Name Mark Henwick
Where are you from
Born in Africa, came to England when I was 12 and have lived here ever since.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
Did electronic engineering stuff, then entrepreneurial management stuff, then healthcare stuff and I now write full time and I’m loving it.
Married with three children and living in the south of England. My daughter is much more famous than me – she’s Lady Nymeria from Game of Thrones and Jessika Pava from The Force Awakens, and next year she’ll be Colleen Wing in Netflix’s Iron Fist series. My eldest son works in London doing digital stuff, and my youngest will join one of his two siblings.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My main series, Bite Back, is going well, however, it’s first person PoV, so I’m looking at some companion series that tie into the main thread but are told from a different person’s perspective. Both next books (a short story due out Real Soon Now, and a novel late 2016/early 2017) are told from very different perspectives.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Always wanted to write, and did some privately, but family, work and time restraints made it difficult to progress to completed, commercial work. Took an opportunity to leave employment in 2011 and self-published my first book a year later in 2012. Not stopped since.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I had no more nice fat salary payments landing in my bank account!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The above sudden absence of salary income. No, it was a conscious decision to have a go at writing professionally which my wife and I had discussed and agreed on.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Yes… What a complex question. Probably several is the right answer.
My major series is based on a first person PoV from Amber Farrell, a 30 year old American woman, ex-military, born and living in Denver, Colorado and becoming paranormal. (As my editor, Lauren Sweet, said, I enjoy a challenge). I’m also a believer in research and the day after I quit work in 2011, my wife and I landed in Denver for a ‘holiday’ (that’s what I told her). We split the time 50/50 holiday and research. By the end of that, I had a ‘style’ that I believe suited the character. It’s a little detective noir, a little military, a little swagger, and more internal dialogue than usual for the type of book.
I try to vary the emotional range and pacing a lot in the course of a book. I love complexity and twists and layered plots. The main series’ thread is a big, slow political movement (the emergence of paranormals in human society), but the book threads are action-based.
That’s my style for that character and that series. My styles for the companion series are different, just as the ‘voices’ have to be different.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The original title was Bite Back, but that’s the series name now. I came up with Sleight of Hand, Hidden Trump, Wild Card, Cool Hand and Angel Stakes based on the feeling that a lot of the underlying action is like a poker game, with bluffs and stakes and reading other people. The prequel, Raw Deal, just matched the sequence and described Amber’s situation.
I have no idea what the next book in the series will be called!
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Lol. Firing guns, driving cars and motorbikes, pseudo-science, everyday interaction – all of that and more is obviously personal experience, knowledge, observation and extrapolation.
Being a woman, fighting werewolves and Athanate (‘vampires’)…less so. In fact, I haven’t been in the military either. I am immensely proud of the number of people from military backgrounds who read and comment positively on my books, and the number of people who read the first book without realizing it was written by a man until they come to review it.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life? a mentor?
My attic is largely comprised of boxes full of books. It is CRUEL to ask me to pick a few. Early reading was dominated by SciFi, especially 60s-70s Hugo and Nebula award winners, then fantasy and thrillers. Heinlein, Herbert and Zelazny. Pournelle, Niven and Stirling. Bujold, Huff and Moon. Weber, Gemmell and CJ Cherryh. Tolkein. Larsson.
I read and enjoyed many Urban Fantasy authors. I read all kinds of fantasies, thrillers and mysteries. There really are too many to list.
A good editor (and she’s excellent) is as close as I’ve gotten to having a mentor.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Too many. Completely unfairly, I will pick a couple.
New: Seth Dickinson, for Traitor, because he stabbed me in the heart.
Established: Lois McMaster Bujold, for the Chalion series, just because.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
All my friends who put up with my strange monologues on the business of writing.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I like to tell stories that keep people hooked. Writing those stories is more efficient than talking – you get to connect with more people, all over the world.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Bian’s Tale is a companion series which follows an Athanate (‘vampire’), from her early life in Vietnam, to becoming Diakon (2nd in command/head of security) of the pre-eminent Athanate House in America. A draft of part of the first section of the first book is available on my blogsite. It’s the quiet setup section (apologies for the formatting in WordPress) – https://henwick.wordpress.com/2013/01/26/bians-tale-part-1-saigon/
And from the short story that’s about to be published, here’s a long-lived Athanate remembering the jazz music scene that she’d been part of:
I switched switches on the music center. Little LEDs started to glow, and I pulled out LPs at random until the words jazz and soul songs caught my eye. A collection of instrumentals based on old songs. The list had some of my favorites, spanning the years.
