Today I have the pleasure of chatting with KEVIN MARSH. Kevin is a recent addition to my list of favourite authors. On Monday (15th April) we are kicking off a Blog Tour to relaunch THE WITNESS so look out for that. In the meantime lets see what we can find out about the man behind the books:
Interview with Kevin Marsh
1. As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was a child I wanted to work with animals and nature. My Mother looked into a career with the Forestry Commission but as I was only about ten years old at the time these ideas were put to one side. My Father was a Blacksmith and worked for a local engineering company. When I left school I was encouraged to take up a trade so joined the company and became a Sheet Metalwork Apprentice. I studied at the local technical college for the next five years.
2. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I have been interested in reading and writing from a very young age. My Mum would read my stories and correct the spelling. She always used to say ‘I don’t know where you get all your ideas’. When I was about twelve I wrote what I thought was a full length novel and my English teacher at school corrected all the errors. The Commerce and Typing teacher used my work as a typing exercise and produced a manuscript with a blue print copy. My Mum sent this out to publishers so I became used to receiving rejection letters at an early age. I did however become quite well known at school as a writer.
3. How long does it take you to write a book?
The actual writing process takes about nine months, but with the research time and editing I usually allow twelve. I usually find the writing element the easiest but then the hard work begins. The editing process is where many of the decisions about characters, plot and presentation is made, it’s then that I have to read, read, and re-read my work.
4. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I am much more creative in the morning so like to begin as early as possible. In the summer months I usually start at six or earlier in the morning. I write until about two then the rest of the day is spent reading through and changing what I have produced.
5. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I like to write the first draft by hand. I love notebooks so the story is written in what I call the ‘rough book’. I then write it again by hand in the ‘best book’ and from there the typing begins. This process is ongoing, I don’t complete the whole book before re-writing it. The first, second and typing drafts can be on going at once. This allows me to keep up with the plot and complete at least two edits before the first manuscript is typed. I sometimes like to use a fountain pen and always use different colour pens in my research book. My research book is another notebook where everything goes. I write my research notes there, character profiles, dialogue and everything that might be useful. I don’t believe in writer’s block so whenever I’m stuck I dip into this book and always manage to find inspiration. Not everything in the book gets used so this can transfer over to the next book. Very useful when writing a series or trilogy.
6. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I have quite an active imagination but a lot of my ideas come from people watching and eavesdropping. This drives my wife mad and she is always telling me off!
I love to research so when I have an idea I read around the subject and make notes in my trusty notebook. The internet is a good place for information but I also read books and other resources. I always check what I have read on the internet and only use reliable sites.
Often I rely on my characters to drive the plot forward so never really know what I might have to research next. Giving my characters so much freedom is quite challenging at times because it can take a lot of thought and scheming to get them out of trouble.
7. Which is your favourite book?
My all time favourite book is called Ferney by James Long. I have read it many times over the years and still find it fascinating.
I read a huge range of books and am not afraid to read ‘chick lit’. I like indie authors as well as the great and the good. Ian Rankin, Clive Cussler, Elizabeth Chadwick, Barbara Erskine, Nick Alexander are some of my favourites. Also I love the Ruby Baker Mysteries by Daisy White.
8. The Witness is the first book I have read. Can you tell us more about your books?
The Witness is my second book but my first thriller. My first book, published in 2012, is called The Belgae Torc. It is an action adventure novel that begins in the Iron Age then moves on to modern day. My main character, Orlagh Gairne is an archaeologist working for the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin. She is central to the plot but there are many strong characters in this book. It was never intended to be more that a single novel but as the plot developed it soon became obvious that there was more to Orlagh and her adventure than I thought. Her story is told over three books that I call The Torc Trilogy, it consists of The Belgae Torc, The Gordian Knot and Cutting the Gordian Knot (The Final Solution). The historical content ranges from the Iron Age to the Second World War.
After writing The Witness I decided to create a series of thrillers that are essentially stand alone novels but some of the main characters appear in each book. It was not my intention to write police crime novels. The police work forms a large part of each book but I try to focus on the victims and the antagonist. The second book in this series is called The Cellist and was published just over a year ago.
9. What are you working on now?
I am currently working on another thriller. It is at the editing stage and almost ready for proof reading. This book contains characters from The Witness and The Cellist. I have also been producing short stories that appear on my blog and website.
10. Is there anything else you think your readers would like to know about you or your writing?
I moved to the countryside four years ago and within a year gave up my day job. I was teaching engineering to Royal Engineers but wanted to focus more on my writing. Every year in October and November I work for a production company painting pantomime backdrops and props. Last year I painted Widow Twankey’s washing machine for a major production of Aladdin.
I design my own book covers often using my own paintings or drawings. I used to paint and exhibit my work locally so have a lot of sketches and paintings that I can use. The cover of The Witness is a portrait of Josie, the main character.
I am learning to read music and play the piano. I have a full size keyboard, a Rowland FP-30 and have performed to an audience. That was very scary!
My next book is likely to be another thriller, but I also have ideas for an action adventure featuring Orlagh Gairne.
Kevin Marsh author bio
Kevin Marsh was born in Canterbury in 1961. He lived and went to school there attending the Technical College, (now Canterbury College), as an apprentice sheet metal worker. During his five years of training he worked in a small local company with his father and brother. In 1981 he was married and moved to Whitstable, (his father’s home town).
His first novel, The Belgae Torc, book 1 in the Torc Trilogy, was launched on 30th June 2012 with his second book, The Witness, a psychological thriller, being published in March 2013. The Gordian Knot is the second part of the Torc Trilogy and was published in July 2014
Cutting the Gordian Knot (The Final Solution) is the final book in the Torc Trilogy and was published in July 2016
He has recently retired from teaching steel fabrication and welding and moved to the beautiful Kent countryside to focus on writing and painting.