Being part of a Writing Group
Being part of a Writing Group

NEW BLOOD: The Rebirth of Indie Horror A Conversation with Mark Towse

NEW BLOOD: The Rebirth of Indie Horror

A Conversation with Mark Towse

By Matt Micheli

 

These interviews are intended to be very candid and conversational. There is nothing off limits.

 

***

 

For the 3rd part of the NEW BLOOD series, I am here with none other than Mark Towse, author of Nana, Hope Wharf, and One Last Shindig among others. Mark is quickly becoming known as “The King of Geriatric Horror” for his sometimes funny, oftentimes gross, and always scary as hell yet fun horror stories about the elderly. Thank you for joining us for this interview! Myself and The Horror Tree are thrilled to have you!

You currently live in Australia… Where did you grow up and how did you end up in OZ as you often refer to it?

Thanks for the opportunity, Matt.

 

I grew up in the UK, Yorkshire, to be more specific (where t’puddings come from, and people use t’internet). Hull, to be even more precise. Once a prosperous fishing port, the city deteriorated relatively quickly, taking a hit across both its fishing and shipping departments. And being as Hull is on the road to nowhere, the end of the line, so to speak, people were not passing through and spending money. It was quickly hit with poverty and developed a substantial drug and alcohol problem. Often, during my lunch breaks in the city, I would be approached by such druggies, asking for one of my chips, “Giz a chip,” or asking if I’d care to swap shoes, “Giz your trainers.”

 

It feels awful to say it now, but when people used to ask what my hometown was like, my immediate response was always, “It’s dark and dingy and smells like a cocktail of fish and death.” Once, in a UK handbook, it got voted the worst place to live in Britain, the adjacent picture of a phone box housing a human turd supporting the claim.

 

So, that’s why I left Hull (although typically, a couple of years after I left, the city started seeing a resurgence, helped by considerable investments and a focus on renewable energy through companies such as Siemens).

 

So why Australia?

 

My mother-in-law lived just outside of Melbourne in Victoria. At the time, there was a sub-class 139 visa whereby if you had enough points, based on professional qualifications, cash in the bank, etc., they let you in. Having a mother-in-law here awarded us the final points, sealing the deal. Thanks, Mother-in-law!

 

Unlike the plentiful rumours in our ears as we said our goodbyes, there were no crocodiles wearing sunglasses waiting for us on street corners and no spiders dangling from trees, fangs like knives. Even snake sightings are reasonably rare, although I recently ran one over with the front tyre of my mountain bike. I hope they don’t hold grudges! The sharks get a bit busy sometimes, but hey, it’s their place, not ours.

 

So you grew up in literally the worst place in Britain. Ha. Well at least they weren’t voted 2nd worst… Reminds me of the old Bukowski saying, “If you’re going to try, go all the way.” 

 

You mentioned a mountain bike, and on social media, you occasionally talk of a daughter—both are dangerous. But even more dangerous, are skateboards. According to recent social media posts, your last skateboarding session didn’t end well.

First off, how did your daughter convince you to even step foot on a board?

 

None of it was on her; I blame Tom Cruise. Look, I could claim it was purely for connection purposes, but it wouldn’t be entirely true. Sophie made it look effortless, and I guess my ego got the better of me. The fact I’m turning fifty next year is also never far from my mind, likely adding to my need to prove a point. Anyhow, after a couple of tentative efforts, the skateboard shooting into the bushes ahead or behind, I decided to go all in. The next thing I knew, I was lying on the tarmac watching the clouds roll by, Sophie leaning over, holding onto a snigger. “I think we should go home now,” she said.

That should have been the end of it.

Hahaha, but it wasn’t.

I picked myself up, brushed myself off, and after a few more attempts, started to gain some confidence.

“You know, Dad,” she said to me, “it’s much easier to balance when you have a bit of speed.”

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, but at the time, her theory seemed rather logical. Anyway, I grabbed that skateboard, placed it at the top of the hill, and secured it under my left foot. I turned, only to see Sophie mumbling something into her phone, the lens pointing towards me.

“Are you recording this?”

“Yeah, just to show Mum.”

