A Moment In Time with Mark Towse
Updated: Jan 2, 2020
Mark's wonderfully dark tale "Jodie's Spot", will be featured in our upcoming short-story anthology "It Calls From The Forest"
After a 30-year hiatus, Mark recently gave up a lucrative career in sales to pursue his dream of being a writer. His passion and belief have resulted in pieces in many prestigious magazines, including Flash Fiction Magazine, Raconteur, Books N' Pieces, Artpost, Colp, Antipodean SF, Page & Spine, Twenty-Two Twenty-Eight, and Montreal Writes. His work has also appeared twice on The No Sleep Podcast and also on The Grey Rooms. Nine anthologies to date include his stories, two of which are on the 2019 Horror Writers Association recommended list, and a further eight anthologies set for imminent release in 2020 also contain his work. His first collection, ‘Face the Music’ will shortly be released by All Things That Matter Press.
Mark resides in Melbourne, Australia with his wife and two children.
Have you always written, or was there a catalyst that prompted you to begin this journey?
Eighteen months ago, I had not written a story in 32 years - since primary school. I remember my English teacher always saying I could get straight A's if I just slowed down and took greater care over punctuation. But I just wanted to tell the story, get it out there. Maths was my 'natural subject,' and I went on to study this at Uni, graduating in '94 and then somehow drifting into a career in sales. Still an avid reader, I never let the dream go, and after lots of encouragement from my partner, I decided to give it another shot. The last eighteen months of my life have been the best for a long time.
Do you remember the first piece of writing shared publicly? What were people’s reactions, but more importantly how did you react getting it out there?
I remember it very well, indeed. Hugh's Friend was the story, and it was a flash fiction piece - a clever little story about an imaginary friend. I'd only just recently sent it out, and I was fortunate enough for the piece to be purchased by Books 'N Pieces - a whopping $75, and I was elated. People genuinely loved the story; thought it funny and refreshing. Now when I look back, I only see the glaring grammatical errors that make me want to curl up into a ball and disappear. I guess I should have taken heed of what my English teacher said. So now, I try my best to keep the writing tight and technically proficient, while not choking the flow of the story.
What is your favourite genre to read?
In terms of reading, my genres are horror and comedy, and in some instances, a combination of the two, which is notoriously difficult to pull off. If I had to pick a favourite novel, it would be 'The Talisman' by SK and Peter Straub - that story just blew me away, and as an awkward teenager struggling through early adolescence, it brought some magic into my life.
What is your workspace like? What kind of atmosphere do you need to write?
I am a husband and father of two kids, so I can't afford to be too picky in terms of writing space. I do like a lot of natural light and can't work in dingy spaces, so often base myself at the kitchen table. If it is overly noisy, I will use the study nook in the main living room, but I am not a great fan of total seclusion. Once I have an idea, I don't need deathly silence to work - the flow just kind of happens. The ideas are a different matter altogether, but there is no magic formula for them - inspiration can happen when talking to a client at work or when I am halfway up a mountain.
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