Monday, 27 February 2012

The Interpreter: Author Interview: Mark Gillespie

Shah Sight
Mark Gillespie, welcome on our live show, please, you may want to say something to our audience about yourself before I ask you about The Wall or any other of your work?

Mark Gillespie Hi and thanks very much Shah...I live in Glasgow, Scotland where I'm currently enrolled in Strathclyde University as a mature student studying English Literature. For the past ten years however, I was a musician working across the UK and Ireland...I played bass live and on sessions and had a great time before getting back into writing.

Shah Sight Thanks Mark, the first question that struck me about your work was the title of your work, The Wall, what is it there behind choosing this title for your work?

Mark Gillespie Well, regarding this short story, there was never really any question of calling it anything else. I had a very weird dream one night about a long line of people stretching out across the horizon...It was never ever really clear why they were there but basically, it was an image of a massive human wall. My dreams never make sense but they usually give me a great starting point for story ideas, so I'm thankful for it none the less. It only started to make sense later on when the London riots happened and the rest of the story started to come together.

Shah Sight Mark, very interesting indeed, it makes sense, completely. The Wall is a short story, do you have any other story apart from it, and tell us how is the book doing in terms of sales, reviews, etc., what people say about it?

Mark Gillespie Yes, I have about eight or nine short stories altogether since I started writing last year after many years of concentrating on music. The only other one that is available just now on Amazon or Smashwords, is The Visitor. I've made these two available and in maybe a couple of months, after a couple of new ideas are explored, I will put out a collection of nine or ten short stories. Then I hope to attempt the dreaded novel...As for sales, the two stories are doing quite well. I have a website that I've used to help promote them, along with Facebook, Twitter and lots of other devices for marketing e-books. I'm quite new to all this but it's great fun finding out about it all and I do genuinely love it, like any writer, when their work is read and appreciated. I've been lucky to get some good reviews on Amazon and Smashwords for both stories, and from all over the that's very nice and much appreciated!

Shah Sight We all have a little bit idea what The Wall is about, maybe you want to tell us about it a little bit more, and also about your next short story, The Visitor, why did you write these two stories?

Mark Gillespie The London riots last year and the shock that they caused around the UK, was really what triggered writing The Wall. My friend in London had her house burned down and lost everything and it made me think what might have happened if the riots had escalated and spread worldwide. It's basically a sci-fi/apocalyptic story. It follows a small tribe of survivors who gather together and who have to protect themselves against the Earth's creatures, who as a result of nuclear damage caused by the riots, have mutated into something almost human. It's quite dark and the characters in The Wall are not always what they may seem to be. The Visitor was written before The Wall and it's a ghost story based around the return of a girl's dead lover, who visits her as she tries to escape the personal demons of her past. I wrote these stories for the same reason I write's an outlet for my over-active imagination!

Shah Sight This might be the hardest question we ask, and if you could read a passage from your book, The Wall, to our audience, that would be great, we will wait with an added interest to get that passage from you here, please?

Mark Gillespie Sure, no problem...might take a few minutes :)

Mark Gillespie London. 2011. Riots, death, the wall.

Come rain or shine, when I was a child a long time ago, at least a hundred of us used to stand in the wall. A seemingly unending line of people, standing side by side under the moonlight would stretch long across the blackest night. Things made sense in the wall, even if that sense proved ultimately twisted.

What I know of the Old world and what I know of anything, came from my tribal Elders. In the Old World, there were too many people and the world was overcrowded. Tech-no-logical wonders existed, manmade tools that go beyond the imagination of the New World. This is what I know. Despite all that, there must have been little happiness in the Old world or the riots that destroyed London in 2011 would never have spread so far and wide and with such terrible speed. It was only when civilisation crumbled and a nameless land crawled back out of their countries that it must have felt real. All the tech-no-logical wonders died with the world. This was the First Apocalypse and the beginning of the New world.

Mark Gillespie This is the beginning of The Wall :)

Shah Sight Great writing, and a really brilliant idea for the story, we would love to hear a lot about this book, but we leave it for the near future, tell us please if you have thought about your full-length novel as yet, of course you said you are going to write one, but do you know what it will be about, or you are concentrating on getting your other shorts stories out?

Mark Gillespie For the moment Shah, the novel exists only in my head and will do for a couple of months yet. I want to put a collection of what I feel are my strongest short stories together and then once that's done, I'll move away from exclusively writing shorts and onto something bigger. I still have a lot to learn regarding the art of writing and feel like a total beginner. I have an idea for the novel and it's quite surreal, but as of yet, it's still a tiny seed with a lot of growing to do.

Shah Sight Thanks Mark, there will be one more question for you for tonight apart from this one, tell us please what do you do to learn the art of writing, are you part of the Authonomy community, or any other such writing communities, or you are learning from reading other authors' books, and from writing yourself, who is your favourite author that you think you want to follow his path?

Mark Gillespie I believe, like many do, that the best way of learning how to write, is to read, read and read some more. Despite the best of intentions on their part, I don't believe much in the value of creative writing courses although I would never criticise anyone for choosing to go that way. Everybody's different. But I believe you can learn a lot by just reading. The feel and flow of the words, how a plot is constructed and packaged, the mood, the rhythm...By reading great writers, you absorb so much that is unspoken and perhaps, something that can't be taught. I don't have a single favourite author, there's so many to choose...from a young age, I adored the work of Roald Dahl and still do. I love the writing of Yukio Mishima, I think his prose is amongst the most beautiful I've ever read. Philip K Dick, Cormac McCarthay, Charles many!!

Shah Sight Mark, before I thank you, say good bye, and add a few links from your books, please tell us anything that you think we should know about you or your works that we have failed to ask you?

Mark Gillespie Thanks very much for having me on Shah, it's been a pleasure...thanks also to those that have followed the chat. I will put the link below for my website and there are links on there for the two stories and lots more info besides. Please take a look if you have the time and inclination to do so and get in touch anytime. Nothing else to say except that I'm looking forward to putting the short story collection out soon and will definitely let you all know when that happens :) Have a great week everyone, goodbye and thank you! :)

Shah Sight Thanks Mark, it was a pleasure to have you with us. Also visit

Shah Sight Literary Book Shop
The Wall by Mark Gillespie

Mark Gillespie

Shah Sight

Shah Sight Literary Book Shop
The Visitor, Mark Gillespie A short story about Aimee Hutton, a young woman who moves away from the city after the death of her ex-boyfriend, Max Downey. In an attempt to escape the past, Aimee flees to a small village in search of a new start. However, on the first night in her new home it is the past itself, in a most une...

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