Character Interview- Mack Walker

Morning folks! With Christmas just around the corner, many of you lovely bookish types might be thinking about buying books for your loved ones. With this in mind, myself and my friend indie author Kate Rigby are holding a little Christmasssy event today over on Facebook. The Christmas Pop-Up Book Shop will be full of links to paperbacks by fantastic authors. Authors, feel free to add your links throughout the day, and readers, please come in and browse the shelves. We will be leaving the event up for a few days so that you can pop in and out and not have to worry about missing anything. We will also be posting some other things of interest, such as giveaways, competitions, and character interviews. Here is one such thing. Indie author Mark Gillespie is an incredibly talented and prolific writer. I can’t keep up with the number of books he releases! This character interview is with Mack Walker, the main protagonist in his dystopian/post-apocalyptic/speculative fiction style trilogy, The Future Of London. (I’ve read two books in the series so far, and it is brilliant!) Enjoy!

Mack Walker (The Future of London Series)

1. Do you have any negative character traits and if so, what would you say they are?

I suffer from obsessive tendencies. But I don’t know, are those negative traits? To wake up in the morning knowing that only one thing matters above all else? That sounds like clarity to me. I’m looking for someone you see – that’s my thing. You could call it hunting rather than looking, because when I find him, well…

2. What are your most positive personality traits?

Obsessive tendencies.

3. Tell us what your current most pressing ambition or dream is?

To kill a man called Hatchet. In 2011, he did a terrible thing, something that changed all our lives for the worse. Someone has to make him pay and only a few people know what he did back then.

4. What are you most afraid of?

I still don’t know what happened to my parents. Nine years after they locked us up in London I don’t know what happened to them. Did they stay behind to look for me or did they make a run for it and try to get out before it was too late? I’m afraid I’ll never know the answer to that question. Most of all, I’m afraid they stayed behind.

5. Do you have a best friend? If so, why this person?

Friends don’t last long in this city.

6. Have you ever been in love?

I was only 16 when they locked us up in here. I never had much time for all that stuff back then. I’ve got even less time for it now.

7. Have you ever committed a crime?

Yes, but not without good reason. I don’t even know what counts as a ‘crime’ anymore in here. We do what we do to survive. Things like stealing and murder, they don’t mean what they used to.

8. Do you have any secrets?

I have a big secret. I know why no one is a hurry to let us out of London even though it’s been nine years since they sealed off the city. I’m certain they could find a way to bring us all back into society if they really wanted to. Only one other person in the city knows what I know. They’re using us – they’ve installed hundreds of thousands of micro-cameras everywhere, all over the city and they’re filming us. Not only that, we’re part of a reality TV show called The Future of London. Apparently it’s very popular and people pay a lot of money to watch us in here. They gain nothing from letting us out but they stand to lose a lot of money.

9. Do you have any regrets?

I wish I’d never moved to London in 2011.

10. How would you like to be remembered?

There haven’t been any new headstones in London for a long time. But it doesn’t matter if no one remembers me. Not as long as I find him.

Thanks so much to Mark (and Mack!) for this interview! You can find out more about Mark’s books on the link below;

Mark Gillespie books


Why My Favourite Draft Is The Second

Writing the first draft of a novel (as I am doing right now) is wonderful and scary and full of surprises. There is nothing quite like the exciting moment you first put down words to see where they go. Also, if you have been spending a lot of time revising and editing, writing something brand new and fresh, is just glorious. If you’ve had to push back ideas and ask noisy characters to wait their turn patiently, finally starting that first draft is just about as exciting as it gets.

However, the first draft is also tricky. It’s entering unknown territory. You may have a plan and a plot, but things change, things happen. Sometimes the characters take over and throw constant spanners into the novel you had envisioned! It is also a draft full of self-doubt. Is this working? Is this rubbish? Then there are the bits that drag. It’s slowing down, what do you do?


Writing your first draft is an exhausting, nerve-wracking business. Compare that to the frustration and tedium that sometimes accompanies the third, fourth or fifth draft, and you might understand why the second draft of a novel is my absolute favourite. Here is why!

  1.  Because it’s surer, more confident than the first. It has a clearer idea of where it is going and why
  2. It is usually a hell of a lot better than you thought it was! Writing the first draft I am often telling myself how clumsy and awful it is. Going through the second, I tend to get a pleasant surprise. It’s actually not that bad!
  3. The journey has been mapped out and the plot is staked into place. Yes, things still could change, but the solid basics are there. The journey is basically filled with less trepidation
  4. The characters have come alive and introduced themselves properly. They were a tad shy to begin with, but that is so not the case now!
  5. The characters have taken control and surprised me. They’ve taken the wheel from my hands and even changed the direction we were going in
  6. The themes are growing in strength and making sense
  7. As I am blundering through the first draft, I can already see how much better I can make it in the second, and this is very exciting
  8. I’m excited to get back to the start again for a better effort with more tools in my kit and my knowledge about my characters and story
  9. The hardest bit is over, I’m now refining it, fleshing it, trimming it, shaping it and perfecting it
  10. I’m not bored of it yet! It’s only the second draft so it is still all shiny and new!


