Author and Scriptwriter

'Among the most important writers of contemporary British horror.' -Ramsey Campbell

Monday, 23 November 2015

The Lowdown with... Mark Allan Gunnells

Mark Allan Gunnells loves to tell stories. He has since he was a kid, penning one-page tales that were Twilight Zone knockoffs. He likes to think he has gotten a little better since then. He has been lucky enough to work with some wonderful publishers. He loves reader feedback, and above all he loves telling stories. He lives in Greer, SC, with his fiance Craig A. Metcalf.

1. Tell us three things about yourself.
I have a phobia of large bodies of water and cannot swim. I am engaged to be married. I'm a total Scully about the supernatural, though with an open mind to the possibilities.

2. What was the first thing you had published?

The first thing of mine I ever saw in print was probably a poem called "Football Nights" that I wrote in Junior High. It was published in the local Paper, the Gaffney Ledger. Didn't see any money from it, but it was a thrill seeing myself in print.

3. Which piece of writing are you proudest of?
That's like asking a parent which child is their favorite. I'll say my sentimental favorite is a story called "Jam." It was one of the first things I wrote after a dark time where I had stopped writing and it helped me gain my confidence back. It just flowed and turned out exactly how I wanted it, and ended up being the first piece of fiction I ever sold for money.

4. …and which makes you cringe?
In my early days of selling stories, I had a story called "The Lost Gentlemen" appear in an anthology, and while I don't think it's a terrible story, it isn't a great story and several reviews singled it out as the worst in the antho. Ouch!

5. What’s a normal writing day like?
I'm very lucky in that I get to write at work. I'm a security guard, and throughout the day I have little pockets of downtime. I never know when or how long they'll last, but I've trained myself to write in those spaces. It's one of the greatest perks of my day job. I don't pressure myself with word count or page numbers, I just aim to do some writing every day and not beat myself up if it's not as much as the day before.

6. Which piece of writing should someone who’s never read you before pick up first?
Hmm, as a reader I like to start out with a new writer by trying a short story collection if they have one. It's a great sampler to give you a good idea of what the writer has to offer. I have several of those out. I'd recommend Tales from the Midnight Shift, Ghosts in the Attic, or Welcome to the Graveyard. [You can check out Mark's Amazon author page here, and browse his wares at greater length.]

7. What are you working on now?
I'm collaborating on a novella (now in the short novel category maybe) called "Where the Dead Go to Die" with the great Aaron Dries, while also continuing to write short stories. When the collaboration is done, I'll return to a solo novel I started called 432 Abercorn.

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