I met crime writer David Mark on Thursday 14th June. We sat together in Waterstone's, Lincoln, and discussed the success of his debut novel, A Dark Winter.
Set in Hull, where Mark worked as a crime reporter, A Dark Winter follows timid policeman DC Aector McAvoy's investigation into the murder of the survivor of a fishing trawler accident forty years ago. Mark says that the inspiration for this plot came about when he first started working at the local newspaper in Hull where, on the wall of his office, there was a framed article about a real fishing trawler survivor. Mark says his experience as a journalist not only provided the inspiration for his novel, but also helped him to write it.
"I've never been a policeman," he says, "but I have spent a lot of time on crime scenes and I've spent a lot of time talking to people who have been bereaved, sometimes in the most horrible ways possible. These are streets that I've walked on. So I think that, without being a journalist, I would probably be able to come up with some good stories, but they wouldn't have the ring of integrity about them that I try to keep throughout my work."
Mark describes the publishing process as 'ongoing agony', having had his work rejected multiple times, but around eighteen months ago, that all changed. Surely the feeling of success must have been heightened by previous failure?
"It's unbelievable," he says, "Obviously every writer has a good imagination and I imagined that feeling for a long time. Obviously real life being what it is, it's never quite what you pictured. Nevertheless, to see people in bookshops picking up your book and considering buying it is remarkable, even if you have to resist the urge to scream at them, 'How dare you put it back!'"
The next book in Mark's DS Aector McAvoy series will be released next year, no doubt to more glowing reception.
Ellen Lavelle - Senior YJA Reporter
Priory Academy LSST
With thanks to Gill Hart at Waterstones, Lincoln