Mark Brownless is an up-and-coming author. I am pleased to introduce his first book entitled The Hand of an Angel. At present, it is available in Kindle and paperback formats. I came across Mark Brownless’ book on Twitter. So, don’t let anyone tell you that Twitter does not sell books. I noticed the title first and then the cover. They both caught my eye. Since my reading of the book, and yes, leaving a five-star review, Mr. Brownless has changed the cover. I must say, I like it.
Mark Brownless lives and works in Carmarthen, West Wales in the UK. Mark likes to write about ordinary people being placed in extraordinary circumstances. He is fascinated by unexplained phenomena and enjoys merging thriller, science fiction, and horror.
You can find out more about Mark Brownless at his website http://www.hyperurl.co/handofanangel Like Mark Brownless on Facebook Follow Mark Brownless on Twitter @MarkBrownless
I have a few questions for this author. I want to get to know him better and I am sure you would like to also. So, let’s get started.
1. Brigitta: Mark, this is your first published novel. What was the inspiration for your story?
Mark: I’d just written some fan fiction, as really the first fiction I’d ever written, so I felt like I was on a bit of a roll creatively. The Hand of an Angel started out as some dialogue between two characters, who became cardiologist Tom Boyand, and psychologist, Bob Wauberg. They were discussing Tom’s feelings of déjà vu, and him seeing things after his near-death experience. I just developed the story around it from there. Despite numerous drafts, a good part of that conversation appears in the finished novel, just before the finale.
2. Brigitta: Are your characters complete products of imagination or do they possess qualities of real people you are acquainted with?
Mark: My mother-in-law said she was glad Tom and Sarah’s kids are both boys, not a boy and a girl, because otherwise, she would swear that those two characters were my wife and I! That isn’t the case, though, and yes my characters are completely imaginary – although, I don’t think it’s possible to go through life and not pick up on things that people say and do, and they may well find themselves incorporated into the personalities of my characters.
3. Brigitta: The ending of the book was really good. Thinking back on when you were writing your first draft, did you already have the ending in sight, or did the ending happen as you were writing?
Mark: As I mentioned earlier, the first chapter I wrote was the conversation between Tom and Bob, the next one was the ending (it wasn’t the most structured of writing processes!). I did add to it, building it into a bigger event, but the essential structure and the very end itself have stayed pretty much unchanged since then. I’d tried to write some fiction a few years ago and the project had stalled because I could never think of an ending. The day after I finished writing the first draft of The Hand of an Angel, I went for a run and whilst I was out there I wrote the ending to my long-gestating story!
Brigitta: Yes, I understand that completely. I am sure many other authors have struggled with a scene, a beginning, the first sentence, or an ending. But, these struggles turn into wonderful entertainment between the pages of a novel for the reader.
4. Brigitta: Will you give us a little insight into the day you clicked the publish button after all the writing and rewriting? Was it scary?
Mark: I’d written my third draft based on the recommendations of my editor, Jackie Bates, and I was really pleased with the finished work. I decided to do one last proof-read as a final check, over a couple of nights. When I was getting towards the end, it was really late – maybe 1a.m. – and I thought that this would be the last time that these characters would be just ‘mine’, that I was going to be sending them out there for everyone else to get to know and to share this story with. So, as a culmination of two-years work, it actually became quite an emotional moment for me, and pressing ‘send’ seemed to draw a line underneath it. The scary bit comes when people tell me that they’re reading my book – just like you did – and I almost have to stop myself from nervously pacing the floor, waiting to see if they like it or not!
Brigitta: Thank you for sharing this with us. I am a reader as well as an author, and I have never stopped to think about the bond between author and characters. I am very happy that you shared your characters with us, the readers.
5. Brigitta: I absolutely enjoyed The Hand of an Angel. I noticed that it has a new cover. What prompted the change?
Mark: Yes, I’ve re-done the cover. So, the version that’s just launched is now the second edition of the book. The first cover, and a lot of my online presence, was using some brilliant artwork that I’d found online. I think it makes perfect sense if you’ve read the book and how it fits in. If you aren’t familiar with the book and see the first cover as an Amazon thumbnail, however, it says more hard sci-fi than a psychological medical thriller. I’ve recently been working with a marketing expert, Sam Missingham. We tested a series of cover options on various forums, narrowing the finished cover and blurb down to this new version. As much as I’ve got a really soft spot for the first cover and it was quite a personal thing to produce, I love the new edition, and it feels a lot less homemade. So I hope everyone likes it!
Brigitta: I have to say, I like them both.
6. Brigitta: We are in an elevator together. We are three floors from my stop. What will you say to me about The Hand of an Angel that will send me straight to Amazon?
Mark: What if you could see into the afterlife? What if you could look beyond the threshold of death and come back to tell the tale? That’s the obsession of cardiologist, Tom Boyand. But, when he creates an experiment to stop his heart, to experience this for himself, he doesn’t come back alone.
Brigitta: Nailed it. I’m sold. He doesn’t come back alone. Wow. I believe the hardest thing to do is to come up with the elevator pitch.
7. Brigitta: What is your favorite novel?
Mark: I like a wide variety of fiction. I love Tolkien. I really like historical fiction and am a big fan of Bernard Cornwell. But, I also like thrillers and horror. I love Stephen King and one of the best things I’ve read for a long time was CJ Tudor’s The Chalk Man earlier this year. She’s clearly a fan of the likes of It, and her novel is like a British Stephen King story.
Brigitta: I don’t know her. You have given me another author to add to my growing TBR shelf.
8. Brigitta: What type of music do you like?
Mark: Music in our house tends to be a little more tribal. So, when my daughter was small, as a family we were into the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and I remember her singing By The Way to me when she was a toddler, which was amazing. Moving on some years, when my son was at about the same age, he would sing My Hero by the Foo Fighters. Mark Knopfler once said that people live their lives to a band’s music, and even down to what you think the lyrics are, and not necessarily what they are actually singing. So, like everybody else, music isn’t just about the tune per se, but what it’s meant to us as a unit over the years.
I also like Kasabian and some Metallica, and my wife and I are big fans of Tom Petty so it was very sad when he passed away last year. So, I guess it’s rock music in some form or another all the way in our house.
9. Brigitta: What would you consider as a good day for you?
Mark: A good day for me would probably be a Sunday, spent at home with my wife and kids, where in the winter we might cook a big Sunday roast, then all sit around the fire watching a movie together. Or in the summer we might barbecue and spend the whole day together outside.
10. Brigitta: What is the most important thing in Mark Brownless’ life?
Mark: You’ll probably guess from my previous couple of answers, but it’s my family. They shape what I am, rib me mercilessly, and give me the best times.
There you have it, friends. Up and coming author and family man.