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Tallahassee City Commissioner Mark Mustian's Book Out

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Tallahassee, FL – The name "Mark Mustian" is most closely identified with the Tallahassee City Commission. But Tom Flanigan found Commissioner Mustian also enjoys a solid reputation as a writer of fiction, whose latest novel comes out this week.

Mustian has been elected to the Tallahassee City Commission three times since 2003. But he says his literary career precedes that.

"Well I started this about six or seven years ago. It's been a long and sort of tortuous process, but perseverance kind of kept me through it and I'm pleased to get to this point. I had a novel published in 2000 and then I've had some other short stories published since then, but this is the second novel."

Mustian's second book is "The Gendarme", which is being released by Amy Eichorn Books, part of the Putnam/Penguin publishing empire, on Thursday of this week.

"The story is the story of a guy who fought for the Ottomans in World War One and was injured during the war, lost a lot of his memory and then late in life starts to have these episodes that he's not sure are memory but are things coming back. And so I just tried to visualize it from that standpoint. I mean, what if I were this guy and this stuff is happening and it's almost an out-of-body experience and he's not sure what it is and so I think that's kind of how I got there."

As the author suggests, there are many flashbacks and multi-level points-of-view in the work. But Mustian pulls off all the scene and time shifts with a confident deftness that doesn't leave the reader behind. It's a good read. And a welcome departure from the kind of day-job wordsmithing Mustian has to deal with.

"Well if you're like I am and you have a law practice and then the city commission and it's a whole bunch of kind of cut and dried, black and white stuff. So this is kind of a creative, left-brain outlet that you know is kind of helpful; it keeps me sane through the rest of that stuff."

But Mustian thinks he never would have pursued the joy of writing had he not first re-discovered the joy of reading. He says that came early in his law career when a colleague loaned him a dramatic account of the Lewis and Clark expedition.

"It was the Undaunted Courage' the Stephen Ambrose book. And you know after that I said, This is fun; I'm enjoying this." so after that, I read a lot. I don't watch a lot of TV, so I probably read about forty novels a year and it's fun. And I go back and read stuff I should have read a long time ago, or DID read a long time ago and don't remember much anymore and there are just wonderful, wonderful works out there that if you take the time, you'll really enjoy them."

Now Mustian says his recreational writing is part of his regular daily routine.

"The pattern is that I get up early in the morning and I'll write then for about forty-five minutes to an hour. And then I'm off into the day and everything else kind of takes over so it takes me a long time to create something. But I've discovered that I enjoy it and that it's something I look forward to and you'd be surprised, if you do it every day, how much actually gets done."

And, even as "The Gendarme" hits the market, Mustian's third novel is in the works.
"Well yeah, I've written a draft of a novel, because this has taken so long between everything else and so I'm hoping to sell that to the publisher that's publishing The Gendarme' and we'll see in the next few months."

The launch party for "The Gendarme" happens this Thursday afternoon at five in Tallahassee's Brokaw-McDougall House. It's also a benefit for the Leon High School Foundation and Tallahassee Memorial Cancer Wing.