Tag Archives: Author Interview

Meet the Author… Rudi Jennings

This week’s author is another Dark Sider (from The Darker Side of Fiction book signing in Peterborough last October). I only had a little time to chat with Rudi, but I immediately thought he was far too modest. His book intrigued me; the cover is simple yet compelling, the blurb even more so. Let’s find out more about this lovely author.

Rudi Jennings

Rudi Jennings

Biography

Rudi Michael Jennings spent the majority of his childhood growing up in the Norfolk, UK, countryside of fields and trees, really living amongst nature and possibly giving the basis of description in his book. Through travel, various professions ranging from pest controller to close protection officer, and a keen interest in psychology and fantasy writings, he developed a style of his very own and is keen to share it with the fantasy adventure world. This plans to be the first installment and adventure of many to come.

What do you love most about the writing process?

The total emersion into a world you have created, a world you can invent as you go along and I guess most of all, the amazing feedback I’ve been receiving. Not just the 5-star reviews, but people really taking time to explain what they like and all the questions. It really makes you feel like someone has lost themselves in your world.

Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?

Rudi_Jennings_WaterstonesV2.jpgOne method I have been trying to get across to all the schools and colleges I’ve visited is my method. When I was at school we had to read authors’ works but had no instruction into their process of writing. So I always keep and pen and paper by the bed, as the first three chapters of my book was a dream I had. Also, I tell students I don’t pay attention to typical fantasy word counts; I just write scenes. Then I will place these scenes in some sort of order, then consider writing more scenes to join them up. Then again set them out in order and write more scenes to fill in the gaps. When you step back and look at your story, you’ve nearly got your word count without even knowing it.

Do consider yourself to be a successful writer? What do you think would make you successful?

On the scale of success this is a tricky one, what do you class as successful? I think money and fame tend to come and go, people are famous these days for just being on a reality show. Several different students have told me I have inspired them, I think that is the true height of success, inspiration. If you can get someone else to try writing, then really that’s about as successful as you can be.

Could you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?

The Last Myon on the Waterstones book shelfSo I am currently writing the second book to my Myon series. I plan to write one more, then a prequel, however not strictly in that order. It is just such an epic experience, people are always asking ‘how’s the next book coming?’ and ‘what happens to such and such?’ I love just having ideas pop into my head and the rush in excitement at getting them down on paper, I think the people that enjoyed my first book will love the second… Well, I hope.

What genre do you consider your book? Have you considered writing in another genre?

My book is Fantasy Adventure with a dark twist, it’s really just the sort of thing I’d love to read, so it was a bonus so many others felt the same. I have had ideas on a post-apocalyptic style novel, but I’m just concentrating all my mind on The Last Myon series for now, but who knows what the future will hold when I’m done here.

Does your book have a lesson, a moral?

Rudi_Jennings_TheLastMyon1I think it was an unintentional moral that has crept in from something my parents always taught my brother and me; never give up, never quit. I, like many people, have had to overcome some shocking huge obstacles, it’s only after these things we can really appreciate the goodness. That did bleed over into my main character and I tried to give this positive outlook for others to take away with them.

Can you give us an interesting fun fact about your book?

It was a dream, it sounds such a cliché, I know, but the first three chapters were a dream I had, I wasn’t even in the dream, just watching the event unfold. When I woke up I had to jot it all down, not with any real intention of writing a book. But a few weeks later I glanced at the notes, my mind went swimming back to that moment and I did wonder if I could actually write a book. After weeks of pros and cons, I thought what the hell, it’s for my own pleasure and I won’t even bother getting it published. Wow did that change.

What is your favorite part of the book?

It would have to be the few Chapters beginning with ‘The Pit’. So I had nearly finished the whole book, but I couldn’t for the life of me join two scenes together, I wracked my brains for weeks and suddenly when walking around in the supermarket one evening it came to me like a lightning strike to the head! I had to stand to one side of the aisle and text myself the plan, I really did enjoy writing that section and I’ve had some amazing feedback from readers.

