A Q&A with Mark Edwards, Author of The Devil’s Work

October 4, 2016

As a six word story, explain what The Devil’s Work is about?

Dream job becomes a terrifying nightmare.

(My original pitch was ‘The Devil Wears Prada rewritten by Stephen King’ but that’s eight words!)

As opposed to other types of fiction, what do you think the is appeal of psychological thrillers?

Psychological thrillers are hot right now because readers want to connect with stories in which they can imagine themselves. Marriage, relationships with friends and children, co-workers and lovers…Psychological thriller writers take ordinary situations and add a layer of fear and darkness – from the toxic marriage in Gone Girl to the everyday voyeur in Girl on the Train, readers like those familiar situations and characters and thinking about what they would do if it were them. I think it’s a reaction to the Dan Brown years, which were followed by the Stieg Larsson-fuelled Scandinavian noir period – we’ve gone from worldwide conspiracy theories and outlandish situations to what is now called domestic noir. It’s not new but it’s never been more popular.

How do you come up with the idea for a great plot twist? No spoilers since there is a great one in The Devil’s Work!

I am what is called a ‘pantser’ – I make up my books as I go along rather than plotting them meticulously first. This means that my twists don’t usually arrive until I reach that point in the book. I frequently change my mind too. There are two big twists in The Devil’s Work. The first was planned from early on but with the final twist, I changed my mind at the last minute. It’s a risky but exciting way of working. If I can surprise myself I can definitely surprise readers. The hard part is then going back and making sure it all fits together.

A character in The Devil’s Work gets into trouble because of social media–do you think social media is a positive part of our zeitgeist or negative?

I confess to being a social media addict – mostly Facebook and Twitter. As a writer, I love how social media allows writers to connect with readers. I have a very active Facebook page (facebook.com/markedwardsbooks) and spend a lot of time engaging with readers and answering questions. It’s also fantastic for meeting other writers. If I go to a festival I feel like I know everyone because we’ve chatted so much online. And, of course, it’s great for keeping in touch with people you rarely see in real life.

I can see the negatives too. Fortunately, I have never been the victim of trolls and haven’t been publically shamed because of something I did or said. Some of the abuse that happens on Twitter is horrific. I also have an allergy to mobs – I can’t bear it when a swarm of self-righteous moral guardians attack individuals because they have made a mistake or said something controversial. It’s led to a culture where many people are afraid to speak freely – and led to the rise of professional agitators who make a living out of winding other people up by saying outrageous things.

In your bio, you say that you devour TV show box sets–do you like them because you can binge or because of all the special features?

When I say box sets I mean streaming via Netflix or via Amazon. But yes, I hate having to wait. I have watched The Walking Dead week-by-week, series-by-series, over the last six or seven years and it’s agony having to wait between each episode. Having said that, it does make it feel more special…in a world where everything is available instantly, it’s nice to feel that sense of anticipation and excitement.

What TV shows would you recommend?

Like everyone else I know, I’ve just finished watching Stranger Things on Netflix. I loved all the Spielberg and King references. The cast, especially the kids, was amazing. I think Millie Brown, who played Eleven, is like the reincarnation of River Phoenix.

I’ve also just watched The Girlfriend Experience, which was chilly and unsettling with an insane final episode. They really pushed the boundaries of what you can show on TV, and I loved how it kept switching tracks so you never knew what to expect.

The best crime thriller I’ve seen recently is the Swedish/Danish series, The Bridge, which is just sublime. Saga, the central character who might have Asperger’s, is a wonderful creation. I also loved The Fall, a serial killer drama set in Belfast, starring Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan. It’s terrifying and stylish.

* * *


Mark Edwards writes psychological thrillers in which terrifying things happen to ordinary people. His first solo novel, The Magpies (2013), reached the No.1 spot on Amazon UK as did his third novel Because She Loves Me (2014). He has also co-written various crime novels with Louise Voss such as Killing Cupid (2011) and The Blissfully Dead (2015).

Mark grew up on the south coast of England and starting writing in his twenties while working in a number of dead-end jobs. He lived in Tokyo for a year before returning to the UK and starting a career in marketing. As well as a full-time writer, Mark is a stay at home dad for his three children, his wife and a ginger cat.

Website: www.markedwardsauthor.com
Twitter: @mredwards
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/markedwardsbooks

About the book:

It was the job Sophie Greenwood had dreamed of since childhood: working for iconic children’s publisher Jackdaw Books in marketing. After years out of the workforce to have her daughter, Sophie can’t wait to get stuck in and hopefully mend her strained relationship with her unemployed husband. But on the very first day, an unnerving encounter drags up memories Sophie would rather forget, and she wonders if she has made a mistake. A fatal mistake.

A mouse nailed to the front door. A stranger following her home in the shadows. Unexplainable whispers in the office late at night.

A series of disturbing events lead Sophie to think someone is out to get her, and as her life begins to fall apart at work and at home, Sophie must confront dark secrets from the past and race to uncover the truth about her new job… before it kills her. What is her ambitious young assistant really up to? And what exactly happened to Sophie’s predecessor?

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