Interview with Marcus Woolcott

What do your fans mean to you?
Fans are fantastic. Without them there's just this big silence when a book comes out. I never get tired of hearing how each character or story affected them differently. Even the negative comments are worth reading as it gives you a better idea of the audience you're writing for and what does and doesn't work outside of my head.
What are you working on next?
I have a book of short stories which is nearly ready for publication, and I'm also working on a "female Sherlock Holmes" novel with a fantastical twist. I make it a point to work in a different genre for each story to keep myself challenged.
Who are your favorite authors?
The authors who have influenced me the most are the ones I consider great storytellers, such as Roald Dahl, Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, and Richard Matheson. But as a film lover, I also have to give credit to writers like Christopher Nolan and Brad Bird as I'm as much influenced by their work as I am by written work.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
To be honest, I stick to my favourite writers. But whenever I'm stuck for a book to read, a Dean Koontz or Mo Hayder novel are always easy to sit down and enjoy.

Because I visualise my stories in my head in detail first, I find a greater influence from watching films than reading books. I can watch up to ten films in one week, but a book can last me six months.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, I was probably about five, and it was about a boy who meets a dragon and then takes him home for tea. And they had tea and it was very nice.
What is your writing process?
Slowly and methodically. I'll write a few paragraphs and then go away and visualise the next bit, check how it all fits in, ponder the last bit, consider what's to come, and then write a bit more. I'm doing it as we speak. The plus side is that the first draft is usually very similiar to the final draft.
How do you approach cover design?
Haha, I leave it to the publisher. Cover designs and synopsi are not my forte; I find it very difficult to condense everything into one single image or paragraph. Luckily, my publisher is damn good at striking covers. I'll give them some ideas, they'll go away, do something completely different, and then make me wish I'd thought of that.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Five favourite films would be a much easier question, haha.

As a writer, there have been two books which had a massive influence on me: Misery by Stephen King taught me a lot about the power of "deus ex machina" in a story, and I found On Writing (also by King) endlessly useful. I still occasionally dip into it now.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My first mental image of The Lazis Project was of a shelf with things like a dolls head, a broken CD, a piece of paper. These things are junk to us, but to this girl it's all priceless because they are clues as to where she comes from and who she really is. I then imagined that Earth had been destroyed and it grew from there.
Where did the idea for Pandora come from?
It came from a combination of Indiana Jones, Charlie's Angels, Lara Croft, and a graphic novel called Danger Girl. I'd been working on something very dark beforehand and when it was finished needed something light and energetic to focus on. It was originally only going to be for fun, but it turned out to be good enough for publication.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The challenge. With something like The Lazis Project, there's only one human in the story, so I had to push my imagination hard to come up with all the other character's physicalities without making them too complex and overdoing the exposition. If I don't feel challenged by a story, I don't believe the reader will be interested enough to finish it.
Published 2014-01-18.
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