Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Mark Knight - Speculative Fiction Writer

Today I'm thrilled to be introducing Young Adult fantasy, horror, and science fiction writer Mark Knight as this week's Speculative Fiction Writer. I only met Mark recently, but he is fast becoming a good friend and great source of inspiration. Over to you, Mark.

A vampire father, an imprisoned mother, and one perilous journey...

Lazy, goalless New England teenager Daniel Dark never intended his life to change so dramatically. It starts with the arrival of a mysterious package, and the revelation that his true father was a master vampire named Dominus.

As his own fearsome powers begin to emerge, he sets out to rescue his birth mother, still imprisoned in Dominus’ stronghold.

Strange clues take Daniel to the deep forests of southern Mexico and then to the mist-shrouded moors of England. Hot on his heels is his adoptive father – Pastor Nathan Dark, determined to find and kill he boy he had once called his son.
A new urban fantasy for Young Adult readers and beyond. 

First of all, planet-sized thanks to Ellie for hosting me on her site! Congrats to you Ellie for the publication of your short story anthology, Passing Time! For fans of all things supernatural, this is a must read. The Twilight Zone in eBook form.

At the top of this post you will see the cover to my upcoming Young Adult novel, Blood Family - Quest for the Vampire Key. The novel has enjoyed quite a bit of interest already, and at the time of writing this, it is not yet available on Amazon.

A little more about the cover. The design is basically mine - I knew what seventeen-year-old Daniel looked like and so gave some instructions, with photo reference, to artist David M Rabbitte, who completed the artwork. David works for Lucasfilm is known for his Star Wars art (Star Wars fan club magazine, trading cards, posters) and also work he did for the X-Men franchise, providing cover art for novelizations. I am very proud to have him on my team!

Blood Family is not a freshly-penned work; its origins go back to 2004 when I hit upon the idea for a vampire novel with a twist. I would keep all the cool elements of vampire lore (fangs, blood lust, uber-strength) but alter the origin story. What if, I wondered, vampires were from another dimension?

That was it. Demonic entities who live on the astral plain but take over the bodies of human hosts and transform them into the vampires we all know and love - fangs and all. But Daniel couldn't be one of them, not exactly. What if he was a dhampir, a half-vampire? That presented a lot of possibilities.

In 2005 I wrote the novel, after doing a heck of a lot of research on vampires, moors, shamanism, and a mind-altering drug called ayahuasca (no, I didn't take any!) - all of which feature in the story.  More on my research trips can be found in my blog post, The Road to Blood Family.

I sent the book to several UK agents, and in 2007 one took me on - Creative Authors. I almost immediately got a meeting with Hodder & Stoughton, who were interested in publishing. You can imagine my excitement! But ... then came a problem. They wanted changes, some very Twilighty-type changes. Ohhh no, not for me. And they wanted the vampires to be more like 'normal vampires', none of this interdimensional stuff. But that was my hook, that was what made this vampire tale different. Reluctantly, I declined. Should I have hung on? I may never know what might have happened.

After my close-call with mainstream publication, I wrote three new novels (all stand-alones, but intended as trilogies), including my next release, Solomon Grimm and the Well of Souls. This is also Young Adult, though aimed at a slightly younger audience. Blood Family, I might add, is for the 17+ age bracket. And by 17+ I mean 17 to 77. My books are for everyone. It has blood. It has sex. It has violence. It is not for the faint-hearted.

Friends urged me to self-publish. Eventually, I decided to go for it. And so here I am. I can present the story I wanted to present. At the time of writing this, it is not yet available, but those who have had sneak-peeks at it really seem to like it. Which is very encouraging.

I am editing the living daylights out of this novel, with help from wonderful beta readers, Sabrena and Jodie, in hopes of making this the best vamp romp I can make. The release is aimed squarely at the end of March. I would love you to join Daniel Dark on his brave and bloody journey.

Mark Knight
March, 2013

                                                             * * *

“Mom, Dad,” he began. “I really need to talk to you about some-”

Nathan hurled himself at Daniel, strong hands clamping on to the boy’s shoulders near to his neck. Annie screamed for Nathan to stop, certain that her husband was throttling their son.

“What have you done?” Nathan demanded, loud enough to shake the furniture. “Talk to me, Daniel! What have you done? Have you killed? Have you killed someone?

                ~ Excerpt from Chapter 6 of
                       Blood Family - Quest for the Vampire Key

About the author

Mark Knight grew up in Massachusetts, USA. Settling in the UK, Mark continued to write novels of differing genres, including horror and television scripts. Mark has worked on feature film scriptwriter, having scripted two horror scripts for Hollywood’s Little Slices of Death production company and one for Illusion Studios. He also won several short story competitions, and has had his work featured in published anthologies. Mark concentrates now on Young Adult fantasy/horror/science fiction novels.

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Join me on my website, with links to my blog, in depth information about my novels, and fun stuff too! 

Thank you, Mark. I was fascinated by the story behind Blood Family, from your cover artist to the brave decision to turn down Hodder and Stoughton. I wonder how many authors have made such significant changes and regretted it? I wish you nothing but the best for this and all your future novels.


  1. Hi Ellie, hi Mark! Wow - what a writerly journey! I know a writerly pal who in order for his book to be published in the US had to make some major editing (from a big mainstream publisher) - I have his UK published book and basically they said to cut the prologue and get straight to the action part which was his chapter 1. I don't really know if that works better for the US audience but I quite liked the prologue as it set up the emotional heart of the book. But what do I know!!?!? LOL!

    All the best with Blood Family and sticking to your gut instincts!! Take care

  2. Thank you Kitty! I appreciate your words and am happy you enjoyed reading about my sometimes landmine-studded journey. I do often think back to my meeting with Hodder Headline in London. Should I have kept my foot in the door? But now I am in control of my novel and then again, who knows? If the book does well, a mainstream publisher might come knocking at MY door!
    Thank you once again for the encouraging words, Kitty! x

  3. Love reading about authors and genres new to me-- thanks for sharing your path, Mark. I think it's probably always best to go with your heart and not compromise the integrity of the story you are telling. All the best to you.

    1. Wonderful to hear that people think I did the right thing; it was such a hard decision. Thank you, Julie! Carving my own way has been quite exhausting at times, but rewarding too. The book has received a surprising amount of attention, which is very gratifying. I know Ellie is experiencing the same phenomenon with Passing Time!

  4. Awesome job Mark! You are a true trail-blazer in the Paranormal industry. Your vision for this story was one you believed in and had to stick with and I must say, I'm glad you did for it turned out to be fantastic! I'm so excited for you and for the new journey you are about to embark on when this book goes live! Congrats!

  5. Thank you, Jodie! I am so pleased that you and those who have read the book enjoyed my take on vampire lore. It was tremendous fun creating Daniel's world.


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