I am pleased to be joined by David Mark today who is taking part in my Author in the Spotlight feature. His latest novel is The Mausoleum.
Thanks for joining me today David. First of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?
I’m 5ft 8”, with a 36” waist, take a size ten shoe, and have very poor eyesight without my spectacles. I’m also a former crime journalist who has been a full-time novelist for the past few years. I write the DS McAvoy series, set in Hull, and which has done remarkably well all around the world.
What inspired you to start writing?
I’m very fortunate to have been born with only one real skill. I’ve always known how to intrigue people with stories, and how to make anecdotes and little snippets of story as beguiling as they can be. As a kid it seemed quite clear to me that there was no better way to make a living than by playing about with your imagination. All these decades later I really am doing what I dreamed of, which makes me a very lucky chap.
Tell me about your journey to publication
I wrote bad books for ages, while working as a journalist and covering endless real-life murders. Eventually the books got better and I secured an agent. No publishers wanted me as my work was too dark, apparently. Then I came up with McAvoy, secured a different agent and somehow loads of publishers wanted the manuscript and my signature and there was a multi-house auction for what became Dark Winter. That was a major hit and I’ve been writing full-time ever since, experimenting with new styles and new ideas. The Mausoleum is a real departure for me and while my existing publishers liked it, I was very impressed with Severn House and their enthusiasm for the story.
In a nutshell, what is your latest book about?
In 1967, a disgraced academic is grieving after the death of her infant son – rattling around the big house bought by her distant, politician husband. She spends her days seeking out the company of the dead, finding solace in the local graveyard. During a terrible storm, she witnesses the destruction of an old family tomb and realises there is a ‘fresh’ body among the old bones. She and a local woman begin to investigate but come up against a wall of lies. Pushing deeper, they stumble upon a secret that stretches back to wartime atrocities and the Prisoner of War camp that used to be a part of the local rural landscape. It’s all set in the real-life town of Gilsland, on the Northumberland and Cumbria border, intersected by Hadrian’s Wall.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
Well, the previous one, The Skull Room, sounded a bit too much like a horror title so I decided to go for something a bit more enigmatic. It’s also a pleasing word to say. ‘Mausoleum’. I do think it would be better with the word ‘Inspector’ in front of it. Come on, keep up.
How do you plan to celebrate publication day?
I rarely get the chance. I have lots of children and cats and responsibilities and usually I only know I have a book out when I pop online and see that people are congratulating me. The days of the boozy party in Soho are long behind me. Publishers can’t afford it any more – they’ve given all of their money to TV chefs.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
Yes. It’s certainly a lot of work, though the word ‘progress’ may be questionable. It’s a thriller of sorts, set in the Lake District. I’ve also got a very dark and probably quite disturbing murder mystery set in London’s East End coming out in a few months. I fear it may cause people to make a final decision on the state of my mental health.
What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past few months? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose!
Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore was superb. Thoroughly engrossing. I also freaked myself out with the excellent The Ritual by Adam Nevill, which is really creepy and dark.
What are you reading just now?
As of this exact moment, 10.16am on February 25, I am re-reading Pet Sematary by Stephen King because my friend Steve Mosby said it was the most unsettling thing he had ever read and I don’t remember being that disturbed by it when I was younger so want to see if I missed something. Turns out Steve is right. I am giving my cats a very wide berth.
If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?
A plain, unlined notebook.
Is there a book you’d like to see made into a film? Who would be in your dream cast?
By me or by somebody else? By me, I want my next book, Rush of Blood, to be filmed as I think it’s very cinematic. I see Sheridan Smith playing the lead. If you meant a book by somebody else, I want to see The Wolf and The Watchman made into a movie, with the big red-headed Wildling from Game of Thrones playing Cardell.
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
Pop over to www.davidmarkwriter.couk or find me on Twitter @davidmarkwriter
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
Intriguing. Erm, I’m told that Christian Grey chap has quite the interesting life, but if I’m honest I would want to be Sir Samuel Vimes in the Discworld novels by the peerless Sir Terry Pratchett. He’s always up against it, but he always has just enough about him to overcome the odds. I like that. He also gets to live in a big house and raise dragons, which sounds quite familiar.
My thanks to Kelly at Love Books Group Tours for inviting me to take part in the blogtour. The Mausoleum is published by Severn House and is available now in hardback and ebook formats. You can order your copy here: The Mausoleum
From the back of the book
1967. In a quiet village in the wild lands of the Scottish borders, disgraced academic Cordelia Hemlock is trying to put her life back together. Grieving the loss of her son, she seeks out the company of the dead, taking comfort amid the ancient headstones and crypts of the local churchyard. When lightning strikes a tumbledown tomb, she glimpses a corpse that doesn’t belong among the crumbling bones. But when the storm passes and the body vanishes, the authorities refuse to believe the claims of a hysterical ‘outsider’.
Teaming up with a reluctant witness, local woman Felicity Goose, Cordelia’s enquiries all lead back to a former POW camp that was set up in the village during the Second World War. But not all Gilsland’s residents welcome the two young women’s interference. There are those who believe the village’s secrets should remain buried … whatever the cost.
Don’t miss the rest of the tour