So the Dynamic Writing Duo Louise Voss and Mark Edwards have recently released their latest thriller Forward Slash and its a corker! I caught up with the pair of them and posed a few questions. Here is what they had to say.
We love it! Amazingly, over the decade we’ve been writing together we have never fallen out or had any major disagreement. It is a very emotionally adult relationship! Writing together means that not only do we have someone else to do half the actual work, but being able to brainstorm, bounce ideas around, discuss plots and characters makes for a highly enjoyable creative process. It is also quite liberating in that it makes you feel braver in trying or suggesting things, because you get immediate feedback.
When we wrote Killing Cupid it was very easy. We wrote alternate chapters, with no plan. We pretty much made it up as we went along. And it worked. Since then, each subsequent novel has become increasingly complex, so that we now spend a lot more time plotting and trying to untangle messy narrative problems than we do actually getting the words down.
We start with a premise and plot out the first few chapters, and usually know how it’s going to end. We then divide up the chapters between us, adding more to the plan as we go along. We always have multiple viewpoints and tend to divide these up. For example, In Forward Slash, Mark wrote all of Declan and the killer, Louise wrote all of Becky and we divided up Amy by the type of scene. Louise writes most of the emotional scenes and Mark writes the action.
At the end, we both read through the first draft and make two long lists of everything that needs to be addressed. We discuss all of these and divide up the work again. This is where it gets difficult, as we are often both trying to edit the master document at the same time. So we exchange endless texts saying ‘I’m in the Master’ which makes us giggle as it sounds a bit rude.
Louise saw Mark on a documentary on TV about aspiring writers and started stalking him…well, she wrote a very nice email to him via his then-agent. We corresponded for about two years before we met. Mark didn’t even know what Louise looked like as this was in the days before social networking. Fortunately, we got on well when we met.
We were out drinking one night and somehow came up with the idea for Killing Cupid – we wanted to write a thriller version of Emlyn Rees and Josie Lloyd’s Come Together, with a twist. It could so easily have been one of those drunken ideas that went nowhere but we both still felt excited by it the next day and started writing it straight away.
Your books are all fairly heart stopping thrillers – is this your preferred reading genre as well?
Mark – I mostly read thrillers and crime novels, with the odd sprinkling of general fiction, horror and the odd bit of fantasy. I love psychological thrillers and read those more than action thrillers. I’ve read so much crime over the last few years that I’m becoming harder to please and don’t like stuff that’s too generic. My favourite under-rated (by that I mean, not as commercially successful as they deserve to be) writers are Jason Starr and Helen Fitzgerald who write brilliant books about people who make silly mistakes and whose lives spiral out of control, shot through with dark humour. Those are my favourite kind of books.
Louise – I am a fairly recent convert to thrillers – in my previous publishing incarnation, I wrote women’s contemporary fiction and so I used to read a lot of that, and literary fiction. I’ve never read a lot of non-fiction or biographies. But since Mark and I published our first one, Catch Your Death, I read them all the time. Like Mark, psychological thrillers are my favourites. We are moving more towards psychological thrillers oursevles. Our next one will be a police procedural mixed with psychological thriller and lots of dark domestic secrets. We don’t plan to write any more of the action-adventure thrillers like Catch Your Death/All Fall Down
Favourite character from a novel (yes it can be one of yours!)
Mark – That’s SUCH a hard question! I like bad guys: Patrick Bateman, Henry Winter from The Secret History, Hannibal Lecter and the Tooth Fairy in the first two Thomas Harris books. Colin, the creepy killer in Elizabeth Haynes’ Human Remains, was a great character. Of the characters we’ve written, I think Sampson was the best bad guy and really regret (SPOILER ALERT!) killing him off at the end of Catch Your Death. He was influenced by the killer in Stephen King’s Firestarter – and King is another writer who creates brilliant baddies.