What did you edit out of this book?

Rudi_Jennings_TheLastMyon4Very little, I have notebooks of other characters which didn’t make an appearance (this time), also this was one of my most feared moments. Sending it off to be edited was torture, I kept expecting to get it back cut to ribbons, turns out I had nothing to worry about, and the editor didn’t want to change anything, just a few grammatical errors so it really is how it was meant to be.

What has been the best compliment?

I did a signing at a library and a lady that worked there approached me. She said she had brought my book, not because she liked Fantasy, but because I was coming along and it would be a good thing to get me to sign it. Well, she said after reading my work, she felt she had totally missed out on a genre and will definitely be reading more fantasy works. That blew me away to think I had turned someone on to that whole genre.

Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Firstly, to my mum; I think now your one of my biggest fans. Thank you so much for reading to me as a little boy. I am confident this is what got me wanting to be an author. My dad; thank you for your unwavering support of every crazy idea and scheme I’ve come up with (which is a hell of a lot). Finally, to my readers, friends and fans; your words and ratings have blown me away, it still feels like a dream and with all your wanting to find out more, it helps me to focus and keep on going to fulfill my lifelong dream of being an accomplished writer. Thank you all.

Thank you, Rudi, for sharing your journey into authorship with us. I, too, had my first story come to me in a dream and never dreamt I’d be an author. I agree it’s a fantastic feeling to bring joy to others. I’m sure you’ll bring lots of joy in the years to come!

You can follow Rudi Jennings via the following social media:

Twitter

Facebook

YouTube Interview with Rudi Jennings

Amazon Author page

Rudi Jennings’s book The Last Myon is available in Waterstones, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, eBay, and many good bookstores and online retailers as well as from Olympia Publishers.


Living Like A Vampire Blog Tour – Day 6

I have an interesting author interview for you today. The questions are asked by the lovely Kerry Parson on her Chat About Books blog. Check it out if you want to know which author I’d like to meet, which fictional character I’d like to meet, and where I’d like to take them for a coffee.

Chat About Books Blog

Please excuse the writing mistakes in the interview answers. I was extremely tired and in a hurry when I wrote them. Not a good combination! I’m mixing up UK and US English and found at least one punctuation mistake XD.

Thank you, Kerry, for taking an interest in me. It was fun to answer your questions. And of course for being part of my Blog Tour. You rock!

The Emit Blackwell Show

I have been interviewed for the third time (first time by Detroit’s DJ Jon, the second time by lovely Londoner Angelina Kalahari)! This time by Emit Blackwell from Michigan, and it’s live!

The Emit Blackwell Show 4.png

 

You can listen to the interview here:
 

But why stop at my interview? Emit interviews a lot of authors to put them in the spotlight for a moment. Check them out too on The Emit Blackwell Show website!

The Emit Blackwell Show

My Interview with Angelina Kalahari is live!

If my day couldn’t get any better, I just got word from Angelina that her interview with me is live on her website and YouTube!

Have a listen to the interview with her. She’s a wonderful lady, and I so hope to be able to meet her at the London Fair next year!

Thanks for having me on your podcast, Angelina! xx

 

My interview with Dr DJ JoN will be airing soon!

Remember I mentioned I was interviewed by Dr DJ JoN last week? Well, I just got the heads up that the interview will be aired on Flobcast Radio within the next hour! Don’t worry if you’ll miss it as it will be repeated Monday, Wednesday, and Friday next week a during the 1-3pm (EST) timeslot (early in the slot).

The website to go to is:

Flobcast

You only have to click on the play button on the website to hear the radio station.

I haven’t heard it yet, so I’m going to listen too!

