#Guest #Author #MarkEllis @MarkEllis15 Author of the #DCIFrankMerlin series @midaspr

JW: I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? Or have you had any other jobs?

ME: I studied law, became a barrister, corporate executive then with a partner started a computer services company. I had always wanted to write and when my computer company was sold in the early 2000s decided to give it a shot.

JW: Where did the inspiration for the Dead in The Water come from?

ME: I usually get inspiration for my book plots when doing my research. In the case of Dead In The Water, my reading about the chosen period, Summer 1942, opened my mind to various strands of history. These included the impact in Britain of the arrival of the American forces in that year, the theft of art from Jewish owners in the run-up to the war, and the continuing espionage intrigues of the various combatants.  My plot emerged from these strands.

JW: How much research was involved in Dead in the Water, as it is set during 1942 and WW2?

ME: I do a great deal of research before every book. I go to libraries, go online, read my own collection of wartime books, read new books etc.  I usually spend around 3 months researching before starting each book.

JW: Who would you like to see playing the part of DCI Frank Merlin, if Dead In The Water is turned into a TV Show/Film?

ME: I always find this a difficult one. Spending much of my time as I do in the 1940s, the names that immediately spring to mind are actors of that vintage eg Ray Milland, Gregory Peck, Cary Grant. As they are all dead this is not much use! Of people who are alive there is a Welsh actor called Luke Evans who might fit the bill. Also maybe Christian Bale.

JW: As a child growing up, were you an avid reader or was television your thing? Do you have a favourite childhood book or television programme?

ME: I was both an avid reader and TV watcher. As regards books I loved The Wind In The Willows, The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe, The Lord Of The Rings and many others. I was a rather precocious reader. I remember reading and enjoying The Pickwick Papers when I was around 9 or 10. As for TV, I watched everything which was pretty easy then as there were only two channels. Champion the Wonder Horse was one favourite. Robin Hood and Ivanhoe were others.

JW: As we are now in May, which book that you’ve read this year has been your favourite? OR which are you most looking forward to?

ME: Kolymsky Heights, a classic thriller by Lionel Davidson. I’ve also read a few very enjoyable books by Icelandic crime writer Ragnar Jonasson. I’m currently in the middle of the book I was most looking forward to this year, which is Don Winslow’s latest, City of Fire.

JW: Have you ever been starstruck by meeting one of your heroes in real life?

ME: I am Welsh and a keen rugby fan. Meeting Sir Gareth Edwards was good. Many years ago I spent a lot of time in California. I was once invited to a vintage Hollywood party. Among the people I met were Ginger Rogers, Rosalind Russell and Sophia Loren. I’m not sure I’d call them heroes of mine but I was certainly starstruck.

JW: What do you consider your greatest achievement?

ME: My children.

JW: If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why?

ME: The first choice would have to be The London Blitz (from a safe vantage point!). The second would be something in Ancient Rome. Cicero giving one of his famous speeches perhaps. Or the assassination of Julius Caesar.

JW: What is something you are passionate about aside from writing?

ME: Reading. Watching rugby and cricket. Listening to music. Travel.

JW: Can you share a shelfie with us? (A photo of your bookshelf)

JW: If you could invite four people to dinner, living or dead, who would you invite and why?

ME: Churchill, Dickens, Mozart, Van Morrison. Churchill was a flawed but great man and looms very large in what I write about. Dickens because he was such a fantastic writer. Mozart and Van because I love their music so much. Not sure how well this group would get on though!

JW: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

ME: To be persistent in whatever you do, whether in business, writing or life in general. Very little is achieved without sticking at it.  ‘Keep buggering on’ in the words of Winston Churchill.

JW: What’s next? What are you currently working on?

ME: Currently researching Frank Merlin 6. No title as yet. Will be set in Spring 1943.

You can BUY Mark Ellis’s Books HERE

You can find Mark Ellis’s website HERE

You can follow Mark Ellis on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

#Guest #Author #CJTudor @cjtudor #TheChalkMan #TheTakingOfAnnieThorne #TheOtherPeople #TheHidingPlace #TheBurningGirls #ASliverOfDarkness #TheDrift @MichaelJBooks answers my #Questions #Blogtalk

Thank you so much C.J for being a guest on my blog, it is a huge honour! 

I’d like to start by asking, have you always wanted to be a writer? And what was your first job?

