Is the writing full time? If not, what’s the day job?
At the moment I write in the mornings, prior to work, and try to do the re-read and marketing in the evenings. Currently employed as a teacher.
What’s your typical writing schedule?
Two hours per morning, 5-6 hours over a weekend
Do you insert family, friends, and colleagues into your characters?
Not intentionally, I tend to draw upon previous experiences from working as a police photographer and a prison tutor. I also take inspiration from growing up in an inner city environment.
Are you a plotter, or do you make it up as you go along?
A bit of both. I usually have a plan in my head, I mull it over whilst I’m walking the dogs, sometimes dictating ideas and dialogue, then playing it back to see how it fits. So really by the time I actually sit down to type I have a starting point, and I usually know whereabouts the twist needs to come and I have an ending in mind. I then just fill in the gaps as I go, but that makes it sound way too easy. My trouble is I’m always having new ideas mid flow through the book, and scribbling notes down for spin off scenarios and characters.
Are there any subjects off limits?
Not really. Although so far I’ve steered clear of stories that concentrate on child abuse. I remember reading the blurb for a Mo Hayder book, some years ago, I think it was called Birdman, and that was enough for me to decide I didn’t want to read any further.
Can you tell us a bit about your published books so far? Is there one you are more proud of than any of the others? Which and why? Which would you press into a reader’s hand ahead of the others?
My last two, Crime Syndicate book 3 Walk Amongst The Dead and my standalone thriller Paid In Full. Both contain a lot less violence than the previous books and are longer, allowing the characters to evolve.
I’m just coming up on my first year as a self-published author, in that time I’ve managed to produce four novellas and one compilation of short stories. I think my first book, Violence in the Blood is the one of which I am most proud, as it’s held the number one spot on Amazon in multiple categories consistently over the last 10 - 12 months. It’s also my Marmite book, readers either love or hate it, but the main thing is it leaves a lasting impression, and thankfully, most seem to really like it.
What’s been the most satisfying moment of your writing career so far?
Getting Book 1 to publication, finally.
All of your work to date has been self-published, was that a conscious decision to go this route?
Yes. I’ve never gone down the trad route and don’t really have any intention to do so.
How difficult is it to attract a readership?
It’s slow and steady, but I’m in it for the long haul.
Any unpublished gems in your bottom drawer?
I’ve been writing on and off for the best part of twenty years, so yes, there are a few outlines and unfinished pieces that I’m reworking.
What’s the current project in progress? How’s it going?
Currently I’m working on a new series about an experienced police officer, under investigation from Internal Affairs. It draws upon two of my most favourite characters in crime fiction: Ian Rankin’s Rebus, and Lawrence Block’s Matt Scudder. I hope to have the first book in the series out over the summer.
What’s the best thing about writing?
Losing myself in the characters and plot.
What are the last five books you’ve read?
Marcus Sakey: The Blade Itself
Ian Rankin: Standing in Another Man’s Grave,
Lee Child: Killing Floor,
Ed McBain: Cop Killer,
Jo Nesbo: Blood On Snow
Who do you read and enjoy?
All of the above and many more
Is there any one book you wish you had written?
Killing Floor by Lee Child
Favourite activity when not working or writing?
Photography and walking my dogs in the country
What’s the last film you watched that rocked you?
A Walk Among the Tombstones
TV addict or not? What’s the must watch show in the Newman household?
Don’t watch a lot of TV, but I do tend to boxset binge, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Vikings, The Last Kingdom and most things in the Scandi-Noir genre from Walter Presents
In a couple of years’ time…
I’d love to be writing full time, we’ll have to see.
Many thanks to Mark for his time.
You can catch up with him at the following places.....
I've enjoyed Violence in the Blood and In For the Kill so far, with some more good reading ahead of me!