Interview with Mark Wells, Author of Cambridge Gothic Books 1-3

16 Jan 2024

What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Cambridge Gothic Books 1-3?

Walking back from lectures at Cambridge University, I’d look up at the gargoyles on the surrounding buildings and wonder “What if they weren’t made of stone?” Three books later I’m not sure I’ll ever see their malevolent faces the same way again.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of Cambridge Gothic Books 1-3, what would they be?

For Giles Chamberlain, the student daredevil who’s become a reader favourite, it would have to be Chumbawumba’s Tubthumping – mainly because he “gets knocked down, but gets up again” – repeatedly.

There again, readers have likened the books to “Stranger Things meets Cambridge University,” so I might opt for the haunting theme music to that classic Netflix series.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

I read all forms of fantasy, from Tolkien to Terry Pratchett. But I enjoy writing fantasy stories set in the real world. The great thing about setting the books in the surreal surroundings of Cambridge University is that the reader is never quite sure what is real and what is magical.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

What Abigail Did That Summer by Ben Aaronovitch; Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett; Lies, Damned Lies and History by Jodi Taylor.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

In Gate of Shadows (Book 2), Giles Chamberlain decides to climb into his girlfriend’s bedroom on Christmas morning. Except that its three floors up and only accessible from her parents’ balcony. What could possibly go wrong?

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

I like to cycle through Cambridge first thing in the morning to get me in the mood to write. Gazing at gothic architecture, avoiding treacherous potholes and dodging eccentric academics is perfect preparation for writing my fast-paced, atmospheric fantasy tales.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

How you behave does matter. I try to live by that – I don’t always succeed – but I try.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

Some journeys stay with you forever.


Mark Wells is the author of the new book Cambridge Gothic Books 1-3

Connect with Mark Wells

Author Site


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