I’ve always loved writing but thought that ‘being an author wasn’t a very realistic job for a girl from Nottingham. So, I thought that maybe I could be a reporter or work in advertising. Things that involved writing or being creative but paid a regular salary! However, I ended up leaving school at 16 (because I had a crap time at senior school) and working as a filing clerk for about a year, which I hated.

I’ve read and loved all your books so far, but which are you most proud of?

I would like to say my most recent book, The Drift because it’s a real departure and I really pushed myself. But also, The Chalk Man, because that was the one that got me published. The start of everything. And the one that Mr King tweeted about, so it will always have a special place in my dark heart!

As a child growing up, were you an avid reader or was television your thing? Do you have a favourite childhood book or television programme?

Well, I’m so old that kids’ TV was only on for about two hours at teatime, and I could only watch certain adult TV programmes, so I used to read a lot: Enid Blyton (I loved Mallory Towers) and then I moved on to ghost stories and Agatha Christie. My favourite TV programmes were Scooby-Doo, Marmalade Atkins and later, I LOVED The A-Team and Tales of the Unexpected!!

Were nearly in May, which book has been your favourite so far in 2022? And is there one you are particularly looking forward to?

I haven’t read very much lately and I’m really out of the loop on new releases. Also, I’m kind of done with traditional psych thrillers, and always on the lookout for something a bit different. The book I most enjoyed recently is a book called ‘Sign Here’ by Claudia Luxe (out in October). It’s about a deal-broker in hell who just has to sign up one more member of the same family for a big bonus. But of course, things don’t go to plan. It’s part mystery, part fantasy and full of some wonderfully dark humour. It reminded me very much of early Michael Marshall Smith. Thoroughly recommended and it was so nice to read something original!!

Who do you most admire?

In writing – Stephen King, Harlan Coben, Michael Marshall Smith. Outside of writing – I love Tim Minchin for the words and music (and the Pope song). Very clever man. Right now, I admire people fighting against this vile, corrupt government and speaking up for those in desperate need, like Jack Monroe. Total hero.

Can you share a shelfie with us? (A photo of your bookshelf)

If you could go back in time, to one historical event, to witness it, what would it be and why?

Crumbs! Tough one. Maybe the shooting of JFK, just to confirm whodunnit. Or the dinosaurs. I’d like to know what really wiped them out. Plus, if I could take some photos to annoy creationists that would be good!

What is something you are passionate about aside from writing?

I don’t know about passionate, but I do get very angry about the state of the UK right now. It was only six years ago that I was working as a dog walker, earning £10 an hour. I lived for a decade in the red, with no savings, no money for emergencies or unexpected bills. It’s horrible. And that is nothing compared to the very poorest in society. It angers me that there is such disparity between the rich and poor. I got a break when I got published. I’m comfortable now – and I try to do my bit to pay it back. But not many people get that break. We need a massive change to redress the balance.

If you could invite four people to dinner, living or dead, who would you invite and why?

Stephen King – because he’s my writing hero. Bill Hicks – because I would love his take on the world right now. Tim Minchin – he can provide music. Mary Shelley – because she was a cool goth chick who was ahead of her time.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Be kind.

What are you currently working on?

Book 6, which will be out in 2024! But I can’t say too much about it yet because I haven’t even shared it with my editor. All I can say is that it is a small-town murder mystery, set in Alaska. With bite. ; )


C. J. Tudor was born in Salisbury and grew up in Nottingham, where she still lives with her partner and young daughter.
She left school at sixteen and has had a variety of jobs over the years, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, shop assistant, ad agency copywriter and voiceover.
While writing the Chalk Man she ran a dog-walking business, walking over twenty dogs a week as well as looking after her little girl.
She’s been writing since she was a child but only knuckled down to it properly in her thirties. Her English teacher once told her that if she ‘did not become Prime Minister or a best-selling author’ he would be ‘very disappointed.’
The Chalk Man was inspired by a tub of chalks a friend bought for her daughter’s second birthday. One afternoon they drew chalk figures all over the driveway. Later that night she opened the back door to be confronted by weird stick men everywhere. In the dark, they looked incredibly sinister. She called to her partner: ‘These chalk men look really creepy in the dark’

You can pre-order A Sliver Of Darkness & The Drift HERE

You can follow CJ Tudor on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK