Author Bling

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Getting to Know Author Mark Pettinger

Which writers inspire you?

My own personal reading is sometimes blinkered and fixated within my own genre (crime fiction); so I will read Ian Rankin, Mark Billingham, Jo Nesbo, Val McDermid as well established writers; plus new writers (like myself) such as Luke Delaney, Jane Issac, Mel Sharratt, Luca Veste 

What book/s are you reading at present?

At present I have two books on the go. THE REDBREAST by Jo Nesbo, and A PRISONER OF BIRTH by Jeffrey Archer. I wouldn't have normally read any Jeffrey Archer, but a friend passed it to me and suggested I give it a go, and I'm glad I did, it's a compelling read.

What is your favorite quote?

My favorite quote - "Don't tell me that the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon" (unknown)

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? is an extract from my website; where you will find a page dedicated to the protagonist, DCI Jonny Priest:

Our protagonist, Detective Chief Inspector Jonny Priest is a professional police  officer, a true Copper's copper. Hardworking, diligent, methodical..and likes a  pint or two. Not without his vices, nor his own personal demons, DCI Priest is every bit a modern day Detective.

He left school aged 16 and worked a series of dead end jobs for a couple of years; stacking shelves in supermarkets and off-licences.

Two years later he joined the Hertfordshire Police Force as a Special Constable, and worked out of Potters Bar police station. Two years further on, and he had joined up as a full time Constable.

1996 saw a move to 'the big smoke'. The Metropolitan Police Force beckoned and he took full advantage of what was on offer - he joined CID, passed his Sergeants exam, and aged 32 was promoted to the rank of Inspector.

During this whirlwind time, he had trained as an Authorised Firearms Officer (AFO) and been seconded to the Vice Squad between 2003 - 2007; but murder came calling !!

Between 2007 and 2009 DI Priest, as part of The Met's Murder Investigation Team (MIT) had investigated 48 murders in the capital. He had a taste for the complexities and detail required; and he was good at it.

In 2009, at the age of 39, he passed his promotions board to Detective Chief
Inspector............THE DECALOGUE picks up the story from here...

What are you working on at the minute?

I am working on the follow up to THE DECALOGUE, and the second in the series of DCI Priest books. The current working title is TICK TOCK TIME's UP.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

In the UK, probably an actor called Steve John Shepherd. He is best known for his portrayals of psychopathic villains on UK television.

What genre are your books?

Crime Fiction (that's what we say in the UK), but across the pond sometimes these are categorized as Thriller or Mystery

Do you write full-time or part-time?

Currently part-time. I have a 'day job', so I write outside of those hours.

How much research do you do?

Not a lot up front. I tend to research extensively as each of the chapters unfolds.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

People sometimes laugh at me for this; but yes I do try and write 500 words per day. 500 isn't a lot by any means, and added up through the month it's a significant progress.....but it doesn't always work out that way - some days I might write 3000 words, but not get back to it again for a couple of weeks. Sporadic is about as structured as it gets!

Where do the your ideas come from?

My sick and twisted mind (oh! did I say that out loud?)

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Simply finding the time. I wouldn't be saying that if I were a full time writer (I hope!), but as a part time writer juggling a day job and family, definitely finding time - other than that, it's a breeze :-) 

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Well, with my 'day job' it currently takes around 18 months (that was the time for THE DECALOGUE, and about the same for TICK TOCK TIME'S UP); but I guess I could reduce this to 6-8 months if I was full time.

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

No. I wouldn't rule it out in the future, but for now I'm a solitary writer.

What do you think makes a good story?

It has to be the characters. In terms of story, plot lines, sub plots, locations etc - they have all be done, seen, and read before. Take crime fiction; you name the crime (murder, kidnap etc) each of the stories has been retold 000's of times; but it is the characters that will draw you in and keep you hooked (even if this is the ninth book you have read about a serial killer in New York stalking single white females).

Characters need to be strong, but with a hint of vulnerability that shows itself periodically. 

So, what have you written?

THE DECALOGUE is my debut novel; it sits well within the crime fiction genre. Although could just as easily be categorised into 'thriller' or 'mystery'.

The main protagonist is DCI (Jonny) Priest and the opening book (in the hopeful series) follows Priest as he heads up a new team, in a new city, chasing down a serial killer.

Where can we buy or see them?

At present, THE DECALOGUE is only available as an e-book; so all the usual online stockists:

1. Amazon (Kindle)

2. Barnes & Noble (Nook)

3. iTunes / iBookstore (iPad & iPhone)

4. Kobo

5. Sony (eReader)

or drop by my website for further details - 

What do you do to get book reviews?

Ask - simple as that. Research all the reviewers, bloggers, book clubs, readers groups etc etc, and simply ask if they would be kind enough to read and review my book. They all have extensive reading lists and you may have to wait up to six months - so plan ahead!

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

I guess the stock answer is that smile and happily accept he good ones, but that you cannot take the bad ones personally. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Once you publish the book and get it out there, you have to take the rough with the smooth.

What do you think of “trailers” for books?

I've done one myself for THE DECALOGUE !

I think that a short video trailer opens up further marketing channels for the promotion of your book (YouTube for example). If you create a short catchy trailer, and get a whole heap of luck and it goes viral, you might get 0000000's of views which in turn should lead to direct interest in the book itself.

Do you think that giving books away free works and why?

I think for a debut author (like myself) who is trying to build up a loyal reader base, giving away the debut or even the second book is a good idea. New readers are more likely to give it a go and take a chance on the book (and the author) if the only barrier (the price of the book) is removed.

You could argue; as most authors do, that giving you book away after you have sweated blood and tears over it for the last 6/12/24 months is selling yourself short and you should look to recover some of your (time) investment and thus always charge for the book.

TBH, both are valid positions to take, each with equal merit.

Where can readers find and connect with you?

1. Amazon (Kindle)

2. Barnes & Noble (Nook)

3. iTunes / iBookstore (iPad & iPhone)

4. Kobo

5. Sony (eReader)

6. Goodreads

or drop by my website for further details - 

About the Author: 

Mark Pettinger was born in a maternity ward attached to RAF Manston in Kent. His father was in the Royal Air Force, and for the first few years of his life, he lived on a number of RAF bases on the east coast of the UK with his parents and  sister.

Returning to his father’s local area; he settled in a small village in Derbyshire...and  the next twenty or so years we’ll probably skip as I’m sure you have little  interest in reading about the pros and cons of his adolescence ! 

A few years ago, now married and with children he moved to an idyllic village in Yorkshire, which is where he still resides with his wife and two boys. 

His writing pattern is somewhat sporadic, and he writes when he can, which currently is in hotel rooms / foyer, or in an airport lounge trying to keep one eye on the departure board to ensure he doesn’t miss his flight!

Mark's interest in the murky world of crime started a number of years ago when he was attracted to reading true crime. He became fascinated with the exploits of the Yorkshire Ripper, Dennis Nilsen, John Wayne Gacy, Andrei Chikatilo etc. An avid reader of many genre's, but his attention turned to favouring crime fiction; and his reading list includes Ian Rankin, Mark Billingham, Val McDermid, Lynda La Plante, Ann Cleeves and Jo Nesbo.

Mark is currently penning the follow up to The Decalogue, and the second in the DCI Priest series - current working title 'Tick Tock, Time's Up' expected to be released early 2014.

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