Monday, October 21, 2013

Interview and Giveaway: No Shelter From Darkness by Mark D. Evans

Please share a little about yourself and your genres.
Ah, the “icebreaker”. Okay, allow me to stand. My name is Mark. I go by the name of “Mark D. Evans” as far as my books are concerned. It’s not a pen name as such, for my middle initial is “D”, but I added it not to sound cool or to be pretentious, but because if I didn’t I’d be a hundred pages back in Google results (“Mark Evans” is a horribly common name).
I am British and currently reside in a tiny flat in the north of London.
My current (and debut) novel would be placed in the middle of the floor in a bookshop, between the isles of “horror” and “general fiction”, with its cover facing the “thriller” section and a page bent over in the direction of the “historical fiction” isle.
Generally, my stories often have a dark and twisted theme. This novel in particular has been called “gothic”, and I kinda like that.

Tell us a little about your latest or upcoming release.
My latest release is my first full-length story to be published. Titled “No Shelter from Darkness”, it is the first in a proposed five-book saga. This first book introduces us to Beth, an adopted teenaged girl living with her foster family in World War 2 London.
The story is a coming-of-age tale, but one with a difference, for as Beth makes the transition into womanhood, another change occurs, one that will force secrets to be told and reveal her true origins. For Beth discovers she is a vampire.
What this means for both her and those closest to her are all explored in the novel through revelation after revelation, leaving Beth—and others—with important decisions to make.
The book (and saga) removes all elements of the supernatural from the vampire myth, yet still retaining the traits that have made them one of the most fearsome monsters throughout literary history, firmly grounding them in the world in which we live.

Are you a  parent?
No I’m not, but through the usual social networks it hasn’t been wasted on me just how hard it must be for parents to do the mom/dad thing with a job and writing on top of all that. I find it hard enough finding time to write around my other commitments, and simply don’t know how others manage it with the responsibilities of being a parent, as well.
I am a Godfather and Uncle to two nieces, and I’m amazed at how their parents do everything they do, and neither of them write. Having children is such a huge responsibility, and I just hope that if the day comes when I have kids of my own, I can be just as amazing.

Have you ever based your book or characters on actual events or people from your own life?
Even though “No Shelter from Darkness” is a horror/drama about vampires, it is very much set in this universe, in our world, and as such, being based in 1941, it is set during real events. I always like to stress that the book isn’t about the war, that it is only the backdrop to the story. But, for the purists among the readership, most of the war-related events that happen in the book happened in real life.
The story takes place in an area of London called Bethnal Green. This is a real area, and the street names as well as the school and the park are all real and do exist. Chapter one is set specifically on the night of May 10th/11th, which is regarded today as the last (and one of the worst) nights of the London Blitz.
On top of this, there are certain characters who share traits and characteristics with real people, but for the most part this was unintentional, and only upon reading the manuscript for the umpteenth time did a character remind me of someone I knew, and I realise I’ve based certain aspects of a character on that person.

Is there a theme or message in your work that you would like readers to connect to?
I think all of the pieces I’ve written to date, published and unpublished, have messages or meanings behind them, but perhaps none more so than this novel. There’s a very specific question that the book is actually born from in a way, that being whether someone is born evil or if it’s a choice or their upbringing.
There are other messages too, as there will be in the other books in the series. In fact, each book is supposed to carry it’s own primary message or theme.

When you’re not writing what do you do? Do you have any hobbies or guilty pleasures?
I do my best to keep fit and healthy, most of the time. At home it’s the usual kind of things, like reading or listening to music or watching movies. The usual cliches.
Otherwise, I’m a very seasoned traveller and always look forward to the next time I leave the country and explore someplace new, no matter how far off into the future that may be.

Which romance book or series (or other genre, if you don’t write romance) do you wish you had written?
In my own genre, I guess it would be “Let The Right One In” by John Ajvide Lindqvist. The best vampire book I’ve read since “Dracula”. However, out of my genre, perhaps “The Beach” by Alex Garland, not least because apparently he drew on his own experiences to write it. Man, what kind of experiences they must’ve been.

Of all the characters you’ve ever written, who is your favorite and why?
Yeah, I’m going to have to be boring here and say Beth from “No Shelter from Darkness”. She’s already been through so much by the end of the book, but of course I know how much more she’s going to go through.
A close second, though, might well be Dirk from my short story “We Are God”. The story as a whole was a blast to write, but Dirk was a cool everyday kind of guy, struggling along and finding himself a victim of his own curiosity, but ultimately discovering that things aren’t always as they seem.