An Apropos Interview with Dr DJ JoN

I had a great time chatting with DJ JoN via Skype yesterday. As you may have noticed, I did a shout out to book bloggers to join me in my October blog tour. Dr DJ JoN was the first to contact me and asked if I wanted to talk on his show about it. Of course, after the great advice of my fellow author Wendy H. Jones, I said, ‘Yes!’ It’s my second interview this past week, the first with Angelina Kalahari which will air sometime this coming week (but more about this later!), and I was thrilled.

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Originally, we planned the interview to happen on Saturday, but as we checked our connection with Skype, I mentioned we could do the interview now if he had the time. I’m afraid I put DJ a bit on the spot, but he grabbed the moment, set up his microphone and everything, and we started chatting. He wasn’t prepared, I wasn’t prepared, and I’m afraid my answers are all over the place, but I hope the listeners can make sense out of my ramblings!

Not only does DJ look like Santa, he also gives new artists a chance to get heard, mainly musical artists, but he, and I quote, “loves to give every artist an opportunity to be heard.” He has a real nice, warm-timbered voice, and it’s very pleasant to listen to. He made me feel at ease (yes, I shiver out of nerves when interviewed), and after the interview ended, we chatted for another hour about all sorts. DJ has great stories to tell as he’s been around and has met many great people. I wished there were more hours in a day so I could hear all of them, but the clock struck twelve and DJ was called for dinner while I was slowly turning into a pumpkin (there’s a five-hour difference between us). We called it a day, and I went to sleep with a smile.

After DJ has edited the track, he’ll send it to me for approval, and hopefully he’ll be able to air in before Halloween. I’ll let you all know when it’s airing on Flobcast Radio (also on Facebook)!

Thanks again for the opportunity, DJ! I hope your dream of fishing naked on a Costa Rica beach comes true!

Meet the Author… Craig Wainwright

I met Craig Wainwright on Twitter (where I meet most of the authors I interview). He was talking about a big reveal and ramped the suspension up enough to peak my interest. I was dying to find out what he was talking about! His first book, The Lost Titan, launched yesterday, and Craig’s going to reveal his big secret in this interview, so quickly continue reading…

Craig Wainwright

Craig_Wainwright_W700.jpg

Biography

I’m normally a reserved, middle of the road, kind of  guy, whose always been geeky about Sci-Fi. When I got married, I warned Diane, my long suffering wife, that there would be three people in our relationship: me, her and the Doctor (big Doctor Who fan you see). Nowadays, the Doctor and Diane often pop out and leave me busily tapping away on the keyboard, only to return before I miss them – it’s a time travelling thing, I’ve been told…

Who is the most famous author you have ever met?

Terrance Dicks, Dr Who editor (from 1968 to 1974)
Terrance Dicks, Dr Who editor (from 1968 to 1974)

Terrance Dicks, by a long way. To date he is still the longest serving Doctor Who script editor there’s been (1969 – 1974), wrote some cracking stories for the TV series and then topped that by writing the lion’s share of the Doctor Who range of Target books. What a guy.

Of course, being a cheeky Doctor Who fan when I was younger, I thought it would be fun to invite him round to my house when meeting him at a signing. To my amazement he agreed. At the time I was a member of the local Doctor Who group and so I quickly organised a sponsored “Stay Awake” event for the visit. Terrance got the proceedings going, with an auction and stayed for a couple of hours afterwards to chat with us.

Then I asked the typical fan question: ‘What advice would you give to someone who wants to write a book?’ His answer was the obvious one, but it stuck in my mind because he’s such a lovely bloke. ‘Just write it,’ he said. Succinct, concise and to the point. The answer hit home.

We raised £600 for Cancer Research that day, and am proud of the fact.

What made you want to become a writer?

An urge to tell stories about characters which have lived with me since I was 10. I’ve needed to do this for a number of years and have had various failed attempts since 1989 to get the job done. The thought of dying before I’d managed to let everyone know about these wonderful characters and the situations they find themselves in, mortified me. Morbid I know, but it’s true, and since I’m not getting any younger, I knew I had to do it sooner rather than later to have any chance of getting book 5 written.

