OK. So I say it with every interview...
I always say how excited I am to have that week's author. And it's always true. When I find a great author, I just have to share them. And this week's pick is one of the best of the best. If you love zom stories, he's your man. If you like a good sci-fi suspense, he's got that too. But let me have him tell you all about it.
PRESENTING MARK WILSON!!!
Mark Wilson is a married father of two, born in Bellshill, Lanarkshire and currently living in Edinburgh with his wife, their son, Patrick and baby daughter, Cara.
Mark left Bellshill Academy in 1991, qualification-free. And worked his way through a huge number of jobs including, window-cleaner, delivery driver, Levi’s salesman, a microbiologist and cinema usher.
Mark returned to full time education nine years later, earning his Highers and a degree in micro-biology before entering teaching.
Mark currently teaches Biology in a Fife secondary school and is founder of Paddy’s Daddy Publishing, a company he set up to assist Scottish authors. He writes in his spare time, in lieu of sleep.
Mark, thank you so much for being here. Let's dive right in. You used a rather different approach to entice me to read your book, dEaDINBURGH. Can you tell us a little about that?
The YA genre is new to me and not one that I’d anticipated writing a book for, so I did my research.
I’d read and loved Jonathan Maberry’s amazing Rot and Ruin series and figured that his readers might connect with my book despite the obvious differences.
I contacted hundreds of people who had left a review for one of the Rot and Ruin books and offered each of them a free advance copy of dEaDINBURGH in exchange for an honest review. I tried very hard to ensure that I only contacted those people whom I genuinely felt would be interested in reading the book, I was very mindful of spamming people. I have to say, I’ve met some lovely people from that exercise but wouldn’t do the same for every book.
That's a clever idea, and I was definitely one of those people who's very glad you wrote to me! I'm kinda kicking myself for not reading the book sooner. I absolutely LOVED dEaDINBURGH!!! Tell readers about dEaDINBURGH and the other books you have available.
Thank you. dEaDINBURGH began as an image of a baby born onto the cobbles of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh and went from there. I wanted to set a book in the city I live in. It’s a stunningly beautiful place, very gothic with its alleys and underground streets and so rich with history. I figured that as cities go, it was a hugely atmospheric city to trap people in and started writing. dEaDINBURGH is a bit of a departure for me in terms of writing style and genre, but I haven’t stuck within a single genre yet and don’t intend to anytime soon. More on that later.
If you gave a beginning writer advice about the one most important thing to remember or do, what would that advice be?
Above all, don’t expect to make money. Do it because you love to. Don’t ever write for a genre or a demographic. For me, I never have a genre in mind when I begin a book. I tend to start with a concept and one or two main characters, then start writing. As the story unfolds, the business part of my head starts to pick marketing areas and strategies around three-quarters of the way through. I don’t ever want to write for a certain market of demographic and feel that just going with whatever story is itching my brain the most is best for my writing.
So far I’ve written a very adult, coming of age, in Bobby’s Boy, an international YA thriller with a superhero protagonist in Naebody’s Hero; a psychological thriller with a sociopathic schoolboy as lead, in Head Boy; an autobiography written for a mental health charity titled Paddy’s Daddy; and a YA Dystopian zombie book in dEaDINBURGH. I’ve just completed a techno-thriller titled The Man Who Sold His Son.
Having said that, although I don’t write to a genre, Scottish writers tend to have a certain voice in their novels, an irreverence and passion; there’s no escaping that for me. As writers, Scots seem to love and loathe their home towns in equal measures but defend those communities to the end. All but one of my books is set, initially at least, in my hometown of Bellshill, Lanarkshire. These books will be collected in an omnibus titled Lanarkshire Strays in July 2014 and available on Amazon, US and Amazon, UK[mw1]
Have you found any great sites online that have helped you as an indie author?
I’ve been fortunate to meet with a lot of like-minded British writers and have formed a tight support network with them. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without their input and support. It also helps that they’re top writers who I’m learning loads from. I’ve recently been hooked up with a group called ASMSG who I really like. Still learning the ropes but I’ll update you in future.
Are there any upcoming events for you?
Yeah, I do a lot of talks for mental health charities, the next one is for a Scottish mental health and film festival in October. Before that, I’m launching The Man Who Sold His Son in July, as well as the Lanarkshire Strays series.
Having just completed my fifth novel, The Man Who Sold His Son, I’ve started on dEaDINBURGH: 2 whist I’m awaiting the editing of TMWSHS. As well as that, I’ve just contributed a short story to Ryan Bracha’s project, a novel of shorts titled Twelve Mad Men, which has twelve writers from that support group I mentioned earlier, writing an inmate each. Bracha is pulling the twelve tales into a narrative, crazy stuff and very ambitious, but he’s the man to pull it off.
Being an indie author is a lot about self promotion. What has been your best source for promoting your books?
Aye. It’s the part of the role I don’t like much. I’m good at marketing, that is placing the books in the most visible places and making them as discoverable within the UK market as possible, but promoting can sometimes be a little extreme and over-enthusiastic from Indie-authors. I try to market properly and get other people to promote for me by running competitions and sharing links etc so as to keep the brand I’m building visible but not sicken people with constant promo.
I LOVE the cover of dEaDINBURGH, and I noticed your author pic appears to be in the same location. Can you fill us in on the story behind that? And maybe give a shout out if you had a cover designer? Also, is there a story behind how you got the title?
Thanks. I’m really lucky in that an old friend, Paul McGuigan, is a top-notch photographer and one of those people who make themselves available for a friend despite being incredibly busy.
When I was around three-quarters of the way completed on the novel, I asked Paul to tour the various location I’d used in the city and shoot some pics for possible covers and promo material. We had a great day and more than a few drinks en-route and despite the heavy rain and bitter cold (which in hindsight was perfect), he managed to get me to pose for some author shots also. I’m delighted with Paul’s images and have most of them on display at the dEaDINBURGH site.
The cover itself, I designed with assistance from a German manga artist named Yuramei who did the awesome title graphic.
Now for a little fun! Tell us one quirky, weird or downright eccentric about yourself. Any author pet peeves?
I have to put my right sock on before the left one or I’ll itch all day. I can’t go to sleep without seeing my kids faces.
While writing, music or silence? (if music, what do you listen to?)
Music, every time. Depends what I’m writing. Sometimes I want Amy Winehouse soothing me, mostly I want heavy rock. Rage Against the Machine and Hopeless Heroic are ever-present.
If I gave you a rabbit's foot, a lantern and a box, what kind of story would you write? You can give it a title too, if you want.
Depends if I have my YA head on or not. If I did, probably a time-travelling rabbit who loses a piece of himself every time he time-leaps. The lantern gives him his abilities. The foot’s all that’s left. We’ll call it Timehopper.
If non-YA, it’d probably be the leftovers from a mammoth alcohol-fueled Greenpeace coupe.
Oh my gosh! I love it. Thank you so much, Mark, for visiting with us today! I think readers have gotten an idea of your voice in your writing.
Here's Mark's contact information
And thank you to all of you who take the time to come and visit. I hope you're enjoying these interviews with great indie authors...and an occasional NYT Best-Seller...and I hope you're showing them some love and checking out their books. The featured author always has links to their books in the interview. As well, they're on the slideshow to right of the post. If you've absolutely fallen in love with them like me, the contact links are also available for you (as seen above). Indie authors especially love to hear from fans and readers.
Dare to Dream!!