Pacific Beach resident Mark Rutherford goes from Navy helicopter pilot to children’s book and sci-fi author

Mark Rutherford writes under the pen name PP Savage.
(Courtesy of Mark Rutherford)

When COVID-19 paused Mark Rutherford’s career as a helicopter pilot, he turned to writing. Since taking off on his initial crack at storytelling in 2020, he has not looked back.

Now, the Pacific Beach resident is coming out with his second published piece, “The Sideways 8: Indefinite Fate.” His first was the children’s book, “Vladimir Poopin: The Sinky Autocrap.”

“A few years ago, I got out of the Navy and ran right into writing. I started writing, and I began to write a lot,” Rutherford said.

For Rutherford, the transition from pilot to storyteller was a relatively seamless one, and he started out writing screenplays and movies. Eventually, as he got in the swing of crafting characters, plots and storylines, Rutherford said he realized that his true calling was book writing.

“I decided to write a movie, and that quickly turned into a novel,” Rutherford said. “I did not plan on writing, but it kept going and a year or so went by and I was suddenly 800 pages deep into a book.”

Rutherford uses the pseudonym PP Savage, a fun twist on his real identity.

“PP Savage was kind of just something fun that I decided to do. It’s a holdover from my call sign when I was in the Navy. ‘Pig Pen,’” Rutherford said.

While many authors stick with a specific genre, Rutherford took the down time he had during his career pause to wander down a vast number of creative paths. Simultaneously, as he began diving deeper into the world of sci-fi, Rutherford decided to write a children’s book.

While Rutherford’s sci-fi based novel, “The Sideways 8: Indefinite Fate,” was in the editing process, he published “Vladimir Poopin: The Sinky Autocrap.” But unlike the typical, goofy children’s book that line many shelves, Rutherford decided to add some real, factual context to this one.

The cover of the children's book "Vladimir Poopin: The Stinky Autocrap" by PP Savage.
(Courtesy of Mark Rutherford)

Vladimir Poopin is an evil character who steals children’s toys until he is ultimately confronted by a young girl. The book dives into complex themes and topics, in a comical and kid-friendly way.

“I decided to just get into it and start writing and my sister-in-law is a very talented artist who illustrated the book,” he said. “I figured that I could make part of it for a good cause, not only did I learn how to write and publish books, but I worked toward bettering people’s lives.”

It is being sold on Amazon for $12.99 (paperback) and $25.99 (hardcover). It is also available through other sites such as Barnes & Noble, Target and Walmart. It can also be purchased at

A portion of the proceeds goes towards supporting displaced families and children in Ukraine. If purchased through the BookBaby link on the book’s website, a larger donation can be made.

After his children’s book was published, Rutherford returned to his sci-fi writing, and began going back and forth with an editor on how to adjust, shift and alter the story to work for his audience.

The cover of PP Savage's sci-fi novel "The Sideways 8: Indefinite Fate."
The cover of PP Savage’s sci-fi novel “The Sideways 8: Indefinite Fate.”
(Courtesy of Mark Rutherford)

“The Sideways 8: Indefinite Fate” has themes of a dystopic future and will be available soon for pre-order as a paperback and e-book on Amazon.

It takes place in the year 2053, and Earth as we know it is inhospitable to human life. Early colonists roam Mars and struggle to survive, while powerful billionaires toy with the commercialization of space travel and their own hushed science experiments.

The main characters include space engineers, a pair of aging mothers and a failed influencer who are all determined to figure out what is really happening on Earth.

While the book is not out yet, the editing process is compete and Rutherford said he is excited to share his piece with the world soon.

“I have found some good freelance writers and a great editor who have helped get a lot of this done,” Rutherford said.

Although Rutherford said he is confident in the story he has put together, the process of getting his ideas to readers has not been simple.

“I have learned that it is very hard to find a publishing agency and while I would love to get picked up by a large publishing house, I think the way that is best is Amazon. This lets it get out to a wide audience base,” Rutherford said.