What do you love most about the writing process?

via GIPHY

That moment when a character says something and you think that they have suddenly just come alive during that moment. It’s a magical time. Then, as the book takes its course, these people go on their journey. You see them grow and, by the end of the book, after all the twists and turns in the plot, they come out different people – as anyone would. With my style of writing, with the plot driving things forward and not the characters, this development does add an extra dynamic which can enhance the story.

On the flip side, I hate writing the first draft. I find the whole process painful and really hard work. But after that hurt, building on the original draft, the process suddenly becomes enjoyable because it then becomes a time of discovery. This happened with Book 1, were several things happened in the first five chapters and by the tenth I thought, ‘There have to be some consequences here’, and so the court scene was born. One of my beta readers loved that scene, as I do, because the hero shows he’s not just a physically powerful individual, but also a clever one as well. A fact which will become more important as the series progresses.

What genre do you consider your book(s) to be? Have you considered writing in another genre?

The Last Titan, by Craig Wainwright
The Last Titan, by Craig Wainwright

That’s an interesting question because this series is multi genre: Book 1, The Last Titan, is Sci-Fi with a strong super hero facet to it, bringing in the fantastical element. Because I plan to the nth degree, I know Book 2, The Last Titan: Titan’s Quest, will leave Sci-Fi behind and become purely Fantasy, with large dollops of horror towards the end. Book 3 leans more towards Horror with Fantasy elements embedded within it. I see this as being a very dark book and only hope I can pull it off as Horror isn’t my genre of choice. Strangely, and having just said that, these books cry out for the darker writing to add to the growing menace. Book 4 will return to straight Fantasy again. That’s just series 1. Series 2 will be different again in structure and feel, but that’s a long way off…

Does your book have a lesson? Moral?

These books are about ten races of people who need one another to survive, for them racial tension never existed until one man brought with him intolerance and hate. With his coming terrible acts of violence followed. When such a scenario enters a society which seems utopian, we would often find a very fertile breeding ground for the evil to grow.

The motto, I suppose. is that we need to spot this type of person when they get into power and deal with them quickly. We don’t want another Hitler and we definitely don’t want another world war.

What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research online for your book?

That’s easy. This was for Book 2, which I’m writing now, and it’s the melting point of Quartz. It starts melting at around 600c, if you’re interested.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

The overall process of research for the book has been mainly passive, since I’m quite well read when it comes to the history and literature of Ancient Greece. I spent a few nights researching the Chernobyl accident and got an understanding of how it happened and how the reactor was designed. It turned out in the end most of that research wasn’t used in the book. I also did quite a bit of research on Mauy Thai, since the hero is a an expert in the martial art. I checked out a few websites and bought a couple of VHS (yes VHS) tapes and sat down and watched them, taking a few notes.

Regarding much lighter research I spent a bit of time finding the right stars which might have Hellas orbiting them. They ended up being in Ursa Major and they’re a true binary system called Gliese 412. These stars are red dwarfs and one is much smaller than the other. However, every now and again this smaller star becomes much brighter than its neighbour, which fits beatifully with one of the background Mythos I’ve already written. I won’t say any more because I plan to bring the Mythos out as anthologies eventually. Maybe even bringing the first one out before The Last Titan 2.

What did you edit out of this book?

via GIPHY

Loads of stuff. The bulk of it centred around a narrator and two children who would ask him questions about the action in the preceding chapters. These guys discussed pertinent points which I felt needed further explanation but couldn’t fitted in the story any other way. This allowed me to bring in several background stories (one of which tied in with the end of the book beautifully). When I later looked at these sections, I had to admit they had become somewhat redundant as I grasped the mechanics of writing a novel and the need to save space added further reasons to chop these sections anyway.

