Author Interview - John Marrs
Author I draw inspiration from: As a boy, I grew up obsessed with the Hardy Boys books, and wanted to write like their author, Franklin W Dixon. It was only as an adult that I learned he didn’t exist, he was a conglomerate of writers! So can I be greedy and pick two authors who actually exist instead? I am a huge fan of Peter Swanson. No two books of his are alike. He is not afraid to take risks, explore the darker side of human nature yet makes his characters relatable. And for me, Gillian Flynn is a fearless and innovative writer. Her stories both fascinate and scare the living daylights out of me.
Favorite place to read a book: Usually sprawled out on the sofa in my lounge. Our dog Oscar (who has featured in all seven of my books) will be on an Ottoman perched in front of the window on cat patrol, my partner will be on the other sofa lost in an internet rabbit hole on his Ipad while I’ll be lost in a good book. We live in a village near a country park so even with the windows open, it’s really quiet around here.
Book character I’d like to be stuck in an elevator with: Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. There’s nothing like living on the edge, is there? He and I would bond over our love for Whitney Houston, though rather than pipes and rats.
The moment I knew I wanted to become an author: When I began to see that people were enjoying my self-published debut novel. My initial aim was to find 100 people that I didn’t know who would download it. It was later taken on by a mainstream publisher and is now approaching the 300,000 sales mark. Once I knew that I had an audience who might be interested in reading my books, it spurred me on to want to write full-time. It still took another three years before I had the guts to give up my day job though.
Hardback, paperback, ebook or audiobook: Hardback for my bookshelves (and *nerd alert* arranged by their colour coordinated spines), paperbacks for travel, ebook for early ARCs of other authors’ work and audiobooks for dog walks and the gym. Each one has a place in my world.
The last book I read: Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce, a fantastic thriller that’s part Gillian Flynn, part Paula Hawkins. I listened to it on audiobook and extended my dog walk by another thirty minutes just so that I could finish it.
Pen & paper or computer: A desktop and a laptop using Word for writing the actual book on, and a hardback notebook for plotting the story out before I start. I never used to be a plotter, I was always a pantster; too impatient and just wanted to get on with it. I’m slowly seeing the benefits of being more organised as I get older.
Book character I think I’d be best friends with: Richard from Alex Garland’s The Beach. I went through a huge lull in reading in the mid 1990s and this book gave me my book mojo back. I think Richard and I would have fun hanging out.
If I wasn’t an author, I’d be a: Journalist. It was my career for 25 years after leaving school. I interviewed celebrities for a living for British magazines and newspapers and met some fantastic people over the years (and some not-so fantastic people!) I gave it up ten months ago. I don’t miss it though. I do, however, appreciate how difficult it can be to answer questions, now that I’m on the other side of a journalist’s dictaphone.
Favorite decade in fashion history: The 1980s, the decade I hit my teens. I’m still waiting for black Doctor Marten boots, ripped blue jeans, Fruit of the Loom white T-shirts and Sun-In for my hair to come back in fashion.
Place I’d most like to travel: I’m a huge fan of the US and backpacked around it for ten months back in the early 1990s with my friend. Back then, there were no mobile phones, no internet and no email. We relied on Greyhound bus timetables and maps to get around, and stayed in hostels and sometimes even bus stations when we were broke! So I’d love to go back and do it as an adult but with with all the mod cons travellers have these days.
My signature drink: Herbal teas. I knock back cup after cup all day. Anything with sage or cinnamon in it is a winner with me. I don’t really drink alcohol anymore – about two glasses of wine these days and I’m hammered and I wake up with a banging headache.
Favourite artist: There’s no one artist I choose to seek out, although I love visiting galleries. My favourites are CLEARING in New York and Museum für Gegenwart in Berlin, places where you can immerse yourself and fall in love with works even if you don’t necessarily understand them.
Number one on my bucket list: To see one of my books adapted into a film. My book The One starts filming for a ten-part Netflix series later this year. But I’d still like to see something of mine hit the big screen. I told you I was greedy, didn’t I?