The hill certainly seemed steeper than it did thirty or forty yards back, but it was too late to back out; the camera was on me. I took a deep breath and pushed off, holding my arms out for balance and bending my knees slightly.

“Go, Dad,” Sophie shouted encouragingly from behind. “You’ve got this.”

For the first few milliseconds, I felt like a King, but then I saw the small rock in the middle of the path. I panicked. Simple as that. And in what I can only describe as an Elvis-like shuffle, I tried to alter the path of the skateboard by giving my hips a bit of a wiggle. I missed the rock, hooray, but started heading towards a side ditch full of sharp-looking rocks and branches. My only hope was a random patch of long grass that looked comparatively soft. I fixed my stare on it and decided I would throw myself towards it. Once again, though, in an error of misjudgement, I forgot to take into account my platform was mobile, so when I jumped, my left leg continued with the board, but my right leg went in the other direction. I landed in an ‘almost splits’ position but also slightly angled, resulting in a popping and tearing sound, overshadowed by my high-pitched yelp.

“I got it, Dad,” Sophie shouted gleefully, waving the phone in the air. “I got it all.”

 

After that last spill and a torn ligament, will you ever again? 

 

 

No!

 

Let’s talk young Towse.

Growing up in Hull, outside of Yorkshire, UK, what kind of trouble were you getting into during the simpler times of bikes and treehouses and absolutely zero responsibilities?

 

I recall breakdancing being massive. One time, a group of friends and I (we must have been perhaps ten or eleven years old) were walking the streets, carrying a torn-off piece of linoleum and a ghetto blaster the size of a large kennel. We’d each take it in turns, trying to outdo each other. I remember my specialty being the pinwheel; I can still do it today, but always with the risk of putting a hip out. Anyhow, I remember lining up to do a swan dive, a move yet to be pulled off with any degree of finesse. I felt good that day, though, and the music was banging. I needed six stitches across my tongue and was on tomato soup for a week. That was the end of my breakdancing career.

 

Fast forward to Highschool.

Did you sit at the cool table? 

 

No, I was a geek. Top of the math class, with a penchant for complex algebra, and I wouldn’t say boo to a girl unless it were Halloween. In all honesty, though, I didn’t enjoy high school one bit. I hated it, in fact. But that was more down to my home life, filling me with anxiety and a severe lack of confidence.

That was why I enjoyed maths. Maths was all about problems. But these problems all had an answer, unlike life.

 

How would your teachers describe you?

Quiet. Smart. Odd. They often used to ask my parents during those parent-teacher-type meetings if anything was going on at home. Like any proud parents back then, they denied any such issues.

This was also well before the times of diagnosing kids on the spectrum, so I was left to drift as an oddity, the smart kid lacking awareness and social etiquette.

 

And last but not least before we leave those musty high-school halls for good, did you get the girl a la Patrick Dempsey?

Look, I was a romantic, visualising walks through golden fields of corn with my secret crush. I wasn’t a bad-looking kid, but I lacked any self-confidence whatsoever. The tragedy is that when my secret crush actually asked me out, I turned her down for that reason (and regretted it for months to come). My path to the cool table was self-sabotaged.

So, as you can tell, I was more Mr. Bean than Mr. Dempsey. 

That kid was a shadow of my former self, but hindsight is a bitch, and at this stage in my life, I want to live with no regrets and no paths unexplored. That’s why I’m so grateful to have discovered this incredible art called writing.

 

Your recent spill is eerily similar to my last big accident on a skateboard many years ago, heading down a steep street my cousin and I appropriately named Deadman’s Cove when I saw passing cars on the cross street way down below. As did your small rock in the path, the nearing cars made me choose—take a chance at being hit by a car or veer into the curb and fly into the grass. Well, I chose the latter, but I didn’t hit grass. I somehow miraculously found the yard’s electrical box and dislocated my shoulder, giving me a gnarly gash. I still remember lying in this stranger’s yard in the middle of suburbia with my head back, screaming in agony. I see the lady of the house come outside and look at me and then quietly go back inside. Thanks, lady. And that was the end of my skating career. 

 

Breakdancing: I’ll go ahead and mark that one off the list also.

