Mark Kirkbride lives in Shepperton, England. He is the author of two novels, Game Changers of the Apocalypse and Satan’s Fan Club, both published by Omnium Gatherum. His short stories can be found in Under the Bed, Sci Phi Journal, Disclaimer Magazine and Flash Fiction Magazine. His poetry has appeared in the Big Issue, the Morning Star, the Mirror and Horror Writers Association chapbooks.
KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?
My name’s Mark Kirkbride. I live in Shepperton and work as a subtitle editor in London, which I like to describe as watching films under pressure. I write horror and sf. My novels are Satan’s Fan Club and Game Changers of the Apocalypse.
KR: What do you like to do when not writing?
I enjoy heading into London to do cultural things such as going to the theatre and heading out to get to the countryside. I really enjoy walking, especially by water, of which there’s rather a lot around here. I also love escaping to both real and imaginary worlds (reading).
KR: What is your favourite childhood book?
Probably Winnie-the-Pooh. It contains a whole world of personalities. It’s also hilarious.
KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?
I used to always listen to music when I was writing but probably got less done. Now I separate the two. It’s hard to name just one favourite album but maybe The Weight of Your Love by The Editors.
KR: Do you have a favourite horror movie/director?
I don’t think I have a favourite horror director but some of my favourite horror films include The Innocents, The Haunting, The Others, Pan’s Labyrinth and Drag Me To Hell.
KR: What are you reading now?
Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan. I’m as much into science fiction as I am into horror and I thought it was about time I read it.
KR: What was the last great book you read, and which was the biggest disappointment?
I read Bret Easton Ellis’ novel Lunar Park not so long ago and really loved it. It’s postmodern horror at its best.
There’s one highly regarded horror novel of recent years that’s been on my radar and I’ve tried to read it but I just can’t get on with it. I don’t know if it would be fair to name it.
KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?
I grew up with paperbacks and like to see books on bookshelves rather than digitally squirrelled away. Also, I spend so much time working at screens that it’s nice to escape them when I’m reading for pleasure. So it’s definitely paperbacks for me.
KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?
James Herbert was probably the first author that got me into horror, especially The Rats, its follow-ups and The Fog. But lots of authors inspired me to write, including Mary Shelley and Poe. Another author I really loved was Richard Matheson.
KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
With longer works I like to at least have a rough idea of the ending and know where I’m heading but I only tend to plot in detail a little way ahead, usually chapter by chapter, which still leaves plenty of room for inspiration to strike along the way.
KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I tend to do my research afterwards. What I mean is, I’ll write the first draft and then see where I need to fill in holes. Occasionally it’s necessary to do some research upfront but I try and let the initial impetus carry me as far as it can before I run aground.
KR: How would you describe your writing style?
What I aim for is contemporary, clean… and lean.
KR: Describe your usual writing day?
My ideal writing day would be writing all day. That never happens. So a novel or story is usually parked in my brain while I go about my business and then picked up whenever I get the chance.
KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?
Game Changers of the Apocalypse was a lot of fun to write. In terms of short stories, there’s a few that haven’t appeared anywhere yet including one called ‘Psycho Geography’.
KR: Do you read your book reviews?
Yes, it’s always instructive to find out what other people make of what one’s written. If someone’s taken the time and trouble to leave a review, I’ll read it.
KR: How do you think you’ve developed as an author?
Writing a novel is a massive undertaking. You’re peopling a whole world and making it run. But I think the main thing I’ve learned is not to be too phased by it. Although one has to find the right methods that work for each book, once you’ve done it once you know you can do it again.
KR: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received regarding your writing?
KR: What scares you?
The state of the world.
KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?
Yes, absolutely. Game Changers of the Apocalypse is high-concept horror. Exes Greg and Polly survive the apocalypse, and shouldn’t have. The universe is about to be reset. The bickering couple have to rely on each other to stay alive.
KR: What are you working on now?
At the moment I’m working on a novella about someone who goes to heaven to confront God about the death of his wife and gets co-opted into the eternal war between heaven and hell.
KR: You find yourself on a desert island, which three people would you wish to be deserted with you and why?
You can choose…
a) One fictional character from your writing.
Nick, the Devil character from Satan’s Fan Club. He’d at least be entertaining.
b) One fictional character from any other book.
Frankenstein’s creation. Apart from being literally a man-made serial killer, he’s the most human of monsters.
c) One real-life person that is not a family member or friend.
Mary Shelley. To put these and other questions to her.
KR: Thank you very much Mark.
You can find out more about Mark by visiting his official website www.markkirkbride.co.uk
Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkKirkbride
It’s always the end of the world when you break up with someone. This time it really is… Everyone on the planet has mysteriously disappeared, leaving exes Greg and Polly. They’ve survived the apocalypse, yet shouldn’t have. Battling each other and a malevolent entity that teases them with their fate, how long can they remain ahead? Even more terrifying than everyone else on the planet disappearing is what’s about to take their place…
Rebellious twins James and Louise meet a man while out for a night of fun who invites them to join a dangerous and exciting club. While they yearn to join Nick’s club and escape their staunchly religious upbringing, entrance requires they commit a crime tailored just for them. The twins find themselves trapped in a shadowy world they only half-believe is real and contemplating horrible acts that no sane person would consider. But sometimes the most fertile breeding ground for evil is innocence…