Some of my most creative thoughts happen when on a dog walk, as do my best conversations with my dog-walking buddy. So I thought I’d invite some of my author friends along to join me and my girls and see if I can find out a little more about them and the book they’ve just released.
‘My girls’ are Poppy and Ruby
Joining me today is Mark Barry who has released his latest novel, Kevin and The Atomic Bomb, under the pseudonym, Luke Rock. This is the second time I have had the pleasure of his company and the first time was here.
Mark Barry is a multi-genre writer and novelist. His work includes the minor cult hit Ultra Violence, about football hooligans at a small Midlands football club, and Carla, a quirky, dark, acclaimed romance with shades of Wuthering Heights. He is the co-designer of the innovative Brilliant Books project aimed at engaging the many, many reluctant readers amongst young people. He has one son, Matt, who’s at University, with whom he shares a passion for Notts County Football Club. Fast food, comics, music, reading, his friends on the Independent scene, and horse racing keep him interested and he detests the English Premier League, selfish, narcissistic people and bullies of all kinds. He is based in Nottingham and Southwell, UK, the scene of most of his fiction.
But this is not all because I happen to know that Mark is a dab hand in the kitchen. At the moment he is bang on trend being heavily into experimental cuisine where he mixes fusion with his own special blend of magic. Between you and me there are not many things he can’t do with an aubergine that don’t leave you wanting more and I’m reliably informed his fettucine allegretto is the stuff of legend. 😉
I believe I’ve read all of Mark’s books that are available and have posted reviews of them here: Carla, The Night Porter, Ultra Violence, Violent Disorder, Once Upon a Time in the City of Criminals and Hollywood Shakedown.
I’m always waiting for Mark to release his latest novel, and after this country took the devastating decision to leave the EU he was galvanised into reworking a novel he had previously released as Kid Atomic but then withdrew from sale. He turned this piece around in under two weeks and as far as I can see it is the only good thing that has come out of the Brexit vote. Kevin and The Atomic Bomb is now available for all to buy and Mark is here to chat to me today about it, and some other stuff.
Hi Mark, thanks for taking the time to talk to me today. I know you follow your beloved Notts County all over the country but I’m guessing you don’t often venture this way in the summer months so it’s lovely to see you in the rolling hills of the beautiful south. Now we’ve got our walking boots on and are striding out in the wonderful British countryside it’s time for you to tell me all about the book you’ve just released.
Morning, Georgia and thank you for having me back again. Thank you also for your continued support of my work. The day you don’t enjoy a novel of mine, I’ll never write another word 😀 My! Your hounds are looking superb as usual. (Thank you! Ed)
Yes, I was livid about Brexit and I still am, Georgia. I am ignoring all pleas for unity and all that and will do until we’re back in. I hold grudges, am a bit bonkers and am fanatically opposed to bullying and Little Englander racism; this farce has just set us back forty years socially. I am embarrassed to be British.
I am struggling to even communicate with Brexiters at the moment and Kevin And The Atomic Bomb is part of that cathexis.
The novel: I had an unpublished novel in the archives called Kid Atomic about a naïve and tormented geek who, via some machination, finds an atomic bomb in his garage. I had published and subsequently depublished this back in 2012 and I spent a mad ten days rewriting it as a way of expressing my anger. I always liked the book back then but it didn’t fit with the other stuff I was doing (and it still doesn’t, to be honest).
It is as different to, say, Carla, (overall my most popular book), as an apple is to a pear. Readers don’t enjoy that, in my experience. To counter this, I have written KATAB under a pseudonym and rebranded the whole thing. Its aimed at the 19-25 market, but as usual, it never works out like that.
Your review explains what the book is about far better than I could, Georgia.
And the blurb…
What would YOU do if you were the most powerful single human being alive?
Kevin Taylor’s got problems.
His maintenance grant is being cut, the leader of his protest group has designs on Rachel (his far-too-pretty-for-him girlfriend), DC are retconning their universe again and the local bullies make a habit of standing on his specs.
To top it all, his beloved mum is sick and her long term busybody “companion” is constantly in his face.
And all he really wants to do is play Doom.