 

You mentioned writing… Excellent segue, Mark. It’s as if you’ve done this before

When did that moment—that epiphany—hit you when you typed THE END and thought to yourself, I’ve got something here I need to explore? What was that story about?

 

I’m the king of segues, Matt; ask my wife. Any opportunity I get, I try and steer the conversation towards story ideas or what I’m currently working on. Must bore her rigid! Anyhow, she’s given me three strikes moving forward. In other words, three opportunities each day to talk freely about writing, anything beyond that putting me in the doghouse. And believe me, you don’t want to end up in there!

 

As soon I’d written the words ‘The End’ for the first time, there was a sense of irony that they were the beginning of a fantastic journey. And that first proper tale, the one I followed through right to the end, was a little flash fiction piece called ‘Hugh’s Friend.’ It was about a boy’s imaginary(?) friend, a cheeky little bugger with a penchant for causing trouble. I knew I had something, a great story with one hell of a sucker punch, and after sending it to three places, it was accepted for a publication called Books N Pieces magazine, netting me a tidy $75 (it might as well have been gold bullion). It was more the concept that someone was willing to pay me for such a creation that helped guide me towards this newfound addiction.

 

A couple more questions before we get into your current works. Looking back at all your publications which are many, what is the worst story you’ve ever had published, one you regret ever putting out there?

 

Haha. That is a fantastic question!

 

I think the worst story I’ve ever had published (in Down in the Dirt) was a very early tale called ‘Fortune & Glory.’ It wasn’t just bad from a technical point of view but in every possible aspect. The premise was about a boy on the spectrum who liked digging holes in his backyard using a spoon. One day, he found a finger. Anyhow, a bad story short, the body turned out to be someone his dad murdered for his mum.

 

Thanks for that, Matt!

 

Being a writer myself, there are always those pieces you love but can’t find a home for, for whatever reason… What’s a favorite story of yours–one you’re really proud of—that you’ve been unable to find a home for, and why do you think that is?

 

Yeah, another bloody brilliant question.

 

There’s a story called ‘Golden Child’ about a boy who would do almost anything to fill his sticker album before the other kids. It’s a sticker book of monsters/cryptids, and he only needs three silvers and one gold to complete his collection. Anyhow, one day while running from bullies, he sees a silver card glinting in the distance, and the adventure kicks off there, the hunter becoming the hunted (by the creatures in the book).

I love that story! It could be that the right call hasn’t been announced yet or perhaps a generational thing, the concept of a sticker album these days difficult for some folk to grasp. They were bloody massive in our school, though. Every morning we’d swap and trade, and at lunchtime, we’d sneak off to the milk bar, spending our dinner money on as many packets of stickers as we could get.

It’s a great story with a great twist. Have I sold it yet?

 

$75 for a first story? That’s a helluva start! Most of us eager, new writers are perfectly happy with exposure as payment, because really, we just want the publication. But yeah, having someone show an interest in your work at all is a great feeling, and then to be paid… That’s the icing on the cake, so they (whoever they are are) say.

 

As far as Golden Child, sounds like a fun read, and with nostalgia being all the rage these days, I think it’ll find it’s home before long. And oh the days of sticker books… Sometimes I wish we could go back so our kids could experience the excitement we got from such simpler things but now sticker books and trading cards have been replaced with YouTube and YouTube. Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but it’s sad really.

 

You’re quite prolific with writing, releasing Face the Music, Nana, Crows, One Last Shindig, Nature’s Perfume and then on top of that, rebranding Hope Wharf, and being featured in many anthologies and podcasts. You’ve often said, you would sell your soul to the Devil to be a full-time writer, which means you aren’t at the moment.

 

 

What is it that Mark Towse does besides writing to pay the bills? 

 

I work three days a week as an Advertising Sales Manager for a regional lifestyle magazine, Geelong and Surf Coast Living. This forms the bulk of my income and is a good little number as I get to travel the region and meet some excellent people (always good for character and environment development). In addition to this, I’m a freelance journalist for the publication. Also cool, as in addition to getting paid for writing editorials, my name goes on the VIP list for restaurant openings, wine tasting events, and whatnot. Free food and drink? Well, okay then. On top of this, I do some other freelance stuff here and there as and when required. Always busy.

