Author Interview: Mark Hill – Two O’Clock Boy


Today I have the pleasure of talking about this wonderful book, and sharing my little review. This author gets a 5 star thumbs up from me. He will be going on my auto-buy list!


This book rather took me by surprise. I love a good crime thriller, police procedural, and this has all that in spades. The thing you don’t expect is the character development. I don’t post spoilers, I believe that they detract from reading the actual book and forming your own opinions, but I have to say. The ending. Wow. I am salivating for the sequel. I would love to see this book as a TV drama. Done well, it would be amazing, as the story is.

Mark Hill took the time to give me a little interview, so thank you Mark for that – and for waiting till my deadline was done and I got to wade through my to-do list!

There is a sequel to Two O’Clock Boy, so can I ask – do you have a title, and can you sum up the feeling of the book in a sentence?
I’ve got a long list of titles for the second book, but what it will end up being called is uncertain at this time! Titles are terribly important to some authors – I have friends who can’t write a word until they know what the book is going to be called. But it’s the last piece of the puzzle for me. What I can tell you is that the second Drake book is a creepy, bittersweet tale of unrequited sibling love…
In addition to your books, what kind of career have you had?
I’ve been a journalist, and I was a producer at BBC Radio 2 for many years, working across a number of daytime shows and projects. Actually, after I left there I worked for an independent company, producing Alan Carr’s Saturday night show on the network. I loved that job! It meant I could write for five days and then spend two days playing fantastic tracks and laughing my socks off.
A typical day in the life of you – what does that look like?
A typical day for me would see me drinking too much coffee and eating pastries a pastry in a café. I’ll go home and stare out the window with my fingers poised over a keyboard. If I’m working on a novel, I’ll try to do a couple of thousand words at least, and then I’ll charge aimlessly around North London with a wild look in my eye as I think about what I’ve written and what’s coming next. I’ll accelerate past the pastry shop – just in case.
I collect elephant ornaments (and books of course!) – do you have something you collect?
I collect movie posters. Sadly, I only have a certain amount of wall space so I have to change them up occasionally, but I get enormous pleasure from looking at them every day.
If you could branch out into a different genre, which one would you choose and why?
I’d like to write a really frightening horror book. In the movies it’s easy to scare people – a jump-cut, a glimpse of a glinting knife, some choppy violin strings – but I’d like to write something that really gives you a creeping dread, something that makes your skin crawl so much that you’ll be using bleach as a shower gel.
Do you have any tips for the budding novelists out there reading this?
Keep going. I ain’t the youngest debut writer on the block – I mean, I may look youthful **cough** but appearances can be deceptive. There’s never a right time or a wrong time to get published. Just keep rolling that boulder up the hill, press your shoulder into it and keep pushing. Nobody ever got anywhere by quitting. And naps help. Yeah, plenty of naps. And pastries.

What are you reading currently?
I’ve been reading Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner. It’s hugely enjoyable, empathetic and witty – and DS Manon Bradshaw is a fictional detective superstar in the making.

Before you start a new novel, do you plot extensively, focus on the characters, or take an idea and run with it? 
I plot, plot, plot and plot some more. There’s a school of thought that you should ‘pants’ it, let your story pour out of your subconscious as you go along. That works for some people but I wrote scripts before novels and I’m a huge believer in structure, making sure all the pieces of story furniture are placed *just so* to my liking on the pages. Which is weird, because I’m actually a really sloppy individual in real life – I’ve always got food stains down my jumper and pastry crumbs in my hair. That’s not to say that everything is set in stone. Characters do unexpected things as I sit and write, situations develop out of nowhere. The main thing is there’s no right way or wrong way to write a novel – find the way of working that works for you.
Who are your favourite writers in the genre you write in? 
Oh god, I really hate this question. There are too many. Here are some. Dennis Lehane, Megan Abbott, Patricia Highsmith, Don Winslow, Megan Abbott, Alex Marwood, Belinda Bauer, Gillian Flynn, Richard Price, David Peace. That guy with the nice hair. William Gibson, Joseph Heller, Gillian Flynn, Graham Greene, Ian Fleming, Ian Banks, Belinda Bauer, Kate Atkinson, Thomas Harris, Ted Lewis, Laura Lippman, Pierre Lemaitre, Charles Willeford, Mo Hayder, Gregg Hurwitz, Sarah Waters, Dan Simmons, Paul Auster. The Dickens bloke who wrote the thing about the kid. Neil Cross. Stephen King – I mean, that’s obvs, right? Patrick Hamilton, love Patrick Hamilton, Shirley Jackson, Chandler and Hammett. That fellow who wrote the trilogy about the pastries. Anthony Powell, Carl Hiaasen, Scott Smith, Anthony Powell, Harlan Coben, Chuck Palahniuk, Alan Moore, Chuck Hogan, James Ellroy, Anne Tyler, Carl Hiaasen, Daphne du Maurier, Jim Thompson, Jonathan Coe. George MacDonald Fraser. That lady who wrote that thing that did well. George V. Higgins, Ira Levin. John Le Carre. Ian McEwan, Michael Connelly, John Wyndham.
Tell me when you want me to stop…

Mark, it’s been an utter pleasure. I am already desperate for the sequel!

Two O’clock Boy is out now on Amazon