How about you? Which draft do you enjoy the most? Which one is the worst or the hardest? Please feel free to comment and join in the conversation!

Writers Blog Tour

So I’ve been passed the baton by writer John Needham, which makes it my turn to run with. At the end of my post I will be passing it on to two blogging writers, Nicole Nally and Michael Hawke. As is the whole point of the blog tour, they will then do their posts and link to some more writers, and so on. Seems a great idea to me! It’s certainly introduced me to some new authors and their blogs. So anyway, onto the questions! (Interviewing myself, how weird!)

What Am I Currently Working On?
A tricky question right away because there is no quick or simple answer. I am working on several things at the same time, which to be honest is a bit of a nightmare! There is the sequel to The Boy With The Thorn In His Side which I wrote a few years ago and have only recently decided to make public. This Is The Day is in its last edit and will hopefully be available in the next month or so. You can read it as a sequel, but it will also make sense if you have not read The Boy With The Thorn In His Side. Then I have another finished novel named This Is Nowhere. It’s currently being edited and when I get it back I will spend some more time on it before releasing it. It’s essentially a family mystery and deals with subjects such as dementia, mental illness, suicide and family conflict. Then there is a brand new book I have started writing, to be aimed at young adults. My book hungry almost twelve year old has been a major inspiration for this. She devours books like nobodies business and my ambition is to write something so gripping that she cannot put it down! Quite a challenge I can tell you. I can reveal that the book is called The Tree Of Rebels, and is set over a hundred years in the future where a thirteen year old girl begins to question the apparently perfect society she lives in. It is about nature to a certain extent, the human kind as well as the wild kind, but more importantly it is about rebellion. And finally that brings me to my debut novel The Mess Of Me; a first person narrative from the perspective of a cynical, body conscious sixteen year old girl. This will be re-released with Autharium at some point soon. Long story, but it was snapped up by another publisher, with whom things have unfortunately not worked out. I am looking forward to giving it the once over and getting it back out there!

How Does My Work Differ From Others In My Genre?

Hmm, another toughie. To be honest I am not really sure what my genre is, which is one of the reasons I decided to go with an independent publisher. It gives you the freedom to write what you want, whatever genre that may be. I suppose you could call it realist fiction, (although The Tree Of Rebels will obviously be a young adult fantasy) as I tend to write about real people in real situations. I have a tendency to write a lot of dialogue, and I would say that my books are largely character driven. There are plots, and sub-plots, but I like to feel it’s the characters that stand out and drive things forward.

Why Do I write What I Do?
I like this question! This one is easy! I write what I do essentially because I have to. It really is as simple as that. I never really decide to write about a certain subject, and I never really devise complicated plots before I start writing. It is always, always the characters that come to me first. They quite simply walk into my mind, set up home and refuse to leave. They start talking, and soon they have a particular voice. A way of speaking, as well as a way of looking at the world. They will eventually present a dilemma, or a journey, and then I will start to see the other characters that surround and influence them. Bits and pieces will link up and join together in my mind, becoming like this spider web of words and images and situations. Eventually it gets so noisy in there that I have to start writing things down. So that’s why I write what I do. The voices in my head make me!

How Does My Writing Process Work?
Well I probably answered some of this in the last question. It starts with the character and their voice, and then when it gets too much to contain I will start jotting bits and pieces down. It will probably just be in my phone to start with; just random notes and ideas as I am walking the dogs, or trying to sleep at night. Eventually I will need to start a notebook, and this takes over from the phone. It is sadly never as organised or as neat as it should be. There will be pages about characters, with their names, ages and physical description. There will be a timeline somewhere. There will be ideas for the plot, and many, many snippets of conversations I envision my characters having. This will all take place as the book is written though. Nothing is planned out in advance. The notebook takes shape alongside the story. It’s really just a way to stop my head getting too full. Most of the time the actual writing just flows. If it’s how it should be, then it just happens; word after word, page after page. To me, writing should bring out the same emotions in me as reading. I should be addicted to the story, desperate to get back to it!

Well that’s enough about me and what I do. Please let me introduce you to my fellow blog tour writers, Nicole Nally and the poet Michael Hawke;

Nicole Nally has told stories for as long as she can remember. After dabbling with the idea of joining the publishing world after University, and working in several desk jobs that left her crying in the toilets, she finally realised it was possible to make a living from writing and has done so ever since. Writing as a freelance ghostwriter, she is also working on her own stories and trying to worm her way into the world of webcomics. She currently writes a monthly post for Autharium’s Tuesday Takeover and writes for her own blog several times a week.

Michael Hawke retired twelve years ago, after running his own pharmacy for twenty years. He started writing poetry as a way to communicate to his five children and six grandchildren a bit about who he is and how he feels about things. He has a book of poems called Vignettes published with Autharium and has a brand new book of poems called Love From Dad-Poems of Love and War coming out soon. Michael can often be found reading his poems to audiences in pubs, cafes and writers groups. You can find out more about Michael in his blog.