 

Having spoken to you off the record (that sounds so important) on a few occasions over email and social media, my guess is that you were in sales of some fashion, so I got it right! You seem to be one who can strike up a conversation with anyone at any given moment. Also coming from a marketing sales background (sales training and development), I mean that as a compliment. I think the cliché old-school greasy car salesmen days are done, at least I hope. 

 

With work, dadding, and hubbing, how and where do you find time to write as prolifically as you do? 

 

That idea of me being prolific is quite deceiving; I wrote most of my novellas during the lockdown period (staggered releases just making it look like I’m prolific). The truth is, I really struggle for time and have only managed one piece of work above 6,000 words since the lockdowns ended, bar the current collaborative piece I’m working on with Chisto Healy called The Bucket List. Yeah, a cheap plug, but this story is epic!

For sanity, I’ve spent most of my short career writing short stories, primarily because I can write, edit and polish one of these pups within a three-to-four-day period. That said, my preference of late is leaning toward longer fiction as it allows for deeper immersion, making the process even more enjoyable. I struggle over an extended period, though, finding jumping into these worlds after work or before I drop the kids at school challenging. I prefer to work intensively on a piece. For example, I recently booked six days in a remote cabin and wrote the complete draft of a new novella called 3.33.

Anyone who can get home from work and chip away at a novel for an hour or two a day, bringing it to eventual completion, has my full respect. That said, watch this space for something special.

 

Looking forward to it, but I’m a Towse fanboy. 

 

You mention lockdowns. When everyone was talking about how terrible the year was (don’t take this the wrong way—I know how hard it was on many and how hard it still is—lost loved ones, many businesses shuddered, and so on), I was grateful. I always do my best not to dwell or worry about things I can’t change and to focus on the good. The lockdowns gave me an opportunity to not only spend more time with my wife and daughter, but a chance to step back and reevaluate things, life, all that, which ultimately led me to revisit writing, which is my passion. It’s weird how we let things we love slip through the cracks sometimes dealing with our day to day and it takes something like a pandemic to make us recognize that. 

As a society, have we simply become too busy—too stagnant—to allow ourselves time for creativity, for enjoyment?

 

Absolutely. We’re losing touch with our creative side through our obsession with money and the ideal lifestyle portrayed through social media. It’s almost as if creativity has become a guilty pleasure rather than a necessary and fun release.

I’m constantly recommending reading and writing to people as a means of therapy, knowing if they just took some time to breathe and let their imaginations lose, a possible epiphany is waiting for them. I’ve been the victim of that head-in-the-sand mentality for nearly three decades, obsessed with earning as much money as possible. In my twenties and thirties, I travelled around Asia working in IT, earning a fortune but spending the money as quickly as it hit the bank account. I was existing, not living, and life choices had to be made. I earn a lot less cash these days, but I’m a damn sight happier and a lot less stressed. Perhaps not the investment my wife was hoping for, but tough luck.

And then you have all the distractions to contend with—all these streaming channels read to serve brain-numbing fodder to help you come down from the day. Stagnancy, as you put it. Work/TV/bed. Rinse and repeat. I struggle with it sometimes, but once I get going, my little magic world always has so much more to offer!

 

Absolutely. Distractions. I’m a firm believer that to truly connect with ourselves and the world, we must disconnect. There’s something completely unnatural and inhuman about technology and our newfound fascination with it. 

 

Okay. Why has the Devil turned down your invitation for your soul in exchange for full-time writing?

 

Haha. Good question. 

As you know, there’s more to this game than telling a great story. Many factors are involved, including marketing, networking, and the experience of writing itself. I’m still a young gun (only from a writing perspective) learning a lot about the art; I can’t expect things to happen overnight. In addition, I have a fairly reclusive personality (unless beer is involved), preferring to spend my time in magic world over mingling and working my way up social ladders. Yeah, I know I’m not doing myself any favours, especially living on the other side of the world (also taking into account it’s far too expensive for me to send out signed books, never mind attending book fares). Please buy my work!

I guess I’ll keep harassing old Beelzebub, though. I’m a persistent bugger, for sure.