Interestingly, there was also an alternative chapter 8 which introduced the character of Jimmy (a tramp) and it described Omicron (the female villain) conducting horrific experiments on his two friends. This was made redundant when Jimmy informs a character later on what he saw, and rather than taking fifteen pages to get this across it took three paragraphs to explain it instead. The chapter also had a very different version of Jimmy; he was a more crotchety character. I prefer the character he’s evolved into because he’s a much more approachable, comical character – to the betterment of the whole series I think. 

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

I like to leave little markers which might hint at what’s be coming: a little comment here, somebody saying something there. That sort of thing.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

I think some writers maybe tend to accept their lot and don’t try to push for the best they deserve. My advice is to be ambitious and adventurous in your plans, be cheeky and ask the questions to get what you want when it comes to publishing and publicity. You don’t get unless you ask in this world, unfortunately.

From the above you can tell that I’m very ambitious, maybe more than my talent deserves, but I’ve known what I want from the start and I’ve pushed to get it. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, then other times it does and I’ve ended up doing business with some wonderful people who wanted me to succeed because they saw my drive and determination. Chris Grant (the voice over artist for the ad) put in an email to me: “So, go get’em Giant Killer.” A comment which sums up what I’m trying to achieve with this first book – break through and get established quickly. I dearly want these characters to be remembered and loved even. If I fail, well, at least I tried. If I succeed, then book 8 would most definitely be on the cards

The only other thing I can say is love your subject matter and let it draw you in. Some writers are mechanical in their execution of prose. Get involved with it. I’ve had a love affair with my characters since I was a kid and they’re so clear in my head now, they’ve become like old friends. If you are detached from the work, it’ll reflect in it and your characters will end up being distant at best and uninteresting at worst. Get into their heads, understand them, and the characters will write themselves.

So… what’s your big reveal?

As mentioned earlier, I have a book trailer/ad. Apart from promoting the book via an interview and review in Starburst (a British Science Fiction Magazine), followed by the ad in SFX (a British Science Fiction and Fantasy magazine) and Starburst for three months and a small ad on Doctor Who Online, it is also going to be… on TV! The book trailer will be shown on Sky1 and Syfy from August the 23rd for two weeks!

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Wow! That is so awesome! I bet every writer is incredibly jealous now. I certainly am. You do dream big, and I applaud you for it! I wish you all the best with your launch, Craig, and hope your book sales sky-rocket!

Craig Wainwright’s book is available NOW on Amazon, and you can watch the trailer on his website. You can contact Craig through Twitter.


Meet the Author… Ken Stark

I’ve yet to read Ken Stark’s books, but I know I will… one day. Their blurbs stir something primal that makes you want to read them, to find out if the protagonists are going to survive or not. I’m pretty sure not all of them will… Meet Ken Stark, author of two zombie novels, a novelette about unspeakable horrors, and his new horror novel Arcadia Falls.

Ken Stark

Ken_Stark.jpeg

Biography

Ken Stark lives in Vancouver, Canada, where he worked in the armoured car industry for far too long before finally committing full-time to his one true passion. Ken’s writing tends toward the dark, yet through it all he remains an optimist, seeing a ray of hope in even the most dire of circumstances.

And yes, he once gave his lunch to a rat, but in his defense, the scruffy little thing looked hungry.

If you could tell your younger writing-self anything, what would it be?

Ken_Stark_Stage3So many things! But the top two would have to be:

a) Get out and experience everything life has to offer, and

b) It’s perfectly alright to be disappointed, but don’t get discouraged. Good or bad, every experience a writer has adds more color to the palette, and every disappointment brings us one step closer to success.

But younger me probably wouldn’t have listened anyway. He was kind of a know-it-all.

What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?

When the time came to dedicate myself completely to writing, I knew I would love it, but I was surprised at how much I loved it. I expected it to be like satisfying an itch I was never quite able to scratch, but it was more like breathing freely for the first time.

