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August 2016 crime author of the month interview with Mark J Newman

1. How did you get started writing?

I’ve always wanted to write, as a child I had an overactive imagination and used to write and make up my own comic strip storyboards. At school I always enjoyed the creative writing aspect of English but frequently got told off for writing violent and graphic crime stories. I began writing a novel back in 1998 but didn’t get past the first 30K words.

2. What drew you to write a crime novel

In my youth I spent a lot of time at my nan’s house, she had a fondness for Westerns, in particular films that starred Clint Eastwood, so I guess it was organic, I progressed from watching spaghetti westerns to the Dirty Harry movies. That fed in to my imagination and led me to look for other darker gritty crime movies. So overall its very cinematic, as I’m writing I can see the images in my head. I’m drawn to investigate the darker side of human nature, and what drives us to commit acts of violence and revenge.

3. Which writers past or present have influenced your style of writing?

Lawrence Block, Ed McBain, George Pelecanos, Don Winslow, Ian Rankin

4. When you first started writing did you find it hard to get publisher interest?

I made a conscious choice to bypass the traditional route and go straight for self publishing, I like the element of control that it allows the writer.

5. There are many interesting characters in your Novels, do you have a particular favourite one?

Well, at present it would have to be Malkie Thompson, as a reader you know that you’re not really supposed to like him but you can’t help but get drawn to him. That said Baxter, the main character in the new book, In For The Kill, is complex, without giving too much away, let’s just say he’s not all that he appears to be.

6. What kind of research have you have to undertake for your Novels?

In the past I worked as a Police Photographer and I’ve also worked as a prison tutor, both jobs gave me a wealth of experiences to draw upon for ideas, plots, characters, settings etc. My stories are an amalgamation of truth and fiction woven into what I hope are entertaining genre fiction crime thrillers.

7. Are the characters in your books based on any real life?

No one character is based on any one particular person that I may have come in to contact with in the past. I draw upon my own experiences and others to create the characters. I used to go for end of shift drinks with a lot of police officers, so I would get to hear the banter and the stories. I’ve been saving these up in my head for the best part of 20 years, and of course I embellish them to bring them to life on the page.

8. What do you think makes your novels stand out from all the other Scottish Crime Fiction Novels out there

I’m definitely writing to a specific audience with this particular series. I don’t shy away from the gritty and the explicit. I’ve heard some people refer to it as Brit Grit. Having seen it up close in real life, documenting crime scenes, I’m trying to tell it how it is. Of course that’s not always to everybody’s taste.

9. Do you see any of your characters personality in yourself and vice versa?

Good question, am I a violent sociopath like Malkie Thompson? I think as humans we all have a propensity for violence, given the right circumstances. But no, character trait wise, I’m not like Malkie Thompson, I’m probably closer to Baxter and George, Malkiel’s loyal friend and confidant.

10. If you can, would you give us a sneaky peak into any future novels you have planned.

Crime Syndicate book 3: Walk Amongst the Dead, leads on from book 2. It’s set in the present day and joins Malkie Thompson and his crew at their midlands base where they’ve set up home and established their business interests since leaving Glasgow in 1987. This is written and I’m currently re-drafting it prior to sending it off to my editor.
I’m also writing a standalone revenge novella, Paid in Full, a homage to the 1980s’ film Falling Down starring Michael Douglas. Also in production, I have a psychological thriller, which I’m approximately 30K words in to and a new series in development about a rogue cop, again, this character isn’t all that he might first appear to be to the reader. Going beyond that I have outlines written for another 2 different series, both of which feature strong female lead characters.

11. Out of all the Novels you have written do you have a favourite one that stands out to you?

So far I think the new book In For The Kill is my favourite as it’s finished and polished, having said that, book 3 in the Crime Syndicate series was a lot of fun to write, but I’m still in the process of redrafting it.

12. As a up and coming crime writer do you have words of advice you can share
Best advice to anyone wanting to write whether they’re writing crime or any other genre, just get on and do it. I put it off for years, made a lot of excuses for not doing it. With self publishing there really is no excuse. I spent three years researching the market, listening to various podcasts, taking part in webinars before dipping my toe in but really if you feel you have a story to tell just get on with it, there are plenty of forums to join all offering help and advice to the budding writer.


Crime Syndicate Series

Violence in the Blood

In for the Kill

Walk Amongst the Dead (due for release September 2016)

More in series planned for 2017


10:54 Suburbia Volume 1 (a book of 5 thriller shorts) FREE at sign up to the VIP Club

Paid in Full (a revenge novella due for release October 2016)

Social media links:


Amazon Author Page


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