 

Let’s talk book sales for a moment. With the exception of a few, it seems friends and family are often the last folks to buy books and help support their writer friends/family (speaking for myself and other authors I’ve spoken to)? It’s a phenomenon. Have you personally faced this weird occurrence, and why do you think that is? 

 

For sure. I had a decent run with my debut short story collection, but interest has certainly waned. Why is that? Good question. Perhaps they think it’s just a hobby over a passion. They might think it’s just a fad, our latest flash in the pan after being turned away from the circus. Hell, I don’t know. Maybe they don’t really know how much it would mean to us if they snapped up our latest release. Should we tell them? Maybe.

Does that help clear things up, Matt? Haha.

 

Ha. We’ll just leave it to one of life’s great mysteries. 

 

Moving on… Your books are a good mix of funny, a little gory, gross (toenails come to mind), scary, and are always fun. Upon reading Nana, I reviewed it stating that it had an unexpected transgressive vibe similar to something Chuck Palahniuk would write, with vivid and blunt description, the kind of visuals that makes stomach acid rush your throat. As a writer, any time I can provoke either an emotional or physical response from my readers, even if they HATE my characters or me, I know I’ve succeeded. Once you have an idea for a story, what typically is your goal when writing it?

 

Haha. In addition to wanting to make people squirm, I want to make them laugh. Writing isn’t escapism if I spend too much time wallowing in the darkness. In other words, humour is critical and part of the package I like to deliver to the readers. I also think you can get away with pushing the boundaries more if you incorporate some tongue in cheek humour into proceedings. I’m not talking slapstick; it’s more about the quick and witty dialogue.

 

For me, humour is an underrated dimension to characters just as scent is to the senses. Look, it’s not always appropriate, but if you can bookmark now and again with something that makes people smile, pulling the rug away becomes a lot more fun. As you know, Matt, I’ve also written serious horror stories: Crows, Hope Wharf: Naughty Corner (to come), but readers will also find a funny thread in these. It often makes the scares more effective when they happen.

All said and done, I just want my readers to have a good time.

 

Life and people are humorous, sometimes funny, sometimes not. I think adding a little wit and humor to your dialogue really brings your characters to life. 

 

Where does your love of Horror come from? Have you always been a fan, or is it a new passion?

 

Escapism, for sure. 

Saying that, I’ve been a horror fan ever since my parents dropped me off at the next-door neighbour’s house in need of a night out. The old loons thought it would be a good idea to watch Psycho on the goggle box. As an eleven-year-old kid, it terrified me (nearly as much as the cigarette flavoured blancmange the old woman kept trying to feed me). That movie kept me awake for days, ensuring I took long soapy baths for a while over showers.

And then came Creepshow, the episode where the roaches crawled out the fat man’s belly. Gee whiz. For weeks afterwards, I thought my stomach might explode. The slightest groan or murmur, I would grab my bottom sheet and grimaced, ready for the buggers to burst out. Brilliant, though.

 

I discovered my love for reading shortly after, renting Cujo with my first library card. The rest of that summer was spent consuming King and Herbert. I was an addict.

Writing horror is an even bigger thrill for me, though, and I love spending my time in magic world, following the whispers.

 

Following the whispers… Let’s talk about that. I’m currently reading Nature’s Perfume which is a change of pace from some of your other works. It’s a little sexier, to say the least. 

Where were you and what were you doing when the whispers/idea for Nature’s Perfume came over you? 

 

I love hiking, getting lost in the bush, and feeling a million miles from other humans. It always amazes me how, in the middle of such an arid and humid environment, nature can still surprise with splashes of stunning colour, majestic wildflowers jutting out of rocks or soil as hard as concrete. It made sense to write such a story. 

Recreating the smells, the sounds, and the scenery was almost as good as being there. Sprinkle a bit of magic in there, and you hopefully have a very immersive but contrastingly claustrophobic experience.

Nature’s Perfume is like my most mainstream story yet, and things will likely stay that way. I guess it’s good to throw them in now and again to try and assure people you’re not a complete loon and don’t need a visit from the men with white coats.

 

Keeping track of ideas… I use notes on my phone and find most ideas coming to me when I’m driving or in the middle of the night, never convenient. What works for you?

