Tag Archives: Author Interview

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

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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:

UK Amazon Author Page

US Amazon Author Page

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram


Meet The Author… Mark Tilbury

On the 20th of April, Caroline Maston organized an online interview with Mark Tilbury who just released a new book of his, The Key to Death’s Door. I was lucky to have time to attend. I didn’t know Mark’s book had a paranormal twist and now I can’t wait to have the time to read his books!

Mark Tilbury

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Can you remember the first book you ever read (or was read to you)?

I can’t actually remember, but it would have had to have been Enid Blyton or a Noddy story.

What did you read yourself as a child?

The Famous Five, and then Agatha Christie as I got older.

The Key to Deaths DoorWhat’s the best book you’ve ever read?

From the Corner of Eye by Dean Koontz. There’s a really evil antagonist who made me laugh out loud. You could say it inspires my bad guys!

What did you do before you became an author?

Computer repair! Glad to get out of it!

When did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve tried on and off my whole life and had a little interest, but it wasn’t until Kindle/Amazon made it possible to self-publish that I really decided to go for it.

Are you a full-time writer?

Yes, I’m very lucky that it is.

Do you have a writing routine?

I generally tend to write in the afternoons as I don’t seem able to write at any other time of day.

The Abbatoir of DreamsWhat are your main writing ambitions?

To write a story of the caliber of The Green Mile by Stephen King.

Tell us something about your work.

I’d describe my books as dark thrillers with a supernatural twist. Usually, there’s a protagonist against the most evil antagonist I can think up and ordinary people in extraordinary situations.

What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

The editing! The writing itself I get lost in, but the editing has to polish out all the mistakes.

Where do you get your ideas from and do you ever find yourself worrying about what goes on inside your head?

Yep. My head is a very worrying place to live at times! The starting point of my stories is normally with an antagonist speaking to me. King from The Liar’s Promise said ‘what doesn’t kill you will make you wish it had’ and that was interesting enough for my head to develop it. As for the stories, it’s normally a case of ‘what if’, e.g. in The Liar’s Promise what if a child remembered being murdered in a past life and the murderer being alive in this one.

How do you come up with the paranormal aspects of your book?

My imagination generally gets the better of me! I think of a ‘straight’ story and then it gets taken over by my strange imagination! I do have a very open mind on the supernatural due to things I’ve experienced, so maybe they’ve influenced me too.

Would you write in other genres?

Yes. I do intend to write some straight psychological thrillers soon, without the supernatural element.

The Eyes of the AccusedHow much research goes into one of your books?

I research as I go, but I always make sure I get my facts straight.

Have you ever killed off someone you don’t like in real life in one of your books?

No. Thankfully I’ve not known anyone in real life I’d like to kill, but there are a large number of politicians I wouldn’t mind getting rid of fictionally.

Do you watch horror and thriller movies and TV shows or is it only written work for you?

I’ve got all of the Stephen King adaptations on DVD, and I also enjoy things like Trial and Retribution, Cracker and Prime Suspect (I have the box sets!).

If you could write with any other author living or dead, who would you choose?

Mark Edwards. I’ve just finished reading The Magpies and was blown away by it. It’s an amazing read, and kind of where I’d like my books to go in the future.

The Revelation RoomHow important is social media to you as an author?

Very! It enables me to talk to people who both have read, and who may read my books. I love the interaction with everyone online and all the various ways I can keep in touch with everyone.

Do your daughters read your books?

Yes, they both read them. The Liar’s Promise scared the bejeezus out of Danielle, my youngest one (21yrs old). I sometimes what they think of me when they read them!

With what book should new readers start if they’re interested in your work?

The Abattoir of Dreams. It does contain scenes of abuse so not for everyone, but is ultimately about good overcoming evil, friendship, and trust.

How do you unwind at the end of the day?

By watching things that make me laugh.

It was very nice to chat with Mark and find out he is a very nice, normal person (who just thinks up twisted stories 😀 )!

Mark Tilbury’s books (including the audiobook The Liar’s Promise) are all available on Amazon, with his latest one being The Key to Death’s Door.

Mark_Tilbury_Books

Mistral Dawn Blog Feature

Hey everybody,

I just wanted to share with you that Mistral Dawn interviewed me and it’s up on her website! You can find it here. You may find out something about me you didn’t know yet 😊.

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Thanks for the opportunity, Mistral! 😘

I’m an ‘Ask Me Anything’ Author Session Host!

Today, I received an email from the AMA (Ask Me Anything) team, asking me if I would like to host a session as an author on their site. I am so thrilled! I had never heard of them, but they are on Twitter. Any opportunity to get more exposure is good, of course, especially with my new release on sale this weekend!

Part of the process is that I have to authenticate that I am me, so I took this selfie. What do you think? Is this me?

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Why not ask me a question? You can find the session here, ask your questions now, and will answer them on Monday, 12 March, at 11:30am EST. All questions/answered are typed, so no video live feed, but I promise to behave anyway 🙂