Follow Mark's publication journey via his website http://markhillauthor.com or connect with him via Twitter @markhillwriter or Facebook Mark Hill
Can you give us an elevator pitch for your debut novel The Two O'Clock Boy?
When a family is brutally murdered in North London, Detective Inspector Ray Drake will do whatever it takes to find the killer – and he’ll go even further to cover-up his own dark secret…
You see what I did there? It’s not just a secret, it’s a dark secret. Everybody loves a copper with a dark secret, right?
What inspired you to write about a current day serial murder case that was heavily influenced by events in the past?
There’s that great quote by William Faulkner: ‘The past isn’t dead; it isn’t even past.’ I loved the idea of writing two timelines, one set in modern-day and the one set in a children’s home in the 1980s, then crashing them together like a pair of cymbals to the skull. Also, the truth is, I get bored very easily, and writing scenes set decades apart gave me the opportunity to write a larger array of characters and then seeing how I could interconnect them all. You know, just to make my life easier.
How did the title The Two O'Clock Boy come about?
I’d love to say I thought of it, but it was actually my agent’s idea - as he never fails to remind me. We were throwing a few titles about and nothing seemed to stick and he pointed out that the phrase The Two O’Clock Boy was there, hiding in plain sight in the novel. People seem to like it. I’m hoping ‘boy’ books will ignite a whole new literary phenomenon. I’m thinking: Boy On The Train. Gone Boy. Boy With The Dragon Tattoo.
Describe DI Ray Drake in three words.
Terse, troubled, tragic, trousered. Wait, that’s four. Ignore trousered.
How did your writing journey start?
I had one of those amazing English teachers, Mrs. Tighe, who was very encouraging when I was young, and she put it into my head that I could write. But you know how it is, real life gets in the way, and months, years and decades passed. I started the odd story, but never finished anything, and wrote a few screenplays. I was convinced I would be an author one day, the idea gnawed away at me. But guess what – I wasn’t writing. Then one morning I woke up and stared dismally at my grey hair and knew that I couldn’t keep kidding myself. I needed to actually sit down and, you know, write. I remember very clearly starting to plan the story that would eventually become The Two O’Clock Boy one snowy afternoon while staying in midtown Manhattan. And the first thing I told myself was, ‘you know what would make this whole exercise really fucking difficult – two timelines!’
You were previously a blogger who reviewed novels as Crime Thriller Fella, so how are you feeling now that the shoe is on the other foot and it's your own novel that's now out in the world being reviewed?
Terrified. I kind of stopped reviewing a while back for that very reason. I felt uncomfortable reviewing authors while I was writing a novel of my own. A lot of people do it, of course, but it didn’t sit right with me. However, I do hope people will
Did you treat yourself to something special to celebrate your publishing deal?
I bought a new gimp outfit. The old one chafed.
Finally have you anything planned to celebrate publication day or are you waiting for the paperback publication in April?
I may treat myself to a single glass of wine in celebration when the ebook comes out. Or I may neck several. As for the paperback publication - that’s going to be special. I’m thinking I may just succumb to that midlife crisis I’ve been promising myself. There’s certainly a very strong possibility that more wine will be involved.
One night changed their lives
Thirty years ago, the Longacre Children's Home stood on a London street where once-grand Victorian homes lay derelict. There its children lived in terror of Gordon Tallis, the home's manager.
Cries in the fire and smoke
Then Connor Laird arrived: a frighteningly intense boy who quickly became Tallis' favourite criminal helper. Soon after, destruction befell the Longacre, and the facts of that night have lain buried . . . until today.
A truth both must hide
Now, a mysterious figure, the Two O'Clock Boy, is killing all who grew up there, one by one. DI Ray Drake will do whatever it take to stop the murders - but he will go even further to cover up the truth.
Tick. Tock. Not long to pre-order this stunning debut at just £1.99 amzn.to/2cOVVLC