 

Yeah, I do have a notepad by the side of my bed. In fact, I wrote a short and spooky tale based on that called ‘Make Me Shine’ (Picnic in the Graveyard from Cemetery Gates Media). It’s about a guy waking up and finding a note on the page, but not in his own handwriting. Anyway, that’s another story, if you pardon the pun. 

My goodness, it’s just one cheesy plug after another!

The notepad by the bed is more for when I’m already working on a particular story, and I think of something the character might say or an event to really throw a chainsaw in the works. As a general rule of thumb, I tend not to write the ideas down, hoping the good ones stay (I think a slightly more famous author said something about that). And if it’s good enough for him…

 

Most writers are hell-bent on their particular processes, almost compulsive about their methods. Let’s get into your writing process, starting with a topic that gets heated in the writing world (for reasons unknown): Do you outline—yes or no, and why?

 

No, I don’t outline. If I ever hit the big time, perhaps that’s where obsessiveness might take a grip, but for the time being, I’m as free as a bird. It’s the part of the process I enjoy most, picking a setting, personality flaw, a scene from a picture or piece of art, and then running like hell with it. I liken it to a kid holding a kite and running along the beach on a stormy day. Heart pounding, fingers clenched around the spool, you have no idea which way the wind will take it, but if you run fast enough or the gust is strong enough, the tension on that string will approach ‘breaking point.’ 

And if that motherfucker snaps, you know you have a winner.

 

Even for novellas, I might jot three or four points down and ultimately ignore them all if the story takes me in a different direction. 

Look, I have to have fun with this stuff, so the less rigidity, the better. If I’m constantly worrying about ticking this box and that, it just wouldn’t be me, and any creative flair would dwindle quickly. Besides, I want to keep the story as unpredictable as possible, not just for the reader but for me also. If I don’t know where the story is going, they’ll have no chance. Score!

 

There’s no write or wrong (see what I did there?) way to do it, as long as whatever you do works for you. But I’m with you! Nothing better and more enjoyable than letting the story write itself!

 

What soundtrack provides the background music for your writing?

 

This might be a bit of a letdown, but reverting to my love of the outdoors, I generally have the sounds of a rainforest or ocean storm playing through my ear. White noise helps me focus and reminds me to keep paying attention to environments, sounds, and scents.

 

Is your writing process different from your editing process?

 

As a general rule of thumb, I tend to edit as I go. This helps keep the writing solid while not sucking out too much of that initial energy. Once the draft is complete, I’ll go back through it with a fine-tooth comb, generally playing with sentence structure and sharpening dialogue. At that point, I’m always very grateful for my editing on-the-go process. Finally, I send the work to my eagle-eyed mother, the best editor on this planet (free).  

 

I’ve seen mention of your editor (mother) elsewhere. Is she a horror fan or simply a fan of her son? 

 

I wouldn’t call her a fan of horror, but I certainly think she might be converting a little. Before she started reading my stuff, I think the most extreme material she’d ever handled was ‘Flowers in the Attic’ (although that is pretty dark). The fact she has a cracking sense of humour helps, and I’m pretty sure it’s that tongue-in-cheek approach running through most of my stuff that keeps her going through all the depravity and blood. And she always tells me if she thinks I’ve overstepped the mark.

 

Have you based any characters on her?

 

Lots. Enough said.

 

A recurring theme I see in reviews of your work (which have been great by the way; the fans love some Towse), primarily of Nana and One Last Shindig, you are being referred to as the “King of Geriatric Horror.”

What are our thoughts on being a king?

 

Haha. I’ll take it. Do I get a crown and a colostomy bag?

 

Oh the convenience of a colostomy bag… Ha. 

 

For a first-time reader of Mark Towse, someone’s first trip on the Towse Train, what book would you recommend that most encompasses the Mark Towse style? 

 

Great question. My humour flows through all, so I’m not sure I can name a specific one, but gun to the head, if I had to choose, I’d likely recommend my debut novella, ‘Nana.’ While quite raw, ‘Nana’ gives a great insight into my tongue-in-cheek writing style while also building an ominous level of dread. It’s got a great sucker punch, too.

