My publisher, Thomas & Mercer, sent me this trophy to mark a whopping 750,000 sales of Follow You Home.
Of my nine solo books, it is now my biggest-selling novel and I want to say a big thank you if you’re one of the 750,000!
This is what it’s about…
It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, a final adventure before settling down. But after a perfect start, an encounter with a young couple on a night train forces Daniel and Laura to cut their dream trip short and flee home.
Back in London, Daniel and Laura vow never to talk about what happened that night. But as they try to fit into their old lives again, they realise they are in terrible danger—and that their nightmare is just beginning…
Buy it here.
Exciting news, my forthcoming novel has a new title: THE HOUSE GUEST.
There’s no cover yet, but it will be out on June 3rd 2020.
The book is about a British couple who are house-sitting in Brooklyn for a couple they met on a cruise. Then one rainy summer afternoon a young woman turns up on the doorstep, claiming to know the house owners. The couple invite her in and… well, if you’re a regular reader of my books you’ll know everything is not as it seems.
Here’s the blurb…
When British twenty-somethings Ruth and Adam are offered the chance to spend the summer housesitting in New York, they can’t say no. Young, in love and on the cusp of professional success, they feel as if luck is finally on their side.
So the moment that Eden turns up on the doorstep, drenched from a summer storm, it seems only right to share a bit of that good fortune. Beautiful and charismatic, Eden claims to be a friend of the homeowners, who told her she could stay whenever she was in New York.
They know you’re not supposed to talk to strangers—let alone invite them into your home—but after all, Eden’s only a stranger until they get to know her.
As suspicions creep in that Eden may not be who she claims to be, they begin to wonder if they’ve made a terrible mistake…
It’s already available to pre-order on Amazon here.
My first event of 2020 has been announced! I’ll be appearing not once but TWICE at the inaugural Lyme Crime festival in June, in Lyme Regis.
I will be appearing with CL Taylor, in a general discussion about psychological thrillers, and also talking about my recent road trip in America with Ed James, which should be very funny.
Tickets for the festival, taking place from June 26-28, are on sale now at an early bird rate (30% off) and you can buy them here.
On Friday, June 26 from 7.30pm to 8.30pm – How far would you go to research your crime novel? Myself and Ed James will discuss our recent research trip to the Pacific Northwest, where we flew to Seattle, got lost in Oregon and nearly run off the road on Interstate 5 – all in search of authentic detail.
On Saturday, June 27 from 11.30am to 12.30pm – Me and C.L.Taylor will be in conversation. We have both written books described as ‘extraordinary things happening to ordinary people’. We will discuss what inspires us, how we write, what makes a great psychological thriller and the challenges and highlights of our careers.
This is the very first Lyme Crime festival and it launches in June next year at the Marine Theatre, in historic Lyme Regis.
The crime and thriller festival sees the very best talents in the fiction genre join together for a weekend of talks, conversations, panels and other events.
Also, Serendip, the town’s independent bookseller, will have a shop open in the theatre for the weekend, so visitors can buy signed copies of participating authors’ titles.
Oh my goth! This is me in 1989
This is an article I wrote for Female First Website on the 10 things I’d like my readers to know about me. It involves, goths, zombies and karaoke!
- I have my mum to thank for my warped imagination. After my parents divorced when I was nine, she used to let me stay up to keep her company. She’d fall asleep and I’d stay awake watching horror movies and all sorts of inappropriate TV. She also let me read her library copy of James Herbert’s The Fog. I’ve loved scary films and books ever since.
- I used to be a goth. I had dyed black hair which I would crimp and back-comb until I looked like a skinny version of The Cure’s Robert Smith. My friends and I hung out in a nightclub in Hastings called The Crypt, dancing to Sisters of Mercy songs and drinking snakebite and black because that’s what goths are supposed to drink. (At the time, we denied being goths. If anyone asked, we called ourselves ‘individuals’.)
- My worst job was in a food packing factory when I was a student. We made pickle, mincemeat and jelly babies. I used to sit on a conveyor belt picking out the black cornflakes. I wore eyeliner to work which went down really well with some of my more macho colleagues who took to calling me ‘Rambo’.
- I’ve been vegetarian for thirty years. Like many people of my generation, I went veggie after watching a documentary about The Smiths in 1987. My views and tastes have waxed and waned over the years but two things remain constant: my vegetarianism and love of Morrissey.
- I became a karaoke addict in Japan. I taught English conversation in Tokyo for a year and discovered that karaoke is probably the most fun activity in the world. I am a terrible microphone hog and show-off when it comes to karaoke. The moment I step into that room I transform from a mild-mannered writer into a wannabe rock and roll megastar.
- I am obsessed with Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. It’s not only my favourite novel, it’s my favourite anything. A couple of years ago I saw Ms Tartt read from The Secret History (oh it was rapturous!) and afterwards, when I told her how much I loved her books she shook my hand. It was an effusive handshake and I floated home on a cloud of hero-worshipping wonder.
- I spend a lot of time daydreaming about how I would survive a zombie apocalypse. I’m a big fan of The Walking Dead and have passed many happy hours figuring out a survival plan should the undead ever overrun Wolverhampton (no jokes, please). At the moment, this plan involves kayaking along the canal near where I live, even though I don’t know how to kayak and I’m not sure what I’ll do when I reach the first lock. Panic, probably.
- I have four children, one of whom lives in Australia. It’s hard, and I miss her terribly, but I owe the people who invented Skype a very large drink. Twenty years ago it would have been impossible for us to maintain such a long-distance relationship, but we chat every week – mostly about Doctor Who, which is her favourite programme, and which was my favourite at her age.