What does your typical writing day look like? How many hours a day do you write?

I actually have nothing like a typical writing day. I might write for 10 minutes or 10 hours, depending on my mood and whatever else I have going on. I punched a clock for so many years that I never want to think of writing as a job. It’s my passion, and passion doesn’t stick to a schedule.

Pen or typewriter or computer?

Ken_Stark_AlphaI would be completely lost without my computer. My brain seems to work at the exact same speed as my ham-fisted typing, so the words have a way of flowing in a very natural rhythm. And of course, a computer makes editing a breeze. It’s hard enough chopping out all of those fine words without having to rely on erasers and White-Out.

Do you write alone or in public?

I’m always alone when I write. I’m sure I could get along just fine in a crowded room, but only if no one was allowed to peek over my shoulder. Tuning out the distractions is one thing, someone reading an unpolished work is another thing else entirely.

What is your favorite genre? Why?

I’ll read just about anything, but when I write, I prefer a good scary tale. Fear is the most fundamental of emotions, after all. Say what you will about love and compassion and caring, it was fear that kept our primitive ancestors alive in a violent world and let us to survive as a species. Whether you shy away from scary things or face them head-on to get that rush of adrenaline, we are all hard-wired to feel fear, and if I can tap into that most primitive of emotions for even an instant, it’s as if I’m kicking up a few million years of genetic memory. That’s a pretty awesome superpower to have.

What is/are your book(s) about? Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

Ken_Stark_Arcadia FallsMy latest release is a break from the zombie apocalypse, setting the horror on a much smaller stage. Arcadia Falls is a town with a secret. People are going missing and no one seems to care, until one young man and his little band of misfits start to look into what evil thing might be preying on their town. I won’t tell you what they discover, but you know it ain’t Care Bears!

Does your book have a lesson? Moral?

It’s not so much a moral as an observation. As dark as my works are, the common threads running through them all are the simple act of hope and that ridiculously powerful force known as friendship. There’s never a time when all hope is lost, and a good friend in your corner can make all the difference in the world.

How did you come up with the idea for Arcadia Falls?

One day, I happened to ask my best friend’s teenaged daughter what kind of books she liked to read. Her response was, “Something scary, with a monster, and some kind of mystery.” From that barest of outlines came Arcadia Falls. It’s being marketed as YA because I kept the language cleaner than my usual, but that’s the only concession I made. And really, I did that more for the parents of younger readers rather the young readers themselves.

What has been the best compliment?

Ken_Stark_JittersI met a man named Chris Roy on the Deadman’s Tome podcast a while back. He is a writer, currently serving a life sentence in prison. He was interested in my books, so I sent him a few and he shared them around the cell block. Much to my amazement, several of those men took the time and effort to write a review by hand, photograph the piece of paper, and have Chris send me the pix. Understand that these are the kinds of guys who won’t hold back what they really think, and not only did they like the books, but they actually went through the trouble to tell me in those handwritten notes. That response simply blew my mind, and those reviews will always be very special to me.

Where can we find you online?

website,

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Amazon Author page

iTunes book page(s)

Ken’s books are also on sale at:

Barnes & Noble

Audible

Blog Tour – Mark L. Fowler

Blue Murder Blog Tour

Welcome to Mark L. Fowler’s Blog Tour! Mark is promoting his new book, Blue Murder, in the Tyler & Mills crime series. I’ve interviewed Mark again recently, and you can read the interview here.

Mark has been kind enough to give me a copy of Blue Murder in advance. Here’s my review:

I received an advanced copy of Mark Fowler’s second DCI Tyler and DS Mills murder mystery novel, Blue Murder and this review is given freely. Not having read the first novel, Red Is The Colour, I found myself easily engrossed in Blue Murder (trying to finish the book during early hours of the night), enjoying the developing professional relationship between brooding DCI Jim Tyler and the sarcastically witty DS Danny Mills, and getting to know more about Tyler’s dark past.