‘Hope Wharf’ flies under the radar, but I love that little story. It’s also a great demonstration of taking people on a high, then ripping the floor away. So that would be my second recommendation. 

And then you have Crows, One Last Shindig, and Nature’s Perfume. Ah hell, I don’t know. Read them all!

 

Where do you see Indie horror going, and what would you like to see?

 

I see it going from strength to strength. There are so many opportunities and platforms for indie horror, especially for new writers. Like anything, I guess the only downside is it gets harder to shine your own light, but if the material is strong enough, it should eventually make its way through.

 

I want to see Netflix snapping up geriatric horror stories. They’re missing a trick! Old people are creepy as…

 

F (to complete your sentence). I often remind folks that serial killers, robbers, rapists all get old, so to think twice before assuming that cute little old lady or man are all peppermint candies and grandkids. We all get old, the good ones and the really, really bad ones. Old people also say the damnedest things, and then there’s the walking farts, but that’s a whole other interview. Anyway, old people really get my goat!

 

Who at this very moment is your favorite Indie Horror Writer, besides yourself, of course?

 

I’m not going answer that one, Matt, as it’s far too difficult a question. If I started listing people, I’d never forgive myself for leaving someone out.

 

Okay, how about this? What’s the last indie horror book you’ve read? No need to say if you like it love it dislike it or hate it.

 

Last two I read were Parachute by Holly Rae Garcia and Love Potion #666 by Nathan Ludwig. Both were great.

 

I haven’t read these authors yet (you know, that damned time thing), but I’ve heard good things! 

 

You touched on a couple of projects earlier… What’s on the horizon for Mark Towse and what project are you most excited about? 

 

A lot!

 

I’ve got three novella releases in the pipe from the wonderful D&T Publishing, one coming in November (I really need to decide which one) and the rest in 2023. This includes the third and wildest solo foray into geriatric horror yet, ‘The Generation Games.’ I can’t wait for people to read this one.

I’m also putting together a best of the best short story collection for 2023. I’ve written over one hundred and fifty shorts to date, a lot of which I haven’t submitted, so this will be epic.

Lots of other stuff is coming out in anthologies, podcasts, etc.

My story, ‘The Fruits of Labour,’ will be in Midnight Echo 17, the Australasian Horror Writers Association magazine. People need to pick this one up.

Chisto Healy and I have just finished working on a novella called ‘The Bucket List.’ We can’t wait for people to meet Marge and Alby; they’re a hoot.

I’m working on a new solo novella called ‘Mother Dearest.’ This one is giving me all the good feels.

I’m also starting, at least in the pipe, a couple of new collaborative projects, one with Daemon Manx and another with Erik Hanson. We have something extraordinary brewing.

I’ve also been commissioned to work on a few things, including a cool comic that really has my juices flowing. More to come.

Usually a one-project person, I’m excited but frantic about all of these. Now I just have to find the time to work on them without my wife asking for a divorce.

 

Wow! A lot to be excited about! I think I’ll go ahead and resort back to saying you are prolific. Reference above.

 

Okay, take your time on this one. What will loved ones write on your tombstone (no word limit)?

 

To those who truly knew him, Mark was sweet, loyal, loving, thoughtful, and selfless. To others, he was an arrogant, unempathetic, selfish prick.

 

Ha! I don’t care what it takes, you have to make this happen. I’ll speak to your daughter if I must. Ha.

 

Last but not least: where on the interwebs can people find you and your work?

 

https://www.instagram.com/towseywrites/

https://twitter.com/MarkTowsey12

 

People can also catch me on Facebook.

 

Most of my stuff is available on Amazon.

 

 

Mark, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me and for sharing a little insight into Mark Towse’s world. This has been informative and a lot of fun.

 

Thanks so much, Matt. Absolutely loved this format. Well done!

 

Readers: If you haven’t jumped aboard the Towse Train, yet, there’s no better time than now. Do yourself a favor, grab a ticket, and get reading. And stay tuned for part 4 of the NEW BLOOD series coming October 3rd. Let’s just say, Part 4 takes a “dark” turn.

 

As always, thank you for supporting indie horror and share, share, share away!

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