Despatched to London along with his streetwise best friend, Ricky, his orders are to pick up two secret packages donated by a pan-national group of hardcore Euro-revolutionaries. A massive demonstration is planned and the group need these to raise the stakes.
When Verna -a mysterious and alluring Polish freedom fighter – donates a mysterious third package that no-one expects nor knows anything about, Kevin Taylor quickly comes to realise that his problems are only just beginning.
And his life as he knows it, and the life of everyone around him, is about to change forever.
Other information: The story takes place over ten days in the immediate aftermath of the British public’s decision to leave the European Union and in the context of the consequently collapsing economy.
If you could choose one piece of music to be the soundtrack to this book what would it be? And why?
It’s a very, very musical book and all the way through are references to music old and new. Kevin, who is tormented by the unfathomable disappearance of his father, has become obsessed with the record collection he left behind – an old vinyl collection of early seventies Progressive Rock.
The last five chapters takes place, as you know, to the rhythmic sounds of Tangerine Dream, Rubycon. I’m a big music fan, as you know, and much of my work is underpinned by all types of music. Remember Hot Stuff by Donna Summer in Criminals? (Can’t forget it! Ed) Mr Blue Sky? Ship Of Fools and Radiohead in UV? I love music, Georgia. I couldn’t write without it.
Why have you decided to use a pseudonym for this book?
As I said, its completely different to my other stuff and I don’t want to disappoint my readers, such as they are. It’s up to them if they want it – I am open and honest about my pseudonym – but I have written everywhere that this novel is different work. Part of the reason too is to expand my readership. We’ll see if that happens, Georgia. It is a brutal marketplace and even a 99p sale is a cause for the outbreak of a spontaneous Cocabana Beach Festival, isn’t it.
Tell me who you believe is your ideal reader for this book?
That’s a good question. I have no idea who reads my stuff or why. I like to think I appeal to readers who enjoy decent writing. That seems to be consistent. I have had indifferent notices for work, as have all of us, but even those compliment my writing, which is heartening. So that’s the consistent one. I take my time with sentencing paragraphs and with structures and I also enjoy a good climax, so everything is thought about well in advance. I reread the last five chapters of Carla the other day, Georgia, and KATAB’s climax with the bomb has the same energy, I think. But really, I don’t know.
If you could eliminate one thing from your daily schedule what would it be? And why?
My regular bus journey from Southwell into Nottingham and back. It’s on public transport and there are over twenty stops. I wish I lived closer, but I have too good a lifestyle here in one of the country’s most beautiful places. Also, I wish I could lose weight more successfully, because then I could skip one of my six gym sessions a week and do something else.
Here come a few quick fire ones.
Given the choice would you be a Bond girl, a Bond villain or James Bond himself? (My thanks for Victoria Coren-Mitchell for this one!)
What do you mean? I am Bond. James Bond. I thought you knew that, Miss Moneypenny? (Well of course you are… Ed)
India or Iceland?
Iceland. Never fancied India at all, though I know people swear by it. I once went to the Dominican Republic and was saddened by the contrast between the opulence I was experiencing and a gaunt fellow washing his clothes in a mosquito-laced brook next to a gated hotel guarded by giant bouncers. India has that bipolarity too. Not for me, I am afraid.
Name one thing you would put into Room 101?
The Daily Express newspaper. All of them actually. Mail. Sun. Verminous.
If you could have unlimited storage of one thing, what would it be?
Charm, Georgia. A gentleman cannot have enough charm. And Stowford Press too 😀
As a thank you for being my guest today I’m going to become your Fairy Godmother and grant you 3 wishes – what would you spend them on? Choose wisely 🙂 (and no using that third wish for more wishes!!)
A night out with Faith from Season Six of Californication (assuming I can’t get you back to the races 😉 (Well I have some pretty stiff competition there – very flattering! Ed)
Five minutes with the racing results in tomorrow’s paper and a pencil.
A trip back in time to persuade Cameron never to call that Referendum.
You are very welcome, as usual, Georgia.
You can find Mark in many places…
You can follow him on Twitter @GreenWizard62
And on Facebook