Interview with Mark Wells, Author of Gate of Shadows
26 Jan 2021
What can you tell us about your new release, Gate of Shadows?
It’s the second book in the Cambridge Gothic fantasy series, following the Amazon British Horror bestseller, College of Shadows. The action takes place in the winter term at Cambridge University. Once again dark forces are converging on the college’s snowbound courts. All your favorite characters are back – Nick, Annabel, Giles and their secretive Professor Gupta. And this time they are pitted against a host of new threats both from this world and beyond.
What books are currently on your nightstand?
I’ve just finished Different Seasons, a short story collection by Stephen King including The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me, which I loved. I’m currently reading Drachenfels, a dark and gritty horror story by Kim Newman, set in the Warhammer world. After that, I plan to read the debut novel of a new British author, Rosalind Tate, whose book Stranded looks interesting.
What advice would you give your teenage self?
Do what you love, and you’ll probably end up being good enough to make a living from it. Instead, I read law at Cambridge University to get a professional qualification, when my real love was modern history. I think if I’d studied history instead, I’d have got a better degree and become a writer sooner. It wasn’t until I was 55 years old that I finally decided to pursue my dream. Still, better late than never.
If you had an extra hour each day, how would you spend it?
My guilty secret is that I am a huge Warhammer fan. I’ve been collecting and painting armies of fantasy miniatures for years. So, if I had an extra hour in the day, that’s where you’d find me. Sitting at my desk, listening to an audiobook, and painting units of Space Wolves.
What makes your world go round? Why does it bring you joy?
I get up every morning wanting to write. It could be anything, a letter to my sons, a response to one of my readers, a short story for my subscribers (www.marknwells.com) or the next book in the Cambridge Gothic series. As an introvert, part of the joy of writing is being able to express thoughts and feelings through the voices of my characters. I’m often surprised sometimes by what comes out of their mouths. Every day I learn something new about my craft and myself!
What scene in Gate of Shadows was your favorite to write?
It has to be a night scene when the students gain access to the college cellars via a disused river entrance. Only after descending into the labyrinthine tunnels in search of a mysterious trunk, do they begin to suspect that they are not the only ones groping around in the dark… It’s the sort of scene I love writing – full of menace and tension as the friends come to realize how much trouble they are in. And that, of course, is only the beginning…
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