- I went to school with Stella McCartney. No, I didn’t go to a posh private school. Sir Paul sent his kids to the local comprehensive because he’s a man of the people, innit. Stella was in the year below me and I never spoke to her, so she would have no idea who I am and is unlikely to include ‘I went to school with Mark Edwards’ in an article like this. I used to have Paul McCartney’s autograph too (he bought his fruit and veg in my stepdad’s shop) but I lost it, which causes me great pain.
- It took me fifteen years of trying to get a book deal. I spent most of my twenties and early thirties writing countless books (I can’t actually remember how many) and although I secured an agent I still couldn’t get a deal. Finally, in 2011, after self-publishing two books with my friend Louise Voss and topping the Kindle charts, I got a deal. That didn’t work out but three years later I found another publisher and now I’m a full-time writer, doing what I always dreamed of.
To read the article on the website, click here.
Me with Louise Voss
Here, myself and Louise Voss talk to Harrogate International Festivals about our road to success.
We appeared in the 2012 Festival’s ‘Creative Thursday’ session ‘The Road to Publication – Success Stories.’
The paperback publication of Killing Cupid is proof that if you create something good enough and want something strongly enough, you can make it happen. Even if it takes a long time. This story is intended not just for writers but for anyone who has a dream of achieving something that is difficult to attain: whether your field is music or art or business; or even something in your personal life. Whatever you want to achieve, you can do it.
We started writing Killing Cupid ten years ago. Come Together by Emlyn Rees and Josie Lloyd had recently been a big hit, and we came up with the idea of writing something with the same structure – alternating male and female narrators – but instead of romantic comedy, we wanted to write a psychological thriller. We knew what the twist in the middle would be – it was our starting point – but we had no idea where the story would end up.
A few months after we started, I (Mark) moved to Japan to become an English teacher. I remember sitting on the floor of the guest house I stayed in during my first week there, the day after arriving, jet-lagged and bewildered, working on Killing Cupid. Over the coming months, Louise and I wrote it like a tag team, writing alternate chapters and sending them back and forth.
Halfway through writing it, Louise met up with a BBC TV producer who had liked Louise’s solo books but was looking for something darker. Louise showed her our work in progress and she loved it. The BBC optioned the book before it was finished. We were sure we were onto a winner.
About nine months after we started it, Killing Cupid was complete. However, Louise’s agent at that time wasn’t keen, but she agreed to submit it to publishers. We kept being told that because it was a mixture of thriller, romance and comedy, it would be too difficult to market. Everybody passed on it.
Still, we had the BBC option which was exciting in itself. The BBC hired a scriptwriter, took us out for dinner… Then silence. We didn’t hear anything for months. Many months. Finally, we were shown a treatment for the drama: they had changed everything: the plot, the characters, even the title. It bore no resemblance to the original novel. The while thing fell apart.
We then wrote Catch Your Death, deliberately making it more of a straightforward thriller, but this time we weren’t even able to find an agent. My former agent, who I had had a pretty good relationship with for years, rejected it with a single line: ‘Just not good enough.’ After a few months of trying, we gave up. It wasn’t worth the stress. We had good day jobs. I was starting to have kids. At the risk of sounding corny, we put the writing dream back in the drawer along with our old manuscripts. That was in 2006.
Fast forward to 2010. I started reading about a few authors in America who were making it big on Kindle and suggested to Louise that we give it a go. What did we have to lose? So we set about updating both the books, dragging them into a world where Facebook and broadband existed.
In February 2011, we put Killing Cupid on the Kindle store. On day 1, we sold 2 copies, to my mother in law and boss. Over the next few weeks we sold a few copies a day. And spent every evening after working blogging and networking like crazy to try to get people to know the book existed.
We’ve told this story lots, but it’s still exciting to tell it: after a few months of relentless pushing, and a very very slow crawl up the chart, Killing Cupid sat at No.2 on Amazon.co.uk.
And our other book, Catch Your Death, was No.1.
From there, we got an agent, who sent the manuscripts of both books out to publishers before the end of the week. We were all over the media, appearing live on BBC Breakfast and Sky News, the first of the British indie writers to hit the top spot.
The same day that we were on Sky News, we got an offer from HarperCollins, which we accepted. I was going to write ‘happily accepted’ but that would be a massive understatement. It was the moment I had dreamt of for a long time, and if you’re a writer, I bet you’ve had that fantasy too. The call telling you that you’ve got a book deal. It’s the literary equivalent of scoring the winning goal in a cup final.
So now, here we are, ten years after we first had this crazy idea to write a book about two crazy people, and Killing Cupid is finally in the shops. I’ve seen it with my own eyes, sitting there in WHSmith, crying out ‘Buy me!’ to passers by (as they head towards the massive table groaning under the weight of all the copies of 50 Shades of Grey).
It feels fantastic. Like after all this time, we’ve achieved something. Something that means a lot to us.
And it’s not just about achieving something and then resting. It’s about using it as a starting point and moving on. Because whenever you get something you’ve wished for, you will – if you are anything like us – want something more. In our case, it’s wanting to be able to keep doing this, to write more books, to find more readers, because it’s what we love doing. Killing Cupid has put us in the lucky position of being able to do that.
The publication of the paperback of Killing Cupid marks the end of the first phase for us. Catch Your Death and Killing Cupid have been so good to us, even though for a long time it seemed they would languish unread. Now, though, we can’t wait to get more books out there. The next one, All Fall Down, is being copy-edited now and will be out next February, and we are about to start writing our fourth book, Forward Slash.
Being writers is what we have both wanted to do for most of our adult lives. We did give up for a while. With hindsight, we could say we were biding our time and waiting for the right opportunity to come along. When it did, we seized the day. That’s what you have to do.
Whether you’re a writer, an artist, a musician, an entrepreneur, a lover or a fighter.
Never give up.
To read the article on the website, click here.