Today, I’m part of the blog tour for Drive By Shouting by Mark Chase. Keep on reading for an author interview about Mark’s road to publication. But first, just what is the book all about?
The Official Book Blurb
When Matt Mann grabbed success by the throat, he also trampled on the dreams of Gram Kane, his closest friend. Matt has ridden the gravy train for seven heady years, whilst successfully keeping a lid on his old friend’s resentment. That is, until now.
Matt’s moral vacuum has now seen him betray yet another friend, but this time it’s one who has the power to ruthlessly punish him and take away everything that he’s achieved.
Drive-By Shouting is an exhilarating showbiz ride, with a bitter comic edge and a palpable undercurrent of malevolence.
The Road To Publication
When did you first decide to get your ideas out of your head and onto paper?
I think I have known for many years I would eventually start writing books, but it took somebody saying “if not now, then when?” to finally mobilise me. I realised that they were absolutely right; if I didn’t feel the urgent need to write that very day, then I wouldn’t write that week, that month, or even necessarily that year. So, I went home and started immediately and was amazed at how the idea formed in front of me.
How long did that first manuscript take to perfect?
I wrote consistently for about six months, doing about an hour a day. I then (almost fatally) paused for a few months, before finally summoning a new wave of energy to push towards the end.
How did you get it in front of publishers?
Having had record contracts with big companies in the past, I was very keen to retain control of my output. For this reason, I opted for a small independent publisher who was very supportive of my work.
Did you have an agent?
I spoke to a number of agents and got quite close to signing with a big-name. However, whilst they undoubtedly know their business, I started to resent the sort of changes that they wanted to make to my work. For this reason, I decided to represent myself.
What was the first reaction of people?
I’ve been delighted with the reactions have had. Unlike releasing an album of music, where people might tell you that they like track for or track seven, people really engage with the book and live with your characters for six or seven hours across a week. It’s been thrilling to have people coming to me and talking about my characters as if they were real; I take that as a real compliment.
Did the publishers want to change a lot? All? Nothing? Did you agree? Or stick to your guns and find someone else?
It seems to be agents who do an awful lot of the shaping of work these days – and as I have outlined above, the big-name agent that I spoke with wanted to do quite a lot of re-contextualising. However, I felt that this was essentially a completely different book, so I walked away. The publisher that I eventually went with was very supportive – they made some stylistic changes to some of the writing during the first edit- but I confess that I think I changed just about everything back to the way it was on my second edit!
How long did it take from them to get it out to the public?
I think the process took about 6 to 8 months. I’ve come to realise that this was incredibly quick compared to some people!
What input did you have on the cover? Font? Etc. …
I had a big input on the book cover. My background as a recording artist has meant that I wanted to have a real input on the cover. I wanted something that would be clean and uncluttered on a physical book, but would also work in black-and-white on the Kindle screen. I’m pleased with what we have ended up with.
If you could do it all again, what would you change?
I think that with any artistic project, you get to a point where you have reviewed and reviewed the work to the degree that you have lost your objectivity. It’s then inevitable that when you look at it again in four or five months, certain things jump out at you and you wish that you could change them. This has certainly happened with this book, but thankfully only in respect of a few stylistic phrasing issues, where I feel I could have expressed something slightly better. However, in the greater scheme of things, I’m happy with what I have produced.
Thanks Mark, and all the very best with the book. It is available now and can be purchased at the following link:
About the Author
Liverpool born, Chase has been a TV Presenter on a variety of shows, including; The Survivors Guide, Sextalk (both C4), Breakfast Time, Going Live! (BBC1), Wideangle, Country File (ITV) and Toyah & Chase (VH-1). On Radio, he has hosted BBC 5Live’s After Hours and The Chase is On. Behind the scenes, he has worked as a Producer on both Comic Relief & Sport Aid and has written for a number of publications including Esquire, the NME, Melody Maker, Maxim and Red.
Mark was the leader of the notorious 90’s band World of Leather, who released 2 albums and numerous singles through Sony Records. They toured extensively in the UK and Europe and sold respectably in Japan & Scandinavia, whilst skilfully avoiding the UK charts.
Prior to this, Chase had been a successful session musician & session singer, working with numerous artists including Belinda Carlisle, Taylor Dayne, Big Trouble & John Barrowman.
He lives in East Sussex with his wife, Jacqueline, and their 4 children.