1967. In a quiet village in the wild lands of the Scottish borders, disgraced academic Cordelia Hemlock is trying to put her life back together. Grieving the loss of her son, she seeks out the company of the dead, taking comfort amid the ancient headstones and crypts of the local churchyard. When lightning strikes a tumbledown tomb, she glimpses a corpse that doesn’t belong among the crumbling bones. But when the storm passes and the body vanishes, the authorities refuse to believe the claims of a hysterical ‘outsider’.
Teaming up with a reluctant witness, local woman Felicity Goose, Cordelia’s enquiries all lead back to a former POW camp that was set up in the village during the Second World War. But not all Gilsland’s residents welcome the two young women’s interference. There are those who believe the village’s secrets should remain buried . . . whatever the cost.
I hope you enjoy this interview.
1.When and where do you prefer to write?
Ideally, at my desk, in my house, and without interruptions. But I don’t think this has ever actually happened. I get the house and the desk bit, but the interruptions are plentiful when one lives in a house in the countryside with three children, two lodgers, two cats and a partner who really appreciates the ease and simplicity of an online shopping account.
2. Do you have a certain ritual?
Not really. I try and read a little poetry before each day’s heavy writing as I find it gets the mental cogs lubricated, but really it’s just coffee and a general bellowing at the world that I’m about to start and wish to be left alone.
3. Is there a drink of some food that keeps you company while you write?
Coffee is now my best friend. Whisky used to be my best friend but we became far too close and ended up hanging around together long into the night, finishing one another’s sentences and wondering why nobody else understood us.
4. What is your favourite book?
A blank one, that comes with a pen. If you want a less annoying answer, it’s Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks.
5. Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
I don’t really like the use of labels for any kind of creative output. I just write books and they all seem pretty different to one another to me.
6. Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
Invariably. I don’t always realise I’m doing it and often people spot themselves erroneously. I have definitely picked victims based on people who have annoyed me.
7. Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
I used to. Now I’m so busy packing nappies and pushchairs and rounding up the adolescents that I’m lucky if I remember to take my own shoes.
8. Which genre do you not like at all?
I think I’ve probably endured about as many domestic suspense stories as I can take.
9. If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
Somebody very patient, understanding and perfectly at ease with me slapping their fingers off the keyboard while I take over completely. I’m not sure such a person exists. But if I could control myself and give in to the collaborative process, perhaps Elly Griffiths could put up with me. She writes the kind of books I try to.
10. If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
In the past couple of years my research has taken me to America, Lapland, Iceland, The Netherlands and Sicily, though some people might prefer to use the word ‘holiday’ for parts of them. I have half an idea for a thriller set on Pitcairn island in the South Pacific, so if any travel agents want to arrange this for me as a promotional opportunity….
Thank you, David Mark and Love Books Group Tours.
About the author
David Mark spent seven years as crime reporter for the Yorkshire Post and now writes full-time. A former Richard & Judy pick and Sunday Times bestseller, he is the author of nine police procedurals in the DS Aector McAvoy series and one historical novel. He lives in Northumberland with his family.
Twitter Info: * @davidmarkwriter
Author website: http://www.davidmarkwriter.co.uk