Mark Abramson was a San Francisco bartender during the worst years of the AIDS crisis. He was also involved in several of the major fundraising events of the times, from gay bars to street fairs to the waterfront piers and theaters in between. He is the author of the new memoir For My Brothers that recounts those years and the best-selling Beach Reading mystery series, set in the present day Castro neighborhood.
When people ask what do you do, you tell them… ?
I tell them I’m a writer. I always have been, but it took the publication of my first few books to be able to claim that for myself.
What’s your biggest struggle — work or otherwise?
Finding enough hours in the day for everything I want to do plus take naps.
If someone said I want to do what you do, what advice would you have for them?
Read a lot. Figure out what kind of writing you relate to and read even more of that genre. Then write. Don’t be afraid to copy another writer’s style at first. You’ll develop your own. Read some more. Write some more.
Do you consider yourself successful?
Yes. Why? Because I am happy.
What YouTube video makes you feel better?
Ella Fitzgerald singing anything.
Who did you admire when you were 10 years old?
My saxophone teacher. I wanted to be a musician… and I was one.
What’s wrong with society today?
Greed and the lack of emphasis on the importance of educating our children.
Are you using any medications? If so, which ones?
Far too many to list here, but grateful that they’re keeping me alive and healthy.
What is your fondest memory?
Going fishing with my Dad.
How many times do you fall in love each day?
As many as possible.
What would you like to see happen in your lifetime?
I would like to see sensible conservatives take back the Republican party from the extremists who are destroying it. I’m a liberal, but I think the country does better with at least two strong parties and right now it’s insane.
When you have sex, what are some of the things you like to do?
Not kiss and tell.
What are you working on right now?
The eighth book in the Beach Reading series, a memoir about a trip I took to Europe on my 18th birthday and editing my journals from the first day I arrived in San Francisco, July 9, 1975.
If there were one thing about the Bay Area that you would change, what would it be?
More sunny days. Cheaper rents. A cure for homelessness.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen?
A flying saucer, twice, about 25 years apart and a thousand miles away and I’m sure it was the same one both times.
What can you do with 50 dollars?
Shop for and cook a fabulous meal for friends.
What are some of your favorite smells?
Chlorine bleach, raspberries, roses, a freshly cut lawn.
If you got an all expenses paid life experience of your choice, what would it be?
Maybe a trip around the world on a yacht — or the money to buy and keep one of my favorite houses in San Francisco.