Mark has answered some of the questions he gets frequently asked.
Q: When is your next book out and what’s it about?
A: My next book is called The Hollows, which is out on July 8. It’s about creepy goings on at a cabin resort in Maine, dark tourism and ritual murders and if you’re a regular reader of my books you’ll know everything is not as it seems.
Here’s the blurb…
With his marriage over and his career in freefall, journalist Tom decides to reconnect with his fourteen-year-old daughter, Frankie. Desperate to spend precious time together now that they live an ocean apart, he brings her to Hollow Falls, a cabin resort deep in the woods of Maine.
From the outset there’s something a little eerie about the place—strange whispers in the trees, windchimes echoing through the forest—but when Tom meets true-crime podcasters David and Connie, he receives a chilling warning. Hollow Falls has a gruesome history: twenty years ago this week, a double slaying shut down the resort. The crime was never solved, and now the woods are overrun with murder-obsessed tourists looking to mark the grim anniversary.
It’s clear that there’s something deeply disturbing going on at Hollow Falls. And as Tom’s dream trip turns into a nightmare, he and Frankie are faced with a choice: uncover the truth, or get out while they still can.
Q: Would you like one of you books to be made into a film?
A: I’d love it if one of my books was made into a film or TV series and I’m keeping everything crossed that it happens one day. If you happen to work for a TV or movie production company, my agent is Madeleine Milburn.
Q: Where do you get your inspiration?
A: My inspiration comes from lots of different places. Sometimes it’s something that happened to me, or it could be an overheard conversation or news story. Other times, it’s pure imagination.
For example, The Magpies came from my experience of having nightmare neighbours and Follow You Home was inspired by a real-life disaster, when I was robbed of all my money and passport on a train through France. The Lucky Ones came from a conversation overheard in a cafe, where two women were complaining about a co-worker; I imagined what would happen if a psychopath listened in and decided to help them out by murdering their colleague.
Q: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
A: When it comes to giving advice about writing, every writer is different. Some plan everything meticulously before they start writing. Others make it up as they go along. I’m somewhere in the middle! All you can do is find what works for you. My biggest piece of advice is to read as much as you can, especially in the genre you want to write. Find out how other, published authors do it. If you read enough you should learn through a kind of osmosis, but you can also study books and look beneath the hood to see the engine.
Q: How did you get an agent?
I went through the Writers & Artists Handbook and submitted to every agent in there, one by one, getting multiple rejections across multiple books until someone finally took me on. It took years and I lived in dread of one of my stamped addressed envelopes landing on the doormat!
Q: What do you think happened at the end of. . .?
A: I like readers to make up their own minds about what happens after the book ends. There are multiple possibilities and I think it’s more fun to use your own imagination to picture the characters’ future. I hope that answer isn’t too frustrating!
Q: What is your favourite novel?
A: My favourite novel is The Secret History by Donna Tartt, and my favourite thriller is The Treatment by Mo Hayder. You can see my top ten mystery novels here.
Q: Which authors inspired you to write?
A: Stephen King was the first author who inspired me to write but there are many others including Ira Levin, Val McDermid and Ian McEwan. I became inspired to write psychological thrillers after reading Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes.
Q: Which formats are A Murder of Magpies and Last of the Magpies available in?
A: Both are only available on Kindle and audiobook. This is because they are shorter books (30,000 words).
Q: What is the word count of one of your novels?
A: Most of my books are between 90,000 and 100,000 words in length. What You Wish for is 60,000 words, A Murder of Magpies is 26,000 words and Last of the Magpies is 30,000 words.
Q: Do you have any plans to write any more books with Louise Voss?
A: Unfortunately no plans at the moment as I am currently too busy working on my solo books.
Q: Do you ever struggle to think of ideas for your books? Where do you get your ideas from and do you know how a book will end?
A: Fortunately not yet! I already have enough book ideas to last me for years so hopefully there will be plenty more novels to come. And, my ideas come from all sorts of places: personal experiences (The Magpies, Because She Loves Me, Follow You Home – then I ran out of terrible experiences to plunder!), overheard conversations, news stories… I never know how a book will end until I write it. I almost always come up with the twist at the last minute.
Q: Are there any other genres you would like to write in?
A: I did once try to write comedy but it wasn’t funny enough! I think that’s probably the hardest genre to write. I would love to write something apocalyptic or dystopian.
Q: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
A: I’ve never really had writer’s block but I quite often get stuck and don’t know where the story is heading next. This doesn’t ever last very long though.