Blue Murder sees an ex-band member, Adam, murdered. His girlfriend, Daisy, points the finger to her sister, Janine, who stole her ex-boyfriend and lead singer of the band, Johnny, from her. But there’s also Billy, the two young men’s school buddy, who had stepped in to take Adam’s place when he left the band not too long ago. Then there’s the band’s song, ‘All Colours are Blue,’ that’s becoming a hit, and money is being made. Now everybody is claiming to have written the song. Tyler and Mills have their hands full trying to figure out who’s lying about what, which is made difficult with lead singer Johnny missing since Adam’s murder.

Blue Murder is a great psychological thriller about love, fortune, and fame. Tactical interrogations are prime in this well-told story. Red herrings are strewn left, right, and center to keep you guessing. Pick up this book and you’re in for a great, keeping-you-on-your-toes detective novel!

Blue Murder is available as eBook and paperback:

Meet the Author… Mark L. Fowler

Blue Murder Blog Tour

Welcome to Mark L. Fowler’s Blog Tour! As mentioned in my interview with him last March, I’ve known Mark L. Fowler for a few years now. We both joined One Stop Fiction Authors’ Resource Group (on Facebook) when it only had a few members. Of course I said ‘yes!’ when Mark asked me to be a beta reader for his new book, Blue Murder, book 2 of the Tyler and Mills series. As I’m part of his blog tour, I’d love to give him another boost 🙂 .

Mark L. Fowler

Mark_Fowler

Biography

Mark L. Fowler has five published novels under his belt, and he recently contributed one of his many short stories to the Dark Minds charity collection. Mark’s most recent book, Blue Murder, is the second in a police detective series featuring DCI Tyler and DS Mills. The first book to feature the detectives, Red Is The Colour, was published by Bloodhound Books last year and shortlisted for the 2018 Arnold Bennett Book Prize. Mark is also the author of The Man Upstairs, featuring hard-boiled detective Frank Miller, and Silver, a psychological thriller. His first book, Coffin Maker, continues to defy any attempts to categorize it. All of his books can be read as stand-alone works.

Who is the most famous author you have ever met?

Peter James. I met him at the Winchester Annual Writers’ conference many years ago. I attended his workshop and was lucky enough to have a one: one session with him, during which he looked over the opening chapter of my first novel and gave me some sound advice.

What do you love most about the writing process?

I love setting off on new adventures, not always certain of where they will take me. I love exploring new characters, watching them develop as I work on them, and finding what makes them tick.

Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

Mark_Fowler_RedIsTheColourFor me, being a writer is absolutely a gift. Yes, it is hard work, yes there are frustrations getting your books out there, but the creative part of the job, the putting pen to paper, developing storylines, creating settings, sharpening dialogue – I just love the whole business of writing.

Do you outline or just write?

A little of both. I like to have a strong idea of my main characters, and a vivid sense of place, of where the story is happening, before I begin writing. I will usually have a clear idea of the primary situation or conflict that will need to be resolved before the story can reach its ending. But detailed plotting is not something that I like to do before beginning the writing. If I had too much plot before I started the book, I would feel constrained and my characters would not have sufficient room to develop. I know writers who plot intricately before they begin a book, leaving little or nothing to chance, while others just go for it. It is whatever works for the individual writer. I’m somewhere in between.

What is your favorite genre? Why?

I read more crime fiction than any other genre, and my writing has increasingly moved that way too. I have always loved detective stories, both on the page and on screen. Most of my published work so far has been in the detective genre, one way or another, most clearly in my Tyler and Mills books and The Man Upstairs. Whilst Silver is more a psychological thriller than a classic detective novel, the main character, the writer and journalist Nick Slater, is effectively playing the role of detective, trying to get to the heart of a baffling and intriguing mystery.

What genre do you consider your latest book and have you considered writing in another genre?

