Thursday 13 June 2024

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A Cup of Conversation with Mark Carnelley


Hello and welcome to A Cup of Conversation where I am joined by author Mark Carnelley the author of two series and who has a collection of children’s books in the pipeline. Read on to find out what “Jelly Snakes” have to do with his writing process and what he has planned for the next phase of his writing career.


1. When did you start writing creatively?

My opportunity came at the end of 2014, after I “retired” from my last full-time job due to medical reasons. Having read since before I even started school, books have always been extremely important to me. They stirred my imagination and led, at first, to writing poetry, which I still do to this day. Writing those books, at that time, allowed me escape the grip of depression which had started up to two years prior to my retirement following my Dad being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, which was the major cause of his death in May, 2013. My Mum followed him in August, 2016, also with Dementia and heart failure. Both deaths hit me hard, with my “retirement” coming in between, tipping me over the precipice. 

If it wasn’t for my family and writing, and of course, reading, I honestly don’t know where I would have ended up. Those first two years of my “retirement” gave me the time to write my first two published books and start many WIP’s, including a 2nd book in The Time Detective series, 6 books in one of my children’s series (out of 26), and another in a second different series.

2. What inspired The Time Detective Series and The Omega Chronicles?

One of my all time favourite movies was “The Omega Man” with Charlton Heston and while I love a good post-apocalyptic read/show, even with mutants or zombies, I had this story inside, of one man against a world that had been utterly devastated. No aliens, no zombies, just one man against what had been thrown in his face. And so The Omega Chronicles came to life. 

I also love to watch Crime dramas such as CSI. I remember, whilst watching one episode, what if a body was discovered that by all appearances had been in the ground for decades, but had only just been killed. Obvious answer, to me, was time travel and The Time Detective was written with the first book in the series, Discovery. The second in the series, Between Two Worlds, is one of my WIPs. 

3. You also write children’s books. How does your writing process between adult and children’s writing differ?

The children’s books I am currently writing, I am trying to create a fun, educational and informative read for pre-teens. I try to keep them simple and hope the kids will get a good giggle out them. 

4. What does a typical writing day look like for you? 

My writing, at the moment, can only be described as sporadic. I will have little bursts of energy where I will type away madly on my WIPS’s or at least get down, in writing, these thoughts that jump into my mind for other books, before they disappear forever. 

I am back working P/T, which is still five days/week, and until I can effectively work out a balance between what I “want to do” and what I “need to do”, taking into consideration my physical and mental health, that will continue. I hope that situation changes sometime during the new year and am doing my damnedest to ensure that occurs.  

5. What do you hope readers take away with them after reading your books?

All I can hope for is that they leave with a true sense of enjoyment for a wonderful read and that maybe it’s not too late for them to start their journey. After all, I was 55 when I started writing my books.

6. What’s the most surprising comment a reader has ever given you?

Whilst I suppose that it is every writers dream to have their book turned into a film, that is unfortunately a very, very small percentage. Thus, to hear from a couple of well respected peers that The Omega Chronicles would make a wonderful movie, is not just a surprise but a great boost to my sometimes lacking morale. 

7. Can you share an extract from one of your the books and tell us why you chose this particular part of the story.

This is an extract from The Omega Chronicles, five years after the destruction of all life had occurred. 

“I had had a happy life and more than my share of sadness over the years, especially the last five years. I had looked into the darkness with fear and trepidation and in the beginning I could never see a glimmer in the distance. Now? I could see further into that darkness without the trembling of fear and the light that shone back at me was light full of hope for my future here. 

        I never looked back, into the recesses of my mind where once had been a man, just an ordinary man, struggling with what had happened and fearful of which step to take and in what direction to make that step. 

       From the day I got to this place, I looked forward to every day and there was never a day that disappointed me. Each day had its own special meaning and every morning I woke with a smile on my face, ready to face the new day and everything that day had to show me. “

There’s probably more than a bit of me in my MC, Colton Steele than I realised’, though at the time of writing it didn’t occur to me. I’m not the type to give up. I’ve had my struggles, and they’re still with me, but that doesn’t define who I am, it’s just a part of my history that has made me into the person I am today. And so it was with Colton. 

8. Which three aspects of the writing journey have you improved on since you first began your writing career?

I never planned ahead with any of my books. I wrote mostly from what was in my head. Anything I wasn’t sure of, I would quickly do a google search. 

Now, having written these two books, and read many, many more from so many diverse genres, from wonderful writers I found on either FB or Twitter, I can see the positives in doing more research into fields I am unfamiliar with. 

Another would be in trying to set aside regular times where I can devote myself to my writing. 

Lastly, my own journey has been vastly improved by the reading of genres I wouldn’t have considered before I started writing. Now, I berate myself from never having done that sooner.  

9. What advice would you give a new writer?

I don’t really consider myself qualified to hand out advice, being a newcomer myself. The only thing I would say is that to become a writer you must be reader. The two MUST go hand-in-hand. 

10. Are you a planner or a pantser?

I have been a pantser, though now I see the benefits that planning could well bring.

       11. What is your go-to snack when writing?

Dark chocolate or Jelly Snakes. With never ending coffee.

       12. What three things would you like to achieve in 2020?

Getting at least two more books published. I don’t want to say which ones though. Not yet. 

My daughter is also illustrating the first 6 books in my 26 book children’s series. Once those are complete I will be starting the submitting of those works in the hope of getting a publisher on board. 

Thank you for joining us Mark and sharing your writing journey with us so authentically

and I wish you all the best as you continue into 2020! 

And to my weekly readers, if you would like to link up with Mark you can do so on his links listed below.

Until next week, Happy Reading, Happy Writing, Happy You.

Big hug, Soulla xxx


Twitter: @mark_carnelley





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