Today on my blog I have a guest post from Wes Marking, the author of One Last Prayer for the Rays
DCI Michael Yorke faces his most harrowing case yet.
When 12-year-old Paul disappears from school, Yorke’s only clue is a pool of animal blood. Fearing the worst, he turns toward the most obvious suspect, recently released local murderer, Thomas Ray.
But as the snow in Salisbury worsens, Ray’s mutilated body is discovered, and Yorke is left with no choice but to journey into the sinister heart of a demented family that has plagued the community for generations. Can he save the boy? Or will the evil he discovers changes him forever?
One Last Prayer for the Rays introducing DCI Michael Yorke.
Wes Markin is a hyperactive English teacher, who loves writing crime fiction with a twist of the macabre.
Having released One Last Prayer for the Rays he is now working on the second instalment of DCI Michael Yorke’s wild ride, The Repenting Serpent. He is also the author of Defined, a prequel to his DCI Yorke novels, which takes the reader back to his blood-soaked university days.
Born in 1978, Wes grew up in Manchester, UK. After graduating from Leeds University, he spent fifteen years as a teacher of English, and has taught in Thailand, Malaysia and China. Now as a teacher, writer, husband and father, he is currently living in Harrogate, UK.
**Thank you so much for taking the time to write out this post for my little blog!**
Where do I get my ideas from?
WHENEVER I TELL anyone I’ve written a book, I always brace myself for the follow-up question: Where do you get your ideas from?
It’s a strange question, especially when I’m being interrogated by someone who hasn’t read my work (and, for all they know, might not have any decent ideas in it anyway), but it is a question I have been asked on countless occasions and so worth more than just a passing interest.
Unfortunately, having danced around the question for years, I am still no nearer the actual answer people are seeking. I think they want to hear how easy it all is, when it is clearly anything but. So the only answer I can offer up is one that seems to work for me. So, here it goes…
Firstly, I always dismiss the notion that they come from my dreams! How romantic is that? You’ve heard it before: ‘I had a dream last night, I woke up and scribbled it down.’ I’m one of David Lynch’s biggest fans, and I’d love to be as creative as him, but if I scribbled down my dreams every morning they’d be good for no one. Except perhaps a psychiatrist. I find it hard enough to rewrite my work again and again into something cohesive without starting off with last night’s cheese-induced mess.
So, I say that my greatest ideas (emphasis on the word ‘my’ … I’m not claiming they are great to everyone!) definitely come from my earlier years of life. Many have claimed that you should write what you know and, so far to me, the advice has been bang on. It seems clear to me that what I’ve always enjoyed (Crime Fiction, David Lynch, Twin Peaks, James Ellroy, Stephen King, Horror movies etc…) is something I’m going to enjoy writing about – so why ignore that influence? Many people have said that Crime Fiction is a saturated market and I should look for a niche … but what would that do to my motivation? Could I plough 1000 hours into something that isn’t guaranteed to get my blood pumping? I like being shocked (Stephen King), so I like to shock. I like complex, flawed characters (Ellroy), so I write complex, flawed characters. I like a dash of weird (David Lynch – ‘just a dash?!?’ I hear you cry), so I throw in a dash of weird. So, in danger of sounding clichéd, I believe I am a product of my childhood. Thanks Dad for letting me watch Nightmare on Elm Street, Angel Heart and Blue Velvet when I was ten …
So, once I have my medley of ideas based on all the things I loved as a spring chicken – I then put it under the microscope of my educated, experienced adult mind. And that’s when the hard work really starts …
Yes! The hard work? The ideas are the easy bit! It’s the process that is the hard bit. Because the process involves something most of us are extremely short on. Time. It could be my best idea ever, but if I rush it, it won’t work. I find my ideas feel great when I’m daydreaming or driving long distances, but writing them down in only an hour or two is doing a disservice to the electricity I’m using to power my laptop. Time and lots of it is the order of the day. I have two young children (3 and 5), but I write every night for two hours. It is my non-negotiable and it seems to work. I’m knackered. All the time. But it gets done. I’m on a second draft of my sequel to ‘One Last Prayer for the Rays,’ and I wouldn’t be if I didn’t have this non-negotiable.
Also, my ideas seem to flourish with feedback. Yes, I particularly enjoyed thinking about that grisly murder this morning whilst showering (it wasn’t a Psycho rip-off), but if it sounds like a heap of junk when written, no one will like it. Ever. I have written heaps of stuff before this book. Three books in total (that won’t ever see the light of day). They weren’t good enough, but that’s okay. I learned from them. People are surprised that this is my first novel. It isn’t. It’s the only one I’ve written in which people (some people!) have given me a thumbs-up. They then follow it up with some advice for the next draft. It is fine for them to help; after all, these are the people who are going to read it … and buy it one day if I am lucky enough!
Finally, I keep going. If I’ve got ideas, I will work hard to organise them, listen to feedback, but ultimately, that’s not the end. In my opinion, ideas aren’t a tap you can turn on and off. It needs to be on permanently. Keep going. Write. One book, two books, three … Short stories if you’re strapped for time …
(Cue cheesy metaphor…) I do believe that if you leave the idea tap off for a sustained period of time, it will get rusty.
So, that’s the answer I give to those who ask. And I’m always surprised when they are still standing there listening at the end …
‘One Last Prayer for the Rays’ is available from Amazon for the discount price of 99p/99c.
For a FREE and EXCLUSIVE DCI Michael Yorke quick read visit facebook.com/wesmarkinauthor and sign up!
Please do go and check out all the other blogs that are contributing to this blog tour. They are all listed below.