Hello everybody. My name’s Mark, <“Hello, Mark”> and I’m an... oh wait, wrong meeting.
Still, keeping with the name thing, my last name is “Evans” and that makes for an extremely common combination (I’ve seen my name in film credits so many times, and for different crew roles). So, I use my middle initial to set me apart. What does the “D” stand for? Wouldn’t you like to know. No? Oh.
For ease and the saving of time, I often tell people that I’m British, which invariably and ironically usually leads to a lengthly discussion of what that means. I don’t really consider myself to be from any one particular place and my family largely comes from both England and Wales (hence the surname). My own country people have trouble guessing where I’m from as I have no accent (mystery abound), while outside of the UK I’ve been accused of being Australian (and Kiwi) and even German (yeah, no idea).
Nowadays I live in north London, and have lived here for the past five years. Prior to that I did all the usual things, like go to school and then university (or “college”), concentrating on a sensible career in computers before one day I thought “aah, screw it”, went travelling for a couple of years and then did a variety of jobs whilst writing this, my debut novel.
How long have you been writing?
About fifteen minutes.
Oh, you mean, like, in general. This is gonna sound like a cliche, but for as long as I can remember. I was always an imaginative and creative kid, painting and drawing, but also writing crappy little poems. I moved on to crappy little ghost stories before going on an extended hiatus to do some growing up. Then I got back into the game in my teens with crappy not-so-little stories. I wrote a screenplay while I was in university (never to be seen), and then whilst coming up with the occasional “good” idea, I developed what has become “No Shelter from Darkness” since circa 2000.
Do you have a favorite place to write?
I’m quite fortunate to be able to write practically anywhere. I do like cafes (of course), though I would have to admit that in the silence of my own home is where the writing of best quality occurs. Cafes and even bars are great places to work on ideas, though.
Why did you decide to write “No Shelter from Darkness”?
I’ve always been fascinated by vampires, but have always been irked by their representation. After reading a book or watching a film, regardless of how good or bad it was, I’d always wonder how I’d go about writing my own vampire book or film with a basis in reality. Would it even be possible to write a good, horror-themed vampire story after taking away all the supernatural elements?
So in one sentence, that’s why I wanted to write this book; I wanted to make vampires “real”.
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
This question is a bit like the “what’s your favourite film” question, in so much that the answer may well change from day to day. Beth, the primary protagonist, is kind-of by default my favourite character. The book is fundamentally about her and what she goes through, and how she deals with it.
It pleases me to say, however, that other characters evolved and grew, like characters should. Mary, Beth’s best friend, had a far smaller role initially. But through writing the book her character and thus her part naturally grew. She goes through her own shit, just like Beth goes through hers.
However, today for this question, I’m going to say Bill.
I don’t want to say who he is for those who’ve not read the book, but in ways his growth through the story is greater than that of Beth’s. Beth had no choice but to change, but for Bill it was a decision. I think that makes him stronger than readers might give him credit for.
How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
My least favourite as a person would be Susan, the bully. I unashamedly used a bit of stereotyping for her, making her both formidable and coming from a questionable background; making her the typical bully. She enjoys being nasty, and she enjoys focussing it on someone who is different but who also threatens her.
But I enjoyed writing her. She was relatively easy to write.
I didn’t enjoy writing Lynne, though. She didn’t come naturally to me and I was left scratching my head occasionally, trying to get the balance right between a worrying mother and a strong nurse, figuring out how she would most likely react to different situations. Most characters were natural. Put Beth into a situation and I’ll instantly be able to know, to feel, what she would do. Lynne wasn’t like that.
Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
Being published by Seattle-based Booktrope, I get my own editor (the very awesome Steven Luna). However, before the manuscript gets to him it goes through a lot. I am terrified of giving something to someone to read and them thinking it—and thus me—is shit. Once I write the first draft I don’t so much as edit it as write it again. In fact it’s not until the third draft, really, before I can say I’m changing little enough to call it an edit as opposed to a rewrite.
But then it goes to my beta reader—my sister—who gives me advice on the story itself. She’ll tell me where it’s boring, where the pace is too slow (it’s never too quick) or indeed if story elements simply don’t work. Thousands of words were deleted from NSFD thanks to her, and every one of them deserved it.
Finally, after a further few edits, I’ll think about considering handing it over to Steven.
