Coffee chat with Mark Gillespie, indie author of post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction
Welcome to my virtual coffee room, author of post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction, Mark Gillespie. Marks is a former musician from Glasgow, Scotland who now resides in Melbourne Australia. With 18 books on his Goodreads list, I thought it was about time I put the spotlight on this prolific indie author.
DL: Firstly, since this is a coffee chat, how do you take your coffee (or not as has been the case), and what is your favourite time of the day to partake?
MARK: I'm not a coffee drinker! Living in Melbourne, this makes me kind of a freak but that's okay - I celebrate being different 😊
Hot beverage of choice is green tea - not the trendy hipster kind that has all the added flavourings like lemon, coconut or whatever put in. No way. I drink my green tea straight, like a man! 😆
Best time of day to partake would be first thing in the morning. Helps to melt the brain cobwebs. If not green tea, a cold beer is always welcome.
DL: How did you end up living in Australia? Do you base any of your books here?
MARK: We came over to Australia from Scotland in 2015. My wife is a vet and she scored an ECC (Emergency and Critical Care) residency placement here with the University of Melbourne. After a ten year career as a musician, I'd just graduated from the University of Strathclyde (in Glasgow) as mature student, studying English and History, and was shifting towards writing. So the Aussie thing felt like good timing. Time for a fresh start and all that.
I haven't based any books in Australia yet. Which is kind of strange as I write post-apocalyptic fiction and for me, Australia is the post-apocalyptic capital of the world, certainly in terms of film at least. Mad Max 2 is the daddy of the genre - so much of what has followed in PA fiction has been influenced by that one film. So yes I should write something based here. In fact, I'll have to make a point of it.
DL: I'm a former musician myself. And a former bass player! What was the deciding factor for you to give up music and turn to writing? And do you regret it and/or miss it?
MARK: Nice one, we should jam! Oh wait, we both play bass. Do you know your way around a drum kit? Making a living as a musician was a real grind. I certainly wasn't a rock star, I was what you'd call a working musician, touring and doing session work when it came my way. Or rather when I dragged it my way. Nothing comes easy in the music game. But it was hard to stay afloat after ten years of that sort of existence.
I fell out of love, not with music, but with the business of being a musician. It was a great ride while it lasted but around 2010 I felt it was time to leave the party. Try something new. I definitely don't regret leaving it behind. It was the right call and there are so many fond memories I've taken with me. It was a wonderful way to spend my twenties and early thirties. I travelled a lot and gathered some lifelong friends along the way. In fact I met my wife at a gig in Galway so great things happened because of that decision to go with the heart and play music. I'm very thankful for the experience.
DL: I read on your website that you chose to self publish after being disappointed with traditional publishers. Commercial success versus total creative control is something that many artists wrestle with. Once we get the control we often like it and don't want to give it up. do you still feel the same, or would you consider a traditional publishing deal even if it meant taking away all of your control?
MARK: I've never submitted to a traditional publisher. I don't like begging people for a break when I can be out there doing something about it myself. Even if an author wants a traditional deal I think their best bet is to indie publish first and gather some momentum that way. I think publishers are more reluctant to invest in unknowns than ever. You can't blame them - it's a wasted investment if it all goes wrong. But from the writer's perspective, who wants to have their work sitting in an electronic slush pile stagnating when they can be actively building their platform, fan base or whatever you want to call it?
Everyone is different of course. I'm not knocking anyone's decision to go either way. Other authors really want that traditional deal in the bag and good luck to them. The great thing is we have options these days as authors. Indie publishing is the real deal and I love it. Having said that, I certainly wouldn't say no to a traditional deal that was stacked to my advantage but I'd be very reluctant to give up my digital rights. Very reluctant. Digital is mine, all mine! Traditional publishers still have control over print and bookstores however, so I'd never say never in terms of print. I'm certainly not sitting around waiting for them to knock on my door though. As you say, having complete control over our work is addictive!
DL: And lastly, are you a biscuit or cake kind of person? And what is your favourite biscuit/cake?
MARK: I'm more of a biscuit person. I've been scoffing an obscene amount of these dairy-free chocolate chip cookies that I've discovered lately. Sugar is gasoline when you don't drink coffee. So grab what you need. As John Lennon once said, 'whatever gets you through the night.'
Please say a big thanks to Mark for stopping by.
Book 3 of his latest series "The Exterminators Trilogy" is due out this month. Meanwhile, here's a look at Book 1.
These are the last days…
The Black Storm – a permanent state of darkness has engulfed the Earth.
The world is going mad without sunlight.
Ex-movie star, Cody MacLeod will do anything to protect his daughter Rachel from the Black Widow – a mysterious ghostly figure who has emerged from the Black Storm.
And he’s got a plan.
A plane is taking off at San Antonio Airport in a few hours. To get there, Cody and Rachel must risk everything. They must drive through the darkness together.
But the road is a dangerous place. Civilization is crumbling. Desperate people are lurking in wait with bad intentions. A breathtaking race to the finish line awaits. Will Cody and Rachel get to the airport in time? Or will they succumb to the Black Storm?
Black Storm is a post-apocalyptic survival thriller about a desperate father trying to save his daughter from the end of the world.
Get it now if you like fast-paced apocalyptic, dystopian, horror and supernatural thrillers.
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