Thursday, April 18, 2019

Interview with dark fiction author Mark Kirkbride

Novelist Mark Kirkbride joins me today to chat about his post-apocalyptic horror novel, Game Changers of the Apocalypse.

Mark Kirkbride lives in Shepperton, England. He is the author of two novels, Game Changers of the Apocalypse and Satan’s Fan Club, 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.

Welcome, Mark. Please tell us about your current release.
My latest novel, just out in Kindle and print, is Game Changers of the Apocalypse. It’s a post-apocalyptic horror novel. The main characters, Greg and Polly, have survived the apocalypse, yet shouldn’t have. So the universe is about to be reset to correct for the anomaly that they represent. But Greg and Polly gain access to a printer that prints drafts of the future and have a brief window to try and sidestep their fates before a new draft is completed.

What inspired you to write this book?
I had the idea one night at university – a while ago now. I wanted to write a last-man-alive novel but updated to last man and woman. It’s very much about the main characters’ relationship. The whole fate of the human race rests on them getting their relationship to work. Unfortunately, they split up the day before the world ended, and there’s an outside entity acting against them. No pressure then!

Excerpt from Game Changers of the Apocalypse:
Standing on paper, he leaned into the printer’s invisible heat-field. The world’s ended and I’m still coming to work... But his hunch paid off. Another manuscript filled the tray.
He snatched it up, Draft 3.
He flicked through its warm pages. Come on, come on, come on... Polly going off had rendered Draft 2 obsolete. Where is she? Radical action on their part could nudge fate in a different direction. Tell me. While unstable over time, short term the manuscripts’ predictions proved accurate. A clue. Something. Anything… With the right information, he could use Draft 3 against itself.
Yes. It worked. He found out where she’d gone.
Oh, God, not there.
Not now...
For a moment he could see himself from the outside, clasping the manuscript – the story of their lives, written.
Rearranging his grip, he noticed he’d smudged the cover page.
His thumb came away with a black mark on it. The ink’s still wet. He left the manuscript on the side. There’s still time to change things, if I hurry.

What exciting story are you working on next?
At the moment I’m working on a novella about a man who goes to confront God after the death of his wife. The Devil exploits his grief and he gets caught up in the eternal war between heaven and hell.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think it creeps up on you gradually. A poem here, a short story there. Probably the big milestone was getting my first novel published. But I think I’ve always been a writer by temperament.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Sadly I don’t write full-time. I also work as a Subtitle Editor in London and do other little bits of freelance/commissioned work that crops up such as narrative design for a video game developer or writing quiz questions for an app developer. Everything tends to take priority over writing fiction but a lot of the best ideas arrive AFK in any case and I think I’m always writing in my head.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m not sure how quirky this is but I can’t write anything unless I have a title to begin with – even if I end up changing it.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
For a long time I wanted to be a pilot. I did end up doing some flying and did enough to go solo but not enough to get a license. I sometimes think that writing is a little like flying. You take off at full throttle and try and land on the shortest runway possible.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I haven’t mentioned this in public before but my grandmother died during the course of writing the book (she was 102) and, partly to stick two fingers up to death, I brought her back as a little girl at the end of it. Obviously I didn’t know her as a youngster but l like to think the character embodies a little of her spirt.

Thank you for listening.


Thank you for being here today!

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