Saturday 19 May 2018

The Hippo Hangs Out . . . . with Mark Tilbury

Today I’m hanging out with one of my favourite authors who has been affectionately tagged #TwistedTilbury by me and #SickoAuthor by the lovely blogger Sharon over on Chapter in My Life. Have you guessed who I’m talking about yet? I’ll give you another clue, his books will mess with your head and take you to places that you don’t want to go but can’t resist being intrigued by. I’m sure you all know by now that I’m referring to the very talented (and humble) Mark Tilbury.
I’ve been looking forward to hanging out with Mark, but after having read several of his books, I’m also a little bit scared to find out what goes on in his head!

I’m delighted to welcome Mark to The Hippo and for those of you that haven’t had the pleasure (why on earth not?) allow me to introduce you to him.

Photo courtesy of Mark Tilbury

Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised.

After serving in the Royal Navy and raising his two daughters after being widowed, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused.

He's always had a keen interest in writing, and is extremely proud to have his fifth novel, The Key to Death's Door published along with The Liar's Promise, The Abattoir of Dreams, and The Ben Whittle Investigations relaunched, by Bloodhound Books.

When he's not writing, Mark can be found trying and failing to master blues guitar, and taking walks around the beautiful county of Cumbria.

Mark’s latest book The Key To Death’s Door was published by Bloodhound books last month and it gave me palpitations!

If you could discover the murderous truth of a past life and seek justice in this one, would you?

Teenager Lee Hunter doesn’t have a choice when he nearly drowns after spending the night at a derelict boathouse with his best friend, Charlie Finch. After leaving his body and meeting a mysterious light that lets him to go back to the past, Lee finds himself reliving the final days of another life. A life that ended tragically.

After recovering from his near death experience, Lee begins to realise that he is part of two lives linked by the despicable actions of one man.

Struggling against impossible odds, Lee and Charlie set out to bring this man to justice.
Will Lee be able to unlock the past and bring justice to the future?

The Key to Death’s Door is a story of sacrifice, friendship, loyalty and murder.

                                         *    *    *    *

What other authors are you friends with and how do they help you become a better writer?
Maggie James has been fantastic. She’s helped me in so many ways. Beta reading all my books. Helping with plots. Encouraging me from day one. Lots of great advice. Mark Wilson has also been extremely helpful, and he gave me some useful feedback for The Key to Death’s Door. Invaluable.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing etc. come from?
It was a very early form of escapism. The fictional world seemed so much more interesting than the real world. I loved The Famous Five and all the adventures they had along with their dog, Timmy. It all seemed so magical. Somewhere I wanted to be, and I could just go there at the turn of a page. 


What did you edit out of your last book?
Nothing major from the plot of The Key to Death’s Door, but I lost about 20,000 words from the first draft which was mostly due to my tendency to just let go with the first draft and see what happens. A method I usually curse when it comes to the editing stage!

What do you think is more important: characters or plot?
For me it’s always characters who drive the plot forward. I try to go really deep into my characters’ minds and see what motivates them. I also tend to hear my characters speak before I’ve even got a story to put them in. Sometimes it’s something completely random. Edward Ebb who eventually became the antagonist in the Revelation Room said, “Down the rabbit hole where all the burnt bunnies go.” I had no idea who he was or what it meant, but it was certainly interesting enough for me to want to work it out.

 Wow I think I'd totally freak out if I heard a voice in my head talking about burnt bunnies down rabbit holes. How do you sleep at night?

If you could spend time with a character from your book who would it be and why? What would you get up to?
Liam out of The Abattoir of Dreams. He was just so gutsy and stood up for what he believed in. I loved his hope and the naivety within that hope. Because Liam’s life was so tragic in Woodside Children’s Home, if I had the chance to spend time with him it would be to help him escape. I would love to have had a friend like Liam when I was a kid.   

What character in your books are you least likely to get along with and why?
All the antagonists, but for me it has to be John Carver from The Abattoir of Dreams. Not only was he a DI, but he was also covering up the abuse and murder of children at a children’s home. The most despicable human being imaginable.

Nope, I don't want to talk about him thank you very much. Just the thought of him makes my skin crawl Mark!

 If you were an animal in the zoo what would you be and why?
One that wanted to escape! So I’d have to be an orangutan. Then I could slowly and methodically figure out how to get out. I visited Monkey World once, and the keeper told us that one of the females worked out that if she threw her blanket over the electric fence, she could climb over it without getting a shock. Brilliant.

 My mum loves these funny little orange creatures Mark, and I have to admit seeing them recently on the Secret Life of the Zoo, they certainly are extremely intelligent.

You get a brilliant idea/thought/phrase at an inappropriate moment (e.g. in the shower or driving) what do you do?
Write it down. My memory is hopeless, and I will literally forget it within half an hour. Sometimes it comes back to me, but the harder I try, the more elusive it becomes. I was just drifting off to sleep when this voice said, ‘What doesn’t kill you will make you wish it had.’ I didn’t know at the time it was the voice of Peter King for my novel The Liar’s Promise, but it was certainly interesting enough to write down.

Describe yourself in five words
Impulsive, self-critical, polite, reasonable, determined.

Do you have any bad habits?
Well, I gave up smoking and drinking a long time ago, so that just leaves swearing and a tendency to be over critical of myself.

 You can find out more about Mark, his books and connect with him using the links below and if you sign up for his newsletter, you'll receive a free kindle copy of The Abattoir of Dreams once your subscription is confirmed šŸ˜‰

I'd like to say a big thank you to Mark for taking the time to chat with me today and I'm looking forward to your next book with twisted anticipation!

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