If this book is part of a series…what is the next book? Any details you can share?
Yes, this is the first book in what is proposed to be five books. The series as a whole I’ve called “The Cruentus Saga”, and will take the reader from London in 1941 (this book) to all over the world in the present day and beyond into the future.
The plan has always been there. I’m not making up each book as I go along; I have a set story arc that has been ignited in “No Shelter from Darkness” and will burn through till the end.
I am currently writing the second draft of the second book. I have a title in mind, but I’m afraid I can’t share it yet as titles often change. I can tell you it is set three years after the events of this book, in 1944 when the war is beginning to wind down. More of the story takes place outside of London. I think readers will be surprised at how many questions it answers that they may not have realised they were asking from the first book... if that makes sense.

I’m very excited about it. I love “No Shelter from Darkness” and am proud of where I took the story and the characters. The second book builds on that. More things are set in motion, more things are revealed. Like the first book, it will have its own ending and will be a self-contained story, yet leaving threads open for the third book which will be jumping forward to the 1960s.

No Shelter From Darkness
The Cruentus Saga
Book One
Mark D. Evans

Genre: Paranormal, Horror

Publisher: Booktrope

ISBN: 978-1620151396

Number of pages: 304

Cover Artist: Greg Simanson

Amazon    BN  iTunes

Book Description:

“Her hands began to shake as she looked down wide-eyed at the blood-soaked cotton that covered her.”

London emerges from the Blitz, and every corner of the city bears the scars. In the East End—a corner fairing worse than most—thirteen year-old Beth Wade endures this new way of life with her adoptive family. She also suffers the prejudice against her appearance, an abiding loneliness and now the trials of adolescence. But with this new burden comes a persisting fatigue and an unquenchable thirst that ultimately steals her into unconsciousness . . .

What happens next is the start of something Beth will fear more than the war itself. She begins to change in ways that can’t be explained by her coming-of-age, none more frightening than her need to consume blood. The family who took her in and the former best friend who’s taken refuge in their house can never know. Aware of the danger she poses to everyone around her, Beth has never felt more alone. But someone else knows Beth’s secret . . . someone who understands just how different she really is. He alone can decrypt her past and explain her future. But he’s been sworn to destroy her kind, and as Beth grows ever more dangerous, he’s forced to take sides.

Can Beth keep all of the secrets? Can she trust a man sworn to kill her? And can she stop the vampire within from taking her humanity?


Beth breathed furiously. She was exhausted, but the air she breathed had a new scent to it. It stopped her short. Her insides jumped in excitement at the rusty metallic scent. Her jaw twitched and her body flinched. She spun her head around, toward the aroma. Oliver had felt his way back to the uneven wall and leant against it cradling his arm. He sobbed and whimpered, while looking aimlessly at it. Beth could see what he couldn’t: a jagged edge of bone poking out from his forearm. He was slightly sheltered under the broken floorboards above him, and the rain wasn’t washing away the blood that now oozed freely. Beth didn’t need to see everything. She could smell it.

Beautiful, delicious, unparalleled and unbeatable human blood.

Her head tipped forward. Her nose flared involuntarily and her lips snarled into a sadistic smile. She felt the four pointed canines being pushed out; unsheathed. The tip of her tongue curled under one of the two fangs that slid down. Her heart deafened the rain and the approaching bombers. Almost subconsciously, she lowered herself into a half-crouch, ready to pounce, and though her nails were trimmed short, her fingers curled into claws. She couldn’t even feel the hole in her palm any more. She felt nothing at all except raging bloodlust. Her brother leant there sobbing, oblivious to the bloodthirsty creature no more than a yard away that wanted nothing more than to cover everything with his precious life force. To swim in his blood.

Beth could almost taste it.

About the Author:

MARK D. EVANS was born near London, England. He graduated university with a degree in something not even remotely connected with writing and went on to become a successful consultant. Then he threw it all away to chase his dream of being an author, via a considerable amount of travelling. Today, his life largely resembles that of a nomad, and he can currently be found typing away in a tiny flat in north London, sustained by coffee.

He is the author of two short stories, one of which made it into a Kindle Top Ten.

His latest work is his debut novel, No Shelter from Darkness, which is the first book in his series, The Cruentus Saga.

Visit Mark online:

Twitter: @TheMarkDEvan

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