Blue Murder, like its predecessor Red Is The Colour, is a British police detective novel. But the books are also historic crime, set in 2002-2003. Part of my reason for doing this was my interest in a style of policing that is a little less dependent on technology, and more about detectives going door to door, face to face. The action takes place on the streets of a North Staffordshire city, not in forensic laboratories and on computer screens. I have also written in other genres, Coffin Maker being a good example. It’s just that no-one, including the author, can quite nail the elusive genre that can define it! A lot of people really love that about the book.

What is your book about? Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

Mark_Fowler_Blue_MurderThe sub-title of Blue Murder is: Fame. Fortune. Murder. And here lies the first clue to what the book is about. Johnny and the Swamp Seeds are a local band on the cusp of success when the singer Johnny Richards goes missing. Then the body of a young man is found in the local canal. The detectives, DCI Tyler and DS Danny Mills, not only find themselves trying to solve a baffling mystery, but at the same time their efforts appear to be doing nothing more than catapulting a now singer-less band to fame and fortune. What a lot of people most enjoyed about Red Is The Colour was the relationship, strained at times, between Tyler and Mills, and in Blue Murder I have worked hard to develop these two characters further. So the book is as much about the detectives, and also about the city in which they live and work, as it is about finding out what happened to Johnny Richards.

What gave you inspiration for your book? How did you come up with the idea for Blue Murder? Tell us about your writing process and the way you brainstorm story ideas.

I suppose that the inspiration for Blue Murder initially came from being in a band many years ago, though I have been careful to write a work of fiction and not an autobiography. I had the initial idea about the singer going missing at the point at which he and his band were about to break into the big time. Then I began to ask questions about why this might happen, and who might stand to gain. But once I had the basic ingredients, I didn’t want to plot any further. I wanted my detectives to do the work for me. I wanted Tyler and Mills, rather than the author, to dig into the mystery and find the truth. As far as possible, I handed the investigation over to them. After all – they are the detectives!

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?

I wouldn’t say ‘hijack’ exactly. While giving the story over to my detectives, in one sense, I still retain the last word. This is why I like to have some idea of the shape of the story from the outset, and why theme is important – to stop the book from veering off course. Some plot developments would seem inappropriate to the story I want to tell, and this comes through experience. The more I write about Tyler and Mills, for example, the more I know when I’m on track. If characters start to act in bizarre ways that give no meaning to the story and for no good reason – if their behaviour ceases to support the theme of the book – then I know I’m getting off-track and need to pull things back. For me this would be one of the dangers of just writing a book completely from scratch, without first getting to know my characters a little bit, and where they come from and where they are heading.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Have you written any other books that are not published?

Mark_Fowler_SilverI have at least half a dozen completed, unpublished novels and quite a number of partially completed books too. In some cases I am simply still not satisfied with the books, and need to return to them afresh to bring them to publication. Others may never see the light of day for one reason or another. In some cases I may have set off writing them too early, without thinking about the characters, the locations and/or the basic plot sufficiently, and then getting into more of a mess than I know how to get out of. It’s all experience though, and I have learned a lot from writing some books that I know may never be read. But these days I would rather set off on my writing adventures with the knowledge that I have enough to get me through to a satisfactory ending. As a writer you never stop learning.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

Publishing my books has made me think differently about the whole writing process. I am more aware these days of writing for a readership, an audience. It has made me more disciplined in my approach, asking more questions at an earlier stage in the development of an idea, and a lot less self-indulgent. When I began writing short stories, a long time ago, I used to just let my imagination soar. These days I only allow that once I have a solid base beneath. I do the groundwork first and then allow the imagination of my characters to soar. And on good days they always seem to do just that. Bless them.

Thanks again, Mark, for sharing more about your writing with us. I loved reading Blue Murder and can thoroughly recommend it to anybody looking for a good crime story to read during the holidays!

For those of you who’d like to know more about Mark L. Fowler, you can follow him via:

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