out about my brother’s house, the offers of support via Facebook and e-mail were overwhelming, and Barbara Early even tied in sales of her new book for a couple of days to a fund raiser. I was truly blessed by it.

However, the first name that popped into my head when I saw this question is Sue Ann Jaffarian, who embodies all of what I’ve said. She has a demanding full-time job yet still writes two wonderful books each year and is active in the mystery community. She invites other authors to her Facebook fan group for week long guest author visits so her readers can keep finding great new authors.

STALKER ALERT! If this fictional character were real, they would likely need to get a restraining order against me:

As you might have guessed from the name of my blog, I am a huge Mrs. Pollifax fan. So yes, I would love to stalk Mrs. Pollifax. I just love her can do attitude and resourcefulness. I get a chuckle or two from her adventures when I’m not frantically turning pages to find out how she escapes from her current predicament.

And if I can slip in another response, it would be the Bob Whites of the Glen, aka Trixie Belden and her friends. I loved those books as a kid, and I used to day dream about meeting the Bob Whites and becoming friends with them. The friends I’ve made on Trixie Belden message boards are the real-world equivalent.

People are always surprised that I am a fan of this individual (singer, actor, or artist):

Of all the questions, this has been the hardest for me to answer. As I always say, I don’t have any guilty pleasures since I review everything. I think I’m going to go with Kristen Chenoweth. Normally, I listen to Christian music, but I have all of her releases and even went to see her in concert. I’ve actually been a fan since her days as Sally in the You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown revival, and she was a big reason I started watching Pushing Daisies, which I loved.

Now if we opened this up TV shows and movies and not just people….

My personal catch phase is (or should be):

“Slow and steady completes the course.” I started saying this when I started running to do mud runs (something I found out about thanks to Sue Ann Jaffarian). I’m a slow runner, but I do cover the distance. And perseverance is true in much of life as well.