So Mark, once again you’ve got a new book out. This one’s called The Abattoir of Dreams. I loved it, and from what I can see many others have loved it too. But instead of me telling you about it, let’s hear it from the man himself. So Mark, what is your latest offering all about?
First of all, thanks for inviting me. The Abattoir of Dreams is a psychological thriller. Michael Tate is in hospital paralysed from the waist down and suffering complete memory loss. Apparently, Michael stabbed his girlfriend, Becky, to death before jumping off a building. He is interviewed and charged by Detective Inspector John Carver. Carver wants Michael to suffer. He will stop at nothing to get Michael put away for the crime.
And then strange things start to happen. Michael is taken back to relive his past. It is slowly revealed what really happened to him, and what lead to his attempted suicide. It is a tragic past, littered with abuse, torture, murder, friendship and betrayal.
Now the first thing that hit me about this book was the title; The Abattoir of dreams.
How exactly did you come up with this?
It was a poem I wrote for one of the characters in the book. I think it started life as something like The Slaughterhouse Blues, and the abattoir part just grew from that. Essentially, it’s about how adults can slaughter the dreams of children.
What I love most about your books; not just this one but all of your others I’ve read, is how you bring your characters to life. So a basic question. How do you do it so well?
Thank you. I work really hard on my characters to give them depth. I always try to give the antagonists one redeeming factor, and the protagonists a negative trait that works against them. I also like to dig deep into their pasts, see what shaped them, and why they act and react the way they do.
Out of all the books you have written, which is your favourite ? Oh and tell me what you love; or hate about the characters.
I like them all, but I think The Abattoir of Dreams took my writing to a new level. It also took me in a different direction to The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused. Those two were essentially mystery/thrillers. The Abattoir of Dreams has a supernatural element to it, as well as being a psychological thriller. As for the characters, I really love all the antagonists. I think it’s because of their bizarre thought patterns, and how they justify their actions to themselves. My favourite protagonist is Michael in the Abattoir of Dreams. I wrote the story in the first person, and I really lived and breathed him for the whole of the first draft. I also loved Liam from that story. A gutsy kid, and for a short while, my best friend in the whole world.
How much, if any, has your own personal character gone into any of these characters?
None, so far. But emotion plays a huge part, and I certainly look inwards for this. We can’t experience other people’s emotions, can we? So when a character is sad, ecstatic or whatever, I can only draw upon my own experiences.
How would you describe your own writing style?
Dark, straight to the point, with a hint of humour thrown in to lighten the mood.
What do you think is the most frustrating thing about being a writer?
Editing. Not so much the laborious nature of it, but seeing how much needs changing. I write really fast and completely give in to the creative side. Let me tell you, the creative side doesn’t always get it right!
What is the greatest challenge about writing a book?
Being happy with it myself. I’m my biggest critic, and I probably throw away as much as I produce. It’s all about getting the balance right. The Abattoir of Dreams lost 35,000 words from the first draft, and the one I’ve just written, The Key to Death’s Door, has already lost 23,000. It’s a constant battle to satisfy myself, but it’s a challenge I enjoy, especially when I see the shape and structure of the finished manuscript.
If you did have some sort of plot worked out first did you use something like Scrivener or have you sticky notes plastered all over your desk? What I really mean by this is of course; are you a tidy and organised person or is your desk a tip?
I’m very organised. Everything I write is stored on separate documents. Plot, characters, ideas, they all have their own file. I’m happy working with MS office. I think a lot’s made of other stuff, but at the end of the day, it’s all about the story, isn’t it?
Personally, what do reviews mean to you as an author?
I don’t get too carried away with them either way. I think if you hang on to every word everyone says about your work, you’d end up being depressed one day and flying high the next. Obviously, I’m flattered when someone genuinely likes what I do, and people have been generally kind to me. There are a lot of people out there who do fantastic work reviewing books, and the blog tour for The Abattoir of Dreams has gone well so far. These people have given up their time for free, and I’m eternally thankful to all of them.
Okay, final question. What would you say was the most satisfying or perhaps proudest moment of your writing career?
Getting signed to Bloodhound Books. It’s such a wonderful opportunity to work with the team, and they have all been fantastic. Special mention to Betsy for the cover. I think it’s amazing.
There's an author I would like you all to meet, and I'll tell you why. This guy, is so talented in his writing, and has an unbelievable skill in crafting fantastic characters. I've read all of his books, and I'm currently reading his latest, The Abattoir of Dreams, which I'm really enjoying by the way. His name is Mark Tilbury, and this is what he has to say.