Then I get insomnia.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Currently I have time for little more than attempting to keep fit and healthy. I’m a gym-goer (not a gym-rat—I don’t go nearly enough to be called that), but to wind down I read or watch films. I’m not ashamed to say that I draw just as much inspiration from a good film as I do from a good book. And in fact when I write, I do so as though I’m describing a film. It seems to be doing the job—numerous times people have got back to me saying something along the lines of “I loved it, I felt like I was in it, it was as if I was watching a film.”
I’m not saying that’s a good thing, and I’m not saying that’s how people should write... but it’s how I write.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
Yes, but not as much as I should. I’m a notoriously slow reader. I also do most of my reading before bed, which isn’t great as I’m often so tired I fall asleep in my book. But when I do read I read anything that takes my fancy. This could be horror, but equally likely is thriller, classic, “general fiction”. I even read non-fiction, graphic novels... but not usually romance.
My favourite author is Dean Koontz, though I read a lot of Palahniuk, too, and I love Scarlett Thomas’s intelligence.
What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Write it out here, then answer it.
Does having been asked this exact question before somehow cancel this one out in some space-time continuum, time warping, universe-destroying cataclysm?
So... “What makes my vampires different to everyone else’s?”
I could talk forever about this, but the short and simple answer would be that my vampires are based on science, not the supernatural, and they take into account everything that has happened in the real world. So for example, my vampires don’t scare easily when a clove of garlic is held up to them, but they’re aware that’s a part of some of the mythology, along with having no reflection and so on. Likewise, my vampire hunters are still learning and accept they’ve been wrong in the past about things like vampires sleeping in coffins and/or graves.
A vampire’s need for blood, where it goes and how it used is all explained—not so much in this first book but let me assure you that by the saga’s end, there will be no question left unanswered. And some of the explanations, though based in science, will hopefully leave you shocked.
As a supplement to this question and its answer, in my line of work (the other job that pays the bills) I meet a lot of people and talk invariably leads to (or rather, I invariably lead the talk to) my writing and then my book. The question that is obviously always asked is “what’s your book about?”
At this point I kind of hunch my shoulders and lean away in some kind of defensive stance, expecting him or her to break off a branch of the nearest tree and beat me with it when I say “vampires”.
I know all too well that vampires are everywhere in the media and many will instantly think of The Vampire Diaries or sparkling vampires, and I just don’t want to see the roll of their eyes.
Most of the time, however, they’ll say “oh, I love vampires”. Only some of these will turn away when I mention that there’s no romance in my book.
Lately, however, I’ve met a couple of people who aren’t shy in doing the eye-rolling thing. For good reason, they tut and say how fed up they are with vampires. It’s the response I always expect, yet it throws me every time. What they’re actually asking is: Why should I read your vampire book?
Simple. Because I’m not writing about some teenage girl who falls in love with a dark and mysterious boy who turns out to be a vampire. I’m writing about something that, for all you know, has actually already happened. I’m writing about someone who thought they were one thing only to discover they are something else, and how it affects not only them, but those around them. It doesn’t ask “can you love something that’s evil (that invariably turns out to be not so evil)?” It asks “can a person be born evil, or is it their upbringing that decides such fate.” It’s based in the real world, about what could well have been real people. It’s about what could well have been real vampires.
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Schedule No Shelter From Darkness by Mark D. Evans
October 1 Guest blog
So Much to Write
October 2 Guest blog
October 3 Interview
October 4 Spotlight
Lisa’s World of Books
October 7 Spotlight
Book Worm & More,
October 8 Guest blog
Reading in Twilight
October 9 Spotlight
Lis Les Livres
October 10 Interview
Dalene’s Book Reviews
October 11 Spotlight
Jodie Pierce's Ink Slinger's Blog
October 15 Interview
Bewitching Book Tours Magazine
October 15 review
Nicky Peacock Author
October 16 Interview
October 17 Spotlight
Ramblings of a Book Lunatic
October 18 Spotlight
Wicca Witch 4 Book Blog
October 21 Interview
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom
October 23 Spotlight
October 24 Spotlight
Quill or Pill
October 25 Guest blog
Guest post (suggested topics: research for the novel, where the idea came from, general discussion of the novel, anything else)
October 28 Interview
October 31 Spotlight
Share My Destiny