I put the LP on the turntable. It was lucky it was one of those that loaded the arm automatically, because my hands were still shaking—laughter and nerves both.
I closed my eyes and waited; part of the drama and romance that I loved about LPs was that moment at the beginning.
A quiet hiss and crackle, full of anticipation, then the music started. A few falling notes were tossed out from a sax, as a ticking drum marked the beat. The piano picked up a couple of the notes, tossed them back. The saxophone held one note, almost too long, and then just let it drop and tumble and flow into the bittersweet melody of “Ain’t No Sunshine”.
Oh, God, it felt like yesterday.
The song had just come out.
Detroit was the heart of Motown, but it was a good town for jazz and blues. The music had come snaking up from New Orleans to settle like a hum of conversation in Detroit. Like it was supposed to be: musicians and listeners—partners in the music.
My body remembered it too. Dancing in one of those clubs. Which was it? The name eluded me. Instead, I remembered how I’d felt that night. Tired. Elated. In love with the music and in love with the night. Feeling it was far too late to go to bed, and much too early to get up.
Which was exactly how I felt right now.
I swayed to the memories.
Slow, slow, slow. Keep it in the hips and thighs.
Where did all those places go? The Driftwood, The Blue Bar, The Minor Key, Twenty Grand. So many.
Glory days. Lost.
Tears threatened, but if they’d come, I wouldn’t have been able to tell whether they were happy or sad. Happy to have been there, or sad that it was over.
For some reason, both of those are quiet sections. The books are also full of explosions, fangs, claws, guns and general mayhem!
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Writing faster (without dropping quality). This is a real problem. I know there’s a solution!
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
The internet is a lifesaver, but I like to travel to the places as well. I did the research trip to Denver before I started, and planned one last year to take in New Mexico and Los Angeles (the series goes through both), but that fell through. I am now booked on a research trip to travel down the Rockies from Helena, Montana to Albuquerque, New Mexico this September. Woo!
I really should get out to Vietnam to do research there as well. 😀
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I’ve had three sets of covers. First and third are photographs and PhotoShop. The first set were designed by a friend, Ian Wilson, who is artistically talented. The current were designed by me, and I’m not artistically talented. In between there were some atmospheric artworks created by Sophie Smith.
I’m still not happy. The best thing is that the model, Maria Askew, has become the face of Amber Farrell for my readers.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Editing. My eyes and fingers start to bleed. My nose runs. My ears droop. It’s horrific.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
The size of the task is related to the perspective from which you view it.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Start. Don’t stop. Talk to people—lots of people. Listen to some of them. Read lots. Take notes. Learn as you go. Research. Hire an editor. Network early. Think ahead.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I love you.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Tripwire by Lee Child. Voyage in the Dark by Jean Rhys. Montana and Wyoming by Carter Walker.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No. Probably Enid Blyton though.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Happy and sad things respectively.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
No, because then I’d know. Until I know, anything is possible. While anything is possible, I have an unrestricted licence.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
“Don’t look for him here.” Actually, no headstone. Burn me, mix the ashes with manure and use it to plant a tree.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I fly microlights, I ride a mountain bike and walk long distances. Reading, obviously.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Many. Game of Thrones obviously. NCIS. CSI. True Detective. Blue Blood. Chicago PD. Sport (Rugby, cricket, American football). I don’t really like many supernatural depictions on TV.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Singaporean (blends of Chinese, Malay and Indian styles). Green. Classical.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Amazon authors page: http://www.amazon.com/Mark-Henwick/e/B008SBO5YK/
Book 1, main Bite Back series: https://www.amazon.com/Sleight-Hand-Amber-Farrell-Novel-ebook/dp/B008RJXPQM
Companion series: https://www.amazon.com/Biting-Cold-Athanate-Story-ebook/dp/B013LU4RI6
Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6467424.Mark_Henwick