I am delighted that MARK EDWARDS is joining me on my blog today, as part of the Blog Tour for his latest book. Mark 's latest book - Follow You Home - is published by Thomas & Mercer on 30 June 2015.
So Mark, what inspired you to write a book in the first place?
Follow You Home came from a conversation with my editor. Both The Magpies and Because She Loves Me, my previous novels, were inspired by something that happened to me: living above nightmare neighbours and having a jealous girlfriend. My editor jokily asked me what other terrible experiences I'd had, which made me think back to something that happened to me when I was 20. My then-girlfriend and I went inter-railing around Europe but were robbed on a night train on our second day and stranded in southern France. This led to me thinking about the worst thing that could have happened. So Follow You Home starts with a couple setting off on a night train in a foreign country and it all goes horribly wrong...
Where do your ideas come from?
As above, the spark always comes from something difficult or stressful that has happened to me. Then I try to make it as dark as possible, to put my characters in really difficult situations. I pick up ideas, too, from news stories or TV shows - for example, the next Voss and Edwards book was inspired by a documentary about crazy One Direction fans!
Have your personal experiences influenced your writing? And if so, how?
Apart from the above, everything that happens to me influences my writing. Whether it's writing about relationships, the way couples interact for example, or work situations. I don't go around with a notepad writing down people's conversations, although people sometimes suspect I lurk around doing this. But I absorb everything that goes on around me, as I am sure all writers do.
Describe your writing style in 10 words or less?
I write psychological thrillers in which scary things happen to ordinary people.
Do you have any strange writing habits?
Yes, I have a trained parrot who does all my typing… I recite the words and he skitters around the keyboard, tapping it out.
But seriously… I don't know if it's strange but I do most of my writing in cafés and at my local gym, surrounded by people and noise. I do this because I have small children at home and my office was turned into a nursery when our third child came along. but I now find it very hard to write when it's quiet.
Do you plot out the whole book before you start or just start writing and see where it leads you?
I used to be a 100% pantser, making it up as I went along, but I now try to plot in advance. I tend to plot out the first part, and then start writing, extending the plot and figuring it out as I go along. This technique is, I think, called the 'driving in the dark' technique. You can see what your car headlights reveal but, beyond that, everything is shrouded in darkness. This makes writing more exciting.
What do you consider to be the hardest part of your writing?
Two things. The biggest one is plotting. When you write psychological thrillers, readers expect twists and turns, misdirection and shocks. Coming up with these twists, making it all work, dropping in enough clues without giving it all away… that's what makes it hard. The second thing is, now that I'm on my 11th novel, is keeping it fresh. Not repeating things. Not repeating things.
Do you read? If so, who are your favourite authors?
Yes! Mistrust any author who doesn't read. In fact, if I found out an author doesn't read, I would instantly think their books must be rubbish - because the words you read provide fuel for your own writing. And why would you want to be a writer if you don't love books? My favourite authors are Donna Tartt, Bret Easton Ellis, Mo Hayder, Peter James, Sarah Lotz, Ira Levin, Paula Daly and tons of other crime and psychological thriller writers. Far too many to list here.
As well as writing solo, you also collaborate with Louise Voss. Has writing with Louise affected the way you write or research your own books? If so, how?
It hasn't really affected how I research books, although the books with Louise do require more research as they are police procedurals. Co-writing is great as it gives you a sense of freedom. I write something, send it to Louise, she gives me instant feedback… I think it makes us both more comfortable about taking risks.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would be the title?
'Mark My Words'
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Being a writer is so stressful that you have to really, really want it and be unable to stop yourself doing it. So only start writing if it's your passion and you believe that you have something original and interesting to say.
And lastly, why should people read Follow You Home?
Follow You Home is scary and exciting. It starts out like the Blair Witch Project and ends up like an action-packed Simon Kernick thriller. And I guarantee you won't guess the final twist. Don't just take my word for it. It's had rave reviews from writers including Angela Marsons, Clare Mackintosh and CL Taylor, who says: 'Twisty, turn and downright creepy in places, Mark Edwards has, yet again, produced an unputdownable psychological thriller. He is a master at creating a tangled web of secrets, lies and red herrings so cleverly constructed that I was kept guessing all the way through.
About Mark Edwards
Mark Edwards writes psychological thrillers. His first solo novel, The Magpies, topped the Kindle chart in the UK. What You Wish For followed in March 2014 and Because She Loves Me was published in September 2014. Follow You Home will be out in June 2015.
Mark has also co-written five novels with Louise Voss: Catch Your Death (a number one bestseller in the UK), Killing Cupid (chosen by Peter James as his book of 2012), All Fall Down and Forward Slash. From the Cradle was published in 2014 and is the first in a series featuring DI Patrick Lennon.
Mark lives in the West Midlands with his wife, three children and a ginger cat.
Find Mark Edwards and Louise Voss on their official Facebook page and follow Mark on Twitter - @mredwards.
Follow You Home
Published by Thomas & Mercer (30 June 2015)
It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, a final adventure before settling down.
After a perfect start, Daniel and Laura's travels end abruptly when they are thrown off a night train in the middle of nowhere. To find their way back to civilisation, they must hike along the tracks through a forest… a haunting journey that ends in unimaginable terror.
Back in London, Daniel and Laura vow never to talk about what they saw that night. But as they try to fit back into their old lives, it becomes clear that their nightmare is just beginning...
Click here to find it on Amazon UK.