Here is Mark’s Biography:
I live in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although my books are set in Oxfordshire where I was born and raised. I spent five years serving in the Royal Navy on submarines in the late 70’s/early 80’s. The navy introduced me to lots of different characters and taught me the importance of teamwork and acting responsibly.
I have always had an overwhelming urge to write. Poems, short stories, novels, even random stuff that just pops into my head. I sold a couple of short stories to magazines back in the nineties, but then I was widowed and left on my own to raise two young daughters. I didn’t write for a long time as I adjusted to my new role in life. Now, thankfully, I have rediscovered my passion for writing and it’s all systems go!
My three favourite authors are Stephen King, Tom Sharpe and Catherine Cookson. My favourite book is Misery by Stephen King, and I think the film adaptation is superb.
And here is my interview with Mark:
1) Tell us about your Detective / main character.
Ben Whittle isn’t your normal sort of hero. He’s shy and insecure, and was only thrown into the job because his father was captured by a cult and subsequently left paralysed from the waist down. Ben struggles to overcome events in his childhood that have left him lacking in confidence and self-belief. Bullied at school for his stammer, constantly put down by his domineering father, Ben has to overcome his lack of confidence and rescue his father from a murderous cult controlled by an egocentric psychopath. I suppose you could say that Ben is the exact opposite of your normal, all-conquering hero.
2) Do you plot the entire novel and know who did it before you start, or can that change?
I plot the whole thing. I didn’t used to, but I found writing by the seat of my pants led me down too many blind alleys. I like to know who did what and when they did it before I get going. That’s not to say it can’t wander off and lead me somewhere good, but on the whole, I pretty much know the whole thing.
3) How violent are your novels?
There’s a fair smattering of violence. I try to ensure that it’s only relevant to the plot, and not there for the sake of it. I like to go deep into the world of the antagonist, so generally, a lot of their backstories contain violence as well.
4) Do you include humour?
Yes. I think because the stories are pretty dark they need a light touch here and there, in much the same way a comedy can benefit from some serious moments.
5) What are you working on now?
A new story which isn’t part of the Ben Whittle series. It’s more of a psychological thriller with a supernatural twist. Something that really excites me as a writer because it allows my imagination to run wild.
6) What do you do when you don’t write?
I like playing guitar and listening to music. I also enjoy trawling the internet for news articles and videos that are as far away as possible from the mainstream news media.
7) Who are your favourite independent writers?
Maggie James, who writes psychological suspense novels that examine the inner workings of the mind. All her excellent books draw you into the characters’ lives. Her novella, Blackwater Lake is permanently free on Amazon. Well worth checking out.
Mike Billington, who writes in a range of genres, but I particularly like his mystery books.
Emma Salisbury, who writes Scottish based crime fiction. I like the way her protagonists have flaws, and although they’re not perfect, they try to do the right thing. There are many others, but those are my top three.
8) Who are your favourite authors?
Stephen King, Catherine Cookson and Tom Sharpe. All three have influenced me in one way or another. King’s dark side, Sharpe’s humour, Cookson’s characterisation. The very best.
9) What is your favourite book?
Misery by Stephen King. It’s got the lot for me. Annie Wilkes is my favourite character of all time. She’s just the right amount of perfect contradictions, and her own use of language just adds to the flavour. The way she can chop a man’s foot off with an axe and then scold him for swearing is just priceless. I learnt a lot from Annie Wilkes. She is like my fictional role model!
10) What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?
Dr Sleep on the kindle. Superb book. King’s update of The Shining. His imagination knows no bounds. Dan Torrance, the kid in the original story, is now grown up. He helps people cross over. Known as Dr Sleep, he still possesses the ‘shining’, only now he must use it to help destroy a group of old people (150 years plus) who travel across America feeding on death. Or, more to the point, the ‘steam’ that is released upon death. Particularly young kids who have the ‘Shining’ like Dan. I won’t say any more, suffice to say, it doesn’t disappoint. Absolutely loving it.
Social media links: