Today I am delighted that Mark Tilbury author of psychological mystery thrillers, the Ben Whittle Investigation series. Has dropped my blog to take part in my Q&A interview…...so without further ado I would like to welcome the one and only Mr Mark Tilbury.
Good morning Mark welcome to Chelle’s Book Reviews. Can you tell us a little about yourself and background?
First off, thanks so much for inviting me to your blog. Briefly, the first part of my life was spent in the Royal Navy serving on submarines and, for the most part, not having a clue where I was! I then married, had two children, but was sadly widowed and left to raise the girls on my own. I now live in the beautiful county of Cumbria, but I was born and raised in Oxfordshire which is the setting for my novels. I have just become a grandfather for the first time to a beautiful baby boy and I live with my girlfriend.
When did you know that you wanted to become a writer? and how did you go about it?
I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I can remember. I used to write stories primarily for myself, although I did show one or two to people close to me, but it wasn’t until I enrolled on a creative writing course that I started to take things more seriously. My tutor really helped and encouraged me, and the short story I produced as part of the course went on to be published in Best magazine. It was my first taste of getting paid for something I actually loved, and the feeling was incredible.
Can you tell us what genre your books are and the audience you write for?
The first two were psychological thrillers involving a Private investigator called Ben Whittle. He was thrown into the job by virtue of his father being kidnapped by a religious cult, but, as much as I enjoyed writing these books, I realised I didn’t want to get too tied down with writing a series. My third novel, The Abattoir of Dreams, is a stand-alone psychological thriller with a supernatural twist. It’s due to be published by Bloodhound Books on 28th February. This is definitely a genre I intend to continue with for as long as possible.
I take time to write a plot, which is loosely a beginning, middle and end. I pay most attention to the characters at this point. I really need to know who they are, what makes them tick, their upbringing, why they behave as they do. I go right back into their childhoods and write a lot of stuff I know I won’t need, but it helps me to really see and feel them. Then I write and let the story go where it takes me. I do find the loose thread of a plot helps to keep me grounded. I’ve tried writing just by the seat of my pants, and it took so long to unravel the mistakes! I sit somewhere between a planner and a pantser. A plantser, if you like. I generally take about three months to complete a first draft, writing 2000 words every day where possible. I then take at least as long going through the editing process.
Are your characters based on anyone you know or are they just fictional?
There is no conscious effort to base any character on people I have known, but it’s only natural to be inspired by everyone you meet, and to take a little of something from that. To be honest, I sincerely hope I never meet anyone who resembles any of the bad guys in my books! Generally, these characters ‘speak’ to me. It might be a sentence, or a few random words. In the case of Edward Ebb in The Revelation Room, it was “Down the rabbit hole where all the burnt bunnies go.” I had absolutely no idea what this meant, but it was really fun finding out!
Have you wrote about a personal experience in your novels?
No. There is a Pentecostal church in The Revelation Room, and I did go to one when I was a kid. The people who ran it were really nice, genuine guys, and that has always stayed with me, but other than that, I’m extremely grateful that none of the things that happen in my books has ever happened to me.
What research do you do?
Quite a lot. Mostly to make sure I don’t get any obvious facts wrong. I had to research cults quite extensively for The Revelation Room, having had no experience of them whatsoever, and I’ve researched children’s homes for The Abattoir of Dreams, but for the most part, I’m writing fiction and I don’t want to get too bogged down with facts.
Who would you like to co-write with and why?
Dean Koontz, because he has a God-given talent for injecting humour into his darkest characters. I am in awe and would love to learn anything he had to teach.
What's your favourite book?
Misery by Stephen King. Annie Wilkes is just brilliant. Anyone who can chop a man’s foot off and at the same time deplore profanity is about as well-rounded as you can get.
What's your favourite food?
Because I’m diabetic, I have to be careful, but that aside, anything out of an Indian restaurant.
What's your favourite film?
Stand By Me. Another King story. Those kids are just brilliant. The dialogue and the interaction between the boys is fabulous.
What's your favourite song?
Days by The Kinks. Beautiful melody. Beautiful lyrics. What else is there?
How can readers find out more information about yourself and your books?
I have an author blog and can be found across social media:
Blog = www.marktilbury.com
Amazon = My author page
Facebook = www.facebook.com/mtilburyauthor
Facebook = www.facebook.com/mtilburyauthor
Thank you so much for taking part in my Q&A interview and good luck with The Abattoir of Dreams which I am looking forward to reading.