Louise – Can you tell that Mark writes the baddies in our books?! Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie is in my Top 10, definitely. Love him. I also – since we’re allowed to mention one of our own – harbour quite a soft spot for our newest detective, DI Patrick Lennon, in our almost finished work-in-progress. He’s seriously sexy, IMHO.
Coffee or Tea?
Mark – Definitely coffee. Illy coffee is my favourite, but I confess to also liking Starbucks. I love Starbucks, in fact, and have spent many hours sitting in there writing.
Louise – Both. Get through gallons of it. But it’s always a couple of cups of tea first thing, then onto the coffee later. Iced coffee got me through the heatwave.
Your favourite thing to do on a lazy Sunday.
Mark – I haven’t had a lazy Sunday for six years! In the days before kids, my girlfriend and I would lie in till midday and spend the afternoon in the pub, drinking and chain-smoking before going back to bed. Ah, those were the days!
Louise – Ideally -more sleep than during the week, reading, tennis, friends for lunch… lovely.
Thanks guys! I really enjoyed Forward Slash and very much look forward to your next book.
Forward Slash Review
Kathy and Amy are sisters – when Kathy goes missing Amy is bound and determined to find her no matter what the cost…and the cost could be high. Not being taken seriously by the Police, Amy launches her own investigation and what she finds horrifies her…
Cleverly written from several points of view, this novel is a clever take on the possible dangers of Social Media and a terrific mystery thriller. Told in bites from the side of each character, including the “bad guy” the story is intense and unsettling in equal measure. As you, the reader, get some information ahead of Amy, you may find yourself shouting at the book when she starts heading in the wrong direction, or trusting the wrong people – Certainly I had my head in my hands upon occasion.
I do love the way this duo writes – Flowing narrative, keeping you engaged with each and every character, until you are bound and determined to get to the end before cooking your dinner! The ending was spot on, unexpected and edge of the seat stuff..The ambience for me was intensified by the mad apocalyptic style thunderstorm going on in my hometown during the final few chapters – hey someone was watching! Excellent stuff. Look forward to more.
Also Available: Mark’s first solo novel The Magpies.
I think if I read any more good books this month, my head might explode. No, really, it might explode. Luckily for Mr Edwards, the police will not be arresting him for manslaughter because despite the brilliance of his solo novel, I managed to drink a decent cup of coffee just in time having finished it, so my brain is still intact. Just. Jamie and Kirsty find their perfect home (remember that feeling? I do!) and move in with visions of a happy fulfilling future together. At first everything really is perfect. They settle in, meet their neighbours, plan on a baby and basically do everything you do when you are expecting a fairly standard but absolutely terrific future together. Then, slowly and inexorably, things change. At first its little things – pizza’s arriving unexpectedly, subscriptions to magazines they have no interest in, and hoax calls to the fire brigade…but this is just the start. The beauty of this novel lies in the small details and the descriptive prose used to make us feel what Kirsty and Jamie are feeling..to be right there at their side when at first bemusement, then disbelief, then terror strike. Their state of mind and actions are extremely realistic – and the cause of their problem, a particular set of neighbours, are mundane enough in their appearance to be truly frightening. What can you do when anyone you tell looks at you as if you are the mad one? If the Police can do nothing, and indeed can’t even admit there is a problem? These are the issues that face this couple. I read this in a day and some terrific writing means that, having read it, even knowing that my own neighbours are lovely people, I am going to be viewing them with a certain amount of suspicion for quite some time. Sorry neighbours! Brilliant stuff. More please.
To purchase The Magpies clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Magpies-Psychological-Thriller-ebook/dp/B00BY447AA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375429845&sr=1-1&keywords=the+magpies+mark+edwards
Also Available – and well worth the time!
For information and to purchase clickety click here : http://www.amazon.co.uk/Louise-Voss/e/B001HPFHJQ/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_2
So there you go. Have a Thrilling time with any one of the books mentioned!
Happy Reading Folks!