Q1. Mark, it’s wonderful to have you with us for this Q&A. Please tell us about your humble beginnings as an author.
It’s a pleasure to be here, thank you for having me. About 9 years ago I used to be employed as a support worker for adults with learning difficulties. There were quiet times on the night shifts so once my work was done and the clients were asleep, I decided to put the time to good use. That’s when I started writing. I began with poems and short children’s stories and then moved onto writing a novel—which has been set aside for the time being, in favour of writing short horror stories.
Q2. Which writers have influenced your storytelling the most?
I love reading horror, which I really got into when I started writing it. Stephen King, Clive Barker, Graham Masterton, Robert McCammon, Brian Lumley, James Herbert and Richard Laymon. They all have fascinating imaginations.
But writers that have inspired me tend not to be horror. Richard Adam’s Watership Down is a phenomenal book with a wonderful cast of characters. Life of Pi by Yann Martel is wildly imaginative. And Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre is another of my all-time favorites. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters was the first book I’ve ever read in two days. And Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith is gripping from the get-go.
The biggest influence though was probably Roald Dahl when I was a kid. I read all his books and still have them sitting on my shelf.
For me, I find it just as important, if not more so, to read and be inspired by genres other than horror. It helps me think outside the box rather than repeat something that’s been done before. Which is a hard thing to do. But I like a challenge.
Q3. Any advice for aspiring authors?
I’d say read as much as you write. I’ve learned by reading how others string words together. Their characterizations. Plot. Pace. And voice. What works and what doesn’t. And the more I read the more practiced at writing I become.
I’d also say always have someone to read and criticize your work if you want to improve. Whether it’s someone you pay or someone you trust to be honest with you, having that third eye allows someone else to see things you don’t. Having a different viewpoint on your work can help you grow as a writer if you are open to it.
Q4. What are your hobbies besides reading and writing?
I keep tropical fish and have two small aquariums. I like going to the gym and meditating. In this last decade I’ve learned that looking after my mental health and well-being is just as important as my physical health. I love going to the cinema and the theater.
I also act professionally. I’ve been retraining these last couple of years. Writing is a very solitary experience and I love it. But I am looking forward to getting back out there and being with people and living my life.
Q5. Tell us about your upcoming projects.
I’m currently in the last round of edits for the follow up to The Heartbreaker: 13 Dark Fantasy and Horror Stories. This one will be called Coven: 13 Dark Fantasy and Horror Stories. I hope to have that on Amazon later this year. I’m hoping to publish no later than the Spring.
I also have some audio stories I will be recording and publishing on my YouTube channel which are not featured in the books. It’s another form of storytelling which I’m really excited about.
I’m also thinking about redesigning my website. So there’s a lot to get through this year.
Visit Mark Young’s website: here
Check out Mark Young’s Amazon Author page here.
Visit Mark Young’s YouTube channel here.