New WSU author encourages writers to keep practicing

Housing, Dining Services employee publishes first historical fantasy novel


ABBY TUTOR | The Daily Evergreen

Mark Ready is a maintenance mechanic for Northside and Hillside dining halls and now the author of “Hedwig and the Battle for Human Destiny.” Ready gave advice that if anyone wants to write, they should write something even if it’s lousy.

MORGAN LESTER, Evergreen reporter

If you ask Mark Ready how he wrote his first book, he’ll tell you it started with an iPad.

“My wife got me an iPad,” Ready said, “and on the hour drive up from Clarkston I would just look out the window and dream, and I had an idea for a Christmas story.”

A maintenance mechanic for WSU’s Housing and Dining Services, Ready began writing as a hobby, mainly as something to pass the time on his rides to and from work. However, the finished novel, “Hedwig and the Battle for Human Destiny” is far from a typical Christmas story, and is rooted in Ready’s family. As Ready dug through his family’s memoirs and bloodlines, he found that he could trace them back to a region of the former Austrian-Hungarian Empire known as Silesia — and that was where the story began to take shape.

In this research, he found the story of Emperor Charles VI of Austria-Hungary, who had only daughters to take his throne when he died, which was not possible due to the laws of the time. But he pressed on and managed to work out enough deals across his empire and his family to make sure that one of his daughters could take the throne.

“That intrigued me; so I had a female lead, a guy who had gone through all the hoops to get his daughter to assume the throne in a time when men dominated everything,” Ready said, “and I thought ‘what if a new mother, who had just had a child, was presented with the option of sacrificing herself so her daughter could live up to her greatest potential?’ ”

From there, Ready said, the basis of the novel took shape. Ready would spend the next five years developing the story and working through each situation that the characters encountered. He also spent a good chunk of his time figuring out just who his characters were, and how they would change and evolve throughout the course of the story. It wasn’t until about two years ago that Ready even considered publishing.

“It might have been the back page [of the Evergreen], and I saw an ad for editing services here at the college,” Ready said, after getting some feedback from friends and family, “and they set me up with Laura Abbot, and she went through this whole [first draft].”

From there, he said they worked out what needed to be changed and removed, and eventually split up the original story into a trilogy.

While the first book has been published and is nearing distribution, Ready is still working on the second and third books. Through this process he has developed one piece of advice for any aspiring writer.

“Anybody who has the idea of writing something should try, even if it’s lousy,” he said, “just write your first draft and make all of your mistakes, and learn from them. You can only get better by practicing it and doing it.”