Welcome to my stop on the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Tour, hosted by Urbane Publications. I’m delighted to bring you a Q&A with Mark Mayes, author of The Gift Maker, and a chance to win a copy of his novel.
But first, a bit about Mark:
Before becoming a writer, Mark trained as an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He subsequently worked in theatre and television for several years, both in the UK and abroad. He has worked variously as a cleaner, care-worker and carer, salesman, barman, medical transcriptionist, warehouse worker, and administrator.
I started getting interested in writing about twenty years ago. I took some evening classes and ‘workshops’, predominantly in short fiction and poetry. When I began what became The Gift Maker, I assumed I was writing a short story, but it kept growing until I realised I had a narrative, and a world, with a much larger scope.
A Brief Synopsis of The Gift Maker:
Late one night, Thomas Ruder receives a strange package: a small blue box. Another such item is delivered to his friend Liselotte Hauptmann. These ‘gifts’ will change their lives forever.
In the far-off border town of Grenze, a play is to be performed at the Sheol Theatre. Reynard the impresario expects a very special audience. Thomas and Liselotte, together with their friend Johann, are drawn into Reynard’s seductive web, as Daumen, the gift maker, must decide who his master really is.
The Gift Maker is a story about identity, about fulfilling your dreams and becoming the person you always were … at whatever cost.
- Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?
I had no idea of the story as a whole, and as mentioned above, I assumed I was beginning another short story. I started with a simple scene of someone being woken in the night by a knock on the door, and took it from there.
It took about two years, on and off, to complete The Gift Maker, writing in my spare time around other jobs.
I was very glad indeed when Matthew Smith of Urbane Publications showed an interest in the novel, and overjoyed when I heard that it was going to be published.
- What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?
I like a lot of individual books, rather than authors per se; however, there are certain authors I particularly admire and am inspired by. They would include: Jean Rhys, Franz Kafka, Raymond Chandler, Alice Munro, and Anton Chekhov. From those, if I had to choose one book, it would be Good Morning Midnight by Jean Rhys.
- What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?
I read comics as a child, rather than books. I loved the superhero comics, as well as horror and fantasy comics, such as Weird Tales. As a teenager, I enjoyed reading the Pan horror anthologies. I only started reading more widely (novels, stories, plays, poetry, and non-fiction) in my late twenties.
- What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?
Coming across copies of The Gift Maker in WHSmith in London, and in Blackwells in Oxford.
- Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?
A very close friend has supported and encouraged me with regard to my writing.
I would like to say a massive thank you to Mark for taking part in the Q&A on my blog – Mark, I wish you every success with your writing career.
I’ve got 3 copies of The Gift Maker to giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post telling me what gift you’re hoping for this Christmas.
It’s as simple as that! 3 winners will be selected at random when the giveaway closes at 8pm on Friday 22nd December 2017 (the last day of Urbane’s 12 Days of Christmas). If you are a winner, you will need to use the contact form of this blog (or DM me on any social media platform) to give me your address, which I will pass on to Urbane Publishing who will send you a